It’s All Greek To Me

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May 9, 2014 by T. Gregory Argall

Boredom and creativity are a dangerous combination.

So, I decided to invent a new language. You know, just to fill the time.

Oh, sure that sounds easy enough but it’s actually kind of complicated. I’m not talking about just adding “op” to the end of every word when you’re five years old and think you’re the only kid who’s ever done that. I’m talking about creating a functional language with it’s own internal rules and structure.

There are several questions that you need to ask yourself before you can even begin to construct your new language. So I asked myself.

Why are you creating this language?

Because I’m bored. We established that up there in the first sentence. Next question.

No, really, Why? What’s the purpose of the language? Is it meant to be an actual functioning, artificial language like Esperanto, or is it intended to simply add depth and history to fictional characters, as do Klingon, Dothraki, and Swedish?

Oh, I see what you mean.
Um.
Fictional, I guess. Those languages still get used anyway, right? There are people who talk Klingon or Dothraki just to increase their nerd cred. And there are some seriously hardcore Muppet fans who speak fluent Swedish.

Do you want to use an alphabet?

It depends how you define “alphabet,” I guess.

Okay, Smartass. According to Wikipedia, we can define “alphabet” as a standard set of basic written symbols or graphemes which is used to write one or more languages based on the general principle that the letters represent phonemes (basic significant sounds) of the spoken language. This is in contrast to other types of writing systems, such as syllabaries (in which each character represents a syllable) and logographies (in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic unit).

Well, in that case, yes. I mean, a logography sounds fun and all, but I’ve seen a Chinese computer keyboard. It’s scary and intimidating. I don’t want to have to build one from scratch.

Real or fictional alphabet?

That’s a tough one. Making new alphabet would be all kinds of cool, but again it comes down to having a functional keyboard.

There are a lot of sharp edges in the Klingon alphabet, aren't there? Well, I guess you can expect that from a warrior race.

KLINGON ALPHABET
There are a lot of sharp edges in the Klingon alphabet, aren’t there?
Well, I guess you have to expect that from a warrior race.

So, I’m going to go with the English alphabet.

Okay, Latin it is. Do you want–

No, I said English. Not Latin. English.

Right. The basic Latin alphabet, as recognized by the International Organization for Standardization, is the alphabet used for English as well as several other languages.

There’s an International Organization for Standardization? Really? Is that like the Olympics of OCD?

I’m asking the questions here, buddy.

Right. Sorry. Go ahead.

Will you be alternating between upper case and lower case letters?

Naw. Hitting the shift key is such a chore. Caps lock will still signify shouting and yelling, though.

Do you intend to overuse punctuation to the point of annoyance?

Of course. No one understands apostrophes anyway, so we might as well flood the language with them.
Okay, that’s enough questions. Time to invent my language.

But, wh–

No more questions. Time to be impatient.

Fine.
What’s the name of your language?

(Hey, that’s a question.) Anyway, my new language is called Galferilac and it will be used mainly for creating lyric poems of love, loss, and redemption.

Really?

(Stop that.) Here’s some cat pictures to amuse and distract you while I work out the details and finer points of my new language.

 
Cat 1
Cat 3

There. That was fun, wasn’t it? I’m back now and I have an example of a Galferilac poem.

jsh’g’sjk ojs’fk;av k;aaao’iousm’nb doa^olck
aaaaa’aa’aaaaa^aaa vcoipk
bnbnb~nbnbu ad’kcl”’ wuui
g’g’llkos’dii^iu eeeeep guiu’u
bfnsff’khn’sdnf sjns’;pdndv a’nvv’navn qqyte^eeb’cx

Isn’t that beautiful? It sounds even better when sung to to the tune of “Oliver’s Army” by Elvis Costello.
Makes me cry, every time I read it.

Galferilac guide books and instructional audiobooks will be available soon from LinguaLearn®.

As they say in Galferilac, fe’gg’gglk bvfa^aaxd yiiy q’j.
(Try to be nice to each other.)

tga

 

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