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Make Your Own Language

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by Matthew (subscribe)
WEN Editor
Published May 11th 2011
Photo by Woodleywonderworks
Make Up Your Own Language - Photo by Woodleywonderworks

There have undoubtedly been times when you've heard foreigners speaking in a language other than English, and you've often wondered what on Earth they were talking about. Sometimes, you might even become envious because you can't enjoy the same privilege of privacy while in public. That's fair enough.

Just remember that should you choose to learn another language, there will forever be some people around who will understand what you are saying. But, if you do something entirely new and invent your very own language and attempt to get those closest to you to learn it - or at least learn a few basic common sentences - absolutely no one else on Earth will ever be able to interpret it. Sounds cool, huh? Imagine what you could get away with when your telephone is tapped.

Here are some suggestions that may help you to achieve this unusual, yet highly desirable, goal.

First determine whether you intend to just utter words in your new language. That should eliminate the need for creating special characters in a new alphabet. If you're sticking to speech,
perhaps focus on the pronunciation of words. Develop a list of the most commonly used words and invent new-sounding ways to say them.

You could probably use English letters. Just re-arrange letters in an English word to get a different sounding pronunciation, or add as many letters as you want to your new word. The more, the merrier, as the old saying goes.

In fact, the more that you mask a word in English by providing more characters for the equivalent word in your made-up language, the more difficult it would be for anyone to understand it. And that's what you're aiming for, lest the exercise becomes frivolous.

Try to stay on the side of simplicity. When it comes to the crazy invention of your own language, do your best not to needlessly complicate things. That is, unless you really want to show off, consider an easier way to learn your made-up speech. For example, probably the most basic of ways to make up pronunciation of completely new words is to try and pronounce words in the English language backwards. It can be quite a funny exercise.

Another fantastic method of disguising the meaning of the words in your new language is to learn another non-extraterrestrial language (a foreign Planet Earth language) and pronounce everything in reverse. But this idea, though somewhat interesting, can be far too time consuming.

It'd help if you were raised with a language other than English. Then again, you might think the whole idea of creating a brand new language is pointless. Don't be conceited, friend. There are still people in the world - and possibly around you in public - who could still understand you.

The next step would have to be naming your language. What do you want to call it? Try to think of something that exactly describes what your language is all about.

For instance, call it a cliché but I personally think that French is by far the most romantic sounding talk on Earth, especially the sexy accent. My pleasure for complimenting all French folk reading this.

Now let's say if I was to learn French backwards, I could call this exciting new tongue something like "Backward Romantic French". If it became popular enough, one would say, "Ooh la la, that Parisian couple are speaking Backward Romantic French". Well, perhaps they're the brightest, most intellectually advanced - and not to mention, indelibly romantic - French couple around. Imagine the next SBS film in Backward Romantic French. They'd be clueless when it comes to the provision of subtitles.

Overall, aim for originality and uniqueness. You don't want anyone or anything in terms of technology, computers, translation software, space aliens, and the like to come close to understanding you and blowing your cover.
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There is a wonderful book of short stories by G K Chesterton, called "The Club of Queer Trades". The club only admits members who have invented an entirely new way to earn a living. One of my favourites is about a professor who invents a new language based on hopping, dancing and jumping. Think John Cleese from the Ministry of Silly Walks and you'll more or less have the picture.
By Geraldine Massey - senior reviewer
Friday, 22nd of July @ 01:07 am
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