How many times have you wanted to express this deep, philosophical thought in other than plain old, slow, English, and were unable to?
“As our vehicle leaves the ground and plunges over the edge of the cliff toward the
valley floor, I ponder whether it is possible that one might allege I am guilty of an
act of moral failure, having failed to maintain a proper course along the roadway.”
Well, now you can!
[ˈpʊ̃lː ʊˈɪ́qɪ̀ʃx ˈmáʔwàʟɡ ɛʁjɑʊfɤˈnɪ́ɛ́n ˈpǽθwɯ̀ç
aʊˈxɤ́ʔjàɬt xnɛʔwiɬˈtáʔʂʊɪ̀ tʊ́à kɪ̂t œlˈːǎ jaˈqázmʊɪ̀v
lɪʔjɯɾˈzɪ́ʂkàʔ pʼǎmː aɪlɔˈwɤ́tʃːà ʃʊʔˈjɛ́htàʂ]
What? You don’t know Ithkuil?
Ithkuil is what happens when an a priori philosophical language (one whose vocabulary is not based on existing languages) and a logical language spawn, according to its inventor, John Quijada. Introduced in January 2004, it was designed to be a purer, cleaner if you will, mode of expression. A meaningful phrase or sentence can be conveyed in Ithkuil with less sounds or “lexically distinct” speech-elements than in any of the languages we normally use. So if you have something highly intelligent to say, you can say it in Ithkuil in much fewer syllables, with less ambiguities and vagueness. In other words, it was designed to be very efficient.
Quijada admits his language is too complex to have developed naturally, but maintains it is entirely suitable for conversation. However, no known person is fluent in it, not even Quijada.
The grammar is complex. (Pass the Tylenol.) On the official Ithkuil site, there are twelve chapters for the grammar including the number system and script. The number system uses a base 100 structure with a superbase of 10,000. (Boink! Boink!) There is no “0” in the number system, or a stand-alone one at any rate.
The script is called Ictail, which is the Ithkuil word for “hypothetical writing system”. Its use is tied closely to the grammar, which allows some elements of the words to be inferred rather than stated. Any part of a word that is predictable is left unwritten, since the characters used to indicate the unpredictable parts of the word also transmit grammatical information that will allow one to reconstruct the missing parts. Got that?
Quijada claims he was influenced by the “consonantal phonology and verbal morphology of Ubykh and Abkhaz, certain Amerindian verbal moods, Niger-Kordofanian aspectual systems, Basque and Dagestanian nominal case systems, Wakashan enclitic systems, the Tzeltal and Guugu Yimidhirr positional orientation systems, the Semitic triliteral root morphology, the evidential and possessive categories of Suzette Elgin's Láadan, and the schematic word-formation principles of Wilkins’ Analytical Language and Sudre’s Solresol”. ‘Nuff said.
It is posited that a fluent speaker of Ithkuil could think 5-6 times faster, not to mention more abstractly. The Russians are very interested in this language, and a writer of the Russian popular science magazine Computerra, Stanislav Kozlovsky, compared Ithkuil to both Robert Heinlein’s Speedtalk and George Orwell’s Newspeak. However Quijada contends that Speedtalk is about the rapid brevity of thought and speech, while Ithkuil focuses on maximal communication most efficiently mastered, brevity be damned.
But wait! There’s more!
If you find Ikthkuil to be rather daunting, well, others did, too. So in June of 2007, Quijada introduced Ilaksh, which features a complete revision of the phonology and morpho-phonology (geektalk for sound system) to help wannaspeaks to be able to so.
Hurry, don’t hesitate! Learn Ikthuil or Ilaksh and you can begin using phrases like this:
Andmùt žiëlùimäv asavéwöc ukšu’ŭs ujgălärň žö’äàcërb.
The incompetent tailor began crying after finding
out about the clowns’ new directive on nakedness.
As for me, my Klingon lessons begin on Thursday.
All images courtesy of the official Ithkuil site, including logo at top.