So now that I have a database of about 100 words in the Erâtheet language (I’m not starting on Cosari yet), I realized I had enough to start to work out common sounds and phonetics. This allows me to start to create an alphabet for this language, based on the sounds in each word. So far I’ve come to the conclusion that Erâtheet is comprised of 22 distinct sounds, being:
A B D E F G I K L M N O P R S T U V W Y TH SCH
The hard part was coming up with the shapes for each sound. I wanted to have a link to the latin alphabet, as Erâtheet is mainly corruptions of existing latin and germanic words, but I also wanted each letter to visually represent the sound in some way. So far I’ve come up with a few designs, but I haven’t been able to easily replicate them all digitally so far. Here’s a picture of them written out by hand:
And here’s the first few letters replicated digitally:
As you can see, the shapes are there, but they lack…finesse, I think. The A is showing an open sound; the B a closed sound. D is a variation of B, E represents the tightness of its sound, and F the complexity. The other letters go on from there. What do you think?
So here’s my big question: are there any calligraphers out there who fancy helping me create a language?
A friend of mine wrote the other day the following:
We all know that that so isn’t how it works.
It amused me, but also seemed to be (as far as I can tell) grammatically fine. It led to the response:
I’m glad that that that that amused you.
I came across this article the other day on Mental Floss. It has some further examples of grammatical weirdness:
- The horse raced past the barn fell.
- The complex houses married and single soldiers and their families.
- The rat the cat the dog chased killed ate the malt.
And of course my favorite:
Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
In case you need help with that one, “buffalo” can mean the animal, the city, and the action “to buffalo” (i.e. to bully or intimidate).
But, I believe I have one to top all of that, and it’s true, too. Here is a sentence with the word “and” in it five times in a row:
There’s too much space between north and and and and and son.
Got it? No?
This relates to my grandfather’s business in North Yorkshire. When the eldest son came of age, he needed to change the business sign from North to North & Son. When the sign maker came back, the words had been crushed together:
Enraged, he returned to the sign maker the next morning with the words:
There’s too much [bloody] space between North and & and & and Son!
I never knew if they got it fixed.
Whenever reading in your native language (be it English, French or Bengali), you rarely take heed of the specific grammatical and syntactical idiosyncrasies of your mother tongue. However, once you start learning another language, it becomes immediately obvious that there is a plethora of linguistic subtleties that are extremely difficult to master.
What often happens (especially early on) is that you attempt to apply your native tongue’s sentence structure to this new language, often resulting in amusing results:
Kann ich ein Plätzchen haben, bitte?
Can I a cookie have, please?
Even more interesting, however, are the figures of speech and idioms that are simply unique to your language:
J’ai une pêche d’enfer.
I have a peach from hell.
Where this really gets interesting, however, is that when you read text written by a non-native, not only do you pick up on the phrases that just don’t quite translate, but given the syntax and specific choice of wording you can actually start to identify what their native language actually is. I was reading an article the other day written in English, with no reference at all to who wrote it or where they were from. However, as I continued to read, I became convinced that this was someone from Eastern Europe – possible the Czech Republic or Hungary.
Of course, I haven’t been able to substantiate this, but it’s funny how certain things show through, no matter how hard you try to homogenize yourself.