When you’re watching a fantasy or science fiction show, and the characters are speaking a language that does not exist in this world but sounds like it could - that doesn’t happen by accident, or improvisation. A lot - a LOT! - of work goes into inventing new languages that sound real. Conlanger David Peterson talks about how he created languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones.Read More
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There’s a language which is said to be the smallest language in the world. It has around 123 words, five vowels, nine consonants, and apparently you can become fluent in it with around 30 hours’ study. It was invented by linguist Sonja Lang in 2001, and it’s called Toki Pona.
And fellow Radiotopian Nate DiMeo, from the Memory Palace, decided we should learn it together.
- tokipona.org is your first stop for Toki Pona information, such as Sonja Lang's book and the Facebook group.
- This is the article that first piqued Nate's and my interest in Toki Pona. I also enjoyed reading about this two-day Toki Pona learning binge.
- A Finnish psychiatrist experimented with getting his patients to record their thoughts in Toki Pona every day.
- Hey, linguistic size queens: here's a piece comparing number of words in different languages, and here are some stats for you.
- I need to read In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent, who appeared in this early episode of 99% Invisible about Esperanto.
- There are a lot more invented languages; here are a few mentioned in this episode: Kēlen, Ithkuil, Blissymbols, Lojban, Klingon, Elvish, Na'vi...
- Here's the transcript of this episode.
At time of publication, there are 20 hours left to join the Radiotopia funding drive and support our thirteen shows (and attend to your own desires for challenge coins and Tshirts and such).
SIMON, LOUISE, ANJALI & MATHEW'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
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Oxford Games are offering you 15% off their boxes of fun if you use the code ALL15 when you order from the shop at oxfordgames.co.uk. Need ideas about which game to buy? Listen to company founder Leslie Scott in the Word Play episode.
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- Nate DiMeo makes the beautiful podcast The Memory Palace thememorypalace.us.
- PRX are the power behind the Radiotopia throne. They work on many wonderful projects, and their latest is the Esquire Classic podcast, which you can find here.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Thanks to Eleanor McDowall.
- Martin Austwick provided all the music apart from the instrumental version of Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger'.
- Communicate with me minimalistically at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.
As the fundraiser ends, so does this season of more frequent episodes with my Radiotopian comrades. I hope you enjoyed them! The show resumes its fortnightly schedule, so the next episode should appear on 2nd December 2015.
The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, which is supported by Mailchimp, the Knight Foundation, and listeners like you.
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The messiness of English is the price of its success. It is the most widely spoken language in the world, geographically, being an official language in 88 different countries, and there are countless different versions of it all over the world. With so many speakers in so many places, it would be impossible to establish a single 'correct' form of English; and, as became evident in Fix part I, to try to do so is a losing game.
In Europe, a new strain of English is emerging. It's not spoken very widely, but it is used by some of the most powerful people in the world. Hampton and Michael Catlin, founders of the collaborative online dictionary Wordset, lead us into this linguistic netherworld.
Beware: excessive suffixes.
- Who WOULDN'T want to read the European Court of Auditors' 66-page 2013 report Misused Words and Expressions in EU Publications? Curl up on the sofa and prepare to discover bold new uses for 'homogenise', 'mission' and 'jury'.
- The history of musical notation, do re mi - née ut re mi - is interesting; read more about it here.
- If you're infuriated by someone who muddles up words like 'gamut' and 'gamete', you could direct them to diffen.com or the-difference-between.com.
- The transcript of today's show is here.
- The Guardian interviewed me about the Allusionist and Answer Me This; take a look here (if just for the accompanying photo).
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MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Hampton and Michael Catlin founded Wordset, the online collaborative dictionary that aims to collect every different form of English. You can help out at wordset.org. You can also hear the Catlins on their podcast, We Have A Microphone.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Thanks to Matthew Crosby for his vocal contributions. The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear and/or download more - WITH LYRICS! - at thesoundoftheladies.bandcamp.com.
- Say hello to me at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.