A more systematic approach to language mutation
|From:||Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>|
|Date:||Friday, January 23, 2004, 13:32|
I'm trying to get a project off the ground to
gradually start mutating English, a little bit at a
time, until it becomes something entirely different;
different grammar and different vocabulary.
I wondered about how to introduce radical changes in
the vocabulary yet make it easy for people to
understand and incorporate the new vocabulary. What I
came up with was to introduce new suffixes and
prefixes with which new words can be coined.
For example, suppose I take the words "restaurant" and
"bistro" as my inspiration and coin the suffix
"-(i)ristu" to mean an eating establishment. Now I
can coin a bunch of new words that will be instantly
recognizable: pizzaristu, Chinaristu, Frenchiristu,
burgeristu, vegeristu, (or vegetaristu) and even the
generic restaurant, biristu.
I could take the word "store" and shorten it to the
suffix "-(i)sto" (plural "-(i)storen") to mean a place
where something is bought and sold. Thus I might go
to a bookisto for reading material, or a shusto for
footwear. But if I were in Beverly Hills and wanted
to buy expensive high-fashion footwear I might borrow
from the word "galleria" and create the suffix
"-(i)leria" (plural "-(i)lerian") and look for fancy
shoes at the shuleria, and expense jewels at the
jeweleria. The working class folk would fill their
fuel tanks at the gasto, but the rich would take their
Rolls Royce to the petroleria.
Now the new reader doesn't have to be told the
difference between a dressileria and a dressto, or
that a stationery store is a paperisto.
I could shorten the word "room" into the suffix
"-(a)ru" (plural "-(i)ra") so that when you get home
from the foodisto or the chefleria you can go into the
cookaru and prepare a nice meal to be served in the
eataru. I could elaborate on this suffix and have
"-(a)riu" (plural "-(i)rium") also mean a room, but a
public room rather than a room in a private home, so
that a popular Thairistu might have more than one
eatariu. It might, infact, have three or four
eatirium. And of course this provides an alternative
for public gathering places like those that we call
"coffee shops", or coffetirium. But if all this is
too confusing just stop off at the local liquoriu and
have a cold brew.
By choosing the best word to go with the suffix we can
coin lots of new words like suplicariu (from
"suplication", for "prayer", meaning a public room in
which to pray, or a public chapel) and cinemariu,
discoriu (or danceriu), and musicariu or concertariu.
Thus the vocabulary can be radically altered yet still
remain recognizable. Once those lexical mutations are
well under way then grammatical mutations can be
introduced, like case endings on the new nouns, which
by now have predictable endings that fall into one of
a dozen or so declensions.
So far I would have these four declensions:
-o(-oren), -ia(-ian), -u(-a), -iu(-ium)
Now more suffixes could be made to fit the existing
declensions, or a new declension could be introduced.
Let's say that a person who performs a particular
function gets the suffix "-(e)ris" (plural "-(u)rim")
so that one who teaches is a teacheris and all his
eager subjects are learnurim. A boring preacheris, on
the other hand, might have a gospelariu full of
dozurim! This constitutes a new declension, -is(-im).
But if I had said that such a person uses the suffix
"-(a)ro (plural "-(i)roren") (teacharo and her
learniroren) then that falls into the existing
These are all hypotheical at this stage, but that's
the direction I'm thinking of taking to start off
mutating English into something entirely different.