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Efficiency/Spatial Compactness

From:John Crowe <johnxcrowe@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 17, 2007, 13:32
Efficiency (use less space/time to convey the same amount of info) in
conlangs is one of my newer interests, and I don't know much about this
idea. What is the formal name for this? What are the results of formal
studies/works in this area? All of the ideas in this post are just from my
own thought; I have read few things by other authors about this.

As far as I know, only a few conlangs strive to be 'efficient'. A few of the
following are from Richard Kennaway's much linked to but outdated list,
which is still useful because it has descriptions on the list, making it
possible to search for specific things in conlangs.

*Speedtalk [Heinlein]. of course, comes to mind.

*Ithkuil (and Ilaksh) [Quijada] Relatively well known, if I'm not mistaken.

*Lin (or Ln) [Skrintha] A bunch of broken links. No attempt to be

*Mindbrush [Gressett] "allow faster, more efficient thinking"

*Earth Minimal "An Ultra-Compact Auxiliary Language" Seems to focus on
things other than efficiency more.

I have read some essays concerning half-related topics, it seems that a lot
of people that human language cannot be made more efficient. "Amiguity is

Even after setting aside human read/parseability, it still seems hard to
draw the line. Theoretically, if a language has maximum efficiency, then
there must be no such thing as an incomplete utterance or an ungrammatical
statement, i.e. every possible utterance (or combination of symbols) within
the rules means something. Then again, if a language has ungrammatical
utterances, then we can make it a 'rule' that all of the previously
ungrammatical utterances are not part of the language, that they are akin to
using phonemes or symbols other than those specified.


Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
And Rosta <and.rosta@...>