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Re: Creating a metaconlang; anyone want to join?

Date:Saturday, December 1, 2007, 17:26
> [] On Behalf Of Jim Henry
> > Seriously though, maybe a look at Navaho code talk could give
> > ideas. > > My understanding is that the "code-talkers" just > translated the English messages into Navaho and talked > normally to each other, relying on the obscurity > and difficulty of Navaho to stymie the Japanese > (or Germans?) who were listening in. Any obscure > natlang or a priori conlang could work the same way; > preferably some language about which nothing has > been published in your enemy's language.
There's much more than that to it. It was sort of a code on top of a code, with the use of a little-known language like Navaho only making it more difficult for the enemy to decipher. > The Navajo Code Talker's Dictionary When a Navajo code talker received a message, what he heard was a string of seemingly unrelated Navajo words. The code talker first had to translate each Navajo word into its English equivalent. Then he used only the first letter of the English equivalent in spelling an English word. Thus, the Navajo words "wol-la-chee" (ant), "be-la-sana" (apple) and "tse-nill" (axe) all stood for the letter "a." One way to say the word "Navy" in Navajo code would be "tsah (needle) wol-la-chee (ant) ah-keh-di- glini (victor) tsah- ah-dzoh (yucca)." Most letters had more than one Navajo word representing them. Not all words had to be spelled out letter by letter. The developers of the original code assigned Navajo words to represent about 450 frequently used military terms that did not exist in the Navajo language. Several examples: "besh- lo" (iron fish) meant "submarine," "dah-he- tih-hi" (hummingbird) meant "fighter plane" and "debeh-li-zine" (black street) meant "squad." <