|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, November 1, 2003, 18:22|
A few weeks back we encountered spirits of fire or smoke
known as Jinns. Unfortunately, we got side-tracked by the
rantings of someone with mental tunnel-vision who blamed
everything non-Islamic on the malevolent workings of these
I guess the intention was to suggest the possibility of a
different species of intelligent beings who, presumably,
would need to communicate with one another. We never, alas,
ever considered this: "How would they communicate?"
I've just been reading Umberto Eco (always a rewarding thing
to do) speaking about Dante's theories regarding language.
Dante held that man (i.e. Homo Sapiens) is the only species
able to speak. This ability is not possessed by angels, beasts
According to Dante:
- angels have an "ineffable intellectual capacity"; either they
can understand the thoughts of others, or they can read these
thoughts in the divine mind.
- beasts lack individual feelings, possessing only 'specific'
passions; each knows its own feelings and may recognize feelings
when displayed by animals of the same species.
- demons immediately recognize the depths of perfidy in others.
'Tis true, Dante has the odd demon actually speak in the Divine
Commedy; but the odd scraps of 'demon-talk' are sort of
"not-quite-human", as Umberto says, e.g. "papé Satàn, papé Satàn
More is now known about communication among animals and probably
is not, I guess, really in the realms of constructed languages.
Dante's ideas about the 'language' of angels seems to me more
What would the language of angels be like, or the language of
jinns or the Paracelsian spirits: sylphs, salamanders, undines
In a word, has any conlanger considered devising a language for
beings who communicate either by "pure thought" or in some other
non-spoken way - in some way quite different from human language?