I just like to have a circus freak hour once in a while

This is the Pawnee language spoken by Native Americans in Oklahoma. To put it in perspective, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is only 14 syllables. A less fictional word, antidisestablishmentarianism, is only 12 syllables. The lung disease known as Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is 17 syllables. So imagine saying something like that in an ordinary sentence. Or THREE 20 syllable words in ONE sentence. It seems like you’d have to be kind of smart to manage that.

Let’s look at some other weird ones

their nouns are all based on body parts

This is a tribe that has proven too violent to contact. This tribe has been confined to a 23 square mile island for 50,000 years. So, what, I have to hand it to you, head in that direction, has a nose for it, nouns based on body parts? Apparently it’s also what they call an inalienably possessed language where they have no abstraction for “hand” say, there’s only my hand or her hand. Similarly they only have numbers for one and two, anything higher than that being “one more”. Nouns are based on their functions, so a bow and arrow would be associated with the hands. If you put toddlers on an island and they grew up without adults maybe they’d think up a language like this.

Here’s another one. What must it be like to inhabit such a world?

no words for colors (except two for “light” and “dark”), two words for numbers (one indicating a small amount, one indicating a large amount)

They never had the thought to distinguish colors? Again, no Forms or abstractions- if you show them a red cup they will say it’s blood-blood, and a green cup is grass-grass. Reminds me of the time I heard a prole refer to his job abstractly as “labor”. They tend not to think in terms of abstraction either. The word for “black” for this tribe equates to “blood is dirty”. So maybe blood IS a Form to them in some sense. See how this is about immediate experience and not “concepts in your head”? They don’t have a concept for color in general. Rather there are “shining” things in the environment.

It’s all a continuum- it’s just amateurish use of the method of division to not have a concept for color. The people of puppetworld similarly lack concepts. And also similarly I’m not sure if that tribe can be taught that red is more fundamental than blood.

Ooh you thought that clicking language was the only weird one. Here’s another

I don’t know how to wrap my head around this one. My mind is short-circuiting trying to.

Some languages only have three vowels. Imagine going through life without A and U.

I always dismissed linguistics for some reason. It’s actually kind of mind-boggling.

English word order is subject-verb-object—there are 1,377 languages that are coded for word order in [the World Atlas of Language Structures] and 35.5% of them have SVO word order.

Only 8.7% of languages start with a verb.

What seems like a more rational word-order?

I mean, the verb is kind of the subject of the utterance, right? Who is doing it, what is doing it, it’s about doing it, right? I can see why there would be debates about this.

I wonder if the cultures are related beyond this

Why is OSV so under-used?

SVO is the right way!! Nah, there must be a way to determine the most objective order though.

Ancient Greek looks like TOPIC — FOCUS — VERB — REMAINDER



Here’s how it could look

See how we’re doing the method of division here? Some might have looked at language like that tribe looks at a red cup before seeing this. Blood-blood.

This one’s weird

Maybe a Beethoven language is possible then? We’d probably understand each other better with that.

Anyway the weirdest one to me seems to be Chalcatongo Mixtec where you can’t ask a question.

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