Very difficult to read on mobile, does this weird whole screen flickering on scroll on Android Chrome.
A fun exercise which manages to show the power of…
…regular, linear writing.
Yes, that. Imagine how useful a concept this is, a system in which you can use a limited, deterministic set of symbols to express anything and everything. Sometimes it might take a bit more space than hieroglyphs, sometimes you might need to explain a concept which can be made clear in a single ideogram but space is cheap and the system is infinitely malleable.
I found the cat warming and falling asleep at the same time example very cool. Is there a word for this in English even?
Interesting to imagine how this would be with:
Obviously handwriting isn’t viable anymore in those cases.
Since mirror reflection has meaning, you might need your glyphs to all have a 3D depth and a handedness, to avoid ambiguity.
How would humor be different in this language? You can’t hide the punchline while you’re setting it up. Are there jokes that are just as funny read backwards as forwards?
I guess it would be somewhat similar as looking at a single frame cartoon: https://www.google.com/search?q=single+frame+cartoon&tbm=isch
I am sure humor would work differently in this language, but it might introduce alternative ways to express it?
I’d also add that, while Sapir-Whorf is in general…well, um, provably wrong, to be blunt…there are certain things, especially around humour, that are language-dependent. Puns are only available in some languages, for example; German can’t really do them. Or they’re available spoken, but not written (for example, Japanese, which has many cognates, but uses a Chinese writing system in part to avoid ambiguity in written forms).
In this case, I can imagine an almost reverse of the Japanese situation: some of these sentences would be recognizable as drawings, and could have a unique form of written-only pun depending on how that worked out.
German can do puns. Maybe Germans can’t, though. ;)
I speak German okay, not great, so I confess I’m forwarding what I was told. Can you give me a German pun? I love them in English.
Germans can definitely do puns, and puns are in fact pretty common in German (though generally considered to be “lame” jokes). The German name is Kalauer. A classic one: “Es wird nie wieder ein Kalauer über meine Lippen kommen, und wenn du lauerst, bist du kahl wirst.” (Of course it doesn’t work in English, but the translation would be “Never again shall a pun cross my lips, even if you lurk till you turn bald”).
Ooh, nice! Thanks! I’ll need to ask my buddy what he actually meant.
Most famous German pun (at least among English speakers): https://genius.com/Rammstein-du-hast-lyrics
The phrases ‘du hast’ and ‘du hast mich’ when spoken can mean either ‘you have’ or ‘you hate’ and ‘you have … me’ and ‘you hate me’ respectively. When written hate is spelled differently, i.e. hast -> hasst.
In effect the song tricks the hearer into believing that the singer is accusing them of being hateful towards him. Only when the complete sentence is sung is it clear that the much tamer meaning ‘You asked me’ is meant the whole time.
I am not a huge fan but its such a famous example I thought it worth bringing up.
Google for “Wortspiele”.
Wikipedia has a few: https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wortspiel
That’s a good comparison! I think Scalar families is in part what prompted this thought. You could make the glyph for “big” be comically big, like 10x bigger than the rest of the sentence.
Maybe you could show irony by making a big glyph that says “small”, or vice versa. Like the trope of a big guy named “Tiny”.
An ironic situation is ironic no matter which order you learn about it.
This will come in handy if I ever need to blackmail the Unicode Consortium :p
This reminds me of the nonlinear writing of the Nomai, from Outer Wilds.
This reminds me of the Heptapod language from “Story of Your Life”, the short story that the movie Arrival was based on.
Discussion on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23412776