Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: language

Third Draft of an Unsent Love Letter

Subj: I Miss Your Accent

How you opened the floodgates and let every little influence through, just to sound like you came from somewhere other than your hometown. I liked the way you would get plastered; they would trickle back then, all the regional words, all the hang-ups you had worked so hard on to shrug off. I miss the way you could talk about a place you’d never been to, and make me feel like I’d been there with you. Your half-finished novels, your half-drowned poetry. I know I was just a phase for you. I miss that phase.


Today, I told someone that I love her (in a language she barely understands) in a park, in a slightly shaky voice because I hadn’t thought it out as well as I’d hoped. And she said that she loves me (in a language I have mostly forgotten), in a whisper in my ear. Surely there were other languages around us that day.

(in the bugs that kept crawling over us, between their bug pheromones)

(in the electricity between us, between nerve clusters on the surface and deeper down)

(in the stilted, blushing manner of whoever filed that public indecency charge)


Semaphore towers fell; cables were cut; spy satellites blacking out all over the globe. White noise; telephones were scrambled mid-call – I was interrupted mid-sentence. There were a few shouts, a few wordless moans. And language broke down. Words mitosed into smaller words, and sounds into their constituents until just one syllable was left. This syllable was prolonged and tested and broken, it split itself into the muscle contractions and relaxations, in tongue and throat and lungs and diaphragm, and they were repeated over and over again, every time you touched me in a new place, or in a new way.

Thoughts on Conlanging

So, I wrote this story a long while ago: /vignettes/the-anywhere-machine-appendix-i-futureful-skyful/

If I were to construct a language, I would try to construct the living sun’s language and I would try to write the poem that I alluded to.

The Cekno had a language that grew from hir necessity to organise hir own thoughts, to cope with the dread that every aware enough being feels. As such it is not a good language for communicating with other entities, but good at writing poetry and arguments in. The writing would be constructed in circles, with characters (that could correlate to sounds if one wanted to speak it aloud) being the highs and lows in the wave that the circle is made of. Presumably, to write it, it would be easier to draw it as a line and then draw it once more as a circle. Eventually, people who learn the language would try to read squiggly lines and circles and it will be amazing.

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The Anywhere Machine, Appendix II – Telepath Unexplained, pt 2


There is now a followup post to the first instalment of this series! The adventure of this civilisation continues. You should check it out!

(The first one’s here,