From FrathWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Pronounced: [ˈoːpəŋ]
Total speakers: 0-2, none native
Writing system: Nearly identical to English
Genealogy: English-based a posteriori
Basic word order: SVO
Creator: AZ and BLH
Created: 2013-

OPunng was created in an attempt to make a language that violates Universal Grammar. Most of the claims of UG are pretty broad, but the strongest claim (and therefore the easiest one to violate) is that of recursion. Beginning with Chomsky in 1956, recursion was stated as the mechanism by which a grammar is able to produce an infinite number of sentences without being "prohibitively complex" Chomsky, 115-116. A goal of OPunng is to show that a language without syntactic recursion may still be reasonable to use.

Definitions of recursion in language vary, but a common view is that syntactic recursion is a result of same-type constituent embedding. OPunng mainly seeks to avoid this kind of recursion.


OPunng is an a posteriori language based on English, which replaces English's recursive syntax with a strict syntax where every phrase has finite length and must adhere to a given structure. Because each phrase is a truth value, as in natural languages, but none of the possible building blocks allowed for a phrase can take in a truth value as an argument, it is impossible to have recursion. It is, however, allowed to share state between phrases, by editing the lexicon after each phrase. However, no information is permanently lost even over the course of a long conversation, because a canonical static copy of the lexicon is retained, which is marked with base. At the end of each sentence, all words revert to their base meaning. This means that the language replaces recursion with extensive side effects, making it the opposite of a functional programming language. The language's name reflects this; its name is a combined reference to Clojure, OCaml, and the word "pun".


OPunng primarly uses the English lexicon, with a few variations and additions.

  • Negation
    The word not is placed before any word to negate its meaning.
  • -ily
Verb-ily means Verbing Object as an adverb
  • -y
Verb-y means Verbing Object as an adjective
  • -ed
Verb-ed means Verbed by Subject as an adjective
  • base and basely
When used on its own, base has the meaning of Pro>.
basely functions in phrases such as "I rejoice basely," having a meaning of being in some neutral state with regard to amount of rejoicing. This serves to set up a comparison to that state.
When attached to a word, base returns that word to its ordinary English meaning. For example, the phrase "Alice pets Bob" (where Bob of course is a bobcat) has the following side effects:
  • "to pet" := "to pet Bob"
  • "pet-ily" := "petting Bob" (adverb)
  • "pet-y" := "petting Bob" (adjective)
  • "pet-ed" := "petted by Alice"
Then "to base-pet" simply means "to pet" with no mention of Alice or Bob.
  • splx is a new magic word we define. It, along with its derived forms splx-ly, splx-y, and splx-ed, has two properties which we define as part of OPunng:
    • base-splx is always false.
    • In any phrase containing splx, only splx is ever redefined, and it is redefined such that if the sentence without splx is true, then so is the sentence with splx; in all cases in which the sentence without splx is not true, splx keeps its former value. However, for the last phrase in each utterance, splx is used as a normal word, so that the final phrase gives the interlocutor information instead of being semantically trivial (as is the case of any other phrase containing splx).
So the sentence "she goes to the store or she goes home" can be translated thus:
She goes to the store splx-ly
(splx used to be something that no one ever does, but this sentence redefines splx to be something that you do if you go to the store. If splx weren't special, this would tell us that she is in fact going to the store in some manner, but splx now is an attribute that is true of exactly those female individuals who go to the store.)
and she goes home splx-ly
(splx is now also true of every female person who goes home. In cases where this "she" did not go home, splx keeps its former value; that is, a woman who didn't go home only splxes if she went to the store.)
and she splxes.
(Because this is the final phrase, we use splx as a normal word; that is, we say that it is the case that splx is true of "she". Because splx is true of exactly those people who go home or to the store, it must be the case that either she goes home or she goes to the store.)
This redefining on the fly allows us to communicate conjunctions in a way that is not recursive.


All phrases in OPunng obey the following template:

(Adjective) Subject Verb (Preposition) (Object) (Adverb)

Elements in parentheses are optional, and negation may be placed anywhere in a sentence. Determiners are considered part of the Subject or Object. Phrases are joined by the conjunction "and" to form sentences. Sentences provide the largest context in which side effects hold.


Various sentences

All examples are listed by their standard English version, followed by their OPunng version in italics.

  • I get my best ideas when I'm asleep.
Awake me gets ideas and asleep me gets best.
Contrast this with the other sense of "best" meaning best ideas of anyone:
Other people get ideas and asleep me gets best.
  • If I hug a teddy bear, I will feel better.
I feel basely and I hug a teddy bear and hug-y me feels better.
  • When I go to bed, I am happy.
I rejoice basely and I lie in bed and lie-y me rejoices better.
  • I go to bed when I'm happy.
I go to bed and happy me goes always.
  • I get the ball from the box near a bench in the house.
The bench is in the house and the box base-is near the bench and the ball base-is from the box and I get the ball.
  • I give the ball to her.
I give the ball and I give to her.
  • Every dog is cute.
Cute dogs exist and ugly dogs not exist.
  • My dog licked the happy puppy which napped next to the adorable kitten.
The adorable kitten is next to the puppy and the happy puppy naps and my dog licked the puppy.
  • Every boy admires some teacher.
Every boy admires some teacher.
Note: this is as ambiguous in OPunng as in standard English. The disambiguation can be written in OPunng as the difference between A boy admires some teacher and every boy admires and Some teacher is admired and every boy admires.
  • Fish fish fish fish fish
Fish fish fish and fish-ed fish base-fish.
  • I think that Alice is petting Bob.
Alice may be petting Bob and pet-y Alice is thought by me. or equivalently, Alice may be petting Bob and pet-ed Bob is thought by me.
  • Did Alice pet Bob?
Alice pet Bob?
  • Why did Alice pet Bob?
Alice pet Bob why?
  • What did Alice pet?
What was pet by Alice?

Babel text, King James Version

English OPunng
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. All the earth was of one language and all the earth base-was of one speech.
And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. They journeyed from the east and journeying-y they found a plain and they found in the land and the land was of Shinar. They dwelt there.
And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. They hypothesized a plan. base makes bricks splx-ly and base burns bricks thoroughly and base burns splx-ly and they hypothesized splx. Brick was their stone. Slime was their mortar.
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. base builds a city splx-ly and base builds a tower splx-ly and the tower has a top and the top reaches heaven and they planned splx. They feared their scattering and base scatters across the earth.
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children built. The children built the tower and the Lord saw the tower and the Lord base-saw the city and the Lord came down seeing-ly.
And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. The Lord spoke truth. The people unite splx-ly and the monoglots exist splx-ly and the people build splx-ly and the people conquer splx-ly and the people imagine splx-ly and the Lord condemned splx.
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. The Lord planned descension and the Lord planned confounding of the language and the Lord intended confusion and the confusion was of speech.
So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. The Lord scattered them therefore and the Lord scattered across all the earth. They not build city any more.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. It is called Babel therefore. The Lord confounded the language there and the language was of all earth. The Lord scattered them broadly and the Lord scattered from thence and the Lord scattered upon all the earth.

Lord's Prayer, 1662 Book of Common Prayer

This translation opts to keep the word choice the same wherever reasonably possible.

English OPunng
Our Father, which art in Heaven, Our father art in Heaven.
Hallowed be thy Name. base hallow Father's Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, base do thy will
in earth as it is in Heaven. and base do in earth and base do in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. Our bread is given to us daily and Lord give to us today.
And forgive us our trespasses, Our trespasses the Lord forgives and Lord forgive us.
As we forgive them that trespass against us. They trespass against us and we forgive them.
And lead us not into temptation; Lord lead into temptation and Lord not lead us.
But deliver us from evil. Lord deliver from evil and Lord deliver us.
For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, The kingdom belongs to Thee and the power belongs and the glory belongs
For ever and ever. and belongs-y for ever.
Amen. We say amen.

Design Principles

OPunng is designed to eliminate recursion while being as comprehensible as possible to native English speakers. Therefore, while we've drawn all roots from English, we allow the construction non-English words (such as "pet-ily") in order to keep sentence structures as rigid as possible while simultaneously allowing the user to express anything they would be able to express in English.

Category:Conlangs Category:Engelangs