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Ithkuil (Iţkuîl) is an extremely complicated constructed human language created by American linguist John Quijada between 1978 and 2004.

In the author's description of Ithkuil: "A Philosophical Design for a Hypothetical Language", it appears as a cross between an a priori philosophical language and a logical language. The creator attempts to show how human languages could or may function. Ithkuil is designed to convey large amounts of linguistic information using fewer and shorter words than naturally-evolved languages; most sentences in other languages will be shorter when translated into Ithkuil.

Language description

  • Lexicon: The lexicon potentially consists of about 3,600 word roots (of which only about a thousand are implemented so far), each consisting of 2 or 3 consonants; any root may be changed by extremely complex rules of grammar that make it possible to create a large number of derivatives.
  • Phonology: Ithkuil uses a complicated phonological system (65 consonants and 17 vowels) based on sounds from a variety of languages such as Chechen or Abkhaz. It may be very difficult for a speaker of a typical western Indo-European language to pronounce some of the sounds.
  • Morphophonology: Ithkuil is primarily synthetic and secondarily agglutinative. Ithkuil morphophonology utilizes both consonantal and vocalic mutation, shifts in syllabic stress and tone, and many different kinds of affixes, including prefixes, suffixes, infixes and interfixes.

Possible advantages

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states that the language that a person speaks may affect his way of thinking. Stanislav Kozlovsky speculates[1] that a fluent speaker of Ithkuil, accordingly, would think up to five times faster than a speaker of a typical natural language. One may also argue that, Ithkuil being an extremely precise, synthetic language, its speaker would also have a clearer and deeper understanding of the world.

There exists no human who can speak Ithkuil, including its creator: “I don't speak Ithkuil, never have, never will, never claimed to.” — said John Quijada [2].

After the publication of an article about Ithkuil in the Russian magazine Computerra[3], several Russian-speakers contacted Quijada and expressed interest in learning the language. Quijada recently stated [4] that he has "worked out a complete revision of the language's morpho-phonology to reduce the number of phonemes from 82 to 62 in order to make the language easier to pronounce (as requested by several people who claim they want to learn it)", but will not have time to revise the reference grammar website for some time to come.


External link