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  • This video was made possible by CuriosityStream.

  • Get the CuriosityStream/Nebula bundle for only $14.79 a year at curiositystream.com/HAI.

  • Oh hey there.

  • How's it going?

  • Did you have a good week?

  • Yeah I bet you did, because I bet you weren't stupid enough to try to write a video explaining

  • the most complicated language in the world.

  • It's called Ithkuil, and it's a conlang—a non-natural, engineered languagedeveloped

  • by genius-slash-madman-who-stole-a-week-of-my-life John Quijada, and if you want to learn it

  • and have your mind collapse into itself like mine, you can read this comically long online

  • guide.

  • How long is it?

  • Well, I don't know.

  • I tried to find out by pasting it into a word document, but that crashed my computer.

  • Anyways, ironically, Ithkuil is intended to be maximally precise, while using the fewest

  • letters possible.

  • And, to be fair, it succeedsfor example, these two Ithkuil words translate toOn

  • the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some

  • point.”

  • Ithkuil makes few word do trick by making each word extraordinarily information-dense.

  • Think of Ithkuil not as having a bunch of words to choose from, but instead as a sort

  • of Chipotle burrito line where, when you need a word, you go to a bunch of stations and

  • slowly add soundscalled phonemesthat each have specific meanings, to build a word

  • that means exactly what you need it to.

  • By the way, Ithkuil includes weird phonemes like xh and q, which I definitely just said

  • wrong.

  • This chart is the key to understanding Ithkuilit lays out the fifteen stations you stop at

  • to add phonemes and build your word, although we're only going to focus on the six that

  • are required.

  • You start with the root, which gives your word's base meaning.

  • There are about 3600 roots, which group together related words.

  • For example, all words that describe any type of wantdesire, crave, needcome from

  • the root b.

  • For explaining purposes, let's say we want a word that will describe how I felt writing

  • this video: we'd start with KŠ, meaning fool or clownthe S-with-a-hat isn't actually

  • pronounced that way, but the guide says it's, “a voiceless non-labialized lamino-postalveolar

  • dorso-palatal grooved sibilant fricative,” which doesn't really help me a whole lot.

  • Now, each root has 18 stems that are more nuanced versions of the word, split into formal

  • and informal, then three patterns, with three meanings each.

  • So for fool/clown, let's look at our options, and hmm, let's go with nerd/dweeb, and why

  • not put it in the context of pathetic.

  • That's informal, and the third meaning of the third pattern, but then we also have to

  • add one of four functions.

  • All Ithkuil nouns are stative, but just if you're curious, if it were a verb, function

  • would help us understand the relationship the verb has to its noun participants, which

  • is best understood through these examples that we don't have time to explain.

  • So, third pattern, third stem, stative, okay, that means we need o- before it.

  • So far, our word is OKŠ.

  • Now we move to case: the part the noun is playing in our sentence.

  • English has three cases: subjective, possessive, objective.

  • Ithkuil has, you guessed it, 96, which serve to add nuance.

  • Let's say that our intended sentence isthe dweeb got a headache from trying to

  • figure out all this nonsense.”

  • In that case, I would use the inducive case, which can indicate not only that the dweeb

  • is the subject, but also that the dweeb is both the agent causing the action, and the

  • patient being impacted.

  • Inducive is marked by -u-, so now our word is OKŠU.

  • Now we get to probably the most complicated part: one single phenome will describe five

  • different things: essence, extension, configuration, affiliation, and perspectivethe last three

  • of which have no equivalent in any other language.

  • Let's start with configuration: there are nine options, which express how many things

  • our word describes.

  • Now, I've been talking about one dweeb, which would be the uniplex, but actually this

  • video was made by a whole team of dweebsso let's actually use the aggregative configuration,

  • which describes an associated group or set of non-identical entities.

  • Next, affiliation: what's the relationship of us dweebs?

  • There are four options, but let's go with the coalescent: that means we're associated

  • with each other, but all have different roles, but towards a common goal.

  • Now let's talk perspective: basically, it's like numberplural or singularplus tense,

  • except obnoxious.

  • There are four options, but we're going with the mondaic, which means that it can

  • be understood as existing as an accessible bounded entityunlike, say, the abstract,

  • which would be like the idea of dweebs, generally.

  • Then, there are two options for essence: is it an actual thing, or a hypothetical representation

  • of a thing?

  • In this case, us dweebs are real.

  • And finally, there are six extensions.

  • Extension requires these fully insane drawings to fully explain, but basically it tells you

  • what part of the thing we're talking about: the beginning, a section, the whole, so on.

  • We're taking about the whole group of dweebs, so that's thedelimitate.”

  • And now, we use this inhumanly long set of charts to figure out what letter to add.

  • Essence: Normal.

  • Extension: Delimitate.

  • Perspective: Mondaic.

  • Affiliation: Coalescent.

  • Configuration: Aggregative.

  • That means we add rn.

  • Which means our word is OKŠURN!

  • Now we just gotta figure out two more details.

  • First, tone.

  • There are seven different tones, which for verbs lets us know version: if an action is

  • goal or result-oriented, and whether it was successfulfor example, a successful attempt

  • would go rising-falling, unsuccessful would go low tone.

  • But our word is a noun, which defaults to a falling tone.

  • Finally, which syllable should be stressed?

  • That will indicate whether that earlier sound, the o that said third stem, third patternpathetic

  • dweeb, not laughingstockwas operating in the formal or informal side of the chart.

  • This will also indicate if an event is being used to frame another eventlike, in the

  • sentence “I wrote the video while everyone else had fun,” the clauseeveryone else

  • having funwould be framing my writing.

  • But we aren't doing that, so it's unframed and informal, which means I must stress the

  • final syllable.

  • And now, we can finally say our word: OKŠURN, “the entirety of a non-hypothetical, physically

  • accessible group of various pathetic dweebs working towards some common goal, who cause

  • themselves to experience something.”

  • You know what else is group of various dweebs working towards a common goal: me and my friends

  • who started Nebula, the streaming site with content from your favorite educational-ish

  • creators, including a bunch of stuff that the Wendover OKŠURN made: the HAI bricks

  • special, a three-part trivia show, three Wendover Original documentaries, my podcast Showmakers

  • with Brian from Real Engineering, and ad-free and often extended versions of all my regular

  • YouTube videos.

  • Plus, with the bundle, you'll also get access to CuriosityStream's thousands of top-quality

  • documentaries, including a bunch of great ones on linguistics, like The Grammar of Happiness.

  • You can get access to both for the rather insane sale price of just over a dollar a

  • month by going to curiositystream.com/HAIand when you do, you'll be helping support independent

  • creators like us.

This video was made possible by CuriosityStream.

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B1 US configuration informal affiliation pathetic essence noun

How the World's Most Complicated Language Works

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    joey joey posted on 2021/06/10
Video vocabulary