Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
On the one hand, true. On the other hand, bollocks.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Scissors sizzurs psyzzas

Sizurs sozurs sozurs large make cisirs sizzirz "scissors".
  (+8, -3)
(+8, -3)
  [vote for,

There are over three hundred and twenty ways of spelling the word "scissors". The first two letters can be spelt sc, s, ps, or c, the first vowel i, o (as in women) or y, the ss as ss, s, z or zz, the final syllable minus the s as or, ir, ur, er or a, and the last letter s or z. Basic English only has eight hundred words. There are therefore enough ways of spelling scissors for that single word to form the basis of a written language, thus:

i) Many redundant features should be omitted, so there would be no articles, copula ("be"), gender, declension except for the possessive/genitive -'s or -s', only one preposition, a single demonstrative, no relative conjunction or pronoun and conjunctions can be expressed using the equivalent of NAND with the appropriate string of items or phrases, though there is a word for "no/not/is not". No future tense and "have" expressed using the genitive. Cardinal numerals are binary and expressed using the words for one and zero. The past tense and past participles are the same, expressed by a prefix.

ii) Pronouns are analysed into person and number, but as "I/we" versus all other pronouns, so each pronoun consists of two words. Other words are analysed similarly, so there are words for what, that, some, no, each/every, one, thing, kind, place, way, reason, time and quantity, which when combined are equivalent to words such as "why" (="for what reason"), "somewhere"(="in some place" (note that that "in" is whatever the word for the single preposition is). This is copied from Esperanto.

iii) Again from Esperanto, many other words are built up from morphemes which modify meaning. These include ones carrying the notions "opposite", "separation", "mis-", "repeated or continuous action", "-ness", "substance", "collection", "possibility", "place of", "tendency", "obligation", "single unit of", "offspring", "cause to", "instrument", "worthy of" and "holder".

So far, this makes seventeen words from (iii), sixteen from (ii) and six from (i), using up a total of thirty-nine spellings of the word scissors. The other two hundred-odd spellings of the word are allocated to the next two hundred most frequent words in English which can't be analysed using the morphemes mentioned already.

Here's a brief vocabulary:

Scissors - general preposition.
Cisas - "nand", "is incompatible with", "not both...and".
Cisaz - no, not, is not.
Cisers - zero.
Ciserz - one, including the pronoun.
Cisirs - past tense marker.
Cisirz - plural marker.
Cisors - "I".
Cisorz - you, she, it, he, they, this, that, these, those, thing.
(and so on).

So, if i wanted to express the sentence "my name is nineteenthly", it would come out as something like "Cisors' psyzzaz scissors sozurs cisers cisers cisers sozurs sozurs", which translates literally as "My name along manner one zero zero one one".

Two other things:

a) There is no word for "scissors". Instead the concept of scissors is expressed by a phrase which translates as "two joined handled cutting instruments".

b) None of the words are actually pronounced "scissors", so the word "scissors" is never actually spoken. If the language is spoken, the words act like Chinese characters, so they aren't _said_ as scissors, but in some other way.

Besides all that, the rarer words are the same as in English, provided the notions are simple, so in other words there is no word for "knife", because it would be "cisorz cyssors cuts", i.e. "thing which cuts" or something similar. Nevertheless, the majority of words in a given text would consist of the word "scissors" spelt in a variety of ways.

nineteenthly, Nov 20 2009

A priori philosohical languages http://books.google...=onepage&q=&f=false
from Eco, The Search for the Perfect Language [pocmloc, Nov 20 2009]

Choice of music http://www.youtube....watch?v=Adcj7UwpuTY
[zeno, Nov 21 2009]

Jeeb Ponk Fwee Jeeb-Ponk-Fwee
Fwee ... fwee. [bungston, Nov 30 2009]

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Xizor [jaksplat, Nov 30 2009]

List of names in English with counterintuitive pronunciations http://en.wikipedia...tive_pronunciations
[tatterdemalion, Nov 30 2009]


I really don't have the time right now to do the research I'll need to figure out what the heck you're on about. Maybe this weekend.

       (+) pending of course.   

       I thought that might not make much sense. Sorry.   

       This is what i mean. "Scissors" is one way of spelling scissors. It could also be spelt, for example, "sizzers". There are in fact several hundred ways of spelling that word.   

       Then there are languages which are either naturally simple or have been deliberately designed to be easy to learn. These tend to pare the words down to a minimum and separate ideas within words. So, for instance, "my" could be written "of me" and still make sense.   

       As a result, you could break meanings down into tiny bits and allocate each one of those bits to a word which is written as one of the spellings of "scissors". If you then did that with a few hundred of the most common words, you would end up with a situation where, if a given text was translated into such a language, chances are it would mainly consist of the word "scissors" misspelt in various ways.   

       However, you wouldn't be able to speak such a language. Therefore, it would need to be spoken very differently to how it's written. This already happens to some extent with some languages, for instance Ancient Egyptian, Classical Mayan and the various dialects of Chinese.   

       That's another way of putting it. Does that make more sense or would it make more sense for me just to type "psyzzaz sissurs cyzzaz psossorz psossorz sissurs" or something?
nineteenthly, Nov 20 2009

bdag, Nov 20 2009

       Clearly not.   

       This is hard for me to express. Try this: If you can't read Chinese, it probably looks like a series of very similar characters to you. This would look like the word "scissors" spelt in various ways if you didn't know the language. If you did, you'd be able to read it easily, as each word has a different meaning.
nineteenthly, Nov 20 2009

       just don't run with this one...
po, Nov 20 2009

       okay that sortof explains the "ghetto talk" "fizzle ma shizzle fo nizzle" stuff...
FlyingToaster, Nov 20 2009

       So, applying Occam's scissors here, this is an idea for a language made up of scissors-word variations? I've composed and b-lade several cutting remarks in this space.
normzone, Nov 20 2009

       Advocacy. Ghoti bone.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Nov 20 2009

       Advocacy means rant, doesn't it? I'm not aware that this is a widely discussed issue. The truth is that in the case of ghoti, the rules of English spelling are actually being broken. "Gh" is never pronounced /f/ at the beginning of an English word and "ti" is never pronounced like "sh" at the end of one. All the spellings of scissors would be valid by the rules of English spelling. Had i stuck a silent "p" in the middle of the word, it would have broken the rules.
nineteenthly, Nov 20 2009

       It's a nice fix-up, but not particularly elegant. I prefer to consider the words Cholmondeley and Featherstonehaw. The second one has two overlapping pronunciations, since you can consider the short "a" sound to be "eathersto" and the "sh" to be "stoneh". Leominster and Towcester are others.
nineteenthly, Nov 20 2009

       Nice, but it suffers from a common problem of synthetic languages, of the different words being easily confused. As illustrated in the example
//"Cisors' psyzzaz scissors sozurs cisers cisers cisers sozurs sozurs", which translates literally as "My name along manner one zero zero one one".//
Shouldn't the example read "Cisors' psyzzaz scissors sozurs cisers cisers sozurs sozurs"?
pocmloc, Nov 20 2009

       Ah. Very good. A perfect written language for concepts to transcend cultural boundries.
(+) indeed.

       Nice link [pocmloc]   

       //These tend to pair the words down//   

       sp. "pare"?
pertinax, Nov 21 2009

       [pocmloc's anno]... and THAT is what differs the HB from other sites: Pedantic Absurdity as opposed to Absurd Pedantry.
FlyingToaster, Nov 21 2009

       Ciserz cisas scissors cisorz.
tatterdemalion, Nov 21 2009


       Let us not forget the potential afforded by the psilent "H".
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 21 2009

       WHOOAA, put a spoiler warning on that link there [Ian Tindale].
zeno, Nov 21 2009

       Where would the silent H go? Hscisscors? Scissuhrs?   

       And yes, you're right about the mistake, [pocmloc], thanks for pointing it out. The words can indeed be confused easily, but the same would apply to natural languages, for instance the Russian for "swimming" is similar to "splitting" and almost every word in Mandarin has homophones. Japanese is less seriously afflicted but the problem exists there too. In English we have "air", "set" and "rose", so we're not exactly exempt.
nineteenthly, Nov 21 2009

       Pitch, pitch contour, stress patterns, tonal patterns, etc.. Other of other problems with synthetic language (spoken following written).   

       These aspects, varying widely from language to language, inform the speaker of meaning when negotiating it in writing. Simplest example is Arabic, where vowels are not written. Classical texts, and childrens primers, are written with vowel markings. But in most books and newspapers these vowel markers are simply left out with the assumption that the reader is a native speaker.   

       There are several cases in vietnamese (the only tonal language I'm familiar with) where an entire sentence can be spelled with the same three letter word. Not practical sentences, but more like tongue twisters made to prove a point. It is nonsense to the nonspeaker, but a native speaker, seeing the sentence in context, would readily assign the tone contours and stresses needed to make sense of it.   

       Regarding the above, I wonder, what does become of synthetic construct in the 'hands' of people over time? Does the prescribed grammar stifle the evolution of such tools? Are there any examples out there?   

       Even english depends upon these more than the average speaker considers. English is a fantastically adaptive language. Some have actually argued that synthetic influence on it impedes it's progress. It was developing quite nicely on it's own well before attempts to nail fast its grammar, and meaning. But despite the most ardent grammarian's efforts, we still manage to watch it flower in new ways.
outloud, Nov 21 2009

       English has atonal and tonal pronunciations of the same words. When i mentioned homophones in Mandarin, i meant homophones with the same tones. And yes, that also happens in Thai and Mandarin, a famous example being "Ma ma ma ma ma", whose meaning i forgot long ago.   

       If Esperanto became widely and regularly spoken, phonetic and morphological change would happen, such as with consonant clusters where voiced and unvoiced sounds occur together. I agree that it would change left to itself.
nineteenthly, Nov 21 2009

       With a little irony, a synthetic language would serve best those incapable of speech. Stephen Hawking's speech seems so stilted as much for his incapacity for making use of stress, tone, etc, as for his difficulty with transcription. Without those tools, he has to use precise (to the rest of us, overwrought) grammar for claritiy's sake. An Island of Stephen Hawkings, left to it's own for a couple of decades, would eventually come up with a very different written form of English.   

       Without an opportunity for speech and visual cues (body/facial cues) to complement the written evolution of a language, it would probably develop in the form of a richer written expression. The extraordiary spread of internet communication may already be effecting this.
outloud, Nov 21 2009

       Yes, that sounds convincing. In the case of an island of Stephen Hawkingses, it would be a conlang rather than a natural one because he's that kind of guy.
nineteenthly, Nov 21 2009

       Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo.
tatterdemalion, Nov 21 2009

       [Ian Tindale], Word word word? Word word word word, word roed, word word word Word word words word.
pocmloc, Nov 21 2009

       You beat me to it [Tatters]. And I made a typo!
pocmloc, Nov 21 2009

       Oh God yes! The Buffalo thing! No need to use Chinese when English has an example.
nineteenthly, Nov 21 2009

       How about speech recognition software printing text with variations of font height, boldness, spacing, etc corresponding to the cadence/tone/emphasis of the speaker? I tied searching for that, but found little. I imagine that it wouldn't take long at all for the reader's brain to adapt to this and a book would really come alive. No? Or do you think that it is not possible to improve upon one's imagination while reading?
outloud, Nov 21 2009

       It's done with diacritics in the IPA and the Wade- Giles system of transliterating Mandarin uses superscript numbers by the same purpose. You could also do it with musical notation.
nineteenthly, Nov 22 2009

       I think i get that up to the third word, then i'm lost.   

       The best i seem to be able to manage with my word of choice is: Scissors scissor scissors' scissors.
nineteenthly, Nov 22 2009

       Oh yes. Thanks, that makes equal sense now.
nineteenthly, Nov 22 2009

       There's always the psychiatrist's "Complex complex complex" (psychological condition involving complicated large groups of (usually public) buildings).
neutrinos_shadow, Nov 22 2009

       If you tried to get people to face their phobias about them, you could treat them in a complex complex complex complex, and it would work even better in a complex complex complex complex complex.
nineteenthly, Nov 22 2009

       This idea scares me a little.
bungston, Nov 23 2009

       I thought it meant sissors to cut pizza...
xandram, Nov 23 2009

       "Therefore, it would need to be spoken very differently to how it's written." Like Featherstonehaugh isn't pronounced in British English...as Fanshawe..hmm, maybe one day I'll find a language that is spoken as it is written. It's an idea, but as you pointed out, too many homophones...so written only, unless you want to opt for gesture/speaking to break up the meanings. Actually Japanese does seem to have a few homophone problems like Kannai station in Yokohama, someplace called wakkanai in Ibaraki, and kawaii and kowai. I'm still working on why I can't say "I overstand" in English as in "I don't understand" under has a perfectly good negative opposite - over.   

       By the way, Esperanto didn't work out too well, "estimates that perhaps half of the Esperanto movement died in the Nazi Holocaust and the Soviet terror under Stalin." So, make up a new language at your peril. Go check it if you don't believe me....   

       I am sure that Douglas Adams aluded to this in 'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" re: 'djinn'an'tonniks' or some such.
gnomethang, Nov 30 2009

       "He had had his breakfast" "I do do the Times crossword"...what a language..   

       Negatives, for words that don't exist any longer.."uncouth". what happened to "couth".."impugned" when was the last time you were "pugned"?   

       Or silver, copper and iron. Silvery - ok, coppery - ok ...   

       Tell me when to stop..   

       Surely the opposite to "understand" is "derstand". Also, i do use the word "couth", as in "couth in sondrie londes", and as regards the mass murder of Esperantists, yes, as an exthusiastic Esperantist myself, plus someone who falls into other categories which could make me dead when the shit hits the fan, that did indeed happen, but it didn't happen to Trekkies or John Dee's friend, or that bloke at the School of African and Oriental Studies who made up Formosan, so i think the risk is low.
nineteenthly, Nov 30 2009

       Couthy is alive and well in Scots.   

       I do do-do the Times crossword (actually I don't)
pocmloc, Nov 30 2009

       Fair enough, couth still does exist in usage in Scottish English (I should have known that, I'm half Scottish(don't know which half)), but you find me a case of pugned...   

       "it didn't happen to Trekkies " As much as I appreciate being able to have Google work in Klingon..(Incidentally, does anyone know what the "bork,bork,bork" option is?) Wouldn't Klingons already have their own quantum computers and so not need Google, or perhaps they Bing is just their way of fighting back?   

       According to my sat-nav we may have drifted off topic..   

       The "bork bork bork" option is the Muppet Swedish Chef thing. Incidentally, Opera brought out a version of their browser which rendered Microsoft pages that way.   

       There's a programming language which uses Klingon keywords. I'm not sure they'd use computers. I think they might be more into slave labour. Then again, they do appear to have monitors.   

       Oh yes, and "impugn": the difference is that it doesn't use native English morphemes, so it can't be dismantled in the same way as "uncouth". Then again, there are the words "pugnacious" and "pungent". The "im-" is not a negative, but an elided form of "in", so the opposite would be "expugn", and the word "expunge" _does_ exist.
nineteenthly, Dec 01 2009

       I sit corrected, but I'm still wondering about "native English morphemes"...I'll take your word for it, but being English, I can't help getting the feeling that English is just what you get when you put a few languages in a blender.   

       "Then again, they do appear to have monitors." I can't see the Klingon empire having pencil monitors..only joshing. The monitors might be there to show the output from the slave driven Babbage engines?   

       My final word...and seeing as you did mention programming, I'll use a programming term. "include", the opposite is "exclude", inc=>exc, ok, makes sense? So, what's the opposite of "increment"   

       I do know the answer...or does that explain a lot of software made by a certain company? No names! I can feel that red lasersight dot travelling towards my head as we speak...   

       The monitors are in fact a CCTV image of a crowd of thousands of enslaved victims with different coloured blood being flayed by other slaves.   

       The opposite of increment is of course decrement rather than excrement. Presumably that makes an increment either a butt plug or a suppository.   

       I think of English as a cross between Nordic and West Germanic which has been besmirched by French and other tongues.   

       By the way, i've decided to bake this idea because i can think of a really good application for it.
nineteenthly, Dec 01 2009

       //i've decided to bake this idea// Sounds like a job for the piston oven!
pocmloc, Dec 01 2009

       In that case it'd be a small wafer with "scissorsizzapsyzurz..." all smushed together.
nineteenthly, Dec 01 2009

       "i can think of a really good application for it."   

       You shouldn't let that stand in your way, it never seems to stop anyone else here :)   

       It seems a lot more practical than anything I've ever seen on the home shopping channel and they do (presumably ) sell some of that.   

       " The monitors are in fact a CCTV image of a crowd of thousands of enslaved victims with different coloured blood being flayed by other slaves." Bet you the out-takes would fetch a fortune...   

       I know. I'm always disappointed when something i thought was interesting turns out to be merely useful instead.
nineteenthly, Dec 01 2009

       I'm amazed if something I do turns interesting/useful. We won't even talk about the sticky tape x-ray laser weapon...   

       No need to design a new language, if you don't want to: you could map all of the words of Toki Pona to spellings of scissors and have over 200 spellings left over.
notexactly, Jan 27 2017

       Thanks. Sounds like a challenge! I'm thinking, for example, that different words for special sense organs and fore- and hind-legs are superfluous.
nineteenthly, Jan 28 2017

       So this is great, we can now specify directly what kind of "scissors" are needed. Hand me the psyzzas (they ,of course, would be the pizza scissors) rather than the cisirs ( the Caesarean scissors)
wjt, Jan 28 2017

       Ah no, because it has no word for "scissors" I'm afraid.
nineteenthly, Jan 30 2017

       This is somewhat reminiscent of Somerset Rhyming Slang:   

       "Fisherman's" = rainy (fishermans's net: wet)
"Fisherman's" = mouse (fisherman's house: mouse)
"Fisherman's" = suit (fisherman's boot: suit)
"Fisherman's" = coat (fisherman's boat: coat)
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 30 2017

       Fishermen's fishermen's fishermen's then. Buffalo?
nineteenthly, Jan 31 2017

       [-] Sorry, Ciserz Ciserz cleaver.
wjt, Jan 31 2017

       Of course, once you have switched over to this new lexicon, many letters in the English alphabet will be freed up (M, for example, or the ever-popular J). These letters could then be re-purposed to provide yet more spellings that were phonetically equivalent to "scissors", such as "mujums" or "krunkers". Or, indeed, "horses" or "octopi".
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 07 2017

       Argh [MB], thou trigger'st me with thine eschewment of "octopodes"!
nineteenthly, Feb 07 2017

       //Octopodes// Yes, but there's no such thing as scissodes, is there?   

       Anyway, the octopodes are the eight equidistant points (and half-points) around the equator, mid way between the antipodes and the podes.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 07 2017

       Representing the giant God Octopus who's got the whole world in its tentacles, as the song goes?
nineteenthly, Feb 08 2017


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle