Friday, May 17, 2013

Alien Pluralities

I remember reading a book as a pre-teen, sometime in the late-70s I guess, and being fascinated with the way the alien race referred to a plurality of things. (For the record, I think the book was one of the Edgar Rice Burrough’s Venus novels, though I can’t remember anything specific.) For instance, a flying pterodactyl thingie was called, let’s say, an anaga. Two or more of them, a flock of flying pterodactyl thingies, would be called, to the aliens, kanaga. Simply put a “k” in front of the noun (or a “ka” if the noun began with a consonant) and you had a plurality of them.

Strangely, this observation often pops into my head. Once a month, I’d guess. (I really need to find out if it was a Burrough’s book.)

Yesterday, at lunch, I was browsing some article on ancient civilizations, and came across a list of words. Many, though not all of them, had that tilde in them. You know, that sideways squiggle that, in Spanish, makes the “ny” sound you hear in “canyon.” The list was something like this –





First thought in my head: why not make this tilde symbol stand for some alien sound and have it turn an alien word plural? Where would you put it in the word? At the beginning? End? After the first syllable? Let’s see using that word anaga again –





Hmmm. Not sure, but I think I’m digging option #3 best, with #4 a close second.

Somewhere inside me a science fiction writer its struggling to break free.

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