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How a DMV employee created Ithkuil, a language without ambiguity

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dictionary (UWGB Cofrin Library Flickr)
dictionary (UWGB Cofrin Library Flickr)

While we may not think of it, language is a tool that limits not only how people communicate, but also how they think. Naturally-formed languages are messy, and they've long inspired people to search for the perfect, artificial language. It's a quest that a former California DMV employee John Quijada took up as a hobby for three decades to create what he calls "Ithkuil," which has 22 categories of verbs, 1,800 suffixes, and not a single wasted sound in order to make "you say what you mean and mean what you say." An article from Joshua Foer in this week's New Yorker is well worth a read if that interests you: it takes a fascinating look at the history of such languages, and how Quijada's language fell out of his control and into the hands of the founder of the militant Ukrainian People’s Revolutionary Army.