Over the semester, I opened my eyes and carefully scanned everything around me for signs of multilingualism, broken languages, mistranslations, and humorous code-switching. I put everything I found in this tumblr. It has 26 posts in total. I will be showcasing in this blog entry a few of them.
This one is my favourite of the bunch. Although it’s not really an example of multilingualism, it shows us how English is a complicated language and can be broken into multiple languages by itself. Which brings us to this lovely article our local Raseef22 wrote about English words that are borrowed from Arabic. Unfortunately, some words foreigners were not able to borrow from us like this one that doesn’t have a direct translation in English or any other language I’m aware of. It could be because Arabs, Lebanese people mostly, are used to burying and getting buried by their loved ones? Finally, I really like this one (and I still can’t stop laughing!) mainly because I really love how exotic the word “zoulohfa” sounds even if it’s in my mother tongue. I really wonder how my future daughter would feel about me calling her that.
Multiligualism is everywhere around us that before taking this class I would often not notice that more than one language is used in a sentence. It is also the Lebanese people’s pride and joy as they leave their kids from early ages in front of educational cartoons hoping to nourish their foreign languages, stick them in international schools as soon as they reach the required age and purposely opt to speak to them in multiple languages. Who of us has not ever stumbled upon a mother speaking Libano-French to her kids at the supermarket? The funny thing about Lebanese people is even though they can speak multiple languages, they make mistakes in all of the languages they speak. But hey, at least we know more than just plain old Arabic, right?
Right after graduation from school, I was very confused and lost as to what I wanted to do in college. My parents, like many other Arab parents were against me majoring in English Literature seeing as it doesn’t bring in much profit and has very little job opportunities. I ended up taking a gap year until I made up my mind on my major and successfully convinced them.
Over the last two years of my life, I found myself with a lot of free time while sitting at home which gave me the opportunity to nourish my knowledge in films, series, books. My preferred genre is sci-fi; it’s the universe that’s the furthest away from ours and therefore it makes escaping a little easier. This is what led me to picking “Fictional Languages in Sci-Fi” as my Zotero topic.
My favourite fictional language is Gallifreyan and it originated from my favourite show, Doctor Who. It’s one of the many languages on the show and it was used by timelords who came from the planet Gallifrey. Feel free to check out the tutorials on this website to learn how to write in Circular Gallifrey. I’ve managed to write my name and my best friend’s name once.
My second favourite fictional language comes from a series of books that were later on turned into films: you’ve guessed right- It’s The Lord of the Rings! This universe too has numerous fictional languages but the most poignant one is Elvish. Check out this article on how to write your name in Elvish in no more than 10 minutes! Amazing, right? Unlike Gallifreyan, Elvish is a language and not just an alphabet. However, this tutorial only uses the alphabet.
One of my favourite websites, Listverse.com (I’m a huge fan of listing things!), has a list on the 10 most fascinating fictional languages. You can check it out here. Some of the languages listed on it are Parseltongue, a language used to communicate with snakes in Harry Potter, Newspeak, a language used in George Orwell’s 1984, and Simlish, the languages spoken by the characters in the video game Sims.
Britannica.com also has a list of fictional languages that you can learn over here.