Assorted notes on the English language.

Oulipo Social

Oulipo social is a fedi instance where the letter is not allowed. Try to stop looking for synonyms; if you try to swap out individual words, you'll find it tough going. Pull back and think abstractly about what you want to say and find words for that.


Thorn or þorn (Þ, þ) is a letter in the Old English, Gothic, Old Norse, Old Swedish, and modern Icelandic alphabets, as well as some dialects of Middle English.

Thorn in the form of a "Y" survives in pseudo-archaic uses, particularly the stock prefix "Ye olde". The definite article spelt with "Y" for thorn is often jocularly or mistakenly pronounced /jiː/ ("yee") or mistaken for the archaic nominative case of the second person plural pronoun, "ye", as in "hear ye!". In fact, the y in the pronoun would have been spelled with a yogh, ȝe, rather than a y.

English Prime is a version of the English language that excludes all forms of the verb "to be", including all conjugations, contractions and archaic forms. Its goal is to leads to a less dogmatic style of language that reduces the possibility of misunderstanding or conflict.

Bourland sees specifically the "identity" and "predication" functions as pernicious, but advocates eliminating all forms for the sake of simplicity. In the case of the "existence" form (and less idiomatically, the "location" form), one might (for example) simply substitute the verb "exists". Other copula-substitutes in English include taste, feel, smell, sound, grow, remain, stay, and turn, among others a user of E-prime might use instead of "to be".

Identity The cat is my only pet
Class membershipGarfield is a cat
Class inclusion A cat is an animal
Predication The cat is furry
Auxiliary The cat is sleeping
Existence There is a cat
Location The cat is on the mat

For example, instead of saying, "I am depressed," a student was asked to eliminate that emotionally primed verb and to say something else, such as, "I feel depressed when ..." or "I tend to make myself depressed about ..."

Spivak Pronoun

The Spivak pronouns are a set of gender-neutral pronouns in English.

Masculine he laughs I hugged him his heart warmed that is his
Feminine she laughsI hugged her her heart warmed that is hers
They(s.) they laughI hugged themtheir heart warmedthat is theirs
Spivak e laughs I hugged em eir heart warmed that is eirs

The American Sign Language has a set of 26 signs which can be used to spell out words.

Morse code is a telecommunication method encoding text characters as sequences of two different signal durations.

Braille is a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired.

Assorted notes on various nautical language systems.

celestial navigation