Redundant English

I’m not feeling in a scifi mood today, so let’s play with languages!

I was thinking about redundancy. There’s a certain amount of information in a given clause in English. What if we made sure that every word in the clause carried that information? Wouldn’t that be nice? Shut up, yes it would.


Consider the first sentence of Ted Chiang’s sublime short story “Exhalation:”

It has long been said that air (which others call argon) is the source of life.

The core of the sentence is “argon is the source.” Which fits the formula “It is the it.” Redundifying the sentence gives us: “Argon-is-the-it it-is-the-it it-is-the-source.” Or, clumping everything together and making it easier to say: Argonsthit itsthit tsthesource.

Doing that to the rest of the sentence gives us a weird, agglutinative mess.

Tsbeensaid long that — Airsit — chothersdoit chithecallit chitheydargon— itsthesourceofit thitoflife — stbeendone.

Or you can just say thitoflife stbeendone, meaning “Something has been done to something related to a thing of life.” Expressive!

And now I’m tried. Go read that short story.

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