On the Correct Usage of the Ellipsis—Darius D. Dolesworthy, Otis Oswald Ott, and T. Thadeus Theotokopoulis SpecGram Vol CLX, No 2 Contents Out-of-this-World Fieldwork Puzzle #2—Pecha Kucha

The First Report and Overview of the New Pan-global International Council for Marginalising Language (NPICML) on the execution and exclusion of all unnecessary vocabulary in the English Language

Being the first study of the use of only one global lingua franca and two basic descriptive words, including one from the exotic country of South Africa in a bid to further global diplomatic relations while annihilating almost 6 000 languages.

By the Dishonourable Sir CJ Cockspur, Head of the International Marginalising Institute’s Southern African and South African office in Johannesburg

Esteemed colleagues, it has come to the NPICML’s attention that, since the human race has fallen out of the trees and started talking, there has been no end in concocting new words that are used to befuddle, baffle, flummox, mystify and stupefy people of lesser vocabularies. It is our great honour as the New Pan-global International Council for Marginalising Language to not only expurgate the world of unneeded and irrelevant languages,* but also to purge said Chosen Language of any unnecessary vocabulary, leaving the world a happier and easier place to converse in.

Going Green with SSE

We hereby call on all persons of all walks of life to only speak Standard Simplified English (SSE), and if they don’t yet know it, to learn it as quickly as possible to unite the whole of the human race!** Why have different ways to greet each other? Would it not be easier to only say “Hello” to your fellow humans? Or, better yet, one can simply use “Hi”, thereby saving extra-syllabulary-energy and further reducing your own carbon footprint!*** An even better way of greeting each other would be to use the South African slang word “Howsit?” (how-zit) as greeting that encompass the whole greeting: “Hello, how are you?” into one simple word. “Ok” would also suffice as answer to this question in any and all circumstances, thereby ridding the world of any negative energy and thereby further reducing carbon footprints.

The Scourge of Vocabulary

The biggest scourge to the simplified vocabulary is the number of adjectives and adverbs that abound in the dense jungle of matted roots and vegetation that is the English tongue. We therefore have decided that only two such words need to be usedand that those words may be used under any circumstance. The two words are lekker and nice.

Lekker, a word used very often in all South African languages, is pronounced as “le-” (as in lexicology) and “ker-” (as in “cur”) which may be applied to an experience, food that has just been eaten, the smell of food or as a description of basically anything that is good, or anything that may, potentially, or in fact, be bad. Nice may be used in most, but not all, of the instances in which lekker is used.

Let us look at the following examples: (The first sentence is given in the new Standard Simplified English, the latter in the clumsy, “traditional” English most people insist on using.

1: That bungee jump was lekker. (I enjoyed that bungee jump immensely.)
1b: That bungee jump was nice. (I enjoyed that bungee jump immensely.)
2: Thanks, the food was lekker. (Thank you, the food was very tasty.)
2b: Thanks, the food was nice. (Thank you, the food was very tasty.)
3: Wow, that food smells lekker. (I say, the food really smells delicious.)
3b: Wow, that food smells nice. (I say, the food really smells delicious.)
4: That’s a lekker shirt you’ve got on there. (I say, that is a handsome shirt that you are wearing.)
4b: That’s a nice shirt you’ve got on there. (I say, that is a handsome shirt that you are wearing.)

In some instances lekker may also be used in regards to something that you have done well, whether it is positive or not:

5: I had a lekker fall there. (I really had a good fall a moment ago. {Ergo I fell a moment ago during which I hit the ground extremely hard, incurring some kind of wound which I will not feel for the next few seconds while adrenaline is still pumping through my veins, but people may have seen me fall and are laughing about it, therefore I will smile and make light of the blood coursing from a gash on my brow.})

The Practical Applications

The following abstract was taken from a travel journal written by Sir D.K.L.F.A.B.C. Spiehlermacher during his five-year trek through the indigenous rain forests of the Southern African Highveld in 1712-1717 in search of the lost city of Southern Africa. In the first instance it is given in NSE (Non-Simplified English), the second is translated into SSE.

On our fifth day in the humid jungle air, we had left most of our luggage behind us, and carried only a change of clothes befitting our excursion, our new rifles and cartridges and a pack or two of dynamite to use when the path deeper into the forest became too difficult to follow and some extra help was needed to clear trees. Our exemplary guides foisted on themselves the very dangerous and difficult job of clearing a path for us with their razor sharp pangas. The other ancient man that came with us was known as a wise man in his village, knowing everything there is to know about the plants and animals that thrive on this otherwise bare plateau. The rain came every afternoon at four o’clock, washing away our deep footprints in a heavy torrent of water that never seemed to reach the land outside the enormous old forest.

We found proof of the lost civilization of Watmákekhié when we found the edge of what appeared to be an ancient temple of some sort, shaped intriguingly like the famed stone pyramids of Egypt and South America and containing rare carvings that seem to symbolize a strange mythology that I have yet to decipher. Walter insists the markings are made by the erosion of the stones by rainwater, but I am sure this is the first example of abstract modern art. It moved me to tears and I had to drink some of the brandy we kept in the first aid kit for my poor nerves. It was after partaking in the glorious amber fluid that I slipped on one of the mossy temple stones and plummeted three feet to the soggy ground, spraining my right ankle in the process. The kind wise man bandaged the wound for me while I took some more brandy for the pain....

Now the same piece is given in the new, Standard Simplified English:

On the fifth day in the jungle we took clothes, guns and dynamite. The guides cut open a nice path for us. The other nice man that came with us was known as a nice man and knew a lot. It rained lekker every afternoon.

We found a nice civilization and a lekker temple with nice carvings. Walter said it’s not nice carvings. It is lekker art. I cried. I drank brandy. I had a lekker fall. I drank brandy...

There, now, isn’t that much better? The NPICML will continue their rigorous research into the creation of a new, simple language. The current research includes the use of the phrase “No worries” and should be finished by the end of 2010.

* The only relevant language of course being our own tongueEnglish.

** The new NPICML Learn to Speak Simplified English Starter Pack is now available for only $29,95 (or the equivalent in local currency, livestock or pilfered aid money).

*** Inconclusive studies have shown that the amount of energy saved around the world by 6 billion people greeting each other in this way would light one energy-saving light bulb for two minutes!

That is to say the official languages. The CML has not bothered to study whether this is, in fact, true or not. But for the sake of making English a “Global Language” we have decided to make room for one or two exotic words.1 This will also show our goodwill to all language groups.3

1 As long as they are short and easy to pronounce.2

2 And have at least four different meanings.

3 Even though we may disregard the existence of their languages absolutely.

On the Correct Usage of the EllipsisDarius D. Dolesworthy, Otis Oswald Ott, and T. Thadeus Theotokopoulis
Out-of-this-World Fieldwork Puzzle #2Pecha Kucha
SpecGram Vol CLX, No 2 Contents