On the Scourge of Anti-Passive Stylistic Advice—Hidden Agents for Passives SpecGram Vol CXCI, No 2 Contents Linguimericks—Book ८८

University News

Explosion in Interest in Id-Idos

by Ruthlessly Roving Reporter Miss Deakina Andrea Kirkhamia

After a relatively quiet 20th century, the constructed language Ido is back on the conlang linguistic scene. The Institute for Conlangs (Auxiliary and Neo-Auxiliary) in Texas (ICANT) is set to publish a series of neo-reforms to the Ido language, itself a reform of Zamenhof’s own 1894 reforms of Esperanto.1 I caught up with Professor of Metathesis, Mythical Beasts and Conlanging, Karken von Unicron de la Dargon at ICANT to ask about Ido.

‘Well,’ began the Prof, having dashed in from a local bakery with a nicely presented tray of ham sandwiches and nibbles, ‘the whole thing with Ido is that it was a perfect reform of Esperanto. Or at least so we thought. When we began trying to say things with lots of different past or future tenses, we ran into a ton of problems. Ido only has one inflected tense for the past and the future, so if you want to utter an everyday sentencelette like, “Just a moment after you completed the first draft of your conlang, I was already thinking about being about to have finished the second draft of mine, but my business partner who had left earlier and who has been living next door since March, was not yet home,” you have to draw on time phrases and suchlike which is inefficient and complex. It seemed clear to us that a further reform of Ido is much needed, so that’s what we did. And being all about past tense we named it Idid. Of course the same principle applies to the future tenses and I’mworking on Iwill as Ispeak.’

Professor Whatever-his-name-was (it’s in the first paragraph somewhere) warbled on as the late autumn sun arced its gentle way across the strangely barred2 windows of his office and I ruminated on what could have been if only I’d done my thesis in non-concatenative phonology, not moraic theory. After what seemed like 17 minutes, during which I managed to snaffle a couple of squares of ham sandwich and a handful of nibbles from the learned bore’s box, he turned his attention to yet another problem of Ido. However, Idecided that it was time Ileft so Idid.

Outside in the corridor, I was stopped first by the police for stealing ham sandwiches and nibbles (court appearance pending) and then by Dr Bernadetta Chairs-and-Table McForks-and-Knives, lecturer in the Sociolinguistics of Reversed Binomials and Anti-Reformation Within Constructed Languages. She spoke in a simple and honest plainchant, with the graceful je ne sais quoi of the experienced and thoughtful intellectual combattant, on her concerns regarding the proposed reforms to Ido, saying: ‘Ido is on the cusp of total world domination. Our models show that, if left alone, interest in the language could double or even treble over the next 5 years or so. The resultant double-figure number of users should be enough for major nation states to consider using Ido to formulate economic policy, for example. However, this is only if we stop messing with it. Hence, I’mleading the Idon’tagree campaign to keep Ido exactly the way it was after it was finally reformed.’

As Iwasleaving, Ibumped into Otto Jespersen idly enjoying a Danish pastry next to ICANT’s campus lake, along with his idol, Rasmus Kristian Rask. I asked them in Ido about the significance of having either a palindromic first name or set of initials, but they replied respectively in Novial and Old Icelandic and Iwas none the wiser. Igot the last bus home.

1 Which existed in forms prior to the 1997 published form. Please fill out the reformed form available at reformed_form.frm for more formal information, sent to you in a form of your choice.

2 By which I mean not that it was strange that they were barred but the bars themselves, being pink with punting hanging off at irregular intervals, were strange.

On the Scourge of Anti-Passive Stylistic AdviceHidden Agents for Passives
LinguimericksBook ८८
SpecGram Vol CXCI, No 2 Contents