a silly wish

I don’t want to travel to the future to see the flying cars, self-replicating pizza, or sex robots…no, I want to go to see the society that has forgotten tribalism, ancient fairy tales, and the entire notion of “us vs them”.

David Jablow


Mister Jablow’s art is the best type of provocative. It forces one to reconsider preconceived notions, mostly about morality and cultural norms.

My favorite example of his work is:

Innocuous enough, until he takes it in a wondrously detailed direction:

Whether his work is a commentary on society, or simply a jab at things commonly thought of as banal, it serves the viewer a helping of introspection, and in doing so pointedly wets one’s appetite for more.


veni a nosa casa
tua carga es pesosa

el ia dise no
ma nos dise tota no

come con nos
e iniora la ante cuandos

La popla de la mundo debe junta per combate la odia de persones con mentes pico. Ama es plu potiosa ce odia. Vade abrasa lo!


The five traditional senses in Kala:

sato – sense; perceive; be aware of; detect

anya – sight; vision
anu – hearing; audition
suha – taste; gustation
ampu – smell; olfaction
mato – touch; somatosensation

A few others:

uetsa – Balance, equilibrioception, or vestibular sense
etsasato – Thermoception [sense of heat and the absence of heat (cold)]
tsuesato – Proprioception, the kinesthetic sense
umua – Nociception (physiological pain)

“Arrival” (spoilers)

Various coffee stain rings that the audience is meant to accept as actually imparting meaning and nuance.

Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that “Arrival” is about linguistics. Not at all…other than a few mentions of pseudo-linguistic perspectives about how language (and time for that matter) works. I watched with what is commonly referred to as an “open-mind” in the hopes that I would appreciate the lengths the filmmakers went to incorporating linguistics into the story line. I was disappointed. While there is mention of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and some weird attempt at explaining “nonlinear orthography” (not really a thing, by the way), as well as a few examples of Dr. Banks speaking Chinese and understanding Russian, that’s all there is.

Much of the rest of the story is sadly an emotionally driven plot about her deciding to give birth to a daughter that she knows – by way of being able to perceive time like the aliens, in a “nonlinear” way (eye roll) – will eventually die of an incurable form of cancer.

This is silly. And, yes, I mean that in a completely dismissive way. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is debated as much as any other contentious theory and has been studied at length without much evidence to suggest its validity. But, again, this movie only uses linguistic theory as a plot device, relying on it in very much a Sci-Fi trope-ish way, including a healthy dose of “if you could time travel and change stuff, would you?”

Lastly, as someone that has studied virtually every writing system known to have existed, I just want to point out that partial circles that closely resemble coffee stains do not a written language make. If you’re looking for an entertaining movie that has a healthy helping of linguistics, this movie isn’t for you. If, however, you want to have your heart tugged at with the backdrop of science fiction, then, by all means go get some popcorn and enjoy.

Sounds by frequency

I’ve done a cursory analysis of my lexicon and determined the frequency that each Romanized sound occurs. This is just a fun fact to know. Obviously, /k/ and /a/ are very common throughout human languages, making it reasonable that they be very common in Kala as many of its lemma are derived from natural languages.

This isn’t Colorado.

I pretty sure my evening was just interrupted by a fire alarm in my hotel (in northern Virginia) because of some knuckleheads smoking pot in their room with a towel at the foot of the door. I do not have an issue with that particular activity…but when you mess-up my relaxing evening doing dumb shit, I can no longer find you faultless.

Given that multiple states have legalized medicinal marijuana, and a few have made recreational use of the drug legal, it makes sense that some might mistakenly believe that they can smoke in places that haven’t yet taken the steps to fully decriminalize its use. However, the use of a smoke-able substance in a hotel (where all smoking is verboten) is just not smart…most especially when one places a towel at the base of the door, thereby reducing the free flow of air. Of course, this was done in order to keep people from discovering what was happening, but the irony is that by doing this the culprits almost guaranteed the smoke detectors and fire alarms would be deployed and cause en mass discovery.

Do what you want, but plan accordingly and never jeopardize the safety or security of others without their express consent. And just for informational purposes, the individuals were asked to leave the hotel after the fire department confirmed that they were smoking marijuana.