The world's smallest language has only 100 words -- and you can say almost anything

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Sigurjón Kristjánsson
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:45
English to Icelandic
+ ...
ERRATA Jul 27, 2015

ÁTTAVITI, does NOT translate as DIRECTION SHOWER, BUT DIRECTION(AL) BEACON/LIGHTHOUSE.

Another made up language, that can fit on a card, is ESPERANTO,


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Natalie Soper  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:45
French to English
+ ...
ALMOST anything... Jul 28, 2015

Numbers are also minimal. Lang initially only had words for one (wan), two (tu), and several (mute). Many Toki Pona speakers have expanded the word luka (hand or arm) to mean five, and mute to mean 10. The terms are repeated additively until the desired number is reached.

“There are some mathematician-like people who insist that they want to be able to say 7,422.7,” Lang laughed. “I say, ‘That’s not exactly the point.'”


It sounds like the language is evolving already. Surely it won't stay at 123 words for long!


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 04:46
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Get with the program Jul 28, 2015


“There are some mathematician-like people who insist that they want to be able to say 7,422.7,” Lang laughed. “I say, ‘That’s not exactly the point.'”

That is very much the point. One of the main reasons why people want to communicate with other people is so they can sell them stuff. "Many, many dollars" won't cut it when you're trying to hock your new iPaws.


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meirs  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:46
Member (2014)
Romanian to English
+ ...
Old Hebrew numbersl/numbers as Gematria Jul 31, 2015

Still in current use nowadays, the Gematria Hebrew number notation system doesn't even need names for numbers/numerals - 27 glyphs of the alphabet are used as "numerals" for 1-9, 10-90 and 100-900 (and once again for thousands of) in the order of the alphabet to express any positive integer. In speech, one just utters the names of the respective letters/glyphs in a top-down manner. the numeral for zero is not needed in this system.

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The world's smallest language has only 100 words -- and you can say almost anything

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