Barsoomian- Will it be a simple conlang?

The first clues about Paul Frommer’s Baroomian are out. He mentioned that the language was going to be simple so that a hypothetical American on Mars could learn it as fast as the novel implies he could learn it. Easy normally means, “similar to one’s mother tongue”. That isn’t possible. So did Frommer create a simple conlang?

By simple I mean, simple the way toki pona is. I doubt it, but who knows? Toki pona is simple because it is grammatically and lexically closed. Real life simple languages, like creoles are simple, but they aren’t closed. They are in the process of accumulating the tons of tiny details and complications of long lived languages. Pidgins, depending on your definition aren’t even languages, since pidgin speakers will give up grammar rules if they think it will help them communicated (i.e. a creole will have a consistent way of picking SVO order, pidgin speakers will try all combinations if the first didn’t work)

Interestingly he assumes the ownership of the language is Disney’s. But the copyright for the novel is expired & and only the script lines and audio material is Disney’s. That creates the opportunity to reverse engineer the language and create a public domain version that may be somewhat compatible with the movie version. But should anyone do that much work? It looks like Burroughs didn’t put much thought into the language, neither by wordlists or the made up linguistic situation on mars, ref. this book review.

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One Response to Barsoomian- Will it be a simple conlang?

  1. jan Koala says:

    sina pilin ala pilin ni: tenpo kama la jan Paul Frommer li pana ala pana e nasin toki pi toki sin ni?