Translating The "Gibberish"

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  • #3434 Reply


    Hello everyone! As you know, most of the library is considered “gibberish”. I am attempting to change that. I have created a very simple “language” which allows any combination of letters, periods, commas, and spaces to be translated. Each letter represents a word, and its meaning can change based on what position it is in. The syntax is like this:

    a b x y z
    ‘a’ represents the subject.
    ‘b’ represents the verb
    ‘x’, ‘y’, and ‘z’, are all direct objects or adverbs.

    An example of this translation at work is shown below, from a real book in this library.

    ‘hted.xtcepvfy’ translates to: ‘They Hear Mother and Father. They often faithfully and mindfully dislike a human, mother, the library, and a child.’

    Spooky, eh? If anyone wants more details, I can post the translation tables for each letter, and how commas, periods, and spaces work into all this. The book I am using is below:


    Wall: 2
    Shelf: 5
    Volume: 17

    #3437 Reply


    This sounds pretty interesting! Does that mean that any letter basically represents 3200 subjects, verbs, objects and adverbs and its translation depends on its position on the page itself or do you mean the position within your abxyz syntax?

    I would love to see the translation table.

    #3438 Reply


    Each letter has only a few translations within the syntax. Here are the translation tables. It’s not meant to be anywhere near the level of real languages, its just a way to form coherent patterns out of what is otherwise random. Essentially, it works like this: The largest unit in this language (suggestions for the name are welcome) is the “list.” A list has a two letter prefix, the first being the subject, the second the verb. All of the rest of the letters are either objects or adverbs, which are in the same table. Periods represent one of two things: they may represent a change in verb, i.e. ‘abf.cq‘ (subject neutral, verbs bolded, and objects/adverbs italic). In this case, the verb is changed from b to c. As such, only the ad-ject (adverb, object, get it?) f applies to b, and only q applies to c. Spaces separate lists from each other, and are the only way to change the subject. Commas are simply blank spots for now.

    Here are the translation tables, per request:

    a – I
    b – You
    c – He
    d – She
    e – It
    f – We
    g – You all (like German ‘Ihr’)
    h – They
    i – Man
    j – Woman
    k – Dog
    l – Cat
    m – Squirrel
    n – Driver
    o – Writer
    p – Programmer
    q – Reader
    r – Leader
    s – I
    t – You
    u – He
    v – She
    w – It
    x – We
    y – You all
    z – They

    a – Have
    b – See
    c – Touch
    d – Is
    e – Think about
    f – Dream about
    g – Hear
    h – Taste
    i – Understand
    j – Like
    k – Dislike
    l – Love
    m – Hate
    n – Have
    o – See
    p – Touch
    q – Is
    r – Think about
    s – Dream about
    t – Hear
    u – Taste
    v – Understand
    w – Like
    x – Dislike
    y – Love
    z – Hate

    a – Him
    b – Her
    c – Human
    d – Father
    e – Mother
    f – Child
    g – It
    h – Colors
    i – Food
    j – Life
    k – The Universe
    l – Everything
    m – Answer
    n – Love
    o – Book
    p – Library
    q – Music
    r – Creation
    s – Quickly
    t – Mindfully
    u – Easily
    v – Often
    w – Always
    x – Nearly
    y – Faithfully
    z – Well

    Like I said, they’re nowhere near comprehensive, just a way to make patterns out of the randomness. It essentially takes one form of gibberish to another form. However, I did have the idea of developing multiple variations of the tables above, each with different themes. There could be 26 different tables (the comma would be used as a switching device, with a single letter as an ID code.), and since there are 26×3=78 words in each set, that could give us 2,028 words, more than enough to form a perfectly usable language. Using two letters as an ID code would lead to 52,728 words. In addition, each set could have its own syntax, allowing this to develop into a totally complete language. Of course, the only ones who might actually speak it fluently are computers, but it could work.

    Sorry for the wall of text…

    #3439 Reply


    Just noticed I didn’t put the second use of periods: as verb negators. For example, saying “aaw” means “I have it.” However, “aaw.” means “I don’t have it.” The first and second uses can be combined, as in: “aaw.j.w”, meaning “I have it. I don’t like it.”

    Also, here are some more example translations from hted.xtcepvfy (page 205, reference above):

    “lag, buswhqer dtw,rg,”
    “The cat has it. You always, quickly, taste colors, music, mothers, and creations.”

    “He is the Universe. He thinks about the Universe.”, or, with a little bit of gloss: “He is the Universe, and contemplates himself.”

    One problem is that you get crazy uber-long lists like this one:

    #3447 Reply

    Jonathan Basile

    This is incredible.

    #3449 Reply


    Thanks, I’ve always liked to dabble a bit in linguistics anyway. When I saw the part on the Reference Hex which talked about designing a language in which your book was correct, I thought, “what if we could devise a system so that every book could be read?” So, I made this. It needs some revision, and I’m working on new rules for the grammar and whatnot. I’m currently working on translating page 205 of hted.xtcepvfy (see above). It’s going to be with Mark II of the language though, which I can put on another website.

    Will keep you updated!

    #3450 Reply


    I am thinking about adding librarians to the 3D Library (sometime in the distant future) which you might encounter in some of the hexagons if you get lucky. Those librarians could then pick books and pages from that hexagon by random, analyze them and when you ask them, they could report from their findings (if they found anything mentionable at all). If I gave some of those librarians the ability to understand the “gibberish” based on the language that you described here, they might be able to tell you some pretty interesting things which would also be based on their actual findings in the hexagon. Finding such a librarian would be pretty rare but therefore even more exciting.

    What do you think of this idea? Would you help me with the realization of turning your “language” into an algorithm that could interpret any string of text the way that you described it?
    I also like the idea that your language is easily expendable by using more letters as the ID which would lead to a great variety of things you could learn from all of the gibberish in the library!

    #3451 Reply


    I think you definitely have the right idea! It would be pretty trivial to translate this into English with a computer program. The subject comes first, then the verb, then the objects, then any adverbs found go between the verb and subject. I.e.: “I faithfully see her” from “abyb”. I will put up the MkII version of the language (which still needs a name, community input is welcome!) on my website, which I will link to when it’s done. I’m still working on translating an entire page of hted.xtcepvfy, to see how well this really works.

    The different sets of tables with their own syntax would take a while to develop, but I thank that is a feasible goal for MkIII. It would definitely give a ton of extra depth to these books.

    #3452 Reply


    MkII Specs are on the website, find them here! It is in an MS-Word .docx file, only 13kb. It contains everything one needs to translate just about any text in the library.

    #3453 Reply


    A Name could be “The Babel Syntax.” or “the Babel Syntax Cipher”. Loving this so far too.

    #3454 Reply


    Thanks, I’ll take that into consideration! I want to ask the community, because I’m terrible with names. I would have probably named it “babelese” or something like that. Maybe a name from the language itself?

    #3462 Reply


    Micro Language attempt

    Well this is interesting. I have had the same idea for about a month now, but hadn’t done anything significant with it until tonight. Developing little microscopic languages has been a minor hobby of mine for a couple of years. A few weeks ago, I had created a very simple list of words that correlated to each of the 26 Latin characters, but wasn’t satisfied with my attempt. I tried again tonight and came up with something I felt was a little better, though it still needs a lot of work. Here I was, about to post my idea, and find that I’m a day late with my idea beaten to and done better! >_<

    I suppose it can’t hurt to post the list I have created. Words are currently direct correlations still, though it’s clearly not comprehensive:

    a awol samsara/an endless cycle/infinity
    b bahtow death/darkness/a state of void
    c celina moon/proximate planet
    d darmo to teach/a scholar/teaching
    e enta child/offspring
    f fron beauty/nature
    g gawl water/to flow
    h hinto a region of space/to sit down/to occupy
    i inpa to breeding
    j jarv to serve (someone)/to give/a gift /a servant
    k kelor to see/consciousness/perception
    l lat food/feeding
    m moro an animal/to move/a state of being animated
    n nev star/sun/energy or to be filled with energy
    o oni god/master/to rule over
    p patta birth/creation, to give birth or create
    q queri to question/a question
    r ra father/male
    s so of (possessive preposition)
    t tam with
    u uma mother/female
    v vo you/your
    w wa me/I/mine
    x xen a prayer/to pray
    y yir a presence/spirit/to influence or posses
    z zu we/inclusiveness
    space [completion of a clause]
    . [short pause]
    , [long pause]

    As you can see, I also created words that can be orally pronounced. I created these “words” first, and then attached meaning to them based on what I felt. It’s an approach that might be a tad too creative though. I did try to make a set of words that I felt would blend together and work within the randomness, but it still turns out like gibberish.

    I thought having an inherently small language might allow more orderly patterns to emerge. This thinking was naive. After listening to an Alan Watts lecture (I can’t remember which one), I also decided to combine nouns and verbs for my language. Adjectives are missing from my list, though I suppose some of the words I have chosen could work as adjectives too.

    For example, let’s take a look at the first two “sentences” of Hex 0, Shelf 1, Book 1:

    Library: e,ktdo.baefq
    Oral Langauge: enta, kelor tam darmo oni. bahtow awol enta fron queri
    English Literal Translation: child, perception with teaching god. death samsara child beauty question

    Library: z unqusiug
    Oral Language: zu uma nev queri uma so inpa uma gawl
    English Literal Translation: we mother star question mother of breeding water

    From the perspective of trying to create a conventional structured language, I would consider this first attempt of mine to be a failure. Brddte’s approach at least has some semblance of order. I had also thought of including multiple charts that are modified based off of structures such as word order and position. However, since I want to create a language that’s readable by humans, burdening the reader with endless translation tables is out of the question for me. Would a less literal approach work better?

    I feel given the random nature of this library, any language done of this style must embrace a loose structure that allows interpretation. We need to work within the chaos of the library if we are to mine order from it. Instead of trying to force structure into the (seemingly) unstructured, perhaps a better approach might be to look at the jumbled mess, and rewrite it into something more comprehensible. For example:

    “child, perception with teaching god. death samsara child beauty question” can be rewritten as “child, perceive the teachings of god. In the dark vastness of the void, samsara’s beauty springs forth in a great mystery.”

    It’s not a perfect or completely satisfying solution, but its a start I suppose. Yet, when I read these words in the oral version of this language, I can’t help but feel some sort of entrancing state…

    #3466 Reply


    I had the same approach at first, that is, mapping each letter to a word in a 1 to 1 correlation, but I found that it was very difficult to create a list of words that would all be coherent in any order. We both solved the problem in different ways. You gave each letter different meanings regardless of position, and I gave them a more rigid order. I like that you gave each letter a pronounceable word, I just use the NATO phonetic alphabet.

    I don’t think multiple translation tables would be a problem, certainly not the four currently included in MkII, which I recommend you check out if you haven’t already, but you’re right about pretty much any more than that. Really, my language is intended to be easily readable by computers.

    Your idea about glossing over each sentence to make it coherent could work, but one would run into the problem of countless different interpretations of the same sentence.

    For example, take the sentence, “enta, kelor tam darmo oni. bahtow awol enta fron queri”. It could be read as “Child, see with the God of Teaching. Death is the child of an an endless cycle in beautiful mystery!” Our two translations, while similar, are fundamentally different. Two different people could interpret the same book in two completely different ways.

    You are right that the only way to make sense of this library is through interpretation, but creating a structure to reliably support that would be difficult. My language is simply designed to turn random letters into something readable.

    #3475 Reply


    I’m quite a linguist myself. Usually self-taught, I’ve learnt much of many languages. Russian, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese, Lojban, Ojibwe/Chippewa, Latin, and Arabic. These help cover the basics when tampering with other languages.

    I’ve attempted my own conlangs, and normally they turn out well. This one seems to be coming along quite nicely.

    As for your request for assistance naming it, I have a few suggestions…

    Bab, Babellian, and Librarian.

    I hope you take them into consideration, and I can’t wait to see what more you can do with this language.

    #3476 Reply


    Thanks for the feedback! I’ve tampered with Lojban myself, and I am currently taking German.

    Your suggestions are pretty good, I’m particularly fond of Librarian.

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