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Will’s words

By William Skidelsky   November 2007

Lang uages, generally, are not created by design; they come about by accident. As such they are messy, inconsistent and constantly evolving. This explains, no doubt, the appeal of made-up languages, which can be fixed and logical in a way that real languages cannot. One of the most famous imaginary languages in literature is that envisaged by Borges in his short story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.” The citizens of Borges’s fabulous country, Uqbar, hold to an extreme form of philosophical idealism, conceiving of the world as a “heterogenous series of independent acts.” One consequence is that their languages don’t contain…

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