the language of Vegans
Sanat wriggled in the grasp of the two Lhasinuic soldiers. ‘Tell them to let go,’ he cried in the Vegan tongue. ‘I am unarmed.’ ‘Speak,’ ordered the admiral in English. ‘They do not understand your language.’ Then, in Lhasinuic to the soldiers, ‘Shoot when I give the word.’
Most of the Earthmen had some knowledge of Vegan speech—the two systems are near neighbors, and enjoy lively commercial relations—and all looked to Albee for a decision.
He cast a glance which he hoped would not be the final one over it; a glance which lingered a little fondly on the reel rack where were stowed: ‘Nicholson on Martian Verbs,’ ‘The New Oxford Venusian Dictionary,’ the ponderous six-reeler ‘Deutche-Ganymediche Konversasionslexikon’ published long ago and far away in Leipzig. The later works were there, too: ‘The Tongues of the Galaxy—An Essay in Classification,’ ‘A Concise Grammar of Cephean,’ ‘The Self-Pronouncing Vegan II Dictionary’—scores of them, and, of course, the worn reel of old Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince.’
‘I told you to deactivate all our experiments,’ he snapped at Gop. ‘Don’t you understand Vegan?’ Abashed, the Junior Scientist lowered his many eyes.
‘Isn’t that the Vegan version of “son-of-a-bitch”?’ he asked. Macklin heaved himself up into a semi-sitting position. ‘To be precise—or as precise as one can be, considering—it is the Vegan for “hermaphrodite-illegitimately-begotten-during-its-mother’s-moulting-period-by-a-slave-suffering-from-venereal-encephalitis.”’
‘So kiss my elbow,’ I added, or something like that, in Vegan.
You could be speaking anything from Vegan to Etruscan, and so could I, but to each other what we say seems to be spoken in our respective native tongues.
Next morning the tribe forages for its breakfast: roots and berries. The group comes upon a huge object, black and rectangular. A strange sound is heard; all pause, awed. They cannot see the upper surface of the object; it is too high. Could they view it, they would see but not understand the message in Vegan script: ‘Live Cargo. Other End Up.’ Again the second tribe approaches. Shrieks are shrieked; faces are made; ups-and-downs are jumped.
Isaac Asimov, ‘Black Friar of the Flame’
We would like to find any recent evidence.
Last modified 2022-01-10 15:22:23
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.