I have a bakhara on my head

This afternoon, Alfons forwarded a couple of pictures of the Anti-war demonstration in Amsterdam he ran into today (for him that will be yesterday)1. I ended up making a joke about the possibility of intelligence services monitoring these kind of demonstrations:

Me: Yes, that is one. There’s actually an RFID tag under his bakhara.
Alfons: WTF is a bakhara? You mean like baklava?
Me: I don’t know. I made up that word.

Guess what. Bakhara is actually a place in Afghanistan. And it’s also a MUD (what is a MUD?). If you think of it, the chance of making up unique words is getting smaller by the day, if we assume that (any) language is constantly evolving with the day, or even, by the minute. We still have a long way to go though: Officially English only has around 500,000 words. In case we run out of words, I propose the following ‘fixes':

  • Start charging people for new words. People hate paying for something that they consider to be ‘free’. Heck, privatize the English language! Let it compete with other insignificant languages. Let the market decide which language is going to be the dominant language. And if English becomes too hard to maintain, we can always outsource it.
  • Recycle old words (Imagine the word ‘president’ being recycled. Or ‘War’.)
  • Expand the alphabet with extra letters or, like the Chinese, introduce ‘logograms’. Of course in the English language we would call them ‘cartoons’.
  • Remove vowels from words. Imagine the extra amount of new words! (See also The Internationalist for some words of wisdom).

I suggest we start with the privatizing part. Better yet, let’s call the process of privatizing languages ‘prvtze’.

1 This was supposed to be a subnote. I’m not going to tell you what I was going to write here.

15 thoughts on “I have a bakhara on my head

  1. Marian

    I wish I knew more languages. My son is learning to spell using coloured letters we bought at the toy store. Sometimes he just puts a random series of characters together and says: what does that say? Sometimes it does indeed spell something in either English, French or Hungarian. I bet if I knew more languages even some of the long strings of consonants he puts together would spell something.

  2. Arthur Post author

    Are there any suspicious connotations?

    Yes, but I wouldn’t call them suspicious (not at this age, as you aptly already remarked above). Take for example all the Dutch Sinterklaas songs (‘Sinterklaasje kom maar binnen’, for example): if you translate them to English, you’d think that this guy with his hat is nothing more than a -undescribable-word.

    Ah, how good it’s to be young and innocent, and not knowing what people talk about, but just marvel at Mayte.

    I’m actually older than you…

    (And I always thought they [Baccara] were Italian).

    Self-censoring in progress.

  3. Arthur Post author

    I bet if I knew more languages even some of the long strings of consonants he puts together would spell something.

    I regularly use Google for that (albeit that my searches are limited to typical languages that use our 26 letter Alphabet).

  4. Marian

    I never thought of that. On second thought it might a bit tricky to do web searches with the kids and the computer and the worries about destroyed technology.

    Thanks for the link to my site by the way.

  5. alfons

    After bringing a demolishing and total defeat to your enemy, yes, you sing a song like Hallelujah.
    I do hear Kurt Weill, Comedian Harmonists, so it’s great music, yes.

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