Well, having dealt with the rank politics of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, we have to at least applaud the deranged ultramontane for giving attention to minority languages – Amheric and now Mayan.

But Mayan has millions of speakers. That’s no challenge at all. We’re looking forward to forthcoming Gibson productions in some really hardcore linguistic collectors’ items. What about:

  • Follow The Cod, a drama about Middle Ages seafaring and love in Euskara Icelandic. Euskara (Basque) itself is too easy – even though it is related to no known tongue (possibly Georgian, maybe native American Na-Dene) and a simple subject-object present tense sentence has as many as 200 different forms of the verb depending on case, person etc – it has millions of speakers, writers, etc. Euskara Icelandic is a dialect that developed from contact between the long haul cod fishers of the Basque country and Iceland over hundreds of years. An 18th century vocab and grammar exists, and in the low two figures of experts, though most live in rural Iceland and would have to wait for the DVD, or possibly electricity.

  • Get Over It, Gibbo’s take on the Troubles, done entirely (as an ecumenical gesture) in Ulster-Scots, a semi-dialect elevated to official language status as a sop to the Proddies in the Good Friday agreement. Here’s an example from the website: “Tha Boord wull hae its heich offis in Bilfawst, an an unnèr-offis in Dunnyga”. Yes, the Board will be located in Belfast, with an office in Donnygall. All official documents now have to be rendered in this language, which is just belligerent, sloshed English.
  • Qapla! (Klingon). Klingon was designed by Mark Okrand, a native American languages specialist, and has books, dictionary, websites, agglutinative syntactics, nine-divisional classificatory verb-noun groupings and is less confusing than Welsh. Who better than Gibbo to film the story of the kid who’s being raised in bilingual English-Klingon by his Californian parents? But could he get into the skin of someone who had a more normal childhood?

Volapuk? Nicaraguan Sign Language? Morse? Fortran? Fkdjflkj – (that’s enough languages  ed).

Peter Fray

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