My Claim to Fame

I start writing a lot of blog posts that never get finished, or therefore posted. Here's one from months ago that more-or-less stands on its own.

Do you remember an atrocious sci-fi serial called Dark Skies? It was a rip-off of The X-Files, complete with all-encompassing paranoid conspiracy theory, corrupt government, red-haired female sidekick, and badly worked-out story arc concerning alien colonisation.

It was mercifully cancelled after one season, so never had the chance to develop the ever-expanding never-explained mythos that made The X-Files such a pain - or constitutes the entire raison d'ĂȘtre of Lost.

The aliens had a language, known as Hivespeak - "Thht-Maa" in the language itself. It was designed by an amateur constructive linguist - that is, a designer of languages - who was part of an email discussion group devoted to such things. As was I.

The brief for the language was that it should (a) sound scary and (b) not be like Klingon. Tlhingan-Hol? Ghwe-cha', maj-a'! Result: it was very breathy, had no front vowels, and the kind of grammar where you can make a whole sentence just by piling twelve suffixes onto a verb.

He asked for suggestions...and one of mine was adopted! A suffix indicating that the speaker doesn't believe what they're describing is in fact true. Though I don't think it ever appeared on the show.

So that's my contribution to network television.


  1. Huh, that is pretty cool!

    I've never been asked to contribute anything to tv. But one of my favorite things to do is listen to alien/foreign language spoken on tv. A few times, I've found discrepancies between the spoken work and the closed caption translation! Those are fun!

  2. My contribution to television: A 5second blurb and photo of a smashed up Honda. I played the role of unidentified female who was taken to the hospital.

    I think your contribution was better. What was the suffix? I'd like to start using it in my Sunday school class.


  3. @Eroswings:

    I recall reading that Tenctonese (the alien language in Alien Nation) was very inconsistant. On one occasion a Newcommer woman said the same line twice, but with completely different translations.


    "Undentified Female" in a car safety film is pretty cool. Almost as good as "Third cyberman from the left" - how far would you travel to do that?

    I've absolutely no recollection of the suffix - or even if I just proposed the meaning without specifying the sound. Sorry.

    But I do remember reading about a comic strip where all the sentences were declarative in syntax, but...

    "I love you, yeah." means "I love you.",

    "I love you, huh?" means "Do I love you?", and

    "I love you, no." means "I don't love you."

    A nice simplification/mangling of English, I thought.

  4. When's the debut of the all-Esperanto-all-the-time channel?