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Someone should include an image of some ithkuil script. Most remarcable script it is.

I'd noticied that Ithkuil page was created in the past & deleted after some time, discussion about deletion here.
Heh. I guess the article make no harm to anyone. Pavel Vozenilek 23:35, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I am a conlanger and I admire Ithkuil excessively. But it's just not notable enough in the Wikipedia sense of the word to deserve its own article. It may have been influential on other conlangers in recent years, but it has zero speakers and has never been used in a professional work of fiction. Those seem to be the two criteria for a conlang to be considered notable on Wikipedia: speakers or use in professionally published fiction. (But even Ceqli, which has several speakers besides its author, was not considered notable and got deleted; while Toki Pona, which has maybe 50 speakers at most, did manage to squeak by.) I'm pretty sure this Ithkuil article will be deleted again once the people who nominated it for deletion last time realize that it has been created again.

However, Ithkuil probably is notable enough to deserve a paragraph or so in a main article about logical constructed languages or philosophical constructed languages, and certainly a link to the main Ithkuil site from one or both of those articles. --Jim Henry | Talk 01:15, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Correction - after the Ceqli article was deleted, it was later undeleted after another discussion and vote. See Talk:Ceqli. But I still don't think there's much hope for Ithkuil to survive another vote for deletion, given the lack of speakers. --Jim Henry | Talk 01:24, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hey, I was the one who worked hard to save Ceqli back from deletion. The original deletion of Ceqli was started by a nomination from a conlanger who knew that the author of Ceqli was the same person who created the article. However, after some fixing up the vanity factor was removed from the article. I did my job to save it because I knew Ceqli was notable enough to deserve being in Wikipedia. As for Ithkuil . . . now that a second article was written by an entirely different person, there will probably be fewer delete votes this time because people will realize that multiple people are interested in doing articles on this conlang. Those conlangs you see that get 1 Google hit and were created last week don't get two different people starting articles on them on Wikipedia, and if they get one person creating an article it will be the author (neither the first nor second creator of the Ithkuil article was the language's inventor). Wiwaxia 07:51, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
This is stupid, Ithkuil has no speakers BECAUSE IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO.

Frankly, I'm shocked about this talk of deletion based on some illogical arbitrary criterion regarding quantity of speakers. Clearly Ithkuil is a complex topic of interest to many people including myself who, dispite degrees in anthropology that includes linguistic training, had never heard of it before cliking the link to this article and might never had heard of it if it was forced into a paragraph in some more general article. In fact I wish there was more information on this page. Subjects, that are clearly seperate topics, should not be edited out of existence or hidden deeply within obscure articles. Surely the limited amount of memory it requires does not justify such censorship.DHBoggs —Preceding comment was added at 15:27, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Totally in agreement. Why deletion???
The idea of this article being deleted makes no sense to me. It is probably the most complex language in existence, and for that alone it deserves an article. It is the result of years of research, not an artistic creation meant to be used in some work of fiction, therefore you can't compare it with conlangs like Klingon or Ceqli or make any relevant arguments about its number of speakers.
I also think there should be more information on the page. It most certainly needs an update. The past versions of the language are mostly irrelevant, and can be reduced to a section. The article on the current version of Ithkuil (which is supposedly the final version) needs to be expanded to be at least as big as that of other languages, and include explanations on the grammatical, phonetic and the writing system far more extensively than it currently does.

Interest in Ithkuil[edit]

There seems to be a LiveJournal community of people interested in Ithkuil [1]; all of them are writing in Russian or some other language written with the Cyrillic alphabet. The Zompist BB thread I cited in my last edit to the article also says there was an article about Ithkuil in a Russian-language magazine and that Quijaida has been contacted by several people saying that they are interested in learning it. We should say something about this in the article, but I think we need to track down the specific article reference to say it coherently. --Jim Henry | Talk 22:10, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Since the creation of the first Ithkuil page, I have heard about the Russian interest in the language (the first time around, I had never heard of Ithkuil, but now it seems to be a favorite on conlanging sites -- now I'd vote to keep it). As you'll notice, there's an interlanguage link to Russian. It seems to be written by the same person who wrote the English article. Wiwaxia 04:47, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
I've asked for bibliographic info on the Russian article's talk page. Hopefully someone will eventually add it, or send it to me and let me add it. --Jim Henry | Talk 15:47, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Here it is:
  • «Скорость мысли», Станислав Козловский
Paper version: magazine «Компьютерра», №26-27, June 20, 2004
Electronic version: «Скорость мысли», Станислав Козловский
--DIG 20:17, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Magazine: Computerra (same jeux de mots as in English: Computer + Terra)
Article title is "Speed of thought".
As for the author's name, I will forward your question directly to him. If he does not get back to you in a few days, I will try to guess his name's correct transliteration.
--DIG 07:27, 13 May 2005 (UTC)
Correct transliteration is "Stanislav Kozlovsky"
Thanks. --Jim Henry | Talk 17:47, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
Hi to All, sorry of being off. It seems i'd missed some discussion here. Why I think Ithkuil Wikiworthy enough to stay. I'm not conlanger or linguist at all, but Ithkuil highly impressed me for being a conlang that trying to show how a language can be, at least theoretically.
After creating article I found that it was actually recreating. Googling I found Russian page for Ithkuil and Russian WIkibook project (It seems to be frozen). After creating article I found that it was actually recreating. Googling I found Russian page for Ithkuil (added hyperlink) and Russian WIkibook project . Just to mention that English isn't my mother tongue I'll heartily appreciate any help or suggestions for improving this topic.
--Any_Key 22:13, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
After creating article I found that it was actually recreating. Not at all. You're not re-creating the article unless you paste in the same text as the first writer of the article. Wiwaxia 03:57, 10 May 2005 (UTC)


The language is obviously dead. It won't work in any sense. It is contrary to the nature, and nature loves simplicity. Nevertheless I respect the author's devotion --Amakuha 16:32, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

I feel the same way. Ithkuil is a remarkable triumph in many ways, and clearly a labor of love--that said, I believe it is utterly unlearnable by any but the most supremely gifted humans--maybe not even them. I also don't share Quijada's zeal for hyperspecificity in language. Context is the ultimate communicator, and Ithkuil seems to leave nothing to context. And the vagueness and murkiness of words and meanings is part of the allure and seduction of language, IMHO.
That said, for what it is, Ithkuil is a work of genius. (same author)
I admire the language. It cant be spoken, true. .. but thats also true for many other conlangs, and for far sillier reasons.
Fuck nature. Nature is dead. Ithkuil lives.
Seriously, "nature" is a figment of your imagination. Ithkuil was never spoken and "nature" never existed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:27, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

"It is by no means intended to function as a “natural” human language. Ithkuil exists as an exercise in how human languages could function, not as human languages do function.

While I enjoy the idea of inventing fictional languages which mimic natural languages, it is not enough for me to add simply another language to the thousands that already exist or have existed. For me, the greater goal is to attempt the creation of what human beings, left to their own devices, would never create naturally, but rather only by conscious intellectual effort: an idealized language whose aim is the highest possible degree of logic, efficiency, detail, and accuracy in cognitive expression via spoken human language, while minimizing the ambiguity, vagueness, illogic, redundancy, polysemy (multiple meanings) and overall arbitrariness that is seemingly ubiquitous in natural human language."

That was a quote by the creator, John Quijada. I hope that corrects any wrong impressions of what this language is meant to be. --Hurricane Angel 21:38, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

How can a language be dead if it had never been "born"? As you know no one speak it naturally, so there for it cannot die. When you are already at the bottom of the barrel the only way to go is up. As the popularity of it increase and more and more people learn of it, it will not die, it will only grow. Beside, it is in our human "nature" to create bigger and more complex things (even language). (talk) 19:03, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Ithkuil can be spoken, it just requires extensive knowledge of linguistics, phonetics and an understanding of how Quijada applied them. If you can do that, all you have to do is learn the 3600 'words' (word roots), which is far less than you need for any other functional language. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Starprizm (talkcontribs) 21:50, 18 March 2012 (UTC)


Can somebody with undelete powers please undelete the history of the page Ithkuil? Wiwaxia 00:47, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Can some one write a few sentences in this language?

seconded, yes please someone write at least one or two sentences. I personally would like to see 'My hovercraft is full of eels'. (talk) 01:51, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
I've almost got it, though I've not got the word for hovercraft. It would be:
tei/tai ?ai? hraph stafueb.
You'd use a different word for "my" depending on whether you own the hovercraft or are merely in posession of it. Breaking it down, it goes something like this:
My ??? contains-at-full-capacity a-bunch-of-eels.
Now we just need the word for hovercraft. Bob A (talk) 16:47, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

The new Ithkuil page offers this citably. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Starprizm (talkcontribs) 07:30, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Unable to cite source since it is gone now[edit]

There exists no human who can speak Ithkuil, including its creator: “I don't speak Ithkuil, never have, never will, never claimed to.” — said John Quijada <!-- [2] dead link-->[citation needed].

I don't think it will be possible to cite a source for this anymore, since the Zompist BBoard thread in which it was posted seems to have disappeared. Google doesn't index the message board threads there, as far as I can tell, so there's no cache. I don't remember what the date of the posting or the title of the thread was, now. --Jim Henry 22:45, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I remember I saw it there. But the threads are gone. I think WebArchive doesn't collect dynamic pages. Ypou may ask the author, he had made few fixes here. Pavel Vozenilek 05:30, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Removed quotation[edit]

"The most remarkable aspect of Ithkuil is that it is the only life-threatening conlang."

I've contacted the originator of this quote, and he requested that it be removed. It's funny and clever but notably non-notable. --Ozy 00:11, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

in that case it should be notable for its non-notability. Bob A (talk) 16:55, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

2008 Smiley Award! ~:D[edit]

The Teonaht page mentions it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:00, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

(copying a comment from the AfD page here so I can reply to it, as AfD was closed by the time I saw this...)

  • Smiley Award The Smiley Award is awarded by one person on a set of criteria that includes "The winner will be a language that, for one reason or another, makes me smile.". This seems to me to be an award that doesn't confer any particular significance other than that David J. Peterson has decided to give it. Does this not come near, if not actually into, the category that blogs, forums and so on come into as concerns notability? Peterson himself "has attempted to create a phonetic transcription system for signing that is ASCII-friendly known as the Sign Language International Phonetic Alphabet (SLIPA)." Quoted from Sign language. But does he come into the rarified category of award givers that includes the Queen of the UK and (presumably - I'm not sure how the American honours system works) the President of the USA? (And I presume both of them have committees, panels and political groups behind their awards...) Peridon (talk) 21:21, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
I've argued about this with David Peterson before, saying that it's misleading and unhelpful to call his critical essays on conlangs "awards". That said, however, I think the series of essays published as "the Smiley Awards" is one of the best original critical writing on conlangs to appear in recent years. These articles are not just casual blog posts. Admittedly they're self-published on a website, but from around 1998 to 2007, and again since then, there were no print magazines dealing with conlangs as far as I know; for the last ten or twenty years *almost all* critical writing on conlangs, the most deep and thoughtful stuff as well as more casual writing, has appeared either in web fora or mailing lists or self-published websites. --Jim Henry (talk) 02:08, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Another source and piece of evidence for notability[edit]

Sarah L. Higley's Hildegard of Bingen's Unknown Language has a discussion of Ithkuil along with several other notable modern conlangs; it's discussed more briefly than Sylvia Sotomayor's Kēlen or Paul Burgess's mna Vanantha, if I recall correctly getting about a paragraph. I don't currently have a copy of the book, or I would add a reference to the article myself; someone with access to a copy should do so whenever it's convenient. --Jim Henry (talk) 00:55, 15 November 2009 (UTC)


What does the apostrophe here mean? I thought this stood for palatalization, like with <ʲ>, but how can one palatalize a retroflex like [ʂ]? Wisapi (talk) 17:29, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

It indicates an ejective in IPA, you may want to check out that page. All phonology sections on Wikipedia should have /ʼ/ indicating ejectives and never palatalization. --JorisvS (talk) 17:50, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
To complicate things a bit, the Ithkuil retroflex sounds are actually retroflexated alveolar sounds[1], so technically they should be palatalizable. --JorisvS (talk) 18:48, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't know what "retroflexated alveolar" even means! Couldn't it be that the column is saying that the affricates simply have an alveolar plosive element with a retroflex fricative release (e.g. [t͡ʂʼ] as opposed to having a retroflex plosive element (e.g. [ʈ͡ʂʼ])? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 01:13, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
The same description holds for all the retroflexes, not just the affricates, so let's analyze it. The full description the site gives for /ʂ/ is a "voiceless apico-alveolar retroflex grooved sibilant fricative". Let's first notice that it is apical and second that it is alveolar. This would let us believe it's a simple [s], weren't it for the word retroflex. Okay, the article on retroflexes isn't all that straightforward and seems to give two unrelated manners: blade of the tongue bunched up (okay, here I don't know the difference with "domed", which is mentioned on Coronal consonant), and with the tip of the tongue curled up. I'd make from this that Ithkuil /ʂ/ is similar to [s], except for that the tip of the tongue has to curl up toward the alveolar place of articulation, meaning that the middle part of the tongue has to go down a bit for this to be possible, compared to the fairly flat tongue for [s]. --JorisvS (talk) 11:26, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think you're right. Swedish have an /ʂ/ when /r/ assimilates with a following /s/, such as in "kors" [kʰɔʂː] cross in parallel with an /ʃ/ used variously for "sj" in northern dialects or "tj" in southern, never overlapping. The tongue is held as in /s/ for /ʂ/, but "blade of the tongue bunched up" seems how I pronounce it. The sound of it is considerably thicker and lower than in /ʃ/, making them clearly distinguishable. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 13:59, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
The answer is in fact much simpler. When the author says retroflex he means laminal alveolar. He even can't pronounce his own conlang, many sound examples are clearly wrong.-- (talk) 03:49, 11 January 2011 (UTC)


I think it is important to mention clowns somewhere. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 14:36, 1 April 2010 (UTC) Actually, that wouldn't be important, no matter how common Quijada's Ithkuil examples involve clowns. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Braden1127 (talkcontribs) 13:21, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

Recent conference presentation[edit]

John Quijada recently gave a talk on Ithkuil at an interdisciplinary conference in the Russian Republic of Kalmykia. It's probably too early for any articles about the conference to appear in the press, and they probably won't appear in the English-langauge press. I'm not sure if it suits to cite Quijada's web page about the conference; it would be better to cite an article in the Kalmyk or Russian press, if one appears. --20:02, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

July 2011 revision of John Quijada's web site[edit]

After Quijada revised his site 15 July 2011, the older material, including some examples and all the material on Ilaksh are gone from his web site.

New version of website placed in production; old Ithkuil site plus Ilaksh site withdrawn.

— John Quijada, July 15, 2011, Itkuil Updates / News

I have updated some of the links and marked some as dead, but I haven't done anything to the examples. Johan G (talk) 08:02, 8 October 2011 (UTC)


The example sentence is not notably more compact than its English translation, and in any case expresses a simple enough sentiment. That rather repudiates the 5-times faster claim, doesn't it?

Also, there is another conlang that was constructed to be so syntactically complex no human could think or speak in it. It used the idea of recursive stacks. Can anyone remember its name? (talk) 17:36, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Both sentences are in fact noticeably shorter than their English translations. --JorisvS (talk) 17:42, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I counted the syllables of the sentence about the car. The Ithkuil version has 40 syllables, while the English has 66. About 30% shorter. — N-true (talk) 20:44, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

I would recommend reviewing the FAQ section of the Ithkuil website, where I address this "five times faster" question once and for all. And while I'm here, can someone with the time and interest please, please, pretty please, do a wholesale revision /update of this article so it reflects the current state of the language? I don't think the article is doing anyone any good as an incoherent mish-mash of information about the old obsolete version of the language and the new definitive version. I would be most appreciative... (p.s. I'd do it myself, but I don't believe in authoring a Wikipedia page on one's own work). -- John Q. — Preceding unsigned comment added by John Quijada (talkcontribs) 18:22, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

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something to (maybe) improve the article[edit]

Paranoid Android1208 (talk) 14:19, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

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Outdated content[edit]

The vertical boustrophedon text is from the old version. For example: /ɤ/ is ë, and it's not in new Ithkuil. It needs replaced. いくらBraden1127 イクラLet's Discuss It! ꅇ 13:18, 18 March 2018 (UTC)