There are a lot of languages (9,500 not counting the dead ones, by some estimates), and some people would argue that you ought to learn a couple - like, say, Spanish or Mandarin - that already have a loyal following. But why not invent your own language, coerce millions into using it, and conquer new linguistic frontiers? In case you're looking for inspiration ...
That's Neatorama in Klingon, according to Klingon Language [wiki]
Why It's Worth Learning: It's the surest way to a Trekker's heart.
Why It Was Invented: Because Star Trek is so unbelievably realistic and authentic, except for the traveling-faster-than-the-speed-of-light-being-completely-impossible part.
How Long It Takes to Learn: You won't be fluent until you've memorized the surprisingly lengthy Klingon Dictionary.
The Basics: Of the handful of constructed languages inspired by Star Trek, Klingon is by far the most widely spoken. Some estimates indicate that there are thousands of Klingon speakers on Earth and billions more in the solar system. As for the language's earthly origins, however, you can thank Marc Okrand. Mr. Okrand created Klingon [wiki] for Paramount Studios' Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and what resulted certainly wasn't pretty. Mainly because Klingon's guttural and forceful tones reflect the warrior spirit of the Klingon people. For instance, there's no way of saying "Hello," in Klingon; the only greeting is "nunqneH'" which more or less means "Whaddya want?"
Neatorama in Leetspeak
Why It's Worth Learning: You desperately want to fit in with all the kids on AOL Instant Messenger.
Why It Was Invented: B/c ppl R layz.
How Long It Will Take to Learn: Thirty 57X, if you pay attention.
The Basics: If you've ever hung out in a chat room, you've probably seen text like "d00d r u CuTie," which certain communities of chatter believe is a) a sentence, and b) a question, even though it c) lacks punctuation, and d) contains more grammatical and spelling errors than it does letters. While the d00ds of the online world probably don't know it, such short-cut-laden, purposely misspelled typing (including "teh" for "the") is actually a typeset dialect known as leetspeak [wiki] (or more commonly, 133+5p33k). And while words like d00d aren't particularly hard to decode, hardcore leetspeakers can fashion sentence like 73]-[ |)0|\||<=j 15 4|\| 45$ (hints: j = y, and |< = k, and = = e).
That's Neatorama in Elvish, according to Ned Gulley
Why It's Worth Learning: If elves ever show up in the world, and if they're really as hot as Liv Tyler and Orlando Bloom, you'll want to be able to talk to them.
Why It Was Invented: J.R.R. Tolkien thought that designing languages was fun.
How Long It Will Take to Learn: Years, if you want to be able to read or speak Elvish [wiki]. But you can learn to say, "Liv Tyler, you are so beautiful. Please come home with me," in just a few minutes.
The Basics: J.R.R. Tolkien actually developed several languages during his life. Aside from a few Elvish poems in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tolkien wrote in his constructed languages mostly for his own, um, entertainment. Many of his Elvish writings since have been translated by a dedicated group of Tolkienians who go by the name Elvish Linguistic Fellowship (ELF - so clever, those Tolkien fanatics). The Quenya dialect of Elvish (as heard in the movies) sound a lot like Finnish, but most of the vocabulary came straight from Tolkien's mind. And yes, Tyler really is speaking Elvish in the movies, although many Tolkienians claim her accent is, like, totally bogus.
I'd have no idea how to convert Neatorama into Esperanto, maybe:
Why It Was Worth Learning: So you can help rebuild the Tower of Babel.
Why It Was Invented: To end all disagreement, war, strife, and unhappiness.
How Long It Takes to Learn: Esperanto [wiki] advocates say it's easier to learn than most any other language. But still, that means you will only be able to say "Pierre is going to the library with his friend the acrobat" for the first six months.
The Basics: Between 1877 and 1885, a Polish Jew named L.L. Zamenhof constructed a language. He hoped that a universal, easy-to-learn language might create a world where people could communicate with one another using words rather than bullets. His language, Esperanto (which means "one who is hoping" in Esperanto and "one whose hope is a bit unrealistic" in English), caught fire with European intellectuals, but never took root with the public at large. Today there are some two million Esperanto speakers worldwide, but on the whole, people still prefer communicating with bullets: In the 20th century, there were some 110,000,000 war-related deaths.
Neatorama in Mirror English.
Why It's Worth Learning: It's not.
Why It Was Invented: Someone held a book up to a mirror and said, "Hey. I can't read that."
How Long It Takes to Learn: If you own a mirror, you're basically already fluent.
The Basics: In mirror English, the letters are reversed, so as to be read in front of a mirror, and the meaning of the words is also reversed, so as to seem clever. For example, if you wanted to say, "My little friend, Boris, sleeps with the fishes," you might write:Or take the first sentence of the following quotations we just made up: "I will never understand the concept of 'dry hair.' You don't need a special shampoo to de-dry your hair. You need water." That first sentence might become
From mental_floss' book Scatterbrained, published in Neatorama with permission.
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