Economy of Language

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The Global Language Monitor estimates that the English language has over a million words. In contrast, the invented language Toki Pona has just over a hundred—a feature “designed to change how speakers think.” Its simplicity, besides making the language easy to learn, forces the speaker to creatively talk around concepts using metaphors, merge related concepts into one word, and take into account the other person’s perspective.


Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →