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Room 24: Make Up Your Own Language

Room 24: Make Up Your Own Language
Cheedles, Charps & Careena’s

Lord of the Rings has its Elvish, Avatar has its Na’vi, and Star Trek has its Klingon. And by the end of the week, we should all have our own made up language. 

Okay, maybe not an entire language, but we should at least be making up words, and if not making up words, at least experimenting with the English language. 

Trust me. It’s “a quel sambe.” That’s Elvish for “good room.”

And, yes, I realize messing around with the English language is a far cry from last weeks Embracing Silence room. This might seem more like a pre-school exercise than a path to awareness. 

And I understand the possible resistance.

Where’s the value in the room, you might ask? What’s the point? And, for that matter, how can you have such completely different rooms altogether?  

These are logical questions. And, perhaps, we’ve come to a fork in our road to The Other 999 Rooms. A moment of reflection might be in order. 

First of all, who ever said becoming aware has to be serious?  I don’t think it does. Nor does it have to always make sense. By its very nature, awareness should have paradox. It should feel illogical, and often confusing. It can be serious one moment and absurd the next. 

And it will most definitely have its hit and misses. Some rooms will get us somewhere, some will not.  And the beautiful thing is…it won’t be the same for everyone.  

What is the same for everyone is this: we will only get somewhere by trying; by the effort we put out when it feels uncomfortable. And often is the case, this begins with experimentation and play.

It is no accident that a young child is closer to the heart of God than most of us will ever be. 

The older we get, the more likely we are to stay in our rooms simply because we believe everything in our lives needs to be practical and with an obvious point.  

Well, awareness doesn’t come in a straight line. It doesn’t go from point to point. It goes in a circle, arriving gently with the slightest shift in perception. The tiniest change in thought. 

For all we know, this might begin with finding a new way to express ourselves. Perhaps, by making up our own language? 

Of course, we won’t know until we try, until we start experimenting. And, it is in that spirit, which we begin this weeks room and all future rooms to come.  

Room 24: Make Up Your Own Language

Let’s begin by talking “Sniglets.” 

Sniglet is a word popularized by comedian Rich Hall back in the 1980’s, which is used to describe “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary but should.” If you want, Bert Christiansen has a whole list of them for you to check out at, including the ones in the heading. 

You’ll find words like idiot box, which is the part of the envelope that tells a person where to place the stamp when they can't quite figure it out for themselves, or aquadexterous, the ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes, or crummox, which refers to the amount of cereal leftover in the box that is too little to eat and too much to throw away. 

And, my personal favorite, arachnidiot, which is any person, who, having wandered into an "invisible" spider web, begins gyrating and flailing about wildly. 

Of course, Sniglets are more than just a fun play on words. They’re a shift in perception. A new way of looking at the world. 

By its very nature, it asks us to sit up and take notice of the world around us, then turn those observations into something new.  

The Sniglet emodies the spirit of The Other 999 Rooms, which is don’t take what you see at face value…and certainly don’t be afraid to mix things up and redefine it for your own pleasure. Yes, your own pleasure. 

Who said language shouldn’t be fun? Shakespeare? Your 9th grade English teacher? It’s time to leave that room behind. 

Now, don’t think you have to make up your own Sniglets. If you do, fine. But, it’s not necessary. You can simply begin by giving things new names, mixing up your words, calling one thing another. Invent your own adjectives. Create your own exclamations. Find new ways to express anger, pain, joy, awe. Re-write your swearing vocabulary. Make up your own catch phrase.

Like every good experiment—don’t hold back. Shout out your feelings and make your new language come alive. They don’t have to be good words, clever words, or words that make sense. They just have to be your words. 

Feel what it’s like to speak whatever comes out of your head…to make things up as you go…to rearrange thoughts without worrying if they add up. 

Ultimately, this room is not about finding new words. It’s about playing, letting go, experimenting, and trying things differently. It’s about learning to express yourself in different ways. That’s the real take-away.   

So, with apologies to English teachers everywhere, go ahead and abuse the English language. 

Start making up your own words. A new language…and a new room awaits. 


Reader Comments (2)

I love the English/American language! Our rules are made to be broken. Not a day goes by without wonderful new words being invented and enthusiastically adopted by people all over the country. I am so looking forward to visiting all 999 new rooms! Thanks for sharing a great idea with us.

July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDane

Okay Bil, LOVING this one! Because I ROCK at it! I make up words on a consistent basis. My family and friends in my inner circle recognize them. Luckily, I'm a pretty fast thinker, so I can switch quickly when out in public. Another thing that helps is I grew up bilingual (I think that's where I got the practice of switching languages so fast), but it has also given me this whole other arsenal to draw from. I combine English and Spanish together — it's all so much fun!

Now I'm going to totally switch gears here and tell you another reason I really dig your site/writing, one I haven't shared with you before.

In case you haven't picked up on it, I'm kinda a busy girl. What I can accomplish in a day sometimes blows my mind (yet I almost always feel behind). But, being Super-Woman is not necessarily something I'm bragging about. It's more the way I'm wired, but trying to break myself of. I'm seeking activities that balance my constant need to accomplish. Fun activities, relaxing activities.. Activities that don't feel like another 'to-do,' but ones I can get total pleasure out of, which btw, are also the ones that are easiest for me to stay in the present moment, another constant practice of mine.

Your site/reading your words provides that for me. Sipping my cuppa, reading for pure pleasure, watching my children learn/experience something new, and reading your site. Those things just do it for me. Thank you.

~ Leslie

July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Green

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