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Gibberish seems to have a universal comedic appeal that transcends language barriers – Youtube sensation Crazy Frog goes “bing-ding,” stop-motion penguin Pingu goes “noot-noot,” and Chilean street clown Karcocha speaks in whistle. Clowns don’t need language to make people laugh

Gibberish seems to have a universal comedic appeal that transcends language barriers – Youtube sensation Crazy Frog goes “bing-ding,” stop-motion penguin Pingu goes “noot-noot,” and Chilean street clown Karcocha speaks in whistle. Clowns don’t need language to make people laugh – Charlie Chaplin did it silently – but what if their gibberish meant something? Intrigued, I sought to explore a species of clowns and how their naturalistic language could evolve the hoots and honks of clown gibberish through naturalistic processes of grammaticalization. First, I evolved a base language (which is not “clown-ish” in itself). Then, I modified the whistled register used by shepherds (not unlike Hmong and Silbo Gomero) into a clown register, which hides the true meaning of jokes in a series of whistles (to encode tone) and other sound effects (to encode consonants). Combined with a clownish subspecies of sapiens and a culture built around “facepaint as self” and humor as a leveling mechanism, this constructed language is vividly clownish. My ultimate intent is to demonstrate the limitless possibility of language change through a detailed, yet silly lens.

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    Title
    • A Sketch Grammar of Kípíp: A Constructed Clown Language
    Contributors
    Date Created
    2022-05
    Resource Type
  • Text
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