The Grade 12 Language and Literature HL class began the school year exploring how language is produced and passed on, and how this process morphs the language that we speak, sometimes without our notice. Students explored how events in history gave rise to new words or changed the meanings of words that were already in circulation.
Students were then given the task of creating their own language based on their personal contexts, either individually or in groups, and teach their language to the class. The activity allowed them to experience first-hand the considerations that must be made when thinking about language, such as the ways that it is communicated, the rules of grammar and syntax, and the efficiency of communication.
What was also interesting is how the students interpreted the term “personal context”. The three languages that emerged from the project were Mathlish, Baby Babble, and Opulente, each with their own purpose.
Mathlish, according to its creators, was created as a supplement to English and used the values of Mathematics to streamline communication as Math is the universal language.
Baby Babble was created to serve as the secret language of a baby cult, formed for adults who want to escape the stress of adulthood.
Lastly, Opulente was created for the 1% of society, only to be used in the event of global destruction to aid in their evacuation.
While the languages all vary, it was interesting to see how all students grappled with dealing with the challenges that arose in not only having to create the languages, but also having to teach them to their peers.