The Loquacious Lipograms of
Left-wing Utopia

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Pushing Understanding...somehow (Language)

English is Zwangzug's de facto national language--while it wasn't dominant in the country's early history, it gradually emerged as a useful language for communication between cities. Dialectal differences (see below) still persist, but are less controversial than they have been. Other significant languages include German in the north and various mutually intelligible dialects in the southwest. Students are generally expected to be competent in at least two languages, but this is not mandated.

Algebraic English is used in contrasted with Descriptive English, a more traditional/stylized/literary dialect. (Algebraic notators (users) would classify Descriptive as old-fashioned.) This dialect has gained popularity in Swilatian internet forums, but is otherwise rare in Swilatia.

Users of Descriptive English generally have much more difficulty understanding Algebraic than vice versa. For this reason, Zwangzug generally uses Descriptive English in international communication, to the resentment of the Algebraic notators. Algebraic is the more common dialect in many of Zwangzug's cities, however, particularly 102d, Canbix, and the eastern FTC.

A simple rule of thumb for working with Algebraic English is that the majority of words that can be compacted, or letters that can be replaced by numerals, are. 4 xmpel, this is s10dard Algebraic. Symbols also replace words when possible (& for "and", for "not" or general negation).

Many concepts in Algebraic English are expressed using gestures, especially quality. However, these are very explicit, as opposed to nuances that give tone to Descriptive communication.

To declare something good when personally interacting, one single fist is made with thumb extending above the other fingers (the "thumbs-up" gesture). In writing, however, that is denoted with an exclamation point. Similarly, declarations of negativity are expressed with a "thumbs-down" and question mark: the ? sign does not denote interrogation. (More recently, the caret ^ has been used to do so: the rising presumably denoting the rising pitch of the voice.) When the quality of something being judged is extreme, two fists or punctuation marks are used.

A particularly Algebraic nuance is that of the !? and ?! judgments. !? is used to declare something curious and surprising, perhaps even rebellious but with the expectation that it will turn out for good. In person, this is indicated by two fists, thumbs in opposite directions, and fingers wrapped around each other: one thumb extends up above one extending down. (Which hand is which does not matter in any of these situations.) ?!, then, implies something surprising with potential, but that will probably turn out poorly. In this case, each set of fingers grips the other hand's thumb: the overall presentation is of two fists with thumbs hidden. The downward pointing thumb is on top, representing the negative dominance.

Further combinations such as !!?? are very rare (but existent) in writing, and for obvious reasons, never appear in personal communication.

A popular Zwangzug Linkfolk tale is the story of Freddie the Fool. Like all folk tales, there are different versions but this presentation in Descriptive is representative.

A foolish peon named Freddie*, in the land of no rice,** once set out from his residence, a humble place in the shadow of an angry missionary**. He saw in the distance another peon from Zwangzug approach him in glee to share the rice. Not knowing why the peon had come, and afraid, Freddie beckoned to one of his old acquaintances to join him. As his friend came, a beautiful woman emerged from Zwangzug bearing rice to share with the impoverished. The king of the other land was a fool as well, and surrendered to Zwangzug which they used to grow more rice.

*Anachronistic and probably a later addition, origin unknown. **Zwangzug mythology tells of the nation's founding by oppressed people commanded to find rice for their king. ***At the time and place where this story originated, the concept of "missionary" would hardly have been known--many of the misconceptions most likely spring from limited contact with other cities.

The algebraic rendering of this story is the simple 1. f4 e5 2. g4 Qh4#. Here, "f4" may represent "far": Freddie's distance. Other versions (it is a folk tale, after all) have f3: "free"dom from the missionary's indoctrination?