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Opus-2 is an abstract artlang composed by Chris Pressey at or around March 10, 2001.

Design Goals

Eliminate word order entirely. Despite the appearance of the resulting language, this was the only real design goal to begin with.

Grammatical Overview

Verbs in Opus-2 take the form of colours. Nouns take the form of sounds. Adjectives take the form of smells. Adverbs take the form of inner-ear sensations. Certain tenses and phrasings are indicated by tastes.

To distinguish between the roles of the nouns in a sentence, objects are quieter, sotto voce sounds, and subjects are foreground sounds. It is important to remember that the sensations corresponding to object, subject, and verb all occur at the same time in an event termed an sentence-experience.

This dominant-recessive relationship is also present in strong and weak scents which indicate whether an adjective describes the subject or the object, and in intense and gentle inner-ear sensations (feelings of sudden or gradual acceleration) to determine the target of an adverb.

Vocabulary Overview

Sample dictionary:

flee             *pale green*
approach         *deep orange*
examine          *medium grey*
glorify          *deep red*

man              *Eb below middle C, trombone*
woman            *F above middle C, french horn*
world            *car door slamming*
child            *middle C, tubular bells*
building         *F, tympani roll*
radio            *harp sweep*

fast             *burning rubber*
dangerous        *mothballs*

quickly          *leaning 40 degrees left*
dangerously      *leaning 25 degrees right*

Context Overview

While each sentence is "instantaneous" in the sense that there is no internal word order, sentence-experiences still follow one another, and each sentence-experience does take a certain amount of time to perceive. Tense is thus implied by context between successive sentences and the duration of each sentence. The shorter a sentence is, the further into the future it is presumed to refer to. (Thanks to Rob Norman and Panu Kalliokosi for suggesting these ideas.)

Examples of Usage

Example sentence-experience: "The building glorifies the woman":

*deep red*
*F, tympani roll, forte*
*F, french horn, piano*

Example sentence-experience: "The man quickly flees the dangerous child":

*pale green*
*Eb, trombone, forte*
*leaning 40 degrees left (sudden)*
*C, tubular bells, piano*
*mothballs (gentle whiff)*

Who Speaks Opus-2?

This language was designed purely as an abstract exercise in language design. Thus it was not designed for any preconceived group of speakers, and little consideration was given to their culture and capabilities. It is neither specifically a conversation language, nor a formalized language (e.g. a programming language.)

Most of the problems of finding speakers of Opus-2 is in finding creatures that can create smells and inner-ear sensations as easily as humans can create complex sounds. However, some popular opinions of who or what might speak Opus-2 have been suggested since its unveiling:

  • An efficient-yet-entertaining form of future communication using direct neural jacks.
  • A code used by e.g. Neo (from The Matrix) to communicate to subjects unknowingly trapped in a virtual reality.
  • A pidgin spoken between highly-telepathic beings and marginally-telepathic beings.