The Ouxu Language

Ouxu (“oh-woo-ZHOO”) is an artificial language that emphasizes subtext and is good at expressing nuances of meaning. Or at least, it inevitably expresses nuances, and you get a lot of choices about what exactly they are. I made it for fun.

The idea is that there are many different ways to express the same thought, and each way suggests different inferences. The grammar book gives A Quick Demonstration of Ouxu, including sixteen natural ways to say “the ink is blue”, each with a slightly different meaning.

See the grammar book and the dictionary. Both are also available in other formats below.

If you are a language nerd, see Ouxu’s entry at the Conlang Atlas of Language Structures.

Ouxu is:

Example Sentence with Analysis

Ohe ofta uttuae ehoha hepoisfa pifanaun.
I can eat glass, it does not hurt me.

See the I Can Eat Glass Project. Most words in Ouxu are put together from smaller parts.

Ohe truly (realis topic divider)
of- I
-ta agent of the clause
uttu- glass
-ae experiencer of the action of the clause
eho- ingest, eat or drink
-ha the action of the clause
he- clause ender
pois- potential (i.e., this could happen)
-fa event of the sentence
pifa- damaged, injured
-na- not
-un change to, the result of the sentence’s event

The realis topic divider ohe gives the sentence the implication “I can and have eaten glass.” If you wanted to say only that you could eat glass, you might use uiti instead. Pa would mean that you believe you can eat glass, and gi would suggest that you like eating glass. Many other aspects of the sentence can be varied for other effects.

Full Details

In Japanese

Mysterious language enthusiast Samwyn offers a review of Ouxu in Japanese, and gives partial translations of the grammar book and the dictionary into Japanese, a substantial amount of work. The review points out that Ouxu may have value for Japanese speakers because it has Japanese-like word order and unusually simple pronunciation. (Japanese itself has simple pronunciation, which means that adult speakers have more than the usual pronunciation and comprehension trouble with other languages.) I would have transliterated “Ouxu” into katakana as “オウジュ” rather than as “オウシュ”, though.

13 April 2009; last updated 27 July 2012 with the Japanese links