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Kurt Schwitters: glossopoeist and didn't even know it

Kurt Schwitters is an artist known for his collages and, later on, his sound poetry capped off by his quintessential piece: URSONATE (you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X7E2i0KMqM)



While getting a literature review ready for my thesis, I knew I'd need to cover this giant of sound poetry, recently explored by famed Dutch sound artist Jaap Blonk.


So, I purchase the book pppppp: Kurt Schwitters, a handy collection of his poetry and theory on his sound poetry. It's been quite the entertaining read.



This is such a cool book. If not for the awesome, nonsensical poems it contains, then for the little CONLANG DESCRIPTION on p. 226


It's not a completely functional conlang, to be sure. It actually kind of reminds me of Ro. Each sound represents a specific idea.


The vowels:


a be (have)

o will (desire)

i fear

u not be (not have)

e suspect


The consonants:


b I

d you

m he

n she

g it

p we

t you (pl.)

k they


Vowel length distinguishes meaning too. Vowels are long unless specifically marked as short by the letter c. However, it's not clear how exactly apart from a few specific examples:


ac=yes

uc=no, not

oc=desired, willed, wanted



sh represents emphasis. So:


bash I am very much

mosh he will/wants a lot


Anyway, just a cool nugget of conlang history, stretching back to the 20's and 30's.

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