Their language and those things derived from their language—religion, literature, metaphysics—presuppose idealism. For the people of Tlön,the world is not an amalgam of objects in space; it is a heterogeneous series of independent acts the world is successive, temporal, but not spatial. There are no nouns in the conjectural Ursprache of Tlön,from which its present-day languages and dialects derive: there are impersonal verbs, modified by mono-syllabic suffixes (or prefixes) functioning as adverbs.
Borges describes the language of Tlön as ideal because it is a language that has no nouns. In the northern hemisphere of the world, specific nouns are expressed through combinations of verbs. Borges exemplifies this by telling us that “surgió la luna sobre el río se dice hlör u fang axaxaxas mlö o sea en su orden: hacia arriba (upward) detrás duradero-fluir luneció”[“The moon rose above the river” is “hlör u fang axaxaxas mlö,” or Upward, behind the onstreaming it mooned]. In the southern hemisphere, nouns are substituted with combinations and accumulations of adjectives. Moon, for example, would be “aéreo-claro sobre oscuro redondo”[aerial-bright above dark-round.] Specific objects do not define themselves but are defined in relation to their actions or their qualities. Similarly, any language used in the creation of objects in digital interfaces also defines objects not by themselves but by their actions and qualities. Language in computing, in Borges’s short story, and in its world of Tlön is an active and visible mediator that connects the imaginary with the real and the interfaces with their content.
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