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are so many ways for speakers of English to see the world. Each word suggests some subtly different quality: looking implies volition; spying suggests furtiveness; gawking carries an element of social judgment and a sense of surprise.

Ideas that could be expressed only as a clunky circumlocution in English can be collapsed into a single word in Ithkuil.

A sentence like “On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point” becomes simply “.”It wasn’t long after he released his manuscript on the Internet that a small community of language enthusiasts began to recognize what Quijada, a civil servant without an advanced degree, had accomplished.

Ithkuil, one Web site declared, “is a monument to human ingenuity and design.” It may be the most complete realization of a quixotic dream that has entranced philosophers for centuries: the creation of a more perfect language.

Inventing new forms of speech is an almost cosmic urge that stems from what the linguist Marina Yaguello, the author of “Lunatic Lovers of Language,” calls “an ambivalent love-hate relationship.” Language creation is pursued by people who are so in love with what language can do that they hate what it doesn’t.

“I don’t believe any other fantasy has ever been pursued with so much ardor by the human spirit, apart perhaps from the philosopher’s stone or the proof of the existence of God; or that any other utopia has caused so much ink to flow, apart perhaps from socialism,” she writes.

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