The Language of Riddles-diculous
Oft referred to as 'Brooding'
My name is Dr. T Halberd from Extempory College's Ancient Linguistics Department, and I must make you aware of a devious method of communication. The Riddlesbrood Touring Theater Company (as they style themselves) are much more then they appear on the surface. After many years of obsessive research—and I have consistently said as much in my numerous articles— It is self-evident that these ’Thespians’ are convinced that they have a great mission: to cleanse the world of fantastical creatures which live in peoples brains—one audience at a time! Now, as a scientist and vegetarian, I’m not credulous enough to endorse such foolishness, yet I strongly suspect that this so-called ‘Theater Troupe’ is nothing less than a subversive and dangerous secret order. I shall prove as much in the following text.
Now, as far as this Curious Language ‘Riddlesdiculous’ I have no clue how this dialectical anomaly began but it is rumored to have been spoken in some far off place: mythologicaly referenced as ‘Harken’. However, I have never found any legitimate references to the location in any of the books in our extensive library—its existence is highly dubious—
But let me stop blabbering and go on with telling you about their bizarre tongue.
Apparently, members of this troupe clandestinely communicate with each other using the odd vocabulary, or as they refer to it: Brooding. It is a very strange and enigmatic language composed of mask-like human faces. The faces, in turn, represent sounds and ideas which are then translated. It is whispered that they can converse with each other by facial expressions without uttering a single sound, and in some cases, they have passed secret messages to each other by innocent looking cast photos: The content cleverly encoded on the gregarious grimaces!
As far as its orthography, it appears that Brooding is generally written left-to-right with lines written top-to-bottom. However, when used in an image or in another context, its form can vary greatly. Various visual elements such as pointing fingers, gestures (and the over acting that is typical of their style) seem to have a way of showing the words presumed order.
Clearly, to have come up with and used such a complex and highly ingenious method of communication hints at a great secret that this supposed theater troupe possesses.
But I’m digressing, let me return to the attributes I have discovered.
After some careful research I have identified some aspects of the grammar and lexicon of this language. I did this by crashing a few of their private party performances and secretly videotaped them in action. (By the by, did you know that someone is killed in almost every one of their shows?) After 16 such shows, I was detected by one of their burly goons and forced to run through a field of sticker bushes. Following my narrow escape, I locked myself in the bathroom and replayed the footage over and over again looking for clues. After several months, my mother kicked me out, but by then I had ascertained what i sought. The actors shot suspicious looks at each other during the scenes, which I cleverly took to be clandestine communications. After documenting all of this evidence on toilet-paper, I contacted some colleagues at the Language Creation Society to help me analyze my findings. One of them, BenJamin P. Johnson, avoided me for many weeks but finally relented on the condition that I bathe immediately and never contact him again.
Once I agreed to these terms, he offered me some startling intimations:
Firstly, he classified the word order of Brooding as Subject-Verb-Object—meaning the subject comes before the verb—also he revealed it was a V2 Language. I was elated at this discovery, as it surely had something to do with Hitler’s notorious rocket program!!!
PS- More technical details of this language is on Linguifex. A very important tool in cataloging these divergent languages.
In addition to what I outlined above, Brooding’s writing system is curiously comprised of two sets of severed-head like letters: seeing faces and blind faces. This hinted again at their ghoulish designs. The faces with closed lids represented entire words, while ‘Seeing’ faces form the alphabet: Each seeing character representing a Brooding phonetic sound.
These “faces” (referred to as gawbren) may be used in various ways, shows, or even mimicked by actors to tell a “story within a story.” I have seen these faces used frequently in the “Greatest Brochure in the World”, which is no less than the holy book of this secret society of insane actors.
While playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons, another one of my colleagues, Scott L. Hamilton, informed me that Brooding is written primarily as an abjad, which he told me means it omits the vowels when written. But once I heard the Arabic sounding word I knew that it, in fact, proved that they were affiliated with international terrorists! You can hear the language spoken, although I am not sure what it means exactly, in the theme song of this troupe (I recorded this in one of their mainstage performances without their consent. Ha Ha!)
But there’s more: In Riddlesdiculous, sentences are organized by the angle of the faces. The head turning right indicates the beginning of a sentence, while the head turning left indicates the end. The faces in the middle look straight ahead as if staring into your very soul—what villains!
Similar to how English paragraphs are started with an indentation; Brooding paragraphs begin with an odd ‘Tined’ Character—which is to say, a face with a three pointed beard reminiscent of their mysterious founder, Clyde P Riddlesbrood. Kerning of the characters is likely used to indicate a hushed volume, a secret conversation, or perhaps even an order to assassinate a rival! (This is mere conjecture on my part). This is accomplished by making the characters closer together or the space between them narrower. Brooding characters are all human expressions. While the exact face is variable, what determines its meaning depends on the state of three features of the face: eyes, mouth and tilt.
This can be plainly seen on the mysterious symbol of this theatrical band of conspirators.
Whether the eyes are closed or not indicate their meaning. The exact emotions of the faces (smile, frown, smirk, etc.) is not relevant as long as it’s clearly recognizable as one of the below.
both eyes open
left eye closed
right eye closed
both eyes closed
The mouth of a Brooding face also has great meaning to deciphering the symbol. It can be in one of six states:
mouth open with teeth visible
mouth open with teeth clenched
The vertical tilt of the face is the last distinguishing feature of a Brooding character. It can look upward or downwards, and in the middle.
head straight ahead
head tilted downward
head tilted upward
…I am sorry, but I hear someone coming up the stairs and I worry that it may be one of Riddlesbrood’s agents or Grey Aliens. I have been uncovered again and fear the worst! I must escape, my friends. I will try to get more information to you in the future. But you should go to one of their shows and see this for yourself. The world must be warned!