When he plays video games online, Edwin Crockett sometimes ends up playing with people who speak different languages.
Wanting to find a way to talk to his fellow gamers was part of the inspiration for a simple language he created, then presented for the county science fair.
Edwin's project, "Neo-Esperanto: Universal Language Based on Mathematical Patters," won him the senior reserve champion award Wednesday at the North Museum Science & Engineering Fair held at Spook Nook Sports. The prize recognizes him as the third-place winner overall.
“My goal was to make this language so heavily based on patterns that it could be learned and memorized by anyone,” said Edwin, a junior at Ephrata High School.
For his project, he created a dictionary of nearly 175 words and constructed a simple, standardized grammar based on mathematical formulas.
He then translated 25 English phrases into his language as and into Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and German, demonstrating that his new language used fewer syllables and shorter phrases, presumably making it easier to learn.
“My goal was to create a standardized syntax that had no exceptions so it was as easy as possible for people who are unfamiliar with it to learn it,” he said.
Edwin said he was inspired by Esperanto, a constructed auxiliary language created in the late 1870s and early 1880s by L. L. Zamenhof, a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist.
Edwin said he made his own dictionary of words over Christmas vacation, drawing on Toki Pona, a more recently devised constructed language.
In his language, the phrase “Under the stairs, the cat slept like a log” is rendered as “Mulson mos mantuj pukpam tol mej.”
A practical question is “Lo ban sok set, jal’pes?” which translates to “Where would I find the nearest bathroom?”
Edwin, the son of Joe and Nicole Crockett of Ephrata, said he is still considering if he will study linguistics in college, saying he would be interested in refining and expanding the language he created.