Upward behind the onstreaming it mooned
From Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Teritius by Jorge Luis Borges
There are no nouns in Tlön‘s conjectural Ursprache, from which the “present” languages and the dialects are derived: there are impersonal verbs, modified by monosyllabic suffixes (or prefixes) with an adverbial value. For example: there is no word corresponding to the word “moon,” but there is a verb which in English would be “to moon” or “to moonate.” “The moon rose above the river” is hlor u fang axaxaxas mlö, or literally: “upward behind the onstreaming it mooned.”
The preceding applies to the languages of the southern hemisphere. In those of the northern hemisphere … the prime unit is not the verb, but the monosyllabic adjective. The noun is formed by an accumulation of adjectives. They do not say “moon,” but rather “round airy-light on dark” or “pale-orange of-the-sky” or any other such combination. In the example selected the mass of adjectives refers to a real object, but this is purely fortuitous. The literature of this hemisphere … abounds in ideal objects, which are convoked and dissolved in a moment according to poetic needs. At times they are determined by simultaneity. There are objects composed of two terms, one of visual and another of auditory character: the color of the rising sun and the faraway cry of a bird. There are objects of many terms: the sun and the water on a swimmer’s chest, the vague tremulous rose color we see with our eyes closed, the sensation of being carried along by a river and also by sleep. These second-degree objects can be combined with others; through the use of certain abbreviations, the process is practically infinite. There are famous poems made up of one enormous word. This word forms a poetic object created by the author. The fact that no one believes in the reality of nouns paradoxically causes their number to be unending.