The world of The Scent of Gravity
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Hyperspace Pidgin (HyPidgin), in addition to being a handy urban bird greeting, is a trade language usable by most types of sentient beings. Like DNA sequences on earth, its words are composed of four possible elements: open, closed, short, and long. In verbal communication, these are often made with sounds like O (open), M (closed), K (short), and S (long). They can also be communicated using light, shapes, gestures, sensations, etc., depending on the senses and capabilities of the sentient being. As long as each being can perceive the other’s communication elements and understands which is which, HyPidgin allows communication between very different kinds of sentients.

A fifth element is usually indicated by spacing (in writing) or a pause (in speaking), but can also be communicated by darkness or blankness.

Communication in HyPidgin tends to be simple and practical. It’s not especially effective with things like nuance, cultural specifics, and etiquette.

There is no concept of vowels in HyPidgin, resulting in words like “smk” (good, happy, fortunate, satisfactory) and “ksks” (we, us, the ones speaking, our group, our kind, this organization). Elements cannot be doubled within a word: for instance, there could not be a word “mmo” because of the repetition of the closed element (M). There are no conjugations, declensions, or plurals, except that words can be repeated for emphasis or to indicate that they are plural. For instance:

“mso” = “you (one or more individuals)”, “mso mso” = “you all”, “mso mso mso” = “all y’all”
“sk” = “no/not/false”, “sk sk” = “oh hell no”
“mos smksk” = “foolish individual,” “mos smksk smksk” = “goddamned idiot”

Communication in HyPidgin usually begins with “kokoko,” meaning “hello/lines are open/I see you there/yes, what is it?”

Multiple species of sentients claim credit for inventing HyPidgin, but the prevailing theory is that it was developed cooperatively among traders from a small number of species soon after the introduction of jump gates, before multi-species translator devices were common.

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