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The Curious Beginnings of Outer Wilds

The Indie Game that shot for the stars and reached them. Outer Wilds has one of the more interesting origin stories out there.

Whether you’ve played it or not, the indie game Outer Wilds has gained quite the cult following. The beautifully simplistic game reignited the wanderlust of many gamers around the world. It featured a fantastic story which was told solely through environmental story-telling and an even more fantastic soundtrack. 

The game was originally released in May of 2023. Since then, it’s gained a large following and more recently released its first DLC: Echoes of the Eye. It’s become one of those games that you can’t quite re-experience. One of those games where when you finally put the controller down, you exhale a sigh of… bewilderment! As such, if you’ve not played Outer Wilds, continue reading at your own risk. I promise you, you’ll want to experience all this game has to offer in your own playthrough. 

The Origins of Outer Wilds 

The small studio, Mobius Digital Games in Los Angeles are responsible for Outer Wilds. However, it didn’t start this way. In fact, Outer Wilds was born as a student project. Alex Beachum was working on his Masters thesis at the University of Southern California.

His project started as an idea to create something new in games design altogether. He wanted to break old game design foundations and work on something completely new.

A Living World 

 “We wanted to make a game where you’re exploring a world as it changes over time. In like really dramatic ways, just to get away from the idea that game environments are these static things.” – Alex Beachum. 

Many gamers will know just what he means by this. How many games have you played where you visit one location, leave in and maybe days or months have passed in-game, and upon returning to the location, nothing has changed. It’s one of the main faults of these virtual worlds, nothing changes. Everything is programmed to remain the way it was at its conception. 

The Freedom to Play 

Furthermore, Alex had another goal with his thesis. He wanted to create a game where the only reason for players to play it and explore the world was to satiate their own curiosity. There was no quest-giver, no impending doom that you must stop… Nope, instead you get to explore and play the world on your own terms. A kind of freedom which isn’t often found in modern games. 

A Response to Skyward Sword

Alex says he was heavily inspired by Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. A game which is so huge and expansive that exploring it is a key factor. And yet, Alex says that Outer Wilds was a response to Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. 

A Unity Development 

Alex wanted to create a space-travelling game. But of course, he’d need a spaceship for that! Something that navigates on a 4D plane, and thus something that’s incredibly tricky to get right. Programming such a thing is no easy feat, but Alex managed to make a prototype in Unity. 

Something he developed even further when he made another prototype. One in which the player simply sits upon a planet, roasting a marshmallow on an open fire. In the distance, a sun explodes, enveloping all around it until it hits the player and all goes dark and silent. Something which will be very familiar to Outer Wilds players. But it’s fascinating to see all these small pieces in Alex’s idea development which eventually moulded together to create the award-winning game. 

An Outer Wilds Hero?

Alex didn’t get to work right away on Outer Wilds. He graduated and worked on another project for some time before he returned to LA and joined a college friend’s (Loan Verneau) game studio. But this small upcoming games studio had a very interesting benefactor. Actor Masi Oka (Heroes) wanted to start a video game studio. 

Before Masi Oka had his breakthrough role in Heroes, he had worked on creating visual effects for movies, including the Star Wars prequels. Masi later went on a hired Alex’s college friend and the two founded Mobius. 

Although Mobius wasn’t set to work on Outer Wilds, after it’s success and awards, it only made sense to have the whole Mobius team develop and expand this game. 

From Student Project to Publication 

Later, the team at Mobius were approached by Annapurna about publishing the game. However, Annapurna didn’t want to publish a flipped student project. Instead, they wanted the best possible version of this game. And thus began development on the Outer Wilds we know and love. 

The team were now able, thanks to funding, to expand this world. They had new art assets, more time to add more elements of story and worldbuilding. 

Outer Wilds Awarded 

The game was adored by all upon its release. And thus, it was awarded a plethora of gaming awards. It was nominated for a whopping 28 awards and won 6. As a small indie game, this was an enormous success. 

It’s received consistently good reviews across all major gaming websites. 

Outer Wilds Echoes of the Eye

Finally, after 2 years since its release, the first DLC has dropped. Outer Wilds Echoes of the Eye adds more to the game. More mysteries, more exploration and – no doubt – more awards! 

If you’ve not had the chance to play through it, now might be the time! If you’re an open-world fan who loves exploration, then this game is for you. 

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How To Fix Outer Wilds Not Uninstalling On Game Pass.

If you are trying to uninstall Outer Wilds from Game Pass PC or have already finished playing it and would like to remove Outer Wilds from your computer. This article will show you how to troubleshoot the uninstall problems that are known issues with Outer Wilds on Game Pass. The primary one being that storage space isn’t freed up after the uninstall.

Related: How to fix headphones plugged in but sound coming from speakers on Windows 11.

Outer Wilds is one of the most unique games around and has made its way back to Game Pass once again. If you missed Outer Wilds last time it was on Game Pass now is the perfect time to dive in. Although the Xbox app looks simple enough, it’s riddled with bugs, errors, and issues that make using Game Pass a nightmare. If you’re starting out with the Game Pass for the first time or have been using it for ages, it generally works best if you install the Xbox app early into a clean installation of Windows.

You can check out some of our other troubleshooting guides here if you’re having other issues with Game Pass. For now, though you’ll find all the troubleshooting steps for updating or uninstalling Outer Wilds from Game Pass PC below. We’ve listed them in order of ease, so work through them from the top down. Some of them are specific to how you have your PC configured so they may not work for you.

If you have Outer Wilds installed on a secondary drive. Format the Drive.

Sadly not everyone is going to be able to use this method, however, it is the best solution to solve the problem. Format the drive you have Outer Wilds installed on. Moving forward, you should think about creating a partition on your drive just for games. For example, you may wish to allocate 150GB of your storage space to Game Pass games so that when this happens again you can quickly format the partition. Which only takes a few seconds to do.

As this issue happens with a lot of Game Pass games, chose to allocate one of my SSDs to the cause. This saves me from having to run through all of the other options shown below. Although they work well they are more time consuming and do occasionally fail.

How to uninstall Outer Wilds from Game Pass PC if it won’t remove from a drive fully?

If you can’t seem to uninstall Outer Wilds from Game Pass, there are several different things you can try. You may have to try all of these until you find the one that works. Yes! Game Pass really is that annoying. We’ve listed the options in order of ease so work your way down the list. Be aware that games are sometimes removed from the catalogue but the space on your drive stays used.

How do you update, uninstall, install Outer Wilds if it won’t update on Game pass automatically?

If your problem is that Outer Wilds won’t update on Game Pass, you’ll need to do the following to manually force an update.

Next, change to the Games tab and you will see all the games installed on your computer from the Microsoft Store and Xbox app.

This will work for all Game Pass games except for games that are linked to the EA Games app. You can also use this method to install or uninstall Game Pass games.

The Curious Case Of An Endangered Wildcat And A Disappearing Fruit Tree

To anyone with an interest in the fate of the world’s wildlife, it’s a familiar story: Bringing back predators like wolves and wildcats is crucial to re-wilding ecosystems. The most famous example might be the return of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, and its ripple effect on other species, including plants. The wolves’ presence after 70 years forced elk herds in certain areas to start moving again, which then gave the willow and aspen they had over-browsed a chance to regrow. That, in turn, provided beavers with enough sticks and logs to make a comeback of their own—from eight colonies in 1953 to 100 colonies today.

It’s a tidy story of nature’s resilience. But as biologists are now learning, reintroducing top predators to ecosystems where they’ve been absent for generations can affect other species in unexpected, and perhaps unwelcome ways.

Take the Iberian pear, a small, heat- and cold-resistant tree found only in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco—a hotspot of plant biodiversity. The species grows up to 32 feet high and sports round, marble-sized fruit that are so hard when unripe, shepherds used them as slingshot projectiles. The tree is considered stable but in decline with a “severely fragmented” population due to agricultural development, according to the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species.

[Related: The fight to save America’s most endangered mammal]

Another species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, the Iberian lynx, was reintroduced to several areas in Spain and Portugal in recent years. Inspired by the Yellowstone wolf findings, Tamara Burgos, a researcher in ecology at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, was curious to find out how the presence of lynx may be affecting the pear on the Spanish side of the border. From a 2009 study by colleagues, she knew that the trees depend on small mammals like foxes and badgers to spread their seeds. The animals consume the ripe fruit and later excrete the seeds, often some distance away, spreading the pear to new sites. Burgos and her co-investigators set up camera traps in Sierra de Andújar Natural Park, one of the largest remaining refuges for Iberian lynx. They placed some cameras in the wildcat’s territory and some outside it to see if the lynx’s presence might be influencing where, when, and how red foxes, Eurasian badgers, and stone martens forage for Iberian pear fruit in the area.

Small Iberian pear tree probably dispersed by a badger (the hole underneath likely serves as a latrine for the mammals). Tamara Burgos

The team placed Iberian pears beneath fruiting trees and, using the images from the cameras, kept an eye on the sites to see how often these important seed-spreaders visited them, how much fruit they ate, and how long they spent foraging. They found that within lynx territory, the red fox visited the sites less often, ate less fruit, and foraged less efficiently. The stone martens didn’t turn up at the sites at all, while badgers seemed unperturbed. The pear sites outside lynx territory, on the other hand, were far more popular: Across the entire study area, 70 percent of fox visits and 100 percent of stone marten visits to pear trees occurred beyond the lynx’s range.

Burgos and her collaborators concluded that the lynx has kept these frugivorous carnivores on the move and is likely affecting how they disperse pear seeds.

“We got really interesting results,” Burgos says. “We don’t think carnivores have any impact on plants because they prey on animals. But in many ecosystems, like this one, they are super important for plants.” The next step is to figure out exactly how the presence of lynx is affecting pear distribution—a dynamic that could have implications for Iberian pear recovery efforts.

While the study sites were in a lynx stronghold where the predator didn’t need to be reintroduced, Burgos says the seed-spreaders’ behaviors suggest that there could be a similar effect in areas where the wildcats have returned.

Lynx habitat on the Iberian peninsula mainly overlaps with private lands, so Burgos had to use some unusual tactics to gain access to her study sites. “We had to reach a deal with them, because they had to allow us to work inside their properties,” she says of the farmers and other landowners in the area. “That was the hardest part for this project. There were many dinners, many meetings in bars. It took one year of work, building these relationships.”

Bill Ripple, an ecologist at Oregon State University, calls the work enabled by those deals an “innovative” study and encourages more experts in the field to explore these kinds of effects. Still, as the co-author of a 2012 study on the “passive restoration” of Yellowstone ecosystems after the reintroduction of gray wolves, he cautions that other factors may have also influenced foraging behavior in lynx territory, such as human activity or the presence of wolves, which also live in the park.

“This has really piqued my interest,” he says. “But at the same time, I want to emphasize that nature can be complex. We know so little; we have to be humble.”

[Related: Great white shark sightings are up in the US, thanks to decades-old protections]

In the past, ecologists and biologists have primarily focused on how the return of predators affects prey numbers. Now they’re beginning to realize that their influence on behavior merits just as much attention, Ripple adds. “The behavioral impact needs to be considered as much or even more so than the mortality effects [on prey]. And this study is definitely looking at the ‘landscape of fear’ and those effects.”

Burgos says she plans to continue studying how the comeback of the lynx is affecting the pear, stone martens, and other species. And she hopes the fruit of her research will inspire other ecologists to explore the complicated and sometimes unexpected effects of returning long-absent predators to their native habitats. Understanding how bringing back one species can influence others can also help wildlife managers improve reintroduction programs, she explains.

“The lynx is a super charismatic species,” she says, “but we need to think about the rest of the species in the ecosystem.”

Dbms Joins: Inner, Theta, Outer, Equi Types Of Join Operations

What is Join in DBMS?

Join in DBMS is a binary operation which allows you to combine join product and selection in one single statement. The goal of creating a join condition is that it helps you to combine the data from two or more DBMS tables. The tables in DBMS are associated using the primary key and foreign keys.

In this DBMS tutorial, you will learn:

Types of Join

There are mainly two types of joins in DBMS:

Inner Joins: Theta, Natural, EQUI

Outer Join: Left, Right, Full

Let’s see them in detail:

Inner Join

Inner Join is used to return rows from both tables which satisfy the given condition. It is the most widely used join operation and can be considered as a default join-type

Inner Join further divided into three subtypes:

Theta join

Natural join

EQUI join

Theta Join

Theta Join allows you to merge two tables based on the condition represented by theta. Theta joins work for all comparison operators. It is denoted by symbol θ. The general case of JOIN operation is called a Theta join.


A ⋈θ B

Theta join can use any conditions in the selection criteria.

Consider the following tables.

Table A

Table B

column 1 column 2

column 1 column 2

1 1

1 1

1 2

1 3

For example:

column 1 column 2

1 2


EQUI Join is done when a Theta join uses only the equivalence condition. EQUI join is the most difficult operation to implement efficiently in an RDBMS, and one reason why RDBMS have essential performance problems.

For example:

A ⋈ A.column 2 = B.column 2 (B)

A ⋈ A.column 2 = B.column 2 (B)

column 1 column 2

1 1

Natural Join (⋈)

Natural Join does not utilize any of the comparison operators. In this type of join, the attributes should have the same name and domain. In Natural Join, there should be at least one common attribute between two relations.

It performs selection forming equality on those attributes which appear in both relations and eliminates the duplicate attributes.

Consider the following two tables


Num Square

2 4

3 9


Num Cube

2 8

3 18

C ⋈ D

C ⋈ D

Num Square Cube

2 4 8

3 9 18

Outer Join

An Outer Join doesn’t require each record in the two join tables to have a matching record. In this type of join, the table retains each record even if no other matching record exists.

Three types of Outer Joins are:

Left Outer Join

Right Outer Join

Full Outer Join

Left Outer Join (A B)

Left Outer Join returns all the rows from the table on the left even if no matching rows have been found in the table on the right. When no matching record is found in the table on the right, NULL is returned.

Consider the following 2 Tables


Num Square

2 4

3 9

4 16


Num Cube

2 8

3 18

5 75


A ⋈ B

Num Square Cube

2 4 8

3 9 18

4 16 –

Right Outer Join ( A B )

Right Outer Join returns all the columns from the table on the right even if no matching rows have been found in the table on the left. Where no matches have been found in the table on the left, NULL is returned. RIGHT outer JOIN is the opposite of LEFT JOIN

In our example, let’s assume that you need to get the names of members and movies rented by them. Now we have a new member who has not rented any movie yet.


A ⋈ B

Num Cube Square

2 8 4

3 18 9

5 75 –

Full Outer Join ( A B)

In a Full Outer Join , all tuples from both relations are included in the result, irrespective of the matching condition.



A ⋈ B

Num Square Cube

2 4 8

3 9 18

4 16 –

5 – 75


There are mainly two types of joins in DBMS 1) Inner Join 2) Outer Join

An inner join is the widely used join operation and can be considered as a default join-type.

Inner Join is further divided into three subtypes: 1) Theta join 2) Natural join 3) EQUI join

Theta Join allows you to merge two tables based on the condition represented by theta

When a theta join uses only equivalence condition, it becomes an equi join.

Natural join does not utilize any of the comparison operators.

An outer join doesn’t require each record in the two join tables to have a matching record.

Outer Join is further divided into three subtypes are: 1)Left Outer Join 2) Right Outer Join 3) Full Outer Join

The LEFT Outer Join returns all the rows from the table on the left, even if no matching rows have been found in the table on the right.

The RIGHT Outer Join returns all the columns from the table on the right, even if no matching rows have been found in the table on the left.

In a full outer join, all tuples from both relations are included in the result, irrespective of the matching condition.

Outer Space Decor For Your Young Astronaut

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Outer space is a fascinating place for folks both young and old. We are constantly learning more about its wonders, investigating its boundaries, and learning more about ourselves along the way, which makes it a great subject for you and your child to explore. Whether you already live with a future astronaut or you are looking to introduce something new, there are so many cool, space-themed decorations to fill a room with. Learn more about the planets with a fun poster (sorry Pluto), plot out favorite constellations with sticky stars, and map out the International Space Station with detailed models. Continue to inspire your kid’s curiosity by indulging their interests and getting onboard their next imaginary trip rocket trip to Mars.

Having glow in the dark stars on the walls and ceilings is a true classic only now, you can get an accurate map of the sky rather than a random sequence of chunky stars. This kit will help you and your child map out a perfect presentation of the night sky. It comes with 270 stars of various sizes to reproduce the actual brightness levels of their real-life counterparts. Each kit comes with a hand-crafted stencil to help you accurately place your stars across 23 feet of the night sky. You’ll end up with 31 constellations, highlighting Ursa Major and Cassiopeia to help your little one identify the surrounding formations. The kit also includes detailed instructions and an introductory pamphlet discussing astronomy. Your kid’s room will soon have a great, educational, and awe-inspiring night light.

This beautiful canvas poster is the perfect addition to any space lover’s room. While it may not be as attention-grabbing as phosphorescent constellations, it is a unique, yet accurate representation of the planets and significant celestial bodies like Ceres and our beloved Pluto. Each planet is labeled with a name and distance in kilometers from the sun. The colors are bright and won’t fade over time, making it the perfect addition to any rocket scientist’s wall. This poster also comes with a wooden hanging frame so you can put it up on the walls immediately upon opening. We won’t be surprised if you end up keeping this for yourself.

This LEGO Mars Research Shuttle will keep your kid (and let’s be honest you) entertained for hours. Inspired by NASA, this kit includes a buildable shuttle with opening cargo doors and cockpit, a rover with a grappling arm and tilted solar panels, a storage drone, a helidrone with spinning blades, and two astronaut mini-figures. While this set might be more toy than decoration, it looks great once built and becomes the perfect interactive model. Your child will develop a sense of achievement and independence once they tackle space shuttle building, and they’ll learn a lot along the way. It’s best for kids between the ages of six and twelve and is a great activity for siblings and friends. A great tool to introduce a more detailed concept of space exploration and a great way for them to teach you what they already know.

The Languages Of Game Of Thrones

The Languages of Game of Thrones CAS linguist on the origins of Dothraki, Valyrian

Language construction wasn’t a strength of Game of Thrones’ author George R. R. Martin, and that’s why he needed a linguist, says Alexander Nikolaev, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of classical studies and of linguistics. Photo by Cydney Scott

Athchomar Chomakaan!


That means “Hello” in Dothraki (but only when directed at a non-Dothraki), one of the languages spoken in the HBO hit show Game of Thrones, whose seventh season starts Sunday night.

The Dothraki and the High Valyrian heard on the show were invented by linguist David J. Peterson, who won a 2009 contest dreamed up by the Game of Thrones creators. They contacted the Language Creation Society (Peterson is a cofounder) and asked members to create the Dothraki vernacular, since Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin had not developed the language in his books.

Peterson’s skills have impressed linguists around the world, including admitted “medium-size” fan of the show and the books Alexander Nikolaev, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of classical studies and of linguistics. An expert in ancient languages, Nikolaev has led workshops on fictional languages in Game of Thrones, Star Trek, and Lord of the Rings. He was recently named a Center for the Humanities junior research fellow for the coming academic year.

BU Today spoke with Nikolaev about the real-world history that went into creating the Game of Thrones plot, how languages are created, and what he, as a linguist, thinks of the phrase “Valar morghulis.”

BU Today: When George R. R. Martin was creating the world of the Song of Ice and Fire series, did he have any real history in mind?

Nikolaev: Yes, absolutely. Basically, the history of Westeros is a mirror-image of the history of the British Isles: the original population of Westeros were the Children of the Forest, later ousted by the First People, who in turn had to move to the North when the Andals came along. Then came the Rhoynars, who took control over the southern part of the continent. Finally, with Aegon’s Conquest, the era of Targaryens begins.

Now think of the British Isles: the mysterious Picts, whose artifacts are found in northern Scotland, may or may not have been the earliest inhabitants of Great Britain. They probably had to move to the north when people who spoke Celtic languages (today’s Irish and Welsh and Scottish Gaelic) migrated from the continent. But Celts in turn had to move, first when the Romans came in the first century CE and then again when Great Britain was invaded from the continent by Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, collectively referred to as Anglo-Saxons) in the fifth century. And then of course there was the Norman conquest in 1066, with William the Conqueror being the prototype for Aegon, bringing new gods and new language to Westeros.

This is something that I find great pleasure in, with Martin and even more so with J.R.R. Tolkien and some other writers. When I read their books, it always becomes an intellectual game of sorts—when I see a plot twist, a name or a historical figure, I can sometimes say, OK, I see what you are doing here, I know exactly where you got this from. Tolkien, as I said, is a bit more fascinating for me personally since I have worked on some of those languages and texts that Tolkien taught as a professor at Oxford and that were the source of inspiration for him as he created the universe of the Middle Earth. This is Old English language and literature, but also Old Norse and the awesome world of Scandinavian mythology, Old Irish with its heroic saga, and the Finnish epic Kalevala. If you have read that stuff, it often becomes possible to identify Tolkien’s sources exactly and know where he gets the names of his heroes.

Why did the creators of the TV show need Peterson to create the languages of Dothraki and Valyrian?

In contrast to Tolkien, who was a language nerd, Martin is not a language guy. By his own admission, constructing languages isn’t Martin’s strength. He creates wonderful plots and fascinating relationships and strong characters. The only thing in the books that Martin had by the way of language was the phrase “Valar morghulis,” meaning “All men must die.” It was more or less the only phrase in a foreign language that he managed to coin, and it is not a very clever coinage, if you think about it: “morghulis” just reeks of the English word “morgue”—it’s not inventive. He took the word “morgue” and made a foreign verb out of it. Come on, you can do better than that. “Valar” is clever, because we can immediately connect it with the city Valyria. This is why the creators of the show were looking for a linguist to create the languages for them.

“Valar morghulis” is the only thing Peterson had to go on when he started, and he did an admirable job.

It was pretty clear from the books how many languages he had to create and also what the historical and sociolinguistic context there would have been. We know for instance that Targaryens are the only ones who speak High Valyrian natively; it’s a dead language used as the language of learning and education among the nobility of Essos and Westeros. But in the show, there is also Low Valyrian, a group of vernaculars spoken in places like Astapor and Braavos. As a model for this, Peterson clearly took the history of the Romance languages. Those languages, like French and Portuguese and Spanish, have descended from Latin, or rather its postclassical form known as “vulgar Latin,” the language that the legionnaires spoke when the Roman Empire started dissolving. But even though Latin was no longer a living language (it was not anyone’s first or native language) throughout much of European history, it was still maintained as the language of liturgy, scholarship, and science—just as High Valyrian is.

When you watch the show, what do you find interesting as a linguist about the Dothraki and Valyrian languages?

I think Dothraki culture was clearly inspired by the Mongols. Khal Drogo’s words, “My son, the stallion who will mount the world,” is something Genghis Khan would have said in the 13th century, or 14th-century conqueror Tamerlane two centuries later. The idea that the Dothraki have no word for “thank you” matches these historic models rather well. I don’t think there is much, if any, Dothraki in the books, but Peterson did a wonderful job here as well. One extremely clever thing he did is that the main auxiliary verb, verbs like “is” and “are,” in Dothraki, is the verb with the lexical meaning “to ride a horse.” In the question, “How do you do?” in Dothraki, it’s “How are you riding?” Horses play such a large role in the daily life of Dothraki that it affected their language.

What is the process of making up a language? What are the necessary tools?

Frequently when people think of languages, they think of writing systems. You think of Arabic, and you think of the Arabic calligraphy. You think of Chinese and you think of characters. But writing systems, more or less, have nothing to do with language proper. It’s the spoken language that is primary. In 99 percent of cases, any language can be written in any written system. My primary language is Russian, and I could write Russian using English letters, or using Arabic letters, whatever I want. Peterson and his team developed some special writing symbols for the show, I think, more or less inspired by Scandinavian runes, but this is the last step of creating a fictional language.

First you need to decide if you want to create a natural language or an unnatural language. In fiction, an example of nonhuman language is Klingon. How do you do that? You violate some universal properties of human language. You have to be a really good linguist to know how language works. Linguists have discovered that languages that may look very different in fact all operate on the same underlying principles. There is this thing called universal grammar, which we think is something that children are born with, a set of innate rules that makes it possible for children to achieve the extremely hard task of acquiring their language with full proficiency. One of the big questions of linguistics is how on earth can one- or two-year-old kids—who really aren’t that smart and cannot do much on their own (you have to change their diapers)—perform this formidable task and learn to speak a language without making any mistakes. As grown-ups, we are supposed to become smarter, and yet we take 10 semesters of German later in life and then can’t form a single sentence.

Back to Klingon. The creators of this language did a very smart thing: they skillfully violated some core rules of human language. For instance, the way that sounds in Klingon work, there’s no language on our planet, out of 7,000 languages, that has a similar phonological inventory, a set of sounds. What is considered to be impossible in a human language becomes a feature of an alien language.

How many languages do you speak?

We linguists get this question a lot. The problem with this question is that linguists and polyglots are two different things. A linguist doesn’t have to be a polyglot. We work with language as the object of scientific study. As a linguist, I may come to a new country and only speak a few phrases, but I can notice things about how the language works that the native speakers would never know.

I deal with dead languages, languages that no one speaks anyway, so I have an easier time with this question. I am a historical linguist and my specialty is ancient Greek and Latin, but I also work on Sanskrit, Iranian languages, Celtic languages, Anatolian languages that used to be spoken in modern day Turkey, and so on. I would say I have dabbled in about three dozen ancient and medieval languages, but of course there is no question about conversational fluency.

Have you ever created a language?

It’s been said that every college professor has a novel in the drawer. As a humanities guy, I would probably write a novel first, create a fictional universe, and then create a language for it.

Are you a big sci-fi fan?

I’m a big fan of Isaac Asimov (Hon.’80), who was a faculty member at BU, Clifford D. Simak, and Ray Bradbury.

The seventh season of Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, July 16, at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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