Aceil in addelnnorW: A Bkoo

For many good reasons, Lewis Carroll’s classic is often chosen as a first text to translate into a new language or medium. Constructors of constructed languages and lovers of word-play have innate reasons to flock to Carroll’s text. Here’s a new “translation” of Alice in Wonderland into a language which is either pointlessly annoying, or an invaluable tool for strengthening your Scrabble skills. Every word of the classic 27,405 word text has been scrambled into an Alphagram (or, an aaaghlmpr, in Alphagrammish.) The apostles of this project claim that reading a “bkoo” is “not only fun, like solving a puzzle, but it also improves your ability to unscramble words and score higher in your favorite word games.”

The first page of “Aceil in addelnnorW,” from bkoo.org

Their blurb actually almost convinces that this could be an entertaining and mind-strengthening endeavor:

The thesis of this book is that Alphagram is a language (albeit more like Pig Latin than any natural language) that can be read, and whoever can read Alphagram can instantly spot anagrams. To learn Alphagram, we propose reading this bkoo of 27,405 words, including 2,576 distinct words. (To play this many words in Scrabble® would take a typical player thirty-five years at one game per week!) While reading the first chapter is challenging, afterwards you will find it reads like a classic translated into a familiar language. Several factors ease the learning curve: 1. Answers. Each page has answers on the back. 2. Context. It is much easier to find anagrams in context. For instance, “addelnnorW” is much easier to decipher after uncovering that it follows “Alice in….” 3. Repetition. Consider, for example, the word “thought,” which occurs 74 times in Alice in Wonderland. The first time you encounter “ghhottu,” it may take a while to unscramble (even with context), but later occurrences are easier as you naturally learn the language. oS ist abck, aelrx, adn ejnoy eht bkoo!

Aceil in addelnnorW: A Bkoo was translated by Cory Abbott sells for $12.95 on Amazon. Rachel Eley wrote to me, “Reading the examples on the website makes my brain feel like my hand feels when I use one of those grip strengtheners for climbers. It hurts but I can’t tell if that is because it good for me or bad for me.” I take back my earlier “pointlessly annoying” comment – Lewis Carroll probably would have loved this project. Meanwhile, we still wait for the first Pig Latin translation.