Lang Belta: the Belter language from SYFY/Amazon’s The Expanse

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The Belter language, which in the TV show is referred to as Lang Belta, is a Creole language spoken by the Belter people in the The Expanse universe. A creole language can be characterized as a new language, based on the vocabulary of an existing language, but with an innovated grammatical system.

The Expanse takes place 200 years from now, in a future in which Earth has colonized the solar system. In this world, people emigrated to the Asteroid Belt from Earth looking for work, and now survive by scavenging materials in the Belt. In this contribution I will outline the construction and general characteristics of this very complex and interesting Creole and discuss some of its grammatical characteristics.

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How would it be if people of all nations spoke but one language? If the world had a universal tongue so that all people, regardless of their mother tongues, their cultures, and their religions, could easily and readily communicate? And what if it took very little effort to learn this language? A code where all language borders dissolve, and the world is without misunderstanding: a true lingua franca, no less.

This dream is not a new one. As Umberto Eco for instance has eloquently shown in his book “The Search for the Perfect Language”, the romantic notion of a universal language has been around for millennia, and it was highly popular in Europe throughout Renaissance and then Enlightenment. In the …