“This” and “that” were never sufficient: add more directional words to the English language! Never be hit by a tree falling on you again, now that you can be warned that a BLUHTREE is falling!


In some languages, there are several variants of words (like “this” or “that”) that give you additional “implicit” information about the world.

For example, if a person says “this notebook,” it indicates a notebook that is near them. If they say “that notebook,” it indicates a more distantly-located notebook.

Even though a language can get by fine with only the word “this,” it can be helpful to more quickly convey information about location in a single word. But this functionality is quite limited!


Let’s add some more location-determining functionality to the names of objects, so that it will be possible to indicate if an object is to the left or right of a speaker.

Imagine the following scenario: a person driving a car hears “Watch out! Don’t hit that pedestrian!” Ideally, the driver would immediately know where the pedestrian is. Are they on the left? Directly in front of the car? On the right? Who knows!

To fix this, we will add location-indicating prefixes, such as:

  • “Watch out! Don’t hit that fuhperson!” (the person is in directly in front)
  • Or: “Watch out! Don’t hit that fruhperson!” (in front and to the right)
  • Or: “Watch out! Don’t hit that fluhperson!” (in front and to the left)

Figure 1 shows a more varied assortment of location-prefixing options:

Fig. 1: With the speaker as the reference point, here are some possible direction-indicating prefixes. Note that the “U” in “bluh-pyramid” is just to make the word pronouncible: it indicates B (back) and L (left), but the “uh” does not indicate up: a levitating pyramid in the sky would have been an “ubul-pyramid” (UBL = {up, back, left}: rhymes with with “double pyramid”).

In this case, we have divided space into a total of 27 regions (3 options each, times three spatial axes: X, Y, and Z):

1. Up / down / (or none)

2. Front / back / (or none)

3. Left / right / (or none)

The order of UD / FB / LR is not crucial: the main element is pronounceability.

Concrete examples:

Let’s try all nine options for a “sphere” on the ground near the speaker (i.e., not above or below):

  • Fuh’sphere (front) {F}
  • Fruh’sphere (front right) {F, R}
  • Ruh’sphere (right) {R}
  • Burr’sphere (back right) {B, R}
  • Baa’sphere (back) {B}
  • Bluh’sphere (back left) {B, L}
  • Le’sphere (left) {L}
  • Fluh’sphere (front left) {F, L}
  • Sphere (no directional component: extremely close to the speaker) {Ø}

If we also add up (“uh”) and down (“duh”), we’d end up with “uffl-sphere” ({U, F, L}) (which is hard to say, so perhaps it could be reordered to “ulf-sphere”) and “duffel-sphere” {D, F, L}

PROS: Should make it much easier to yell warnings at people at short notice. (A warning like “watch out for the falling tree!” works much better if you are also told exactly where the tree is.)

CONS: None! The perfect addition to any language.