Universal Translator: Noun

Noun. A part of speech that caters to the human obsession with naming objects. Loosely identified by a primitive human song as “a person, place, or thing.”

(Side note: A formal protest has been lodged with the Galactic Council against human identification of other intelligent beings as “things” and not “persons.” Judgment is still pending.)

Types of Nouns. Humans like to categorize things, and have divided the simple noun into several unnecessary types.

Concrete Noun: An object, substance, or being that can be perceived using the senses (hut, dirt, sword). Humans rely mainly on their eyes, but can also sense things through their ears, mouth, nose, and skin. As their empathic sense is virtually non-existent, they do not consider emotions to be concrete nouns. (See: Abstract Noun.)

Abstract Noun: A thing that can only be understood by the mind, such as a concept (ignorance), a quality (ugly), or a measure (year). Some have expressed surprise that humans are capable of abstract thought. Evidence supports that they are capable, but illogical measurements such as the cubit prove that humans have not evolved competence in this area.

Countable Noun: Something that can be counted. Humans enjoy the repetitive action of counting items such as coins. (As proof, they produce physical tokens of money, even though these tokens are universally obsolete among all higher beings.) English-speaking humans assign a special importance to these nouns by adding an “s” to a countable noun when there is more than one, such as one dollar and two dollars. They also compare the amounts of countable nouns by saying things like, “You have fewer dollars than I have.”

The Money Changer and His Wife

An example in human art of their foolish focus on coin counting

Non-Countable Noun: Something feared and avoided by humans, since it cannot be counted and assigned the special “s” at the end of the noun. Examples include pollution and salt. Comparing amounts of non-countable nouns is handled by saying things like, “My meal has less salt than yours, and so I will live longer.”

Collective Noun: A noun that represents more than one person or thing, such as a flock of humans or a chorus of vehicles. These nouns confuse humans because they are usually treated as singular even though they refer to more than one item.

Common Noun: A noun that has no specific importance, and is not capitalized. Almost all nouns are common nouns.

Proper Noun: A noun that humans have decided is special, and warrants a capital letter at the beginning of the word. Examples include the name of a specific person or place. Humans continue to debate whether the name of their planet should start with a capital letter. Galactic grammarians are also divided on this point. Some argue that Earth should be capitalized, since it is a specific planet. Others argue that a backwater planet named after something as common as dirt has no importance.

Entry submitted by The Learned Dresgjas Sjart-Iiih of the planet Jassssh

(Editor’s Note: Clearly biased against humans. Find someone with more experience of Earth for future entries.)


Image credit: Wikipedia Commons, The Money Changer and His Wife

This is the first in my new series called Universal Translator. As some of you may have noticed, I was channeling The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when I wrote this. 🙂 This series will feature entries from different beings around the universe, who will bring their unique perspectives to the study of the English language. As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

23 thoughts on “Universal Translator: Noun

      1. That’s great that you have the audio versions, too. My son enjoys the songs a lot. And you even have them on vinyl! You are a true collector. 🙂


      2. It was the only form on which I could find Multiplication Rock at the time. I have Grammar Rock on cassette and America Rock and Science Rock on CDs. Of course you realize, I had to pull them out and listen to them again, now that we’ve been talking about them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Love it, love it, love it, Sue. And I adore Douglas Adams. He was the first author I made my kids read and quote–way before Rowling. Here’s to a terrific start to an entertaining (and instructive!) new series.
    By the way, thought of you the other day as I finished listening to a book. I’m going to guess that you’ve already consumed it, but if not, might I suggest, Andy Weir’s The Martian. Brilliant tale. And even more enjoyable in audio form. 🙂


    1. Thanks for thinking of me, Shelley! I’m always up for book recommendations. I read Weir’s book a couple of months ago, and it is quite the tale. It reminds me of watching Apollo 13, just waiting for what could go wrong next. As a fan of both sci-fi and MacGyver, I love these types of stories. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it, too!


  2. This was a delight to read. The difference in countable nouns and non-countable nouns reminded me of Stannis correcting Ser Davos’ grammar in Game of Thrones.

    Ser Davos: It’s four less fingernails to clean.
    Stannis: Fewer.
    Ser Davos: Pardon?
    Stannis: Four *fewer* fingernails to clean.

    And I appreciated your adoption of the Hitchhiker’s Guide style. Right on!


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