Language Game Inspired by Noam Chomsky's Linguistics

A new smartphone app gives a clever nod to Noam Chomsky while giving players just enough inspiration to create some pretty funny sentences.

Language Game Inspired by Noam Chomsky's Linguistics

A new smartphone app gives a clever nod to famous American linguist Noam Chomsky while giving players just enough inspiration to create some pretty funny sentences. Like endless magnetic fridge poetry, the game Sleep Furiously offers players the chance to create grammatical sentences that are wildly nonsensical.


One mode of the game gives you a defined number of moves to create the highest-scoring (read: longest) sentences. Here are the gems I came up with:

Pride follows the penguin wildly! (Hooray for penguin poetry.)

The healthy awkward ninjas collapsed! (Awkward indeed.)

Demons elevate the furniture inside him! (Probably IKEA furniture.)

Created by brother-and-sister duo Justin and Jen Helms at Playmation Studios, Sleep Furiously explores the concept that a sentence can be simultaneously grammatical, but nonsensical — the name comes from the sentence that Noam Chomsky coined to demonstrate that concept 60 years ago: "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously."

There are three modes to the game: one timed feature sure to test your ability to construct nonsensical phrases under pressure; one mode that gives you a certain number of moves to build your sentence; and an infinite mode where you can create grammatically correct phrases until the grammarian inside of you is infinitely content.

All in all, the game is a cheerfully built puppy dream (which is also a decently scoring phrase). Sleep Furiously is available today from Apple, Google, and Amazon for iOS and Android. 

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Physicists solve a 140-year-old mystery

Scientists discover the inner workings of an effect that will lead to a new generation of devices.

Carrier-resolved photo-Hall effect.

Credit: IBM
Surprising Science
  • Researchers discover a method of extracting previously unavailable information from superconductors.
  • The study builds on a 19th-century discovery by physicist Edward Hall.
  • The research promises to lead to a new generation of semiconductor materials and devices.
Keep reading Show less

Does forgetting a name or word mean that I have dementia?

The number of people with dementia is expected to triple by 2060.

Photo by Connor Wang on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
The number of cases of dementia in the U.S. is rising as baby boomers age, raising questions for boomers themselves and also for their families, caregivers and society.
Keep reading Show less

New Hubble images add to the dark matter puzzle

The images and our best computer models don't agree.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists can detect the gravitational effects of invisible dark matter.
  • Dark matter causes visual distortions of what's behind it.
  • The greater the distortion, the greater the amount of dark matter. Maybe.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Culture & Religion

    Did our early ancestors boil their food in hot springs?

    Scientists have found evidence of hot springs near sites where ancient hominids settled, long before the control of fire.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast