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. 

Every 27.5 million years, the Earth’s heart beats catastrophically

Geologists discover a rhythm to major geologic events.

Credit: desertsolitaire/Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • It appears that Earth has a geologic "pulse," with clusters of major events occurring every 27.5 million years.
  • Working with the most accurate dating methods available, the authors of the study constructed a new history of the last 260 million years.
  • Exactly why these cycles occur remains unknown, but there are some interesting theories.
Keep reading Show less

Babble hypothesis shows key factor to becoming a leader

Research shows that those who spend more time speaking tend to emerge as the leaders of groups, regardless of their intelligence.

Man speaking in front of a group.

Credit: Adobe Stock / saksit.
Surprising Science
  • A new study proposes the "babble hypothesis" of becoming a group leader.
  • Researchers show that intelligence is not the most important factor in leadership.
  • Those who talk the most tend to emerge as group leaders.
  • Keep reading Show less

    The first three minutes: going backward to the beginning of time with Steven Weinberg (Part 1)

    The great theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg passed away on July 23. This is our tribute.

    Credit: Billy Huynh via Unsplash
    13-8
    • The recent passing of the great theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg brought back memories of how his book got me into the study of cosmology.
    • Going back in time, toward the cosmic infancy, is a spectacular effort that combines experimental and theoretical ingenuity. Modern cosmology is an experimental science.
    • The cosmic story is, ultimately, our own. Our roots reach down to the earliest moments after creation.
    Keep reading Show less
    Surprising Science

    Ancient Greek military ship found in legendary, submerged Egyptian city

    Long before Alexandria became the center of Egyptian trade, there was Thônis-Heracleion. But then it sank.

    Quantcast