language is `infinite use of finite means’ [Humboldt]. complexity is created by the astronomical number of combinations afforded by even a modestly sized vocabulary, or alphabet.
in `alien tongues’, all characters are drawn from a global alphabet of 30 symbols
each language has a unique `grammar’ -- a set of rules of how the symbols can be connected, and with what probability.
additional rules govern their rendering -- does an upturned symbol denote happiness? does a monstrous width denote rage? does physical distance denote tense?