xkcd Time Wiki

One of the Beanies draws a diagram for Cuegan of a possible language translator.

Since the introduction of Beanish in newpix g2663, the One True Comic features multiple languages.  The primary language so far, spoken by Cueball and Megan, is written as English.  This is possibly for the benefit of the viewer; it has been suggested on the One True Thread that the characters are unlikely to be speaking modern-day English if the events of Time take place in the distant future, or in a foreign land.  Beanish is spoken by the Beanie Bunch and is not written using the Roman alphabet, but with unknown symbols and punctuation.

Observers of Time received a visual guide to the languages in newpix g2738, when one of the Beanie characters depicted the language barrier between Cuegan and the Beanies by illustrating Cuegan's words as small circles and the Beanies words as small triangles. In the following frame, the Beanie adds a picture of an unknown person (possibly with a beard) who is able to speak both the circle and triangle languages, as well as a third language represented by a square.

Naming the Languages[]

After the Beanie's drawing, posters on the One True Thread casually called these languages by their shapes: circlish, squarish, and trianglese.  When user Lyoug posted an image of the well-known USB icon, featuring circle, triangle, and square prongs, this was quickly adopted by others.  The three languages were soon named for the letters of the USB acronym.  The "triangle" language spoken by the Beanie Bunch was Beanish, the unknown "square" language retained its shape-based name of Squarish, and the  "circle" language depicted as English in the comic went through several permutations before settling on Unglish ("English with an ugly accent," according to Ximenez, who coined the term ).  Unglish's bounty of proposed names beginning with U are compiled in the phrase: Unchanged Universalish English (Ugh).  

The branching USB icon was repurposed by Timewaiters to explain the relationship between these languages, with ChronosDragon suggesting "USBese" as the root language for all three.


A repurposed USB icon showing the OTC languages.