"Oligosynthesis" redirects here. For the artificial creation of short strings of nucleic acids, see Oligonucleotide synthesis.
An oligosynthetic language (from the Greekὀλίγος, meaning "few" or "little") is any language using very few morphemes, perhaps only a hundred, which combine synthetically to form statements. Oligosynthesis is almost entirely theoretical and would depend heavily on the creation of lengthy compound words, to an extent far exceeding that of natural polysynthetic languages.
Because no natural language has been shown to exhibit oligosynthetic properties, some linguists regard true oligosynthesis as impossible or impractical for productive use by humans; its use is limited to some constructed languages, such as Ygyde, Newspeak, Sona, Toki Pona and aUI. The Native American languagesNahuatl and Blackfoot have in the past been claimed to exhibit oligosynthetic qualities (most notably by Benjamin Whorf). However, the linguistic community has largely rejected these claims, preferring to categorize Nahuatl and Blackfoot as polysynthetic.