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Can one fulfill the mitzvah of counting the Omer by counting in a language that only he/she understands? What if a few people understand? An entire goup?

  • In massechet Sota, Mishnayot list kriot, if in Lashon Hakodesh or in Kol Lashon. here there is no reason to think that it might be in LHK. count is an action, not a lecture. – kouty May 5 '16 at 18:48
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    @Mordechai B. I'm assuming you mean, "If I say 'flippity floppity moozidie whatchit', and intend to be saying, 'Today is the thirteenth day, that is six days and a week, of the Omer', am I yotzei? – user9907 May 6 '16 at 0:15
  • I don't think one is required to say the count in Hebrew. From my recall, I think even sign-language (which some refer to as "remiza" - signaling) is a valid means of counting the Omer. – DanF May 6 '16 at 2:57
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    Take Elvish, for example. It's a very well-thought-out language, with an extensive vocabulary and grammar rules. Numerous people can speak Elvish. – Mithical Aug 1 '16 at 10:10
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Lichorah this would have the same halacha as what is defined as a lashon in nedarim, so lashon ilgim, i.e. local slang dialects are ok, but anything less than that not.

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Misvara...

From a psychological perspective, it would appear that what constitutes a language is where you have at least one or two people who think in that language.

For example, the rarest language in the world used to be a Celtic language that was only spoken when 2 elderly sisters met, it is obvious that is a language and could be used for sephiras ha'omer.

Also, there was a case of twins who grew up in an isolated area of Canada and who invented their own language. This is lichorah also a language which would allow them to count sephiras ha'omer (I.e why should they be excluded from counting sephiras ha'omer just because they made up their own language?).

On the other hand, if you can speak Elvish this probably does not qualify you to count sephiras ha'omer in Elvish because there is not one single person in the world who thinks in Elvish, so you have simply agreed with other people on a secret code way of speaking, which does not become a language.

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  • a) Sevaras atzmo. b) Of course you can, because there are people who think in Spanish. – The GRAPKE Sep 18 at 4:51
  • Language is a model of how we put the world together. Therefore if there are people who put the world together using a language, it acquires the status of a language because it is used as a model of the world. The unfortunate who thinks in gibberish has no mental model of the world. Native spanish speakers model the world in spanish. – The GRAPKE Sep 18 at 5:51
  • The mentally unstable person does not put the world together. That is why they are mentally unstable. I do not have a source, this is sevaras atzmo, but I think it is a reasonable proposition, and I am not sure what other definition you could use to delineate when a language achieves the halachical status of a language and when it does not. – The GRAPKE Sep 18 at 6:23

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