After writing Voyage and Fire, I wanted to find a third way to make a text-sound piece with a slow transition from non-meaning to meaning. I have always admired the chapter in James Joyce's Ulysses which is set at the childbirth hospital. Echoing embryonic development, it begins with a strongly Anglo-Saxon flavor, and proceeds through a series of pastiches of various English writers in historical order, from medieval times to Joyce's present.
I have always been fascinated by historical changes in languages, in the ways that newer languages, such as French, Spanish & Italian, evolve from an older language-- in this case, Latin. I thought it would be interesting to write a text that started in the Anglo-Saxon of the IXth Century, CE, which is mostly incomprehensible to untrained modern ears, and have it evolve through Middle English into Modern English and beyond into an extrapolated (but not very serious) XXIVth century English. I bought a book titled Teach Yourself Old English and more or less did so. I then wrote the text, as best as I could, which I fear isn't great, but at least the earlier text sounds like Anglo-Saxon.
For the XXIVth century Umurucun, "a language with only one vowel," I believe I got the idea from a column by William Safire, perhaps in the N Y Times magazine, where he described the nearly mono-vocalic dialect of Baltimore (Bultumur.)