In the documentary (SHn(y)o?of) by award winning director Sam Davis (Period. End of Sentence., a retired couple named Bill and Tonya Martin spend their days making up words for a language they had first developed when their children were young. Recalling shorthand they used and the adorable mispronunciations uttered by their young boys, it seemed only natural to continue to expand it.
Bill and Tonya Martin don’t speak English anymore. This is the story of Martinese.
The language is called Martinese and only two people in the world speak it, and neither have a desire to pass it down to their children. Each word is thought out and agreed upon before put into use. The Martins do this to put their brains to use after retirement, or as Tonya laughingly states “It helps us not get Alzheimer’s too”, but it also helps fill the time when the pain of an empty nest sets in. Hence the title, which means “The hollow sound of a big empty home. Also pertains to the feeling of emptiness within”.
The Martin’s story is very real – touching and bittersweet. It simultaneously captures the loneliness and ingenuity of the human condition It’s only when the credits run that viewer realizes something is amiss.
Well done Mr. Davis.