Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

There's an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Picard gets stuck on some planet with a Tamarian. Picard can't really communicate, because even though he can understand the words the Tamarian says, the Tamarian language is nothing but metaphors.

The Tamarian spends the whole time saying stuff like "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" instead of "You and I need to learn to trust each other so we can work together to fight the horrible monster that's going to try to kill us". The concept of a language that is only metaphores is kind of cool, until you consider how it got started. When one of the Tamarians says to another: "Janga, when the walls fell", how does the guy know what he's talking about? Obviously, he was told the story of Janga being around when the great walls fell. I can see it now, they're sitting there, with the new guy, saying "Borat, when the gate broke" and "Fudoh, at the seige". Seriously, in a language that exists only in titles of famous scenarios, how to you tell people about these scenarios?

The term 'bootstrap' means starting something. Computer guys use it all the time. Or if you're trying to start a business, the plan you have to go from nothing to the first stable stage would be your plan to bootstrap the company. It comes from the phrase "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps", because in that situation, you need to have straps on your boots before you can get yourself up off the bottom. Most people don't have bootstraps in this day and age, which is why we have such a homeless problem, as none of them are able to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. But I digress.

How do you bootstrap a language like this? There must have been a real language at one time, or they couldn't spread these tales. So at one point, everyone started using these metaphors, and gave up on the real language. Great, but god help you if life changes (got space travel anyone? Or how about alien races) and you need new metaphors because the old ones don't work. Good luck telling someone a story they've never heard by using titles of old stories.

Also, let's assume they've got society setup using this language, how does a new person learn it? Do they never learn the stories and just learn the general contextual meaning of the noise "Sammy at the gas station explosion" without knowing exactly what happened to Sammy when he was smoking at the Esso?

Anyways, while a cool concept, I don't think it would work. It's not flexible enough, or expandable.

And yes, I just realized this yesterday, many many years after ST:TNG.