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Kele: An Idea for Participatory Language Creation

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 2, 2004, 1:16
Hi all,

Recently, I got an e-mail from someone from the Czech Republic who was
interested in using Kele (one of my languages) for an RPG they were developing.   I
don't know why they wanted to use Kele, since it sounded highly unsuitable for
the type of game they wanted (medieval fantasy stuff, with names such as
"Abregor", which comes out in Kele as "Apalekolo"), but they did, so I gave them
the go ahead.   What Kele is is a faux-creole (or "super creole", as I call
it).   What I did was I took a list of basic words and created a language using
only those words.   This differs from a real creole in that such a language
descends from one or more full language, and doesn't come into being from just a
list of words.   Anyway, I corresponded with the people from the Czech
Republic for a time, and, in particular, they had me checking their translations.   I
kept on correcting their translations, until I realized that the grammar they
had inferred from my word list (since it was obvious they didn't look at the
grammar section on my website) was far different from the grammar I had
inferred.   This gave me an idea.

I invite all who are interested to create a language based on my Kele
wordlist.   Obviously, since you'll be the ones creating the language, you'll be in
charge, but here are some "guidelines" I have in mind:

(1) When creating a language from the wordlist, you can't make *new* words.
By this I mean you can't come up with an entirely new base based on the
phonology of Kele.   So, on my wordlist, there's no word for, I don't know,
"folder".   You can't create the form "ipolokanasa" and say that that is the word for
"folder"; that's not how th is intended to work.   The way you create words
is by combining the words from the word list in various ways.   You can add
sound changes, and turn some of the words into prefixes and suffixes (provided
there's a semantic reason for doing so), and use reduplication, but you can't
add completely new forms, or completely new affixes (or do something like
ablaut, unless it's an actual sound change).   (Note: You don't have to use all the

(2) You can't copy my grammar.

(3) The language has to have an original name (Kele is taken ;).

That's about it.   In a way, it's kind of like a game, and much like the
Dublex context that Jeffrey Henning ran in 2000, but with the intent of creating
language rather than words.

Also, regarding the metaphorical/idiomatic language, this might be a way to
do it (or using any other "basic" word list you can find).

Anyway, if anyone decided to do this, I'll provide a link to your site on my
webpage, or even host it, if you don't have a hosting service.

And this is just an idea; just something I thought up.   So treat as nothing
more than an idea.

The Kele website is:

That's it.   :)



Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>