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OT: Tips for relays

From:taliesin the storyteller <taliesin-conlang@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 12:08
The christmas relay or whatever it will end up being called is
well under way, and I thought I'd share some tips for
participants and people thinking of being participants "later,

While translating what you get and not to mention trying to make
sense out of it is fun, I find that the tricky part (as in: easy
to screw up) is the grammar notes and mini-dictionary you have
to make yourself, for the next stage.


Tip 1: If you're planning on using the same language for several
relays, reuse the notes and dictionaries of those you've already
done as much as possible. Might be they need to be updated to
the current state of the language, relay-dependent words will be
added as the need arises, and occasionally new info on grammar

Tip 2: Archive the questions you receive from the people after
you in the torch, as these may point out trends in what you
forget to include, or what is unclear. Work on the grammar
notes/dictionary after the relay to make it clearer.

Tip 3: (IMPORTANT). Use a tool to aid you in making the
dictionary, so that you don't leave out words.

What I do,

a) I *always* make an interlinear, where words are separated by
spaces and affixes by both spaces and a '-' or a '=' (for
derivations) (though there's no use in a multiline interlinear
per word at this stage).

b) Then I run the interlinear through a tool that replaces all
the spaces with a newline, so that I get each word and affix on
a line of their own.

c) Then I sort the list and remove duplicates. This way, I know
which words/affixes need to be in the dictionary.

d) My relay-dictionaries all have single-line entries, making
the next trick possible:

i) I combine the wordlist for the current relay with the
"master" relay dictionary, simply by copying the master
dictionary to the end of the wordlist.

ii) Sort this new wordlist+dictionary.

iii) If a word/affix* with a definition* is not paired up with a
word/affix *without a definition* in the resulting list, it does
not occur in the current relay, so delete it. Go through the
entire list this way.

iv) The remaining entries should consist of pairs of words, one with,
one without a definition, and single words lacking a definition. Add
definitions to the latter, delete the definition-less member of the

You're now left with a mini-dictionary tuned to the current relay.

Add this new mini-dictionary to the end of the
master-mini-dictionary, sort, remove duplicates, and you have a
new master dictionary, updated with the new terms from the
current relay.

A tool can be easily made that handles steps b), c), d i) and d
ii) fully automatically. However since I use linux I do those
steps with a one-liner in the shell and thus can't be bothered
to write a program useful for those of you forced to use mice
and windows for everything :) (It's all the extras needed on
Windows that is the problem: an installer, preferrably a window
to run it in, etc., oh, and support of course.)