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A conlang free-for-all

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Monday, May 22, 2006, 21:10
Some years ago on this list I tried to start up a
collaborative conlang project that turned out to be
impractical. But I think I may have found a way to
make it work. So here's what I've done...

I have built a web site with a database containing a
few simple sentences in a proto-conlang I call Kalusa,
along with an approximate translation of each sentence
into English. These sentences form the seed corpus of
the language.

Anybody who wants to can add sentences directly into
the corpus from the web page. This function is public,
and fully automated. As soon as a new sentence is
entered into the corpus by any user at any time all
all the words in the sentence are instantly index and
cross referenced in the database.

Anybody who wants to can vote on whether a given
sentence in the database is proper Kalusa or not. This
function is public and fully automated.

Any word, English or Kalusa, in any sentence in the
corpus can be clicked on to bring up a list of all the
sentences in the corpus that use that clicked-on word.

There are no stated rules of grammar. The grammar will
emerge as more sentences are added and voted upon.

There is no set vocabulary. The vocabulary will emerge
as sentences with novel words are added and voted

There is no dictionary. Instead, you can "look up" any
English or Kalusa word by typing that word into a
search box and pulling up every sentence in the corpus
that contains the target word. From those sentences,
and their acceptance rating by others, you can
determine how to use that word properly in a Kalusa

There is no final authority as to what is or is not
proper Kalusa. The only authority is usage as found in
the corpus, and anyone who visits the page can add to
the corpus and vote on which usages they prefer.

The only guidelines are that new sentences should
appear to be in the established language of the corpus
as it stands at any particular time. Novel
constructions should be minor modifications or
elaborations of existing constructions, not radical
departures. As sentences in the corpus age they may
carry less weight and be consigned to the "ancient
dialect" of Kalusa. But change should be evolutionary,
not revolutionary. The only request is that a visitor
have at least some familiarity with the existing
corpus before adding new sentences, so that the new
sentences are, indeed, written in the same language as
the rest of the corpus, even if they do use novel
words and constructions.

They way I've started it out is to put in a few
sentences with non-inflected words (because it's
simpler to auto-generate the cross references when
each words has only one form). The basic idea is that
each phrase is marked with a case-marking particle, so
that the phrases can be in any order in the sentence.
There is only one such particle so far.

Whether the language remains non-inflected, or evolves
into something else remains to be seen.

Everyone is welcome to visit my linguistic sandbox and
play around.

You will find it at:

Just to kick-start it, I've also imported my system of
numbers from an older conlang of mine, so all the
number words are givens.



Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>