AkanaWiki:External history

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The world of Akana is a collaborative conlanging and conworlding effort, with a focus on family diachronics and a shared historical basis for these linguistic developments. The world grew out of two different games on the Zompist Bulletin Board: a linguistic reconstruction game in 2005 for which Akana was originally created, and a diachronic derivation relay in 2006, which gradually metamorphosed into the conworld of today and its flagship language family, the Edastean languages.

Historical telephone (2005)

In 2005 Legion had an idea that met with enthusiastic response: he challenged the members of the ZBB to create a proto-language and a set of daughter languages, and then have people try to reconstruct the proto-language from the daughters only. Due to a vague similarity with the ever-popular Polyglottal Telephone games on the ZBB, this game was called Historical Polyglottal Telephone. There were two teams, each with a secret protolanguage; Proto-Isles was created by Ran for the first team, and Ndak Ta was created for the second by Radius Solis.

Work on the daughter languages was supplemented with some basic conworlding to provide a historical setting. Much of the basis for Akana grew out of Team Two's creation of the Aiwa valley, including both a local and a world map and brief descriptions of other peoples in the region. The original maps were drawn by Radius following the setting description originally proposed by Zompist, who later revised the world map to allow the Eastern Isles setting of Team One to be on the same planet.

After the game was over, work on Akana slowed and then stopped. A summary of the state of the world at this time can be found in the Kečǽnə articles on Almeopedia. The linguistic reconstruction of the two proto-languages did not get all too far; only Zompist published his results, and he did so only several years later, when Akana had long become a more comprehensive collaborative conworlding project.

The Cursed Relay (2006-2007)

In 2006, Radius suggested another game for the ZBB: starting with one protolanguage, to develop several long chains of daughter languages, to explore linguistic change over great time depths. While there was no original intention to connect this "derivation relay" to the world of Akana, a protolanguage was needed as a base to start from, and Dewrad offered his Adāta language from the Historical Telephone game. The structure of the relay began with each participant having ten days to complete at least a certain minimal level of description of their daughter language so that the next person in the chain could begin deriving a subsequent daugther from it.

Three teams were formed. In the first generation, three direct daughters of Adāta - Æðadĕ, Aθáta, and Ayāsthi - were derived by ebilein, RHaden, and Zhen Lin respectively. gsandi, Rory, and Legion provided the second generation, and the chains of descent continued for several months. Unfortunately, during this period a number of participants were forced to drop out for various personal reasons, some of them after losing their work in computer crashes. This gave rise to the game's nickname, "The Cursed Relay". The relay continued for months, gradually slowing as each link in the chains tended to take longer than previous ones had. Eventually work on these branches petered out, leaving only a few of the game's core participants still involved. By this time the three branches had reached their sixth, fourth, and fifth generations.

The languages created during the Cursed Relay were:

Revival (2007-2009)

The modern game is far less structured than its two predecessors; as the Cursed Relay's original setup and progression slowly ground to a halt, those still interested in the world began creating other languages, broadening the Edastean language family for fun. In mid 2007 Radius suggested that this new "contribute how and when you like" paradigm be made official. This led to a substantial fleshing out of the conworld's history and, in turn, to the return of several prior Akana contributors from both games to the active conworlding/conlanging scene.

In late 2007 the level of activity reached a new high, with new maps, new historical descriptions, and new conlang proposals, among other things, appearing sometimes almost daily, with fast-paced discussion in between. Since then, work has slowed, and sometimes nearly halted for substantial lengths of time - but each time, progress has resumed. The central Edak sphere has reached an impressive level of description, and a body of work in other cultural spheres and language families is growing.

In June 2008, the team launched the AkanaWiki as an official project website, where articles on all kinds of topics relating to Akana are being published. In August 2009, the AkanaForum was opened as a place for detailed discussion about Akana.

The Second Derivation Relay (2009-2010)

In October 2009, a second Derivation Relay was started - modelled on the Cursed Relay that produced the Edastean language family, but with a few conceptual differences. Most importantly, this game aimed for broader, more realistic language family trees, so each protolanguage was to have several descendants per generation. In order to flesh out regions that needed more attention, two protolanguages were chosen: Dewrad's Proto-Western and Zhen Lin's Proto-Peninsular. The relay progressed quite slowly and did not manage to attract as many new long-term participants as the team had hoped, but it resulted in the creation of several highly interesting languages.

The languages created during the Second Derivation Relay were:

Western family

Peninsular family

LCC4 Presentation (2011)

In May 2011, Cedh and TzirTzi held a talk about the Akana project at LCC4 in Groningen, NL. The slides of this presentation can be viewed here. {broken link → backup}

Two posters were also made for this event:

The Second Reconstruction Relay (2011-2013)

A new linguistic reconstruction relay was started in November 2011, modelled on the original Historical Telephone game. Again, two teams were created, each of them producing a small language family from a secret protolanguage, which were to be reconstructed by the other team once all the relevant daughter languages had been published. An overview of the game, which was set on the continent of Tuysáfa this time, can be found at the AkanaForum.

Although the two teams got out of sync with each other (with Team 1 publishing most of their daughter languages about a year later than Team 2), the game produced some very interesting results. Proto-Dumic was reconstructed quite successfully by Team 1, with most of the work being done by The Devilcat. The reconstruction of Proto-T1 proved more difficult for a variety of reasons, and is still a work in progress as of August 2014.

The following languages were created during the Second Reconstruction Relay:

T1 family

T2 (Dumic) family

The Third Reconstruction Relay (2014)

In December 2013, yet another Reconstruction game was launched on the ZBB by dhok and Serafín. It was originally an independent game, but a few weeks later the participants decided to use Akana as the setting for the resulting language families, once more focusing on the continent of Tuysáfa. The game progressed quickly, so that both protolanguages were declared finished within two months. As of the summer of 2014, several daughterlanguages have appeared, and reconstruction efforts have already started. Latest news can be found at the dedicated game forum.

The following languages were created during the Third Reconstruction Relay:

Ronquian family

Leic family

Contributors to Akana, past and present

Following is a list of all participants who have made material contributions to the world of Akana, in alphabetical order. Some of the most notable credits are listed for each person (including only published languages).


New participants are welcome to join; see the Akana Project FAQ for more information.