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The world of Akana (Ndak Ta: Ngkana; Fáralo: Kečǽnə), also known as Ranradius, 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.
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 Cursed Relay
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, the 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 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.
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).
Note: This list is heavily out of date; it represents the status quo of ca. 2007.
- 4pq1injbok (one language)
- Avaja (one language)
- boy #12 (one language; history)
- brandrinn (one language)
- cedh audmanh (maps; game organization; history)
- con quesa (one language)
- Corumayas (one language; history; linguistic reconstruction)
- Dewrad (two languages; history, culture, and religion; the infamous Tsinakan text)
- ebilein (one language)
- ghur (one language)
- gsandi (one language)
- Ink Pudding (one language)
- jmcd (one language; game organization)
- Legion (three languages; game organization)
- kode (one language; history)
- kolyn (one language)
- Mr. Zetler (maps)
- Nuntar (one language)
- Radius Solis (three languages; maps; history and culture; game organization)
- Ran (one language)
- Rory (two languages; religion)
- RHaden (one language)
- Salmoneus (history; climate; helpful critiques)
- Space Dracula (one language)
- Starsinger (one language)
- TzirTzi (one language)
- Whimemsz (one language)
- Zhen Lin (four languages; history and culture)
- zompist (one language; history, culture, and religion; game organization; maps)