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The Starlings' Song in eighteen invented languages

It all started with the translation exercises that we were doing on the conlang mailing list. Some of those are to be found on Boudewijn's page.

In case you didn't know, the conlang list is for people who invent their own languages for fun, as an art form (i.e. not to change the world, or to make communication easier or more logical; other groups exist for that and some of our members are also involved in those).

Sally asked me for something of her own, because she didn't like to be influenced by what other people were doing, and I sent her the starlings' song and immediately thought of the "telephone game". People picked it up, the atmosphere got feverish, and in about a month the poem had come all the way back to me.

This is what we did. In collating the results, I took the liberty to correct obvious typos and rearrange paragraphs to fit into the "house style", but every page is essentially the work of the person whose name is on it in large letters - I'm just the editor.

If you'd like to see what happened to each individual line, here is John Cowan's lineup.

Added August 2008: in updating my webpages I checked all links to people's pages and deleted them if dead (the links, not the people). I can't very well do the same for people's e-mail addresses, though I've updated my own. Nothing else has been changed except on this page. Some special characters may have succumbed to software rot; sorry about that. If you find an error and can correct it, please tell me!

Added August 2018: removed the statcounter script but didn't check webpages. Search engines are your friends. It's not a priority right now.

  1. Valdyan - Irina Rempt (note, 2008: I didn't know at the time that the language is called Ilaini)
  2. Teonaht - Sally Caves
  3. Rokbeigalmki - Steg Belsky
  4. Hatasoe - Patrick Dunn
  5. Watakassí - Nik Taylor
  6. Nzva - Joe Mondello
  7. Ricadh - Chris Peters
  8. Draseléq - Pablo Flores
  9. Kernu - Padraic Brown
  10. Moten - Christophe Grandsire
  11. Eloshtan - Josh Roth
  12. Boreanesian - Kristian Jensen
  13. Asiteya - Jennifer Barefoot
  14. Doraya - Adam Parrish
  15. Brithenig - Andrew Smith
  16. Chleweyish - Carlos Thompson
  17. Arovën - Joshua Shinavier (web page defunct, but the message is funny)
  18. Demuan - Fabian De-l'isle
  19. And once more in Valdyan - Irina Rempt

And here's the little starling's tail - a collection of translations directly from the original, as well as Sally's translation (into Teonaht) of Fabian's Demuan version.

If you came to this page by a devious route and you'd like to be in on the fun, send a message with "subscribe conlang Firstname Lastname" in the body to the listserver to join the Constructed Languages mailing list. To read messages, try the archive.

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