Sunday, 13 February 2011

Nikhil Sinha, the Only(?) Indian Conlanger, and his Conlangs

I accidently found Esperanto a couple of years back. I was excited to know it's unlike any other language in the world. It was a 'constructed language'. (Some prefer to call it an 'auxlang'.) To find more about Esperanto, I occasionaly went to cyber cafes. During one of those visits, I came across another constructed language which, it seemed to me, incorporated the grammar of Esperanto in it. The only difference, I could figure out, was in the choice of roots. The European roots were swapped with more familiar Sanskrit and Hindi words. I didn't bother much about the language because I thought it was just a copy cat project and wasn't worth having a look. After that, I forgot the name of the language; the only thing that wasn't erased from my memory was the first name of the creator - Nikhil.

Today morning, for no particular reason, I decided to find out what happened of Nikhil and his project. At first it was difficult to find information about him and his conlangs because Nikhil is such a common name in India. But within a few minutes, I did manage to Google out his real name - Nikhil Sinha. He was 15 in 2003 so he must be 22 or 23 by now. I couldn't find more about him but more Googling did reveal that he is the "only" conlanger from India. 

Coming to his languages, he has created four artlangs: Nihilosk, Indika, Gokim and Cannic.

1. Nihilosk: According to this website, Nikhil's first creation was Nihilosc. "The first conlang is not akin to any spoken language. It is just made up." and the name of the language, Nihilosc, is a "corruption" of his name.

Here's what the language looks like:

Nihiloscon iso impiyoan raquaon greinoas. Etada Nihiloscon epruiboanus. Etadaan diseisenciaon Nikilon Sinhaon greinoas.

(Nihilosc is a simple language. I'm learning Nihilosc. My name is Nikhil Sinha.)

Unfortunately, I have no idea on how to pronounce it or how it works because the website that contained information about it was hosted on Yahoo Geocities which is no longer available.

2. Indika: This was perhaps the language I saw then. This language is based on Esperanto, English, Hindi and Sanskrit. I gather from the sample sentences I've found that the grammar borrows much from Esperanto and the role of the rest three is confined to lending words.

Indikao asas un asana linguao. Mi sikoagas Indikao. Mia namo asas Nikilo Sinhao.

(Indika is a simple language. I'm learning Indika. My name is Nikhil Sinha.)

Here, asas seems to have been borrowed from Ido and the verb ending -as, adjective ending -a, noun ending -o, the first person pronoun mi and first person possessive pronoun mia, clearly show how much Esperanto has affected the grammar of Indika.

The roots asan-, sikoaga- and nam- are from Hindi or Sanskrit and they mean 'easy', 'learn' and 'name' respectively.

You can find nine sentences, including the three mentioned above, in both languages here.

3. Gokim: The language was first spelled as Goquim. It's a very strange looking language. To make plural you have to add an -om and that's all I know about it! Below are the same three sample sentences in Gokim:

Goquimu kuin Omeina na. Duitina goquimen dilde nalla. Oste dilde Nikhil Sinha na.
(Gokim is a simple language. I'm learning Gokim. My name is Nikhil Sinha.)

Fortunately, there is still some information left on how the language works on this page

4. Cannic: This is the best documented, if you are a linguist, of all of Nikhil's languages currently available on the internet. I believe there is sufficient material on this website for an expert but for me, who is only casually interested in languages, it's far from being something I could learn the language from.

Again, the same sentences in Cannic:

Kánika astis á simplán lánguéźa. Áma larning Kánika. Ámos náma astis Nikil Sinhá non.

(Cannic is a simple language. I'm learning Cannic. My name is Nikhil Sinha.)

To me, it's both heart-warming and disappointing at the same time to learn about these projects.  'Heart-warming' because they show Europeans aren't the only ones who are making conlangs, 'disappointing' because these non-European projects aren't easily visible.