Languages Words

Common Words, Phrases and Sentences in KiLiKi

Greetings, introduction, please & sorry are most common words, sentences or phrases in a language. In this article we will explore the most common ones. Meet Loki here. He is saying ‘vaasoaraerae‘ to you.

Image 1 : Good Morning

rae‘ is the word for sun. ‘raerae‘ is morning. ‘vaasoa-ja‘ is the adjective ‘good‘. The word ‘vaasoaraerae‘ is a single word formed by combining an adjective and a noun. In such cases the ‘-ja‘ adjective marker should be removed. When we want to say ‘good sister‘ we should write it as ‘vaasO-ja see‘.

Image 2 : Thanks
Image 3 : What is your name?

‘*kve‘ is the question symbol. ‘ka‘ denotes an object and ‘ka*kve‘ is the word for question word what.

Image 4 : I am Saaraa

We already saw another way to say your name. Here is a simpler way. ‘min*tta idi luni saaraa‘ is the other way which would translate to ‘my name is Saaraa‘.

Image 5 : Good Day!

nam‘ is day
denam-va‘ is today
ganam-va‘ is yesterday
funam-va‘ is tomorrow

As we have already seen ‘de‘ ‘ga‘ and ‘fu‘ are the markers to denote present, past and future respectively. We saw them when we introduced verbs. As ‘yesterday‘, ‘today‘ and ‘tomorrow‘ are adverbs, their corresponding words end in ‘-va‘ adjective marker.

Image 6 : Please

All adverbs end with a ‘-va‘ marker. The adverb ‘Please‘ is ‘liz-va‘ in KiLiKi.

Please speak to her‘ can be translated as ‘liz-va baahaani thaa-chatae

Image 7 : Good Evening

mae‘ is the word for moon. ‘maemae‘ is evening.
nae‘ is the word for star. So now you know what the word for night is and how to say good night?

Yes. ‘naenae‘ is the word for night and ‘vaasoanaenae‘ is good night.

Image 8 : Happy Bithday

Let us breakdown the words ‘meekilu-ja neeflafeenam’

meekeelu-ja‘ is an adjective meaning happy
neef‘ comes from the adjective neef-ja meaning ‘beginning
lafee‘ is the word for life.
There by ‘neeflafee‘ means ‘birth
nam‘ is the word for day.

Now you can wish your dear ones ‘meekeelu-ja neeflafeenam‘ in KiLiKi. Take this image to the cake shop and ask them to write Happy Birthday in KiLiKi along with your dear one’s name in KiLiKi script. In the below image, Meenaa is wishing Loki a Happy Birthday.

Image 9 : How are you?

The single KiLiKi word ‘nimvaasoa*kve‘ roughly translates to ‘you good?’ meaning ‘how are you?‘ or ‘are you fine?

The answer to the question can be
zaan. nim*kve‘ – ‘yes. how about you?
vaasoa-ja‘ – ‘good
naz. vaasoa*rrr‘ – ‘nope. not good‘ (*rrr is a click sound that negates a word)
sova-ja. nim*kve‘ – ‘bad. how about you?
vaasoava-ja‘ – ‘it is both good and bad‘ or ‘it is so-so

Image 10 : I will call you tomorrow.

funam-va‘ is tomorrow
koovini‘ is the verb ‘to call

Check out how Meenaa is telling Loki ‘I will call you’.

Language is always fun to learn with a partner. Please find a partner and practice these phrases and sentences with them. We will soon have audio and video for the same available in our site.

vaasoanam nim-chatae

Languages Words

My Family

We will learn how to introduce ourselves and our family members. In the examples below Saaraa will be introducing herself and her family to us. Professor Jack will interpret her words for us.

Image 1 : Hello!

We now know that ‘zaabaa‘ means hello. Let us look into the other parts of Saaraa’s first sentence.

min‘ is I or Me. ‘min-ta‘ is min with a possessive marker. So when we add -ta to ‘I‘ it becomes ‘my‘. Similarly ‘nim‘ is ‘you‘ and ‘nim-ta‘ is ‘your

idi‘ is the word for ‘name‘ and ‘luni‘ is the verb. Note that all verbs in KiLiKi end in the sound ‘ni‘. ‘luni‘ is a very common verb in KiLiKi that is used to represent English verbs such as ‘is/am/are‘. If a sentence does not have any other verb, we use the verb luni.

In the second sentence ‘baahaani-de‘ means ‘speaking‘. ‘baahaani‘ is ‘to speak‘ and the ‘-de‘ is the present tense marker.

leelaa‘ is the word for language. ‘min baahaani-de kiLiki leelaa-ya‘ means ‘I am speaking kiLiki language‘. The ‘-ya‘ after leelaa is an accusative marker telling us that the action of speaking is happening on leelaa(language). We will learn more about the case markers when we visit nouns later.

Image 2 : I am an Indian

See the use of ‘luni‘ again. Here ‘luni‘ is used to represent ‘am‘. We need not use any tense markers for verbs that are not time-dependant.

min luni-ga unO indifaa‘ means ‘I was an Indian
min luni-de unO indifaa‘ means ‘I am an Indian
min luni-fu unO indifaa‘ means ‘I will be an Indian

Note the tense markers ‘-ga‘ for past tense, ‘-de‘ for present tense and ‘-fu‘ for future tense.

indibaa‘ is ‘India‘ and ‘indifaa‘ is ‘Indian‘.
chaynabaa‘ is ‘China‘ and ‘chaynafaa‘ is Chinese(person).

The number unoa is also used as an article when needed.

Image 3 : Learn KiLiKi

‘*kle‘ is the plural marker. You can add it to any noun to make it into a plural.

unO amerikafaa‘ – ‘an American
dunO amerikafaa*kle‘ – ‘two americans

min‘ is me. ‘min*kle‘ is we.

vaaneeni‘ is ‘to learn‘ and the ‘-fu‘ marker changes the tense to future. So ‘vaaneeni-fu‘ is ‘will learn

We now know chovO verbs.

  1. luni is is/am/are
  2. moovaani is to love
  3. baahaani is to speak
  4. vaaneeni is to learn

We will now move to Saaraa’s house where she will teach us how to introduce our family members.

thaa‘ is the word for ‘he/she/it(living thing)‘. Please note that kiLiki does not have separate words for he and she. All living things including animals and plants can be referred with ‘thaa‘.

Image 4 : My Mom

In Image 4, Saaraa refers to her mom as ‘thaa‘ meaning she and in the second sentence she uses the same ‘thaa‘ with ‘-ta‘ possessive marker to convert ‘she‘ to ‘her‘.

We have also learnt a new word ‘maa‘ which means ‘mother

Image 5 : My Dad

paa‘ is the word for father. Please note same ‘thaa‘ is used here to mean ‘he‘ and ‘thaa-ta‘ to mean ‘his

Image 6 : My Brother

Saaraa in introducing her brother in Image 6. ‘gaa‘ means brother. We will learn later how to tell ‘elder brother‘ or ‘younger brother

In the same image you can also see the word ‘ne‘ meaning ‘and‘. So ‘min ne nim‘ means ‘me and you‘. ‘maa ne paa‘ means ‘mom and dad‘.

Image 7 : My Family

dhiki‘ means ‘this
dhooki‘ means ‘that‘.

mapakidiki‘ is the word for ‘family‘.
Please remember the ending ‘kidiki‘, which we will be using to mean family of things.
For instance
yeeti‘ is a tree and ‘yeetikidiki‘ is a ‘forest‘.
nE‘ is a star and ‘nEkidiki‘ is a ‘galaxy‘.

What is the kiLiki word for ‘sister‘, ‘uncle‘ or ‘grandpa‘? Let us look into how to easily remember the words for other family members.

Image 8 : Dad’s Side Grandpa, Grandma and Uncle

Professor Jack is not here now. We have to interpret ourselves. ‘gaa‘ is brother. So, ‘pagaa‘ is dad’s brother.

papaa is dad’s dad
pamaa is dad’s mom

Image 9 : Mom’s Side Grandpa, Grandma & Aunt

If you know paa(dad) maa(mom) gaa(brother) and see(sister) you can easily derive all the other relations around them.

As ‘see‘ is sister, ‘masee‘ is mom’s sister.

mamaa is mom’s mom
mapaa is mom’s dad

Image 10 : Me and My Siblings

The word cards in Image 10 give you the words in KiLiKi script, transliteration and English translation.

Image 11 : Mom’s Side

When we start with a ‘maa‘ side relation, we remove a single ‘a‘ from ‘maa‘ and add the name of the relation to the end. So, ‘maagaa‘ is incorrect. ‘magaa‘ is correct.

Image 12 : Dad’s Side

The same logic holds true for the dad’s side as well. ‘pasee‘ is dad’s sister. See how one ‘a‘ from ‘paa‘ is removed when it is added with ‘see‘ the word for sister.

Image 13 : Other Family Members

The words ‘dik‘ and ‘kid‘ are phonetic reversals meaning son and daughter respectively. The word for child is ‘debfaa‘. ‘faa‘ represents a person and ‘deb‘ is to denote small. You can also see the word ‘moovaafaa‘ meaning ‘lover‘. ‘moovaa‘ is the word for love and ‘faa‘ is the word for person.

baahafaa‘ is speaker
vaaneefaa‘ is learner

It is easy to form verbal nouns with KiLiKi.

We covered a lot in this session. With little practice, you will be able to introduce yourself to your learning partner and get to know the names of their family members.

Image 14 : Bye!

Languages Numbers

KiLiKi Numbers : Zero to Infinity

We now know how to read and write nOmi(numbers) from zero to ten. In this article we are going to look into numbers from eleven to infinity. You can visit the learn numbers page and listen, to learn the pronunciation of these numbers.

Image 1 : Numbers from Zero to Ten in KiLiKi.

11 to 99

You can now learn how to say eleven to infinity in the next five minutes. Just remember one simple rule. All the above words for numbers end in the uppercase letter ‘O’. Only the number in the unit position can have an ‘O’ ending. We remove the ‘O’ in all other positions.

Image 2 : Eleven and Fifteen

Note how eleven is written in words. un-tam denotes ‘one ten’ in the tens position and unO denotes the one in the unit position. There is a hyphen between each number. And also, there are no spaces between the words representing a single number.

‘un tam fibO’ is wrong because of the spaces in between. ‘un-tam-fibO’ is correct.

Image 3 : Twenty and Twenty Seven

Twenty is dun-tamO. Note how the O in dunO is removed when it is attached to tamO.

In twenty seven, the O in tamO is also removed as venO is in the units position.

Image 4 : Ninety and Ninety Nine

Same logic from eleven to ninety nine without any exceptions. Now we can move on to numbers above ninety nine.

100 and above

Image 5 : Hundred to Infinity

In Image 5 we have the words to represent hundred, thousand, ten thousand, lakh, million, crore and so on up until trillion. So two billion is dun-taabilO. Eight hundred billion is ren-taafilO.

‘nOmi’ is number in KiLiKi and ‘fin’ is the word that denotes end. ‘finOmi’ is the word for infinity. You can now say to your friends that you can count from zero to infinity in KiLiKi.

Let us now look at a few examples.

Image 6 : One Hundred and Twenty Three(123)
Image 7 : Three Hundred and Forty Eight(348)
Image 8 : Six Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty(6720)
Image 9 : Nine Lakh Five Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty Eight (905738)
Image 10 : Seven Billion and Four Hundred (7000000400)
Image 11 : Eight trillion and Six (8000000000006)

Our first KiLiKi programmer is working on a Number to Word convertor that can convert your digits to words in KiLiKi language.

Keep counting 🙂

Languages Numbers

Evolution of the Numeration System

by Aparna Ramachandran

Imagine a shepherd from prehistoric times. He needs to make sure he has the right number of sheep each night as he heads to his tent. He looks around and matches a pebble for each sheep. He sleeps soundly each night knowing he hasn’t lost any of them. 

With time, his sheep have doubled in number. It is getting cumbersome to keep using pebbles. He develops the tally system. A notched baboon bone dating back 35,000 years was found in Africa and was apparently used for counting. A wolf bone found in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s had 57 notches at regular intervals. It was found to be 30,000 years old and assumed to be a hunter’s record of his kills.


The idea of a numeration system makes sense if it is based on tangible reference points in human experience. For instance, the base 10 or decimal systems that are common today are based on the fingers of both hands. The base 2 or binary system used in computer programming is based on the two arms. Other bases of numeration systems include the fingers of one hand – the base 5 system and the base 20 system which is the total of all a person’s fingers and toes.

Early civilizations did not have any use for large numbers and had no need to count beyond small numbers. However, with the rise of permanent settlements, the requirement for a slightly more comprehensive and sophisticated numbering system came into being. 

5000 BC – Sumerians and Egyptians – using large numbers in their government and business records

2000 B.C. – Hindu-Arabic system

1800 B.C. – The decimal or base 10 numbering system was in use

1000 B.C. – Decimal systems were common in European and Indian cultures

876 A.D. – Appearance of ‘zero’ as the placeholder

945-1003 A.D – Reign of Gerbert of Aurillac 

The Hindu-Arabic system was brought into Europe and began to replace Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV…) in Europe, especially in business transactions and mathematics

16th Century – Europe was well versed in the Hindu-Arabic system, though Roman numerals were still used

Ancient Egyptian Numeration – Simple Grouping

The Ancient Egyptian system evolved from simple tallying to basic grouping with 10 as the base. This served as the foundation for less repetition of symbols and making it easier to interpret numerals. Based on the evidence of several papyri found, Egyptian numerations systems were geared towards practical purposes such as tallying the count of a grain harvest.


Ancient Greek Numeration – Ciphered System

The Greeks used letters of their alphabet to represent numerical symbols. This kind of numeration system was known as a ciphered system and was very useful for small numbers. Theirs was a decimal (base 10) system. The first 9 alphabets symbolized the numerals from 1 to 9. However, multiples of 10 [through 90] were assigned 9 more alphabets. Similarly more letters were assigned to multiples of 100 [through 900]. 

In the case of larger numbers (multiples of 1000) a small stroke would be used alongside the symbol for the numbers 1 to 9.  


Ancient Chinese Numeration – Multiplicative Grouping

Relative to the Egyptian system where the symbol for 10 would be written nine times to denote 90, the Chinese system evolved in a different direction. All repetitions were handled by simply using a separate multiplier symbol for each counting number less than the base. This system was later adopted by the Japanese. 

Chinese numerals are read from top to bottom rather than left to right. So, using multiplicative grouping would involve using a pair of symbols. The multiplier on top and the unit below.


The Hindu-Arabic Positional System

A simple grouping system relies on the repetition of symbols while a multiplicative grouping system relies on using specific multipliers rather than repetition. 

However, optimum efficiency is achieved with placeholders wherein only the multipliers are used. The different powers of the base don’t require a separate symbol as it is self-evident in the position occupied by the numeral.

In a positional numeration system, a digit conveys two meanings – face value and place value. The former indicates the inherent value of the symbol, but the latter indicates the power of the base associated with the position occupied by the digit.

The Ancient Tamil Numeration System

Closer to home numbers and alphabets were referred to as ‘ennum ezhuthum’. Zero was referred to as suzhiyam which was later coined as suzhi [present day]. The texts had representations for both singular and plural based on important, tangible objects present in nature – such as celestial bodies, vegetation, parts of the human body, and more. 

For instance, the sun and moon were used to denote the number 1. Eyes, ears present as they were in pairs referred to two. Mukanni (Three fruits) – for three –  came about to refer to the three main fruits consumed and present in the region (mango, jackfruit, and banana)

The Tamil system had separate symbols for each of the numerals and also made use of a grouping system for larger numbers. An interesting aspect of this numeration system was the terminology used in business transactions and daily life to refer to uncountable nouns based on how much would be bartered. For instance, a handful, a cupful was widely used and standardized measures.

Fast forward to 2015 and you are watching Bahubali lead his soldiers against the Kalakeya invaders. The language spoken was a dialect made of clicks.

The numbering system within Kiliki introduced recently, has 10 numerals, making counting extremely easy. Each numeral except zero is represented by a symbol composed of lines. The number of lines used in each symbol represents the number itself. 

NumberHow I remember
1One line running diagonally
2Two lines coming to make a V
3Three lines making an inverted triangle
4A square with 4 lines
5The above symbol with a diagonal
6Two triangles forming a star
7A sun with 7 rays of light
8Two small rectangles aligned on top of each other
9The above with a diagonal
0A circle




How To Get Your Name Right in KiLiKi?

zaabaa fen!

More than 50,000 of you have tried to convert your names and your friend’s names in KiLiKi using our Image It tool. Most of you have got it right.

‘rita’ ‘Rita’ ‘reeta’ & ‘reetaa’ are all totally different sounds and characters in KiLiKi. Here is a quick guide for you to get your name right.

KiLiKi Keyboard Mapping

KiLiKi is a strictly phonetic language. This means that there is only one correct way to pronounce what you write and there is only one way to produce a certain sound. As you can see in the images below KiLiKi is case sensitive when we use an English keyboard.

Key ‘a’ produces the character representing the short vowel ‘a’ the sound of the vowel in the English word ‘cut’. Similarly key ‘A’ produces the character representing the long vowel ‘aa’ the sound of the vowel in the English word ‘card’

Key ‘X’ produces the sound representing the long vowel ‘Á’ the sound of the vowel in ‘apple’

Similarly for consonants you can press the key ‘b’ to get the soft consonant sound ‘b’ as in English word ‘bat’ and press the key ‘S’ or keys ‘sh’ to produce the character that represents the soft consonant sound ‘sh’ as in the word ‘share’

Note the alternate keys. We can type ‘c’ or ‘ch’ or ‘C’ to produce the symbol that represents the hard consonant sound ‘ch’ as in the English word ‘chip’.

The stressed ‘L’ sound is part of a few languages around the world. When we want to stress the ‘l’ sound we can press the upper case ‘L’ key to produce a hard consonant with sound ‘L’. Note the name KiLiKi is pronounced with a stressed version of ‘L’.

Mono consonants have pretty much an easy correlation with the keys and sounds they produce. We have to note here that both lower case ‘m’ and upper case ‘M’ produce the same character representing the mono consonant sound ‘m’ as in English word ‘moon’. Whereas, the lower case ‘r’ is used to produce the ‘r’ sound as in English word ‘ram’ but the upper case ‘R’ is reserved for the click sound ‘*rrr’. You can listen to the audio of how these sounds will be uttered in our Learn KiLiKi Alphabet page.

As we will not be needing click sounds for your name we will ignore them in this article. If you are planning to name your kids with click sounds, that will make an interesting story by itself.

If you pronounce your name as ‘reetaa’ with all long vowels, you can type ‘reetaa’ in the imageit tool to convert it phonetically in KiLiKi. In case you pronounce ‘ritaa’ with a short ‘i’ sound and long ‘aa’ in the end, you can type and convert ‘ritaa’. Please note do not use upper case ‘R’ as ‘Rita’ will produce a click sound R followed by ‘ita’ which is incorrect.

In the above example, for the name ‘alladin’ there are many spellings possible. ‘allaadheen’ ‘alaadhin’ and many other variant. Decide if the name must be pronounced with a ‘din’ ending or a ‘dhin’ ending. If you use ‘Alladin’ with a upper case ‘A’ you end up getting a name that must be pronounced with a long vowel ‘aa lla din’.

To write ‘Harry Potter’ we type ‘hXri pAtar’. This is the right way to write his name in KiLiKi. Because, ‘if we type the keys ‘harry potter’ it will produce a different sound as the consonant ‘y’ takes the sound ‘y’ as in the english word ‘you’.

If we pronounce ‘abdhul’ instead of ‘abdul’ it is better to type ‘abdhul’ to get the sound right in KiLiKi. Similarly if we are used to writing ‘kalam’ but we pronounce it as ‘kalaam’ it is correct to type in ‘kalaam’ to get the sound right in KiLiKi.

KiLiKi does not have the vowels ‘ou’ that is available in many languages. So, to get the ‘ou’ sound as in the word ‘about’ we can key in ‘abavt’ to get the same sound. In short, ‘ou’ will be replaced by ‘av’ to produce the same sound. That is the reason we see that the popular name ‘Rajamouli’ is typed in as ‘raajamavli’ to get the sound right in KiLiKi.

Similarly, KiLiKi does not have the vowel ‘ai’ that is present in many languages. Instead, we key in ‘ay’ to replace the ‘ai’ sound that we get in words like ‘haiku’. So we key in ‘hayku’ to get the sound right in KiLiKi.

Let us check out a few popular names and how to type them in KiLiKi.

Arav > aarav
vivaan > vivaan
Aditya > aadhithyaa
Sanvi > saanvi
Diya > dhiyaa
Fathima > faathimaa
kumar > kumaar
James > jEms

Try writing your name and post it to your friends and family. Change your DP with your name in KiLiKi. Post your doubts in comments or connect to us on twitter @kilikiworld.



Languages & Me

by Nandini Karky

Language – What do these words, letters and sounds mean to us? Why do we fiercely fight for it at times and completely ignore it at others? Was emotion always attached to language? Charles Eisenstein in his book ‘The Ascent of Humanity’ says that language is the first technology invented by man and perhaps the first invention that alienated man from nature. When living could be abstracted in the form of lines and symbols, we may have lost out on our intimacy with nature but it was inevitable for what will be, will be and nothing can stop the progress of where the human mind can take us. The distance a language will travel seems to be intertwined with the ambition of the culture that speaks it!

Like many Indians, my mother tongue is one language but the language I’m most comfortable expressing is in another language. The medium of instruction is English in this multi-cultural pot of languages called India. Hence over the years, one’s proficiency in the ‘other’ language grows and academic types like me, end up even thinking in the language. But thankfully, the love for my mother-tongue Tamil was always alive within and after years of meandering, I have returned to that place between two languages, and through my podcast Sangam Lit, I get to appreciate what an ancient language and culture has to say and interpret it in the voice of this modern language that has the fortune to have spread across the world. 

I have always been drawn to the power of the written word. From an early age, I fell in love with books and these opened worlds many to me. Society insisted that my academic proficiency meant that I was to pursue engineering. The unguided teenager I was, I simply followed that pointing finger. After stints as electronics and communication student and a software engineer, I found my identity in subtitling. Here, you are in the midst of two languages, trying to extract the essence of one into another and squeeze a giant within the tight borders of both space and time. Only when I gazed at language this close, I was able to see its glories and flaws too. How words can change the world at moments and how words can be completely inadequate to express all that’s felt within! 

And yet, who doesn’t delight in the well-written word! Today, my passion project involves translation from two thousand year old verse into a modern language using the twenty-first century technology of a podcast. When you love something and when you want to do something, somehow we will find the way to learn things we consider alien to us. For instance, to build a website, you need to understand the language of the machine and even this, something that I was not too fond of, I was willing to learn so that I could do what I dreamt of doing. 

Being in limbo between two languages makes me confused at times. Should I speak that language or this? Constantly, there’s a switch between one language and the other. But, that’s not a bad thing, I read. It’s something that keeps our brains active! Want to keep away age-related decline? Then, learn languages, they say! 

Looking at the fierce fights around languages, I wonder if they are necessary. One need not look at languages as one’s love, the one to whom one’s sworn! I think we can see our language as a mother. There’s a tradition among many cultures in India and perhaps in other countries too, of seeing many as mothers. We call the aunty next door, our friend’s mother and a kind old lady as ‘amma’, though they did not give birth to us. Likewise, other languages can be seen as these mothers. Although we may not have come from that mother’s womb, we can always respect these other mothers all around us!

Speaking of other languages, have you caught the sparkle in someone’s eye when you speak in their language? A powerful tool to touch hearts with your minds! Languages need not be fences that separate the world but a thing of pride that unites us all of us, for that is evidence of the extraordinary power of human creativity. The power that makes a few dashes and curves conquer this universe entire! 


KiLiKi : The Beginning

by Dr. Madhan Karky

When I was learning Mandarin in University of Queensland, I was fascinated by the way the sound ‘ma’ was changed to make four different words and meanings just by varying the tone. When my teacher told me that my straight line stroke was wrong because I started it from left to right instead of right to left, I was puzzled. I was scared when I looked at a single character that had more than 100 strokes; cried in joy when I first ordered my lunch completely in Mandarin in a Chinese restaurant; felt like a prince when I bargained in Chinese in a street-market in Malaysia. Learning a new language does so much for you. It opens new doors in the real world and also in your mind. It makes this world a smaller place. You erase a tiny pixel from a huge line that divides ‘us’ and ‘them’. KiLiKi is different because there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. The language does not belong to anyone. It does not have religion, caste, race or country associated with it. In other words, it belongs to everyone. 

Creating KiLiKi language was one of the best experiences in my life. I vividly remember the moment when Director SS Rajamouli asked me to find a foreign language for the Kalakeya tribes or to create a new one. Rewinding a few years back, when I was teaching English and Tamil languages to a few kids, this random idea of creating a new language popped up. I created a few words together with them and named the language CLIQ. The name was easy on the ears sounding like the ‘click of a mouse’ and also, ‘see I like you’. Along with my young students, I created a few sentences, a horrible song and then forgot about the language. When Director Rajamouli asked me to create a new language, I told him about CLIQ and he asked me to come up with some dialogues. That was the moment when ‘KiLiKi’ was born. I renamed the language as KiLiKi to go well with the Kaalakeya tribe that speaks the language. I started building more words and added a few grammar rules. I ensured the rules and words were simple and easy to remember. When I read out the first dialogue to the director, he was thrilled. He called his team and asked me to repeat the dialogue. I can still sense the excitement in that room.

Director decided he is not going to use subtitles in the movie for this language. He asked me to convey the cruelty in the sounds of the syllables. This threw an interesting challenge to me and made me reflect on the association between pleasantness of sounds in a word and the meaning associated with it. I made many changes to the language, created a few root words and started building other words from these root words. I must thank actor Prabhakar for learning to speak the language and bringing out the terror in his voice. He is the first student of KiLiKi language. Actors Prabhas, Rana, Nasser, Sathyaraj and Ramya Krishnan told me that they were shocked when they first heard the new language in the shooting spot as the camera was rolling. The same experience was shared by many around the world. Though the blockbuster movie released in multiple world languages, KiLiKi dialogues remained in KiLiKi in all versions. Many were asking for the source to learn this language. 

At that time, the language had no script. I was using English alphabet to represent KiLiKi sounds and I used to record the dialogues and send voice notes to actors. I had around 750 words and 40 grammar rules then. I was very hesitant to release that version of grammar and words. I also remember creating a song for the Kaalakeya tribes in KiLiKi with Composer MM Keeravani, but that was not used in the movie. Post the movie release, Singer Smita and Composer Achu came up with an idea to create a song in KiLiKi. We created ‘Baaha KiLiKi’ song and released it on Youtube. The song and its cover crossed 100 million views and people still continue to shower their love for the song and the language. 

In the past two years, I set aside some time to continue my work on the KiLiKi language. I started adding most common words in different categories. I felt that English phonetic notation was not enough to represent certain sounds. I designed vowels, consonants and numerals and started teaching my son. He loved the new symbols and I was surprised when he learned the numerals in 2 minutes and even started doing addition with these symbols. I sent a snapshot of the symbols to my friend Udhayan and he came up with a true-type font for the same in a month’s time. His inputs were valuable from the typography perspective. He added two more KiLiKi font families in no time. You need a crazy team to backup such crazy ideas. LIFO Technologies team made this website and apps from scratch, collaborating with my research foundation. I would like to thank them all for their time, effort and talent in making this possible.

The good and bad thing about craziness is that it does not have a limit to it. I thank Nandini for keeping me grounded and forcing me to take the rest I needed while also not disturbing my dream. I remember talking to her in KiLiKi during one of our date nights and making her go mad. I apologised to her in English as KiLiKi does not have the word for ‘sorry’!

Recently when I was in Hyderabad for a meet with Writer Vijeyendra Prasad for a new project, I showed him the new symbols and told him about the idea for the site. He was thrilled and appreciated the effort. He has been a great inspiration to me as a writer and as a person. I presented Producer Shobu Yarlagadda, the idea to form a development center for Kiliki. He was the person who sowed the idea in me to properly document the language and publish it after the movie released. I would like to thank him, Director SS Rajamouli and the entire Baahubali team for making this possible. 

I do not see KiLiKi as just a language. I dream of it of being much more than that. I see this launch as the beginning of something beautiful for the future. Thank you for being part of this crazy dream.

Madhan Karky