Spurred on by Kassen in the last post, and as someone who happens to be learning Finnish, one of the things (originally pointed out to me by Teemu Leinonen) that has struck me is the superfluity of words used to describe “play” – which has always seemed one of these dangerously obscure words in english, with similar problems to “free”.
“Pelata” is to play something you can win (so includes most computer games, and also sports).
“Soittaa” is to play an instrument or make a sound.
“LeikkiÃƒÂ¤” is more childlike, a play without rules, when you play at being something else, play at make believe or just “play in the garden”.
I think leikkiÃƒÂ¤ seems the most subversive and interesting, as it’s the sort of play where you are learning and exploring without fitting into some pre-existing assumptions (like keeping score, or playing a tune). The sort of games I like (and like to attempt to make) are definitely all about this sort of play.