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Language posted 07 May 2005, 13:05 by Kidruhil Lancer, Auditor

I'd have to say that my biggest struggle as a writer is what to do about language. In a purely made-up world, how can you mention names of places/groups/peoples without coming up with a complete language? Or even multiple languages? I can easily create a myriad of names with their own unique sounds, but the difficulty for me comes when I have to rationalize them. ( Why is this city called such-and-such? Which part of its name means this or that..? ) So my question is, as a writer whose language skills are seriously lacking in the creative department, should I just wing it and be consistant? Or should I simply make statements such as "they spoke the such-and-such tongue", and let the reader assume? view post


posted 07 May 2005, 15:05 by Atanvarno, Peralogue

If you want to make languages solely for naming purposes just sketch out a phonology (the sounds of the language) and how the words look. Look [url=http://www.zompist.com/kit.html:2ayioju0]here[/url:2ayioju0] and read everything under 'Sounds'. It might be an idea to have some set elements for place name. Say -um- in the middle of a name means it's a city, etc, etc. A naming language doesn't take that much effort at all, plus it doesn't require a massive lexicon. view post


Thanks posted 07 May 2005, 23:05 by Kidruhil Lancer, Auditor

Thanks so much. I found the links to that website in another post on this forum, and I bookmarked it immediately. heh. There are alot of awesome resources there. Thanks again for the answer! view post


posted 11 May 2005, 02:05 by Tol h'Eddes, Auditor

I know some authors who based the languages of their world on our own. I can't remember in which book, but Raymond E. Feist used spanish words when the characters talking came from Bas-Tyra. I'm sure he used some french, japanese and maybe other language too in some of his books. True, it could lead to a pretty bleak and unoriginal world if the stories aren't good. But I'm sure that, with a good world-building, most reader wouldn't mind. view post


Re: Language posted 02 Jun 2005, 00:06 by SymeonHaecceity, Peralogue

[quote="Kidruhil Lancer":16uqxcie]I'd have to say that my biggest struggle as a writer is what to do about language. In a purely made-up world, how can you mention names of places/groups/peoples without coming up with a complete language? Or even multiple languages? I can easily create a myriad of names with their own unique sounds, but the difficulty for me comes when I have to rationalize them. ( Why is this city called such-and-such? Which part of its name means this or that..? ) So my question is, as a writer whose language skills are seriously lacking in the creative department, should I just wing it and be consistant? Or should I simply make statements such as "they spoke the such-and-such tongue", and let the reader assume?[/quote:16uqxcie] Try [url:16uqxcie]http://www.langmaker.com/langmake/[/url:16uqxcie] view post


posted 01 Feb 2006, 06:02 by rycanada, Peralogue

I've had a lot of luck just sitting down and brainstorming about a hundred words and names in a language, and then working back from that to a set of phonetics. Basically, it lets me start with the feel of the story and work backwards. For a metopotamian-influenced idea I've come up with I had characters named Akigatei, Muntuurei, Uramu, Namti, Deashi, Gulguud, Abainda, Ishalena, Kem, and so forth, and from those (and a bunch more) I basically made a chart of "syllables" like this: Initial Sound | Vowel Sound | Coda A k i g a t ei M u n uu r You start to get repeats, but make the list and you've got a good idea of how your language would "sound" - and that's about all that I think can be really delivered to the reader anyway. view post


posted 01 Feb 2006, 23:02 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

[url:u7d02goc]http://www.zompist.com/kit.html[/url:u7d02goc] If anyones interested in making there own language. view post


posted 30 Mar 2007, 03:03 by Trutu Angotma, Peralogue

laguage is easiest if you start with an alphabet, then develop grammer. word and sentece structure make forming the words infantessimaly easier view post


Re: Language posted 19 Feb 2008, 16:02 by carlsefni, Peralogue

[quote="Kidruhil Lancer":17qwf7i5]So my question is, as a writer whose language skills are seriously lacking in the creative department, should I just wing it and be consistant? Or should I simply make statements such as "they spoke the such-and-such tongue", and let the reader assume?[/quote:17qwf7i5] There already been good replies to this (somewhat ancient) topic, but I can't resist adding my tuppence ... :) I think it's definitely worth paying a certain amount of attention to the issue of language when it comes to names and such. Speaking for myself, it really bugs me when reading a fantasy series in which the author seems to have treated this issue with arbitrary abandon. I may not represent the "average reader", having too strong a linguistic background not to notice the details, but I think even there's a subtle effect that operates on a reader not paying attention to this stuff. In our Real World, there are patterns to names and repeated elements, and these patterns and elements are different in different places (where people speak different languages). I think (admittedly, based on little but gut feeling :)) that there's readers will subconsciously notice when a writer emulates this effect, and they'll have a sense that the world is "deeper", and the story richer, because the story's names behave in a way that the familiar Real World's names do as well. As for how to achieve this -- well, you can waste a lot of time conlanging (though it might be a very enjoyable waste of time, so it depends on what you want to do :)). To invent your own terminology in a consistent way, you can simplymake a list of common elements used in personal and place names, and assign your own values to them. So, as utterly arbitrary examples, "stronghold" is [i:17qwf7i5]targ[/i:17qwf7i5], "wolf" is [i:17qwf7i5]arku[/i:17qwf7i5], and "helmet" is [i:17qwf7i5]thano[/i:17qwf7i5]; you then can invent an ancient war-leader called [i:17qwf7i5]Arkuthano[/i:17qwf7i5] ("Wolf-helm") and call his castle [i:17qwf7i5]Targ Arkuthano[/i:17qwf7i5]. You can go a step further and invent a genitive case (the possesive) -- say, by adding a final [i:17qwf7i5]-n[/i:17qwf7i5] to things, and tweak it to [i:17qwf7i5]Targ Arkuthanon[/i:17qwf7i5] (= "Arkuthano's stronghold"). Then if you have several relatively closely related langauges -- either spoken contemporaneously in different regions, or some ancient forms and their modern descendants -- invent some rules that you could apply consistently to explain the differences. So, arbitrarily, let's say Languages A and B are both descended from Language X. The word for "stronghold" is [i:17qwf7i5]targ[/i:17qwf7i5] in A, and we decide it was anciently [i:17qwf7i5]tarkas[/i:17qwf7i5] in X -- so, our rules here are "Lose the final syllable and turn resultant final [i:17qwf7i5]k[/i:17qwf7i5] to [i:17qwf7i5]g[/i:17qwf7i5]. Meanwhile we decide that in B, "stronghold" is [i:17qwf7i5]darrs[/i:17qwf7i5] -- so our rules are "initial [i:17qwf7i5]t[/i:17qwf7i5] becomes [i:17qwf7i5]d[/i:17qwf7i5], lose the vowel of the last syllable (but preserve the [i:17qwf7i5]s[/i:17qwf7i5]), and [i:17qwf7i5]rk[/i:17qwf7i5] becomes [i:17qwf7i5]rr[/i:17qwf7i5]". OK, that's all simplistic and random, and things get funkier the more rules you have (or need). But already that's enough that if we decide the word in X for "mountain" is [i:17qwf7i5]kapakas[/i:17qwf7i5], we could create it's descendants [i:17qwf7i5]kapag[/i:17qwf7i5] in A and [i:17qwf7i5]kapaks[/i:17qwf7i5] in B without any other rules. (Or, potentially more interestingly, different forms if we invented yet further rules for the transformations.) If that's too much like work, you can always just go raiding dead and/or obscure (to the likely reading audience) languages for ready-made words and relationships. Will your readers know (or care) if you steal [i:17qwf7i5]ngiri[/i:17qwf7i5] (or something like that, meaning "stronghold") and [i:17qwf7i5]kur[/i:17qwf7i5] ("mountain") from Sumerian? :) You can nick what seems to be the gentitive suffix [i:17qwf7i5]ak[/i:17qwf7i5] as well, and create the name [i:17qwf7i5]Ngiri Kurak[/i:17qwf7i5] ("Stronghold of the mountain"). Now that may well be awful Sumerian for all I know, but what the heck? It's probably good enough for our purposes :) and there's certainly enough info about Sumerian or any of a variety of other languages to be found by Googling to do that much in just a few minutes. Even if we're "wrong", as long as we keep it (pretty much) consistent, we'll be fine. view post


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