Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Writing Wednesday: Language...

Before we get started, I want you all to know I participated in an author interview on Natasha Orme's blog. You can see the interview here. Now, on with the post!

I'm not talking about vulgarity in writing, although, that could be a whole other topic one of these days...

No, what I'm talking about is creating a language or using an existing one in your writing.

For those writing any sort of fantasy or sci-fi, sometimes you'll have some pretty weird languages. How do you present the language? Do you just type up some garbled nonsense and pass it off as the language of whatever species you've dreamed up?

"I told you, I'll pay you the rest of what I owe in a few days."
"Glkwer lkdjfi beedok crazzt fluker!"
"Don't you swear at me like that!"

I'm sure it's doable. Sort of. I mean... how the heck do you pronounce any of that??? Most of the time, people just sort of gloss over the different languages. Me, I'm sort of a purist and will try my damnedest to try to pronounce each word.

Not everyone can be Tolkien, though, and be a linguist and create their own. I'd love to, actually, but ... no.

Personally, I've combined an Elven language with Latin and have come up with some pretty good results. I'm so stereotypical fantasy, though, that most of my stuff has a lot of apostrophes. Don't know what to tell you, I'm just that sort of fantasy author.

There are a lot of language generators out there, so you'll want to think about using those and maybe coming up with your own combinations. Especially if you are a fantasy author. And I'm sure as far as sci-fi goes, you can just use grunts and clicks, maybe some chirps to get the point across.

Most world building should include ancient texts of a language long gone and very rarely will there be anyone left alive that can read it. Or perhaps there is one person who has such a desire to learn ancient tongues, he's learned how to read these things. This is something to consider in your world, just as much as the more common, current languages of other races.

To have everyone speak the same language the world over, well, that's rather boring and very simple, but I'm sure it'd be acceptable. But choose wisely. We fantasy/sci-fi people, we can be very opinionated about this sort of thing!

Have any suggestions or tips you'd like to share? Leave a comment below!

And don't forget to stop by and read my interview! Have a great day!


Crystal Collier said...

Going deep perspective here, if your view point character doesn't know the language, I think it's better to describe it as they'd hear it--an inflections of g's and lilted t's which garbled together like a wind through tree branches. (Invocative, eh?) It sometimes drives me crazy when people throw odd language in just to show they're sophisticated. Even when there are rules behind it, we have to think through it from the reader's perspective.

Mel Chesley said...

Excellent point! I do try to keep the reader in mind when throwing in languages and such. Took some time, but I did work on it. :)