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shayhiri
January 14th, 2005, 06:38 PM
Hello!

My first post here and a rather strange question:

Since Tolkien created Sindarin and Quenia using Welsh an Finnish as inspiration has someone else performed such an outstanding feat?

(I mean "real" :p languages that one could write and speak.)

Expendable
January 14th, 2005, 08:36 PM
you should check out the LangMaker (http://www.langmaker.com/) site and Yahoo's Constructed Languages (http://dir.yahoo.com/Social_Science/Linguistics_and_Human_Languages/Languages/Constructed_Languages/) directory.

Abby
January 14th, 2005, 10:14 PM
I have!

I created an alphabet, with sample words and pronunciation keys, which can be viewed at http://www.abbygoldsmith.com/art/images/load.html?language.jpg
It looks a little amateur, but I plan to remodel it someday and make it look more official.

I've also created an extensive vocabulary for this language; enough to achieve basic communication. I may never actually use any of this in my novels, but it's great background information to have. :D

There's an awesome website about languages that has a section devoted to made-up alphabets. Here it is: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/conscripts.htm

Have you created one?

Michael B
January 15th, 2005, 03:50 AM
In all the stories that I have written, I have never bothered about such things as my work is published in English. Geography, wildlife and a new approach to magic, even a rethink on technology (how do you get a bowman to take out three others in a shoot out and still be standing), yes.
But language, no and personally I see no point. However, if that is what helps others to write and they gain satisfaction from it, I would be the last to say don't bother. After all, the world is big enough to accomodate more than one way of do things.

Michael B

shayhiri
January 15th, 2005, 06:28 PM
Thank you! Found some nice stuff.

But what I meant was, has such language been used in a published fantasy?

Yes, Abby, I spent a couple of years creating one and I wonder if it was worth the effort.

Michael, you're right of course. Yet there IS a point - just have a look at J.R.R.'s work. Beautiful original names, a sense of authenticity, mystery, exoticism...

KatG
January 15th, 2005, 07:29 PM
Part of Tolkein's scholarly training was historic literature and the other part was linguistics. Apparently, he'd been developing languages since he was a boy as a hobby. While I don't know if other authors have developed any languages quite as extensively as Tolkein did in the Simarilion, a good number have produced multiple and partial languages that work pretty well, at least for their stories. Robert Jordan has done some in his Wheel of Time series, for instance. Tad Williams in his Dragonbone Chair series, and the like. Some writers have not made up languages but have used Celtic, Gaelic, Scandinavian or other dialects in their work. Interestingly enough, I'm reading Robert J. Sawyer's sf work "Hominid" right now, in which a Neanderthal scientist from an alternate dimension gets shot into our world, and of course, said scientist is talking his own language for the moment. No clue where Sawyer developed that one from. A lot of the sf writers have developed languages for alien species.

How to handle the language question is one that many fantasy and sf writers have to face and there's no one right way to do it. Certainly, no writer is obligated to provide languages for versimultude, but there's something to be said for it, especially for stories in which language and communication are important issues. I've found myself in a different position than I expected on this with the novel I'm working on and don't know how far I'll go with it yet.

Expendable
January 15th, 2005, 07:40 PM
Roblémpó ostmé erioússï, illwë éáderrá nderstándúth riterwí?

I've made alphabets but languages are hard. How much of a language do you need? Pre-industrial cultures can have very large volcabularies (20,000 to 40,000 words) while industrial ones make do with about a thousand words.

JamesL
January 15th, 2005, 08:09 PM
I think it's in David Gerrold's book, How to write science fiction and fantasy that he says that unless you are properly trained in linguistics and the like, it is not advisable to create languages for use in your novels. I think this is good advice - Tolkien did it, but he was trained as a linguist. He understood how language worked. Most people don't.

Still, don't let that stop you if you feel a language would add a different dimension to your work. :)

Dawnstorm
January 16th, 2005, 05:17 AM
Roblémpó ostmé erioússï, illwë éáderrá nderstándúth riterwí?

Sometimes s/he will, sometimes s/he won't. But it's only a serious problem if you put vital info into your obscure (to the éáderrá that is) language.


I've made alphabets but languages are hard. How much of a language do you need? Pre-industrial cultures can have a very large volcabularies while industrial ones make do with about a thousand words.

Not to mention what to encode into grammar and what to leave for semantics, or even context of speaking.

And then you need to make up common "mistakes" made in speaking...

I've never done a language, but it should be fun.

Expendable
January 16th, 2005, 10:39 AM
Sometimes s/he will, sometimes s/he won't. But it's only a serious problem if you put vital info into your obscure (to the éáderrá that is) language.

Shh. You'll give it away.


Not to mention what to encode into grammar and what to leave for semantics, or even context of speaking.

And then you need to make up common "mistakes" made in speaking...

I've never done a language, but it should be fun.

Its like watching Hamlet done in Klingon being performed (and mostly watched) by people dressed up as Klingons. There's a lot of yelling and screaming and the guy next to you's so excited that he's spilled his 'bloodwine' all over you and you're hoping he's not going to take your nose off with that curvy sword thingy he keeps waving about. :eek:

(btw, never wear white to Hamlet in Klingon. =^_^;= )

Its a bit like adding spices to food. Some writers like to pepper new words in their story and either add a footnote or a glossary (or even explain what they mean right there) so you're not feeling like a total idiot when you have to ask someone what "grok" means.

If you want to add a language to your work, really think about adding the glossary.