Fictional languages

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by shlomi, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. shlomi

    shlomi New Member

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    Hey everyone, so I was wondering what are your thoughts ab0ut fictional languages in books, do you like them? do you hate them? how do you like them presented?

    Personally, I love all languages, including fictional one :)
     
  2. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    I love them, unless it's the one I'm working on because it's such a pain in the ass. but they have to be done properly, like Tolkien's.
     
  3. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    yeah some of them are great in books as well as in movies/series...
     
  4. shlomi

    shlomi New Member

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    well I dont think many people can match Tolkien
     
  5. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    Klingon beats Tolkien's language :)
     
  6. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    I don't know JNK, I love the way the Elvish language sounds.
     
  7. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    well I meant more developed... Klingon is actually developed as a real language... not just couple of lines... it's really crazy but awesome on the other hand :)
     
  8. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    Tolkien completely developed his Elven language as well. grammar and everything, it just isn't used all that much in his books.
     
  9. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    well... that's a problem... not using your own invention sucks :)
     
  10. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    true but when it comes to a book, it would probably just be too much of a hassle because then you got to make sure the readers know what this means and that means and so on.
     
  11. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    then on the other hand... why do you need full language? :)
     
  12. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    who knows
     
  13. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    I haven't seen too many fictional languages in books outside of Tolkein's works, but I like what I have seen. I think it adds to the cultural backdrop and setting of the story and I like that kind of depth. :)
     
  14. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    I do like what McKiernan did, using older forms of current languages in place of a completely created one. though I feel like that would be even more work because one would need some basic knowledge of said languages
     
  15. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Yup...you would because for sure there will be some expert out there who will call you on it if you mess it up. lol
     
  16. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    yea and the alternative is to ask those experts to do those segments (which I believe is what he does for some). and I like the idea of creating something like that honestly
     
  17. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Tolkien is an exception in many cases because he built his own language from the ground up. Whilst it might form a minor part of his major works the Elvish language in itself is a quite a major feat of linguistics.

    The bonus for his story is that it means he can use elvish properly through the book and each little snippet makes sense. He's not plucking words out of the sky to fill gaps for fantasy language. This adds a level of depth to the story and lore and is more relevant when you start to look at his works as a whole.



    Most authors don't go that far. They don't have the experience nor understanding to really build a whole language and since most are writing a story rather than a mythology they don't "need" a totally unique totally complete language to build. It's wasted time world building that could be spent writing the actual story.

    This is why many use a few tricks;
    1) Using an existing language - works because the majority of the market will be english reading; this can somewhat fall apart for translated editions (your mythical elves are just speaking spanish) and can mean that your language can be translated which might or might not be important for the story.

    2) Using an old, "dead" language. Celtic or other older languages; latin is even used but whilst its dead its also more widely used so its not as "hidden"

    3) Using any language (old/new) and changing letters. For this the author is taking the structure of the language and changing letters around. It gives a sense of structure and at the same time a sense of mystery.


    In the end writers have to weigh up complexity and depth of their research and background against the time its going to take to produce. It might take you years to build a totally fantasy language ground up - is that really time well spent for the story? Does the story really need that much time invested in that?
     
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  18. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    if anyone has some tips, or maybe knowledge on some good places to look for making a believable language, you should definitely let me know.
     
  19. Detth

    Detth Wanderer

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    I've never understood how one just makes up a language..But i plan to give it a try someday
     
  20. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    I have very little to nothing so far. I'm kind of hoping to work on it a bit more so that I can create more names for the race the language is tied to.