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How do you guys deal with languages?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by PhoenixF2B, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. I really think you have done fairly well, They look brilliant, However how often will they be used? maybe every now and again in caves or dungeons? And of course in major conversations, but it looks absolutely fine as it is.

    May i ask how you managed to create the fonts? It seems like something i may have to do at some point.
    Well done mate, very well done.
    PhoenixF2B likes this.
  2. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

    I don't bother with conlangs. I just borrow words from real languages and use them as names for places and characters.
  3. PhoenixF2B

    PhoenixF2B Dreamer

    Thanks for the kind words! The languages will pop up in signs, documents and landmarks when the characters travel to the specific locations. Unfortunately some of the languages won't be seen in this book series, but I created them just so I had authentic speech patterns from some characters that come from those backgrounds.

    You will see a lot of the langues in promo art and book covers and such at a later point when I get there.

    As far as the fonts, I created each character from scratch in Photoshop and then imported them into a font making program and applied them to keyboard keys. Some of these fonts are complex and are layered. For example, Gesel and Maa-kkaar use vowels as accent marks. Depending on the position (top left, top right, etc) of the accent the word makes a very different sound.

    You can see how that would easily create way too many versions of each character to account for this, so I designed "layered" fonts. In the font program I told all the vowel accent marks to type backwards into negative space, so that it types OVER the previous character. This way I was able to just make each accent mark and it can be applied to any character. Sometimes I can make 3-4 keystrokes that the cursor won't move because of this.

    I definitely appreciate the feedback :)
  4. No problem, Very intricate.
    Hope your series does well, I have do doubt it will :)
    PhoenixF2B likes this.
  5. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

    I would love to come up with the orthography for any of my languages - particularly one as pretty as 'Gesel' -, but I have all of the artistic capabilities of the average 6yr old tortoise, so I just stick with interesting sounding languages instead with unique grammar. As for how I deal with that, I would say that comes from 2 years in university as a Linguistics minor and the occasional long night crying into a bottle of Stoli. (I kid, I kid; I'm more of a rum girl these days, anyway.)

    Language is a moderately important aspect of my current story. It's a story that deals with a bit of fantasy!colonialism, including the part where the colonized people have been forced to adapt to their colonizer's society, and many no longer know their own language. It is still the language that their holy books are written in, as well as many of their old scientific tomes, and the writings on the walls of their runes. Though many consider their language (and the culture that came with it) to be sadly lost, but not worth recovering, history, there are those who try to keep the language alive through the church and through independent study. Some still teach it to their children, although many of them grow up and forget it since they rarely get the chance to use it. There was a time in their history when it was banned to speak it in public, and although those rules have eased up, you'll often still get leers from the starlings (the colonizer people) if you're speaking it loud enough for them to hear. A lot of the story also takes place at an abbey, of sorts, so even the characters who don't speak the language will likely hear it and see it written down a few times. So I kind of want to work on how it sounds to a non-speaker, as well. Where the emphasis is, how the vowels flow together, that sort of thing. And I'd like to focus on the words that they have which has no equivalent in the starling language, to sort of symbolically represent the ideas they've lost.

    I do get a bit lazy with the starlings' language, though. I've not committed to it yet, but I'll probably only go as far as coming up with how to name the characters (which itself will probably be heavily adapted from Ancient Greek) and just leave it at that. Not really interested in developing their language, although maybe a few drafts into this story I'll change my mind.
  6. Tirjasdyn

    Tirjasdyn Scribe

    Huh. That's how English eventually came about.
    Ireth likes this.
  7. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

    After much consideration on the subject of languages I have for my own writing decided that I am not up to the task of making entirely new languages, and therefor I will instead use existing languages from cultures similar to the one I'm using and simply make some changes in to produce a version of that language for my world.

    The way that you have handled it seems very cool and ambitious to me Phoenix although I know that I could never pull it off myself.
  8. PhoenixF2B

    PhoenixF2B Dreamer

    I said the same thing when I started but I decided to give it a crack. As I mentioned earlier in the post, my languages are seriously super simple and by no means subject for any linguistics study. I started each one with just coming up with gibberish words with sounds like that I liked and just built from there.

    This is a good site, I used it a lot for reference but I did not go anywhere close to this in depth but thought I would share it as a good reference.

    The Language Construction Kit
  9. draken

    draken Dreamer

    wow all I did was create an alphabet and a few key phrases for one language, my wizzard hat off to you for putting in so much effort. very impressed. im starting with a society that's just surivied an apocalyspe, and is on the run so I can build as I go from the ground up.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
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  10. Addison

    Addison Auror

    If language is a barrier I suggest a classic solution. Charades.
    In "Dances with Wolves" (the movie not the book) the hero put two fingers to his head and walked like a buffalo to get his message across to the chief.

    I have a few languages in my WIP. When the hero hears it for the first time I describe it as best I can "Soft whispers and clicks" "harsh grunts and tongue clicking". I also describe how it was for him to speak a small part of the language and how he was trying and sort of failing at writing it, by means of critique from his teacher: "Your dwarven is good, but there's no curved lines in dwarf writing. Think of their writing as strikes with an axe."
    PhoenixF2B likes this.
  11. PhoenixF2B

    PhoenixF2B Dreamer

    That is a fantastic approach and I was hoping to have characters get around language barriers by other means. I LIKE the idea of them struggling with something so simple, it adds some human nature to it I think.

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