1. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    Adding flair to your setting (what do yall think about these words)?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by LuminousTyto, Jul 8, 2012.

    I think having the right mood to your setting is important and I also think that this can be accomplished through many different ways, including dialogue and such.

    Here's a very short vocabulary list I've collected, which I really like for medieval and or fantasy themes. Most of it's from George RR Martins A Song of Ice and Fire series.

    whilst
    nonce
    athwart
    hence
    erstwhile
    pray
    would

    This is one of the more interesting words actually. If you don't know this already, the word can actually be used in place of "wish." Example: "I wish I knew more vocabulary like this." Or "Would that I knew more vocabulary like this."
    besides
    Besides is another one of those words that has another definition that isn't used very often. The world can also mean "as well," or "also." Example: "I'm also leaving." Or "I'm leaving besides."
    aught
    naught


    These words are somewhat archaic but still in use today, albeit rarely. I think they work very nicely sprinkled in in the right spots to give an archaic flair to the work. Of course they'd be out of place if the story wasn't in some sort of historical (realistic or fantasy) setting which would warrant using this type of vocabulary.

    Yeah that second example I made doesn't quite sound right, but I dunno. Don't feel like wracking my brain to make an excellent sentance with that word for this post right now, lol.

    Anyways, let me know what you think!
     
  2. lallylello
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    lallylello Member

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    Just so you know, nonce is UK slang for a paedophile - so use it carefully! What does it mean for you?
     
  3. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    Well that's a bit freaky lol. It means "For the time being" according to the Merriam Webster's dictionary lol.
     
  4. lallylello
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    lallylello Member

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    It's a term that they started using in UK prisons for sex offenders, so perhaps Merriam Webster didn't spend any time inside lol
    (btw - neither did I!!!!! I just watch the odd crime drama, but it's a pretty well known term over here)
     
  5. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    Wow, I didn't know that and am glad I do now! It's not a word I'd use often (if ever), but I'm glad I know this just in case.

    To answer the OP's question, I think I'd just be careful about using words like this, even in fantasy writing. As it's good to have a store of words to draw from, sometimes it looks like you're plucking words like these just to sound different/smart/whatever.

    Now I do read A LOT of fantasy, it's my favorite genre for sure. Song of Ice and Fire like you mentioned, Wheel of Time, LOTR, I could go on and on. I know what you mean about using words like these in that genre. I just think you may be worrying too much about what words to use and your vocabulary, instead of your actual writing and getting whatever you want written, written.
     
  6. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    Well I think the definition in the Merriam Webster's dictionary is correct, because American English and British English tend to differ a lot more than most people would think. I was using the oxford English dictionary for a while and didn't realize it was the British English version. I could tell though that something was strange about the definitions, they didn't seem... right! lol. Anyways I got the American Merriam Webster's dictionary and noticed that the definitions of a lot of words were actually much different.

    Let me tell you this funny story, but first I will mention the word "fag." In American English it's a derogatory slang term for homosexual. Anyways the first time I heard a guy from the UK say fag he said, "I'm gonna go smoke a fag." I almost thought he was going to go kill somebody lol. The way they use the word fag in the UK is non existent in the US. So with this little story you can see how some words can differ quite a lot from American to British English.
     
  7. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    No, these aren't words I'd consider essential at all, I just like them. I'm not worrying. Does it seem like I am though?

    I do tend to be pulled out of movies and books (that are historical based) when the diction of the characters is overly 20th century. Not necessarily the vocabulary used, but just the way the sentence phrasing is, you can tell, it just doesn't sound right when a Knight of the crusades tarts using 20th century slang, or never says things that one might here in those times.

    I know I know, they say that English today is so different from English back then that we probably wouldn't be able to understand it at all, but you know what I mean.
     
  8. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    No, I don't think you're worrying. I just know you did start another thread about vocabulary and made the wrong assumption.

    I fully agree that if you're writing a medieval fantasy, someone wouldn't say certain slang words we use now. Martin does have them drop the F-bomb and I have no idea how long that word has been kicking around and don't' care, it works in his books. If you don't watch it, you MUST, such a good show.
     
  9. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    Merriam Webster says it's from 1503.

    Yes I agree, it does work in his books, but the "F-bomb" isn't the only thing flying out of his characters mouths lol. His books are epic fantasy, yet they have those medieval themes from the real worlds history, which is why I think the archaic diction works so well in his work, not to mention he's a good writer.

    Yes I watch the tv show based off the books. Seen both season one and two, it's one of my favorites.
     
  10. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I think wordchoice reflects mood, ambience, urgency, complacency.. all of the above. It can hinder, or allow the flow of the story, and also reflects the setting, for sure. If you have characters in the 1500's, even if they are using the Fbomb, they will, most certainly, be talking elequently, and pompously, using big and little words that sound formalized and prominent. But, that's also their status in life too, for a peasant may use some of the same words of the time, but slur through or even half-ass some.

    However, you definitely will not hear those characters say things like, "What's good, man?" or "Chillin, how about you?" or "Nah, hit me up later."

    Wordchoice controls a lot of the feeling your creating, and writers should be conscious of not only the scene, setting, and character, but also the reader. Hemingway is a great example of wordchoice, not in just the feeling or re-creation of his time, but every word he wrote kept his character full in mind. If the character was simple, he wrote simple sentences with simple words. If the character was complex, so were the words and the sentences. If the character was lost in his thoughts, or entranced by his surroundings, the sentences became long and drawn out, as to reflect a character caught up with the world.

    Poe is another great example of someone taking time to create feel through the use of words, alone.. He even took it a step further and used big words on purpose, so as to accelerate the minds of the reader into not only turning the pages, but being active while reading. Also, if the mood was depressing, he'd use words that, to him, sounded depressing, and vice versa..
     
  11. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    I agree with everything you said, and that's what I'd like to aim for in my own writing.
     

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