1. LionofPerth
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    LionofPerth Senior Member

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    Creating a lingo.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by LionofPerth, Aug 29, 2007.

    For a sci fi piece, how important is the lingo you create for it.

    I can understand how it needs to be created, the film A Clockwork Orange shows a very formed set of rules, ie 'horrorshow' and similar lines.

    Would something like the following examples be good ways of showing a future setting for the story? I'd like you guys and gals to try and guess the meanings, see if I've made them too hard to decipher.

    Yes there will be a couple of hard ones, but I'll be explaining those in the story. for the terms I've grouped them up, the first group describes people, the second group describe weapons and the final group a profession. The phrases are insults, or meant to be insults.

    Terms-
    Spacer
    Grounder

    Orbiter guns/orbiters
    Splatterforms

    Fixer
    Turner
    Pounder

    Some phrases I'd like you to try-
    ‘Eat stardust’
    ‘Nebulahead'
    ‘Suck up drive waste’
    ‘Nothing but drive waste’ and two variants-
    ‘Nothing but drive waste up there’ and
    ‘I could follow you anywhere, the trail of drive waste only made it easier’
     
  2. xxkozxx
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    xxkozxx Active Member

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    I think with no background information it would be hard to just pick up on the meaning of those words. Basically when you are creating terminology for a piece like this you have to rely heavily on definition by association.

    Basically I would gather my mean by the context in which it is used.

    You may have to give a little detail if you want the reader to understand what you are talking about or make sure that your context defines it well enough that you don't have to.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lion of Perth,

    I agree with xxKozxx's view.

    One of the important aspects to lingo or slang introduced in a SF (or fantasy setting), is for the reader to encounter it in context, because often the meaning carries just a bit more with it...including the type(s)/personalities using it, social structure, etc.

    I think you're along the right track as such lingo can add depth, flavor, and quality to a piece.

    Terry
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Funny that this should come up now. For this week's short story competition, I coined some slang for the gamer characters' dialog because I thought the King's English just wouldn't sound right.

    Probably the least obvious word I coined was "ver", meaning "true" or "truth", presumably either from "verified" or the Spanish "verdad". I tried to make it clear from context what it meant, as it was used several times.

    I used "Que or que" as Spanglish "what or what" to mean something like "Well, what did you think? Was it like I said?"

    Other terms like "ice" and "cryo" were obviously variants of "cool!".

    When I strung together an enttire sentence of slang, I restated it in normal English in the following paragraphs so the reader could pick out the meaning.
    Of course, the real question is, was what I did effective, or did it simply confuse the reader?

    This is the first time I have tried creating slang or language for a story.
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It didn't confuse me, Cog, but I did have to reread it at a slower pace to understand. The only thing I'd say is that if you introduce slang in a high action part, you need to beware of it slowing the pace down. Ideally it should be well established before you enter the action phase of a story.
     
  6. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    The sci fi terms didn't confuse me. But I read a lot of sci-fi and similar slang is used frequently.
    Just make sure the context is clear and most people should understand it, without a detailed explaination. And dedicated sci-fi readers won't even blink.
     
  7. xxkozxx
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    xxkozxx Active Member

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    It did kind of confuse me a little at first, I don't think the context was clear enough. Where you went wrong, I think is by stringing all that together in a quote. You should have dabbled it a little bit and then sprinkled it in with the true english version of the word to make the comparison.

    I.E.

    “Ver, was max cryo, as adverted!" He said while he was explaining how cool it was to see on the screen. "When that vamp full screened me, shivered me for ver!”

    or something along those lines.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Good point, koz. This would probably have been better:
     
  9. xxkozxx
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    xxkozxx Active Member

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    Yeah, that makes it much clearer I think.
     

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