1. StormWarrior
    Offline

    StormWarrior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Europe

    Double-naming

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by StormWarrior, Aug 3, 2008.

    In my story, each land of the world has 2 names. Each land is called one name by a small tribe, and another name by the empire that rules over them. I will explain this at the beginning, but I'm still in a quandry over which names to use during the main body of the story. The story is told through the eyes of the small tribe, so they use their own names for the countries amongst themselves. However, they travel through the other lands and interact with people of the empire, and at those times they must call places by the names the empire use.

    Just as an example of what I mean, the situation in my story is similar to when Britain was occupied by the Romans. The Romans called Britain Britannica, but the native British people called it Albonium.

    So, do you think the reader would be confused or annoyed if my characters call places by their native names amongst themselves, but call them by their "official" names whilst travelling? Or do you think I could put both names, eg:
    "And so they journeyed on to Albonium/Britannica"?
     
  2. draupnir
    Offline

    draupnir Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    4
    I don't think you should put both names, that would sound sloppy.

    If I was the reader, I would want consistency. If the story's being told through the eyes of the small tribe, I'd always use the 'native names' that they give. I'd only use the empire's names when people of the empire were part of a dialogue/interacting, as you say.

    I suppose it depends on what you want the reader to think though and who we're empathising with. If the empire are 'evil' (which it seems as though they might be?) and you want us to relate with the tribe, use the tribe's name. You could then get some affect out of a big smelly empire bloke when he saunters up saying 'what are you doing in 'Britannica'...He'd seem out of place.

    If the tribe are somehow infringing, you might want to give the official name to show they are detached from it/parasitical to it.

    Hope that helps
     
  3. StormWarrior
    Offline

    StormWarrior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Europe
    You mean, when the tribe are abroad from their own land, despite them calling the land they will be visiting by one name, I should call it it's official name?
     
  4. zorell
    Offline

    zorell Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,376
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    growing on a tree with a buckeye
    No, I think he meant that you should use the protagonist's labels. So, if your little tribe is the antagonist, using their own labels helps them to stand out, make them seem really different.

    What you describe reminds me of cliques and how they have their own terminology for things. If you don't understand the conversation, you shouldn't be in it. So, if your tribe uses their label while in the region instead of the official title, it will highlight that they are not part of the region and are in some way against it.

    Did I make any sense?
     
  5. StormWarrior
    Offline

    StormWarrior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Europe
    Yes thanks. So the general consensus is, i should call everything by the names the tribe use, unless they are interacting with people of the empire and must use the official name to them?
     
  6. zorell
    Offline

    zorell Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,376
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    growing on a tree with a buckeye
    Exactamundo:) Um, I think there is a fiction peice that could help with this, "Lireal" I believe.
     
  7. StormWarrior
    Offline

    StormWarrior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Europe
    what do you mean?
     
  8. zorell
    Offline

    zorell Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,376
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    growing on a tree with a buckeye
    In the book, there is a Necromancer in training that travels through different areas. TO those of a specific practice, the region retains its older name. However, newer forces with the intent ot overule the land give it a different name. You can tell who is on which side by their references to the land.
     
  9. Apples
    Offline

    Apples Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interesting, zorell. This could be a very useful tool to identify allegiance among characters throughout the story.
     
  10. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    That's what I would do. The name that matters most is the one the main/POV characters (the small tribe, in your case) are using. And if they happen to have to use the alternate name, then that's the name to use as the situation demands.

    If the POV characters never have reason to use the alternate name of a particular land, then the alternate name has no reason to show up in the story, except if you have some sort of gazette or index or glossary or something at the end.
     
  11. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    The choice of which name a particular character uses in the course of the story is not a random point. For instance, a character from the empire will probably continue to use the empire's name for the place in conversation, perhaps even when speaking to a tribesman to assert an allegiance to the empire's claim.

    But if that character comes to sympathise with the tribe's position, the shift to using the tribe's name for the place can signal a growing respect for the tribe, eventually even perhaps a conviction that the empire is in the wrong.

    If carefully done, this can be a very powerful "showing" technique.
     
  12. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,912
    Likes Received:
    10,104
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    And let’s not forget that the concept of more than one name for a given place is actually a very common thing. Not only do you have political alliances, but there are historical/linguistic differences that come into play. For example:

    Germany

    English- Germany
    Spanish- Alemania
    German- Deutschland


    German (as in a person, not the language.)

    English- German
    Spanish- Aleman
    German- Deutsch
    Russian- Nemetski
     
  13. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Also keep in mind that a named place is not generally a dimensionless point. It has extent and boundaries, and some of those may differ between the two names. That may be an important thing for some characters to discover, that the boundaries of a place from the tribe's perspective are different from the boundaries from the empire's perspective.

    If you've ever looked at two maps of, say, Eurasia from a few decades apart, you'll see what I mean. Cultural boundaries aren't always aligned with political boundaries, regardless of who is drawing the lines on the map.
     

Share This Page