1. Monosmith
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    Monosmith Member

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    Fictional Language

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Monosmith, Dec 17, 2011.

    The nuadine are a fictional people whose origins trace back to a civilization right after the beginning of the universe. I have decided that the language that they speak now is no the language that they speak speak today and that it was artificially created by the creators of the species, Craytus and Quarr (whose names were implemented into the language to mean "Evil" and "It", respectively).

    I have decided that, for the sake of authenticity in my books, I will actually create this language and use it. In order to make this easier, I have a generally strategy to how the language works. There are two alphabets.

    The first alphabet is the common alphabet, used to describe things that the nuadine would be accustomed to, but inflexible to new ideas. It consists of 125 different symbols, each representing a syllable. The first challenge I face is knowing that only 125 words in their language can be monosyllabic and deciding what words are the most common. After that, my next challenge is to read through the dictionary and decide what words would not be in their common language and then inventing words that would be in their language but not in ours.

    Their second alphabet is their scientific alphabet. Its symbols follow the same patterns of the common alphabet and is used to describe logical ideas in math and science. It might also have 125 syllables, but that's something that I might have to manipulate in my probable need to find more science terms. I know for sure that they will have syllables for numbers (including a few abstract and irrational numbers) and syllables for describing elements and compounds. These syllables could also be attached to common words as prefixes or suffixes in order to add description. Perhaps this will be an alphabet that must be split into two in order to get both the math and science in.

    I might need a third or fourth alphabet as well that includes syllables for grammar, such as conjugating verbs, as well as adding prefixes and suffixes.

    I plan on using this language for more than one book and as a sort of Latin for my series, through which many new words will be based on because of the scientific prowess of the nuadine.

    There is another language, Kitilik (named after the species, literally: "Woman and Man"), which serves a similar purpose as nuadine, although I'll get into that later, since I'm focusing on only one thing at a time. Right now, I want advice on the creating of a fictional language, in particular one with the system I've set up here. I figured that I would somehow use a computer to help me get through every syllable combination and give me a database through which I could translate words, but I don't know how to do any of that. I'm hoping that I'll find someone who knows of ways to make this practical. If I find someone who can give me pointers on this site, that would be helpful.

    If anyone else wants to talk about developing new languages, go ahead and discuss.

    Monosmith
     
  2. TemporalV01D
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    TemporalV01D Member

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    Wow, nice. =)


    I'm currently writing a sci-fi trilogy (with multiple prequels and sequels planned) set on a fictional planet home to a sentient race called the "Xen'vi". There are nine nations on the world, each speaking a different language (or rather, a different dialect of three core languages), though there are also three extinct/semi-extinct (used only for names, etc.) languages. I am planning to develop all of them.

    So far, I've completed a 500-word dictionary for one of the dialects, set up a universal grammar system, worked out three writing methods and chosen 27 phonetic sounds that my alien species would use (9 vowels, 9 held consonants and 9 non-held consonants) and - for simplicity's sake - each of the twelve languages that have a writing system use this set of 27 for their alphabets. My main objective in the language development department of the whole world building project is to create 12 languages (subtly similar in varying degrees) with their own unique sound and writing style. This is proving to be rather difficult and time consuming (especially considering they have six voice orifices each. For simplicity's sake, I've opted to writing words the way the one-voiced human would be able to pronounce it).
     
  3. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    You may want to check out the conlanging forum on UniLang Forums.
     
  4. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    I understand this may help you mentally to get into the world you're writing about, but how do you plan to actually use the language in your writing? Especially if your language doesn't use our type of letters. Explaining the whole idea of their language might make the work a bit boring for many readers. How are you gonna use the symbols on a computer or on print? Are you actually gonna write some of it in your own language? I do admire the ambition you have for going through all this trouble and I'm not trying to put you down, I'm just genuinely curious.
     
  5. Ross M Kitson
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    Ross M Kitson Member

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    Think I'm with Makeshift here. I think you would have to be very careful how you use it in the book as passages that are uninterpretable to a reader would wear thin rather quickly. Creation of a new language is admirable- Tolkein famously did it for LOTR. And it works in books like 1984 and Clockwork Orange, agreeably to a lesser degree.
    I think the think that would put me off would be the construction of grammar, the derivation of words, the linkage of words to cultural developments, the creation of regional dialects. Would there be only one language in their culture? Fascinating project- good luck with it.
     
  6. Monosmith
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    Monosmith Member

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    It's not something I put too much focus on, really, and in the writing itself I intend to spell the words out phonetically using Roman characters. I just want to be able to write what someone said in a language first and then translate it, just so that there's a little feel of authenticity, because I don't want to be the type of author who completely sidesteps that aspect of writing. I just hope that people get a phonetic feel for the language so that it's an easy way of recognizing something as belonging to a certain culture.

    I don't intend to explain or showcase the language in my story in any intrusive way. The reason why it came up is that in the first couple of books within my series, there is a lot of translating as cultures get introduced to each other for the first time. The first book is about people being enslaved by the nuadine and rebelling. One of the primary protagonists has the nuadine language downloaded into his head so he can understand the orders of his masters, and it's essentially the common language of the diverse peoples enslaved under them, so since it plays a large plot element I felt it would be out of place to avoid describing the language.

    As far as the symbols go, I've worked on the concepts and don't intend to use them in the manuscript so that they don't interrupt the narrative, but I intend to illustrate my stories and might include the writing within a picture, or it might be on the cover or something like that, or I could imagine going as J.K. Rowling did and have written letters show up in the book with the author's handwriting.

    Overall, the appearance of the syllables doesn't matter to me (they're kind of Gothic and spidery, which is all the reader needs to know). I care more about getting the phonetic feel of the language and being consistent with the way I write things. That's what I need help with.

    On the whole, I never wanted this type of stuff to be intrusive, and I don't think it will.

    With regards to Ross, the two languages I've mentioned thus far I have chosen because they are strongly united and don't have regional dialects due to the uniqueness of the cultures they came from. I have ideas of other fictional languages within my diverse setting, though I have no intention of developing them and will at most only develop new words when necessary that sound as if they came from the same tongue.

    I hope that helps.

    Monosmith
     

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