1. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Has anybody here - besides George Lucas - ever tried this?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Simpson17866, Feb 24, 2014.

    I'm working on a sci-fi story, and I want my alien character's POV to be clearly understandable to the English readers that I am writing for, yet for it to still sound obviously alien.

    Like what George Lucas did with Yoda, only I want it to be clear again to the reader that I'm not just using Yoda-speak, that I'm trying to come up with my own alien-speak in the same way that Lucas came up with his own Yoda-speak.

    If anybody here has also tried combining English vocabulary with non-English grammar, do you have any tips for what I should try to do and/or avoid?

    ***

    Should I just not even bother? I understand that readers' comprehension of the story is more important than any gimmicks that make it harder to understand, and I understand that just because George Lucas did something well does not mean that I have George Lucas's skill in making the same kind of thing work as well as he did.

    Furthermore, my story is a Doctor Who fan-fic, so I do realize that telepathic translation technology is already an established part of the story's universe in a way that it never was in Star Wars, and I'm already going to use that conceit to make his dialogue sound more normal to the English-speakers, so I do realize that I could just do the exact same thing for the internal monologue if it turns out that I can't make my semi-English understandable enough.

    I just thought it would be cool if his internal monologue was distinct from his dialogue (to show that he forces himself to practice English in case the translators stop working, but that it doesn't come naturally yet), and I thought that a good "alien, but understandable" gimmick would be for the vocabulary and grammar of his speech to be translated into English for the readers, but for only the vocabulary of his unspoken thoughts to be translated and not the grammar.

    ***

    Should I share a sample paragraph to see if my invented grammar makes as much sense to others as I think that it makes sense to me? Or would that fall under "Writing Workshop" instead of "Word Mechanics"?
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  2. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Just use a few language translators. Find a bit of foreign writing, put it in a converter that doesn't try and correct grammar, and see how the words fall. Then write like that. I know a few languages and the grammar, for me, is the hardest part to switch.
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think it's one way to give an ethnic voice to a character without getting into really confusing spelling of heavily accented words.
     
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  4. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow, thank you. I had completely missed that option. :oops:

    I was already thinking that Hebrew and Irish would be two of the closest equivalents, and I've already been looking at how "Biblical" the POV feels, but I definitely hadn't thought of taking it that far, and I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  5. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    @GingerCoffee Exactly! That's what I thought would be cool about it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  6. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I hope it works! :)
     

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