1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What's the name of this thing!?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mckk, Apr 13, 2012.

    I tried googling on city walls, river, siege, nothing's come up :(

    What do you call that passage where a river, or some form of water, flows through the city walls? I don't think it's an underpass and it's not a drainage system. I'm thinking of a national river that flows through the heart of the city. I can't seem to find it :(

    Help!
     
  2. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    An aqueduct?
     
  3. Just Jon
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    Just Jon Member

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    Aqueduct sounds right.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks guys! I googled it and indeed, it does sound like what I'm looking for, but I have another question...

    Is aqueduct a common term? eg. would my readers generally understand what this is? Or should I rather use something like "water channel"?

    And this is again related to whether "aqueduct" is a common term - my character whose POV it's written in, he's smart but he's not educated. Would he know such a term? This is a fantasy medieval setting. My character can't even read. He's never been schooled.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Aqueduct, culvert.

    Your character might call it a flow hole or a water passage, if he's not linguistically sophisticated. You need not use a fancy word if he don't talk so fancy.

    EDIT: In fact, if you want to get a chuckle from the reader, he could refer to it as a water gate.
     
  6. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    Greece (or was it Italy?) had aqueducts. I'm quite certain it was common there.
    I've known the term since I was fourteen, I think. It definitely is not new to me. I might not have come up with it by reading a description, but seeing the word itself I knew what it was.
    Even if the reader doesn't know, educate them, put the word in and if they don't know then it's their job to find out the meaning. Reading a book you are bound to find a new word eventually.
     
  7. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    Italy. Rome. And all the places the Romans settled. I would have known, but I'm sort of a classics geek so I'm no yardstick.
     
  8. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Subterranean rivers and streams can be natural or man made aqueducts. Cisterns often served as a water source for many old cities during a siege. Cutting tunnels from rivers through walls and under cities was not unusual.
     
  9. Just Jon
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    Just Jon Member

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    I live in NY state and we have the remnants of aqueducts from the the Erie canal where it passed over the Mohawk River. The word seems common enough for me, but cog has a point about changing it to suit your characters vocabulary.
     
  10. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    I think only people who had never lived near an aqueduct would not be familiar with what one is, and since your characters live with one in their city, it should be part of their, and the narrator's vocabulary. If in doubt, when you first introduce it as an element, you could expand roughly on what it is. But I think it's a pretty common term, so it would be odd not to use it.
     
  11. Dubya
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    Dubya Member

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    Aqueduct is quite commonly used, although where a watercourse passes under a wall or road is usually through a culvert or sluice.
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Aqueduct" is usually associated with a structure that carries water over a large gap, not under a wall, although in modern use it can be any structure for moving water from place to place. I would use "sluice" if the flow is controlled by a gate, "culvert" if it's not, because they're more precise terms and both in reasonably common use.
     

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