1. tupbup
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    tupbup Member

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    Whiskey or Whisky?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by tupbup, Oct 28, 2013.

    I always struggle on this. I never know whether to put the 'e' in or not. I think whisky looks better but when I've googled my dilemma it tells me whisky refers to scotch whisky and whiskey is for the others. Now as a fantasy writer Scotland and America don't exist. So which do I use? And would any readers (other than devout scotch drinkers) pick it up as an error?

    Maybe my characters shouldn't drink so much...
     
  2. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    If Scottland and the U.S. don't exist, why does whiskey? I would think that it would have some other name. You could describe the liquor, or how it's brewed, if it's really that important for the reader to know that it's specifically whiskey.
     
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  3. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    What are you using for comparison? If you don't want to follow @Okon 's advice, just pick the one you want it to be like and run with the way they spell it.

    Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Crown Royal, Jameson's, etc. - whiskey.

    Maker's Mark, Johnnie Walker, Canadian Club, etc. - whisky
     
  4. tupbup
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    tupbup Member

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    That's a very good point, if I am more creative with my naming of things I wouldn't have that problem. Thank you. Off to research alcohol, yum!
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's spelled "whisky" in Scotland, Japan, and Canada. It's spelled "whiskey" everywhere else.

    For what it's worth, I spell it without the "e", and I'm a professional whisky drinker.
     
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  6. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    That's lucky.
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's not luck. It's skill. Takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
     
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  8. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I used to give JD a lot of work and dedication, lol. These days I drink 2 or 3 times a year.
     
  9. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    I'm not a professional, but i live in Kentucky. Point being, anyone in Kentucky who drinks had damned well be able to hold their Bourbon, and be able to compare it to all the "lesser" whiskeys.

    And then, when alone, I sneak out my bottle of Craggenmore
     
  10. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whiskey or whisky?? VODKA!!!! :D



    ...or rakija, if you know what that is :)
     
  11. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Have you read any of Joe Abercrombie's blog, where he plays several rounds of 'Whisky Deathmatch'? He takes a selection of better end Scottish single malts, pairs them up, then assesses them, likening each to one of his characters. It's amusing to say the least.

    This is how he describes Highland Park 18:

    @tupbup

    I had the same dilemma. I ended up referring to it as 'grain liquor', thinking it said all I needed it too.
     
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  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Haha. That's great. I will have to check out his blog. I've never had Highland Park 18 before. Too expensive. I'll have to wait till I'm a respected academic to be able to afford it. Sounds yummy, though.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You can use either, just be consistent. There is. No need to make up a new word unless you really want to.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    or opt for just 'booze'!
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I have a bottle of 15 year Laphroaig that is quite nice.
     
  16. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try "whiski".
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Just don't fall into the 'calling a rabbit a smeerp' problem.

    If you're writing in a fantasy world, presumably they don't have any English words for anything. But of course you need to make your book intelligible, so you use a real-world language like English. If they mill grain and use yeast to make a product that is basically "bread," then you call it bread, right? You're not going to come up with a new word for regular bread in most instances (though if there is some unusual bread with special properties, you might). Likewise, if they distill grain into something that is basically whiskey, then call it whiskey. There's little point in providing a made-up word. Just like every other noun or word of dialogue in your book is presumably an English equivalent used to describe your fantasy word, the word 'whiskey' is the word you use to describe the alcohol.
     
  18. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    @thirdwind
    Then you'll be in for a treat. A friend of mine bought me a bottle two birthdays back. Problem is, now I know what I'm missing. :rolleyes:
     
  19. jannert
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    It's a hard job, but somebody's got to do it.
     
  20. jannert
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    Excellent, entertaining, funny and very accurate 'taster' book on Scottish whisky by the late, great author Iain Banks:
    Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram.

    He has his favourites. Mine (Bunnahabhain) isn't one of them, but I am able to say he got the description of its taste spot-on. I can only assume he managed to capture the taste of the others as well.

    It's the kind of book you have to read cover to cover, as you can't 'look up' a particular whisky. So it's probably a plan to note page numbers if you want to try the ones he describes. But it's lots of fun to read. More of a journey than a reference book. I really miss the guy.
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Give up, you can't win. It would appear readers complain either way. :p

    NYTs - Notes on Eating, Drinking and Cooking - Whiskey vs Whisky
     
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  22. tupbup
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    tupbup Member

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    I was thinking about this when I went to bed last night. There's lots of words that probably don't have a place in my fantasy world. Words such as pint or bar or paper or bricks or....(I could go on forever)... As its only a short story I don't want to go into depth explaining what each word is. And then .. why should it be written in English anyway? This problem could snowball. For a longer novel I might come up with more of my own words but when I only have a limited space, maybe whisky could be acceptable. I do like to geek out on the details though.

    Haha, I am partial to my whisky though. Goes down nicely after a hard day. Never heard of rajika?! Sounds exotic.
     
  23. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just to say that if I ever see "whiskey" I always think the setting or writer must be Irish. Whisky is only ever spelt "whisky" as far as I'm concerned.
     
  24. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @tupbup rakija = Balkan-exclusive fruit distilled brandy. Up to 68% alcohol in home-made (partly illegal) version :D

    I also think of a predominantly irish-british milieu whenever there is a whisk(e)y involved, which of course makes no sense since you can buy a domestic whisk(e)y in Japan or Chile or Turkey nowadays. It's not exactly the same thing - can't compare to the real thing (Jack or Johnny?) - but then again, even Vodka is nowadays just a drink, not necesseraly invoking any Russian connotations :)

    Q: So if whiskey is Irish, and whisky is Scottish: are the two even pronounced differently?

    But how is whisk(e)y spelled where you live? You are going to use adequate spelling for the rest of your text - saber or sabre, taxi or cab etc... I think you should do the same here. If you're from the States, use the whiskey version, if you're from Belize: spell it "booze" :)
     
  25. criticalsexualmass
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    when in Belize, we always spell it "rum"
     

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