Linguistic Laughs

Sam and I were discussing some linguistics this afternoon. We’ve had a challenge in the past determining which words were used commonly enough in English that they could be used in the “English translation” of the book, as opposed to words that required an in-world word. An example of the former would be the word sarong, which while not technically being English, is still used commonly enough in English to fly. An example of the latter would be naginata. While the weapon exists in the Seventh Empire (known in-world as the yaodari), the word naginata was too clearly Japanese, not used commonly enough in English, and besides which, is laden with too many connotations which we did not want to associate with our yaodari.

That’s a longer introduction than I meant to give, considering this is a joke, but I thought it might be of interest to some of you. =)

At any rate, Sam and I were discussing the words that we may have to change in Buk Tu, on the suggestion of our editor. A new culture is introduced in Buk Tu, and at the moment, we have used words such as “sultan” and “sheikh” within this new culture. We thought these words were commonly used enough in English, but our editor suggested coming up with in-world words for them instead.

We were having a bit of difficulty coming up with the basis of these words in this particular culture’s language. As our difficulty continued and our focus waned, one of us (I can’t even remember if it was me or Sam) suggested, in what I think was a fit of pique,

“Let’s just add an ‘h’ to everything!”

“Yes!” cried the other, “We can have SHULTANS!”

Needless to say, we’re still working out some of the kinks.

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About vmech
Writer, Taekwondo instructor, and adoption advocate. Author of THE TALE OF TELSHARU and THE SCOURGE OF NARAK.

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