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The Language of Fantasy

Language Word Cloud

Today’s topic comes from QSFer Beth Brock (I know – she’s on a roll!): “In a fantasy world, how important is it to follow the rules of the history of Earth? Specifically language and social studies? Can you use French words in a fantasy world? How about German? Where is the limits of English? How can other languages help us bridge the scifi and fantasy language gaps?”

Many of us have invented our own languages for Fantasy stories. But sometimes it makes more sense to use an existing language.

I’ve borrowed from Gaelic for some of my Fantasy pieces, and of course, depending on the setting, just about any language could prove useful in a fantasy setting.

So what’s your take? How do you use language in your Fantasy stories, if you write them? Do you find it jarring to encounter another Earth language in a Fantasy setting? And see Beth’s questions above. :)


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1 thought on “The Language of Fantasy”

  1. I use google translator to help with words and names of characters. But I don’t limit it to one language. I pick a term to identify the character, like honor or warrior and then go through each language to see the translation. A few times I’ve modified them slightly, but mostly I leave them. Once I have my short list, I pick and choose based on how the word looks and sounds. At least how it sounds when I pronounce it the way it looks to me. :)

    I use very few European languages doing it like that. They seem to bee to familiar. I use the technique for character names, and important terms. I try to not bury the reader under terms, just have enough to give it an other world feel.


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