Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Language details

Ta'arani uses the following consonants: ch, f, h, j, l, m, n, ng, r, s, sh, t, w. Words and names in Ta'arani do not end in consonants. Ng' can occur at the beginning of a word, as in Swahili. It never appears before a vowel: instead, soften to nn. A Ta'arane would pronounce "ringing" as "rinning". (I found out how to do diacriticals in HTML! Check some of the character names in the previous post.)

I may have to discard the detail about the Ta'arane not being able to pronounce the u in Nitsur. Given their rich and finely divided vowel set, they should be able to pick up a new vowel without too much trouble. They'll want to pronounce Hingol as Hinnol.

Kesseten features most of the same consonants as English. Exceptions: no ng, kh instead of ch (pronounced like ch in German), dh instead of th. Avoid z and x. High frequency of k, h, dh, v, b, p compared to English. Kesseten has a formal/rhetoric speech mode used for clan/tribal councils, but it won't play much part in the story. (I'd like to write a scene where Vannasen uses it.) (Note: consider Old Man-fostered mind control techniques embedded in the formal mode. Re-read Science of Coercion? Gesture and tone play important part as well as pure eloquence.)

Among the Kesset, proper names end in consonants. Names ending in vowels are nicknames or diminutives (Akshedhen's mother might call him Akshi).

Wonei uses English consonants plus some, English vowels plus some. Because the story is not likely to feature nearly as many Wonei place and person names (since it mostly takes place in Kesset or Ta'arane territory), it's going to be difficult to create a characteristic "sound" for Wonei given the diversity of sounds in the language. Instead, stress linguistic adaptability and sound-orientedness of Woneiyal characters-- have both Kesset and Ta'arane characters stumble over certain sounds of Wonei.

Near the beginning of the book, Nitsur suffers from being isolated from people to whom he can speak. Near the end of the book, this is Akshedhen's position, as he's accompanied by few Kesset. Both of them are forced to acquire language skills, but it comes much easier to Nitsur. Mafileo doesn't ever have that problem and probably doesn't appreciate how important it is.

1 comment:

Morgana said...

People should read this.