As part of her continuing series on How Linguistics Can Help You, Juliette Wad discusses that ubiquitous genre activity making up words.
Archive for the ‘The Craft of Writing’ Category
Neural networks are really amazing things. In my last post I talked about how a word brings up all of its meanings simultaneously; today I’m going to talk about how that’s not all it brings up.
I’m talking about connotations and allusion.
FirstWorldWar.com has a deep archive of WWI pictures, which are clearly labeled and sorted. Whether you are doing a historical fantasy, steampunk, or staging a war in your science-fictional world, this will prove fascinating reading.
Choosing the right word is critical to getting our meaning across as writers. Here are a few initial things to think about:
1. Does this word have the meaning I’m looking for?
2. Does it supply that meaning unambiguously?
3. Does it have the proper positive, negative, mysterious, or other desired connotations?
4. Does it reflect on the attitude or identity of the point of view character?
by Juliette Wade This one’s funny, because it sounds like grammar, or maybe computer programming… Syntax is the study of how sentences are put together. Part of this is word order. This is the one everyone fears because it often involves diagramming sentences. Actually, one of my most intense and wonderful classes was Syntax 1 […]
Morphology is a fantasy and science fiction writer’s best friend. Seriously. Why? Because everyone uses it, and I mean everyone, whether they know it or not. Every story that makes up a name for a group of people and then pluralizes it is using morphology. Every story that takes a nice-sounding made-up word and then adds on a suffix to make the name of a country or city is using it too.
Sometimes coming up with the right character name can be the hardest part. Whether working in secondary worlds or the real world, we have some research tools to make picking that perfect name a little easier.
Articulatory phonetics deals with how the human vocal tract creates sounds.
Knowing the principles of how the vocal tract works can help science fiction and fantasy writers to create languages that follow naturalistic patterns of pronunciation, thus making created languages that seem more natural.
This sequence of “How ____ can help you!” pieces concerns various areas of linguistics. These aren’t intended to be technical, or even introductory discussions of linguistics itself. They are short, practical pieces which relate linguistics topics to the use of created languages in science fiction and fantasy.
When writing historical fiction or fantasy, the question of food either seems daunting or is completely overlooked. With the Historical Food Timeline, you can get an approximate idea of when a given food was introduced.