Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Language Creation

Sometimes you think you can slide by with a few made-up words and other times you know you can't. Puppet Prince would be one of those novels where I know I can't.

I have an empire, which is made up of at least 20 smaller nations, most of whom are not going to feature in this story--I hope. But at least two of the minor nations will, and of course, the empire itself will. The most recent nation to be overtaken by the empire is Tainn. I decided on its name a couple years ago and I still like it. Just looking at that one word and the three people from Tainn that feature in this story, whom I also named a couple years ago, already gives a pattern for this language. I'm expecting this to be a *pure* language, with pretty much nothing borrowed from anyone else's.

The other absorbed nation has been part of the empire for much longer, so it will have taken on some words from the empire as well as, most likely, words from other languages in the empire. I have a rough idea of what their base language sounds like, but I only had one name ahead of time to work around.

And the empire, bless them, has been cheerfully overtaking the known world for a couple hundred years. They are swallowing languages, cultures, art forms, and religions whole, mashing them all up, and spewing them back out. So THAT language can be as messy as English, at the other end.

What to do?

Well, this is what *I* did! I pulled out an e-book I bought quite awhile ago, read, but did not yet have occasion to put to use: Holly Lisle's Create a Language Clinic.

The Tainnish language now has some missing letters, some common consonant/vowel combinations, and a wee bit of structure to hold the thing up.

Next on the hit list: the other language, which will soon have a name!

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