I Before E, Except After C

So a few weeks back I talked about the basics of creating a language. In it, I shared a list of sounds and the Latin letter used for transliteration. Today I’m going to expand upon that by taking a look at some grammatical rules.

For your own conlang purposes, you may want to research how some languages are formed. Learning a new (real) language can also be incredibly helpful, as it makes you think about how sentences are put together. Not every language can throw the words around willy-nilly. In English, the sentence “Tom chased the tiger” is very different from “the tiger chased Tom”. But in some languages (*cough*Ancient Greek*cough*), word order is almost irrelevant because nouns and verbs end differently based on their purpose in the sentence.

Is that an appealing feature to include in your conlang? Or is meaning entirely dependent on word order? Perhaps some middle ground?

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Can You Understand Me Now?

There are many different instances where a fictional world involves a fictional language. Klingon, Elfish, Dothraki, and Ewokese are all examples of languages created by/for a fictional world. In some cases, like Klingon, the language was created after the fact (and pieced together from fragments originally chosen to just sound right with no real meaning attached). Others, like Elfish, were created first, only to have the narrative wrapped around as an explanation and exploration of the language(s).

So how exactly does one go about creating a fictional language?

Well, obviously that depends on why you need a fictional language…

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Goods In My Market

Welcome back after the brief hiatus! Just a reminder that, going forward, there will only be one update each week. Eventually I would like to return to the one every 4 days schedule that I was using, but that will be a ways away.

So today I’m continuing my talk on fictional economics. On April 18, I shared a post that challenged you to think up new types of currency rather than relying on the old standard of metal coins. Today I want to talk about what sort of things your characters might buy (or sell) using their chips, marks, stones, or other currency.

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Coins In My Pocket

So, like many other of the world building topics I like to talk about, there are books, blogs, videos, and forums that have discussed economics in relation to creating a fictional world. Apparently Grain Into Gold is really good, and Farm, Forge, and Steam is free. Then Clarkesworld Magazine did interviews with some authors about the economics of their worlds, and Fantasy Faction has a post about it too.

Further, I’m not an econ-nerd, nut, or expert. I like to play with numbers, but I never even took an economics class in university. So… my approach to this particular world building problem is going to be very non-technical. Depending on what you need, that may or may not be a good thing.

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A Dash of Life

So twice now I’ve written about creating a fictional race/species. The first, on March 21st, was about the very basics. The second, on April 2nd, was about fleshing out the rest of the physical aspects. Today I’m going to talk about the finishing touches.

What exactly does that entail?

Well, what are the social structures? How does the race teach its young? What sort of jobs/occupations/responsibilities are there? How do they decide who gets which job? How do they treat their young, the old, and the infirm? Do they have a system that recognizes status?

All of these questions can apply to every type of race/species you create.

But how do you go about tackling them?

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A Pinch of Fire

So on March 21st I talked about creating a race/species, and covered all the basic physical stuff. Number of heads, eyes, arms, etc. This is good (obviously), but it’s really only the start. You also need to know things like:

  • How does it move?
  • What does it eat?
  • How does it defend itself?
  • How does it mate/attract a mate?
  • Where does it live?

These less obvious physical attributes of a creature are just as important as the actual physical appearance. This is what takes it from being a lump of clay, or a puppet, and makes it alive. Of course, you need a little more to make it a fully fleshed out creature, but that’s what the April 14th post is going to be about.

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With A Bit Of Clay

There are numerous different examples of races within fiction. There are the ever popular elves and dwarves, the traditionally villainous orcs and goblins, and the potentially badass dragons and griffins. With a hundred other possible examples that I could give, it’s easy to find pre-defined fantasy races to populate your fictional world. But is that what you want to do?

I’m not asking because I want to dissuade you. It can be huge help to use a pre-established race within your world. Rather than having to explain and justify why this particular set of people are long-lived, live in trees, are in-tune with nature, and elegantly sophisticated, you can just say “elves” and everybody gets it. You can even use less common variants of elves (small, mischievous, and magical) and people are still going to approach your story ready and willing to accept that this race of people look, act, and think a certain way. HUUUUGE time-saver.

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