kaigou: No, seriously. (2 No srsly)
[personal profile] kaigou
It occurred to me that you can't really refer to something in a story as a D-ring, if your characters don't use an alphabet that contains the letter D.

Date: 3 Sep 2012 10:37 am (UTC)
maat_seshat: Honor with a sword, standing in front of a burning protective dome (Honor Harrington)
From: [personal profile] maat_seshat
*snicker* Ah, worldbuilding.

Date: 3 Sep 2012 10:41 am (UTC)
jakfrost: Promises to keep and miles to go (Default)
From: [personal profile] jakfrost
It depends on the voice of the writing. If your character is speaking or narrating then that is completely true. If it is third person, then I believe you have the choice to either use language for your characters to understand or to use it for your audience's benefit. The important thing is to be consistent.

Date: 3 Sep 2012 09:14 pm (UTC)
nagasvoice: lj default (Default)
From: [personal profile] nagasvoice
There's also the question of consistent voice about translation of the language of the world into terminology the reader can handle.
Having to reinvent the name of everything is annoying to the reader. However, giving a name to something that serves the same purpose but isn't quite the same--as so many reinventions of the wheel come out just a little different, or have different secondary abilities?--strikes me as completely legitimate. Having to stop and explain this can be an info dump, or it can turn into a really fun plot point.
Also, even if it's a legitimate translation, some phrases are just too evocative of their original sources, and bump you completely out of the fiction. I found this was a problem when I was trying to use brief but precise terminology for roughly fourteenth-century (meaning anti-blade, anti-crushing blow, not effectively anti-projectile) armor. Sometimes the best term was German, or French, or Japanese, and on rereading it, it just jerked my mind right out of the fictional world. Food and clothing terminology is similarly tightly-bound in culture and local technology.
That means that where you choose to turn your attention while reinventing terms is very revealing too--you can use that focus to reinforce our impression of the knowledge base of a character.
Somebody who's involved in ordering the economics of an invented world will use a different focus of attention than the folks doing that person's laundry for them.

Date: 4 Sep 2012 04:12 am (UTC)
nagasvoice: lj default (Default)
From: [personal profile] nagasvoice
Yes, cloisonne is a very good example of what I was talking about. Craft words too, pottery terms such as raku or celadon, or words for carpentry exploits. I almost hate to reference fiber arts because it's too easy to give too *much* information that a particular character would not know, they'd never notice.
It's maddening sometimes because looking up the details and the history will enrich the background of the story so much, and you realize how impossible it is to use a different unfamiliar word that's not technically correct but won't jar people so badly as the "right" word.
I should probably add that I've read critiques that discuss the difference in expectations by lit'ry readers vs. scifi readers on unfamiliar vocabulary. You may already have seen this but, just in case...
Lit'ry readers expect to have to go look things up immediately, the writer isn't going to cater to them at all. (Bits of untranslated foreign languages, for instance, for the naughty bits.) If you missed it that's not their problem. The scifi writers use throwaways a lot, and if you don't get it, don't worry, we'll explain the bits you really need to know for the plot, because we like wallowing in the tech so much it's disgusting.
My personal opinion is, scifi *and* fanfic writers vary across a huge spectrum on how much they're going to hold the reader's hand. Some of them don't explain anything,t hey expect you to be up on your physics. Others are intermediate--if you get the injoke in this reference or that description, you'll enjoy it more, but we're not going to stop the train to explain.

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kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
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"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

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