View Full Version : Using a real language for a world building and story developing project

06-27-2011, 07:41 AM
I hope this thread isn't too offtopic, if it is and it violates a rule please delete it and let me know.
I wanted to ask you guys what your opinion is for using a real language in a story i am planning to write, based in a world im trying to create. I have no problem inventing words and place names, but my native language (Romanian) is pretty unique, in that its the only romance language to have a slavic stratum to it (about 30% of words are slavic). It can be understood only by Romanians, so for the average non-romanian reader it would seem curious and strange, perfect for one of the "cultures" i have in mind.
Would it be a bad idea to write the bits of language in romanian and those local place-names also, or should i invent everything on the way?
So you guys get a picture of how this language is, its ~ 50% mutually intelligible with Italian, but the similarities end at the words themselves, the grammar and synthax is very diffrent.

Waiting for your impressions, critique is welcome!
A good day to you,

06-27-2011, 04:20 PM
I don't see any problems with that at all. Many many many authors borrow from Celtic, Gaelic, Welsh, old Norse, Japanese, Chinese, and everything else for the names of their people, places, gods, and languages in hopes that it sounds authentic but not straight up English, French, Italian, or German. If I had learned my Polish lessons from my grandfather I would use that all the time.

06-27-2011, 10:42 PM
I do this all the time, for place names. It lets me imply distinct differences between different cultures, without having to develop a bunch of differing constructed languages. I'll glue together a bunch of pieces of place-names to try to keep from using exact real places, though I'm sure sometimes my patchwork accidentally reinvents real names. It probably also lends unintended hilarity to native speakers of the languages I borrow when my hilltop town translates as The Dripping Verdant Swamp of Rabbits or the like. You'll have the advantage of knowing how to sensibly create names, and how to devise more than just real-*seeming* dialog snips.

Do you expect many Romanian readers? For them, you can plant "easter eggs" in the Romanian content. If I don't get the puns or literary allusions, the names will still sound exotic. For them, they'll get a little feeling of superiority in being privy to the "secret content :-).

06-28-2011, 01:52 AM
As long as you aren't using it for the names of the "evil folk" locations, which might anger your neighbors, you should be fine. It beats using a random name generator.

06-28-2011, 04:35 AM
Ok, thanks for the answers guys, Romanian it is...