While I’m absolutely terrible at learning languages (I managed French and that was my limit), I’ve always been fascinated with etymology itself (“the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history”). It was natural for that interest to transfer into my geeky hobbies, and after seeing Star Wars as a kid the idea of fantasy and science fiction worlds where people spoke totally different languages was much more interesting than learning German. This week for Seriously Geeky Sundays we’re talking about languages and words in fandom, and how they’re used in it. That’s everything from languages to poetry and music and curse words!
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Words maketh the fandom
My answers for week #2
What is your favourite fictional language?
It’s Aurabesh from the Star Wars universe. While a large portion of the galaxy speaks Galactic Basic (aka British or American English) Aurabesh is the written form of this language. While Galactic Basic doesn’t feel very alien to us as we understand it there’s always been something very science fiction and mystical to the way Aurabesh looks to me. It feels more like hieroglyphs than the type of printed language you’d expect in a futuristic environment and for me that fits perfectly with the Star Wars universe.
Language doesn’t always come in the form of words, as with morse code. What’s the most unconventional fictional language system you know?
There are two that come to mind; the runes used by Shadowhunters in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books and one that is new to me, the wyrdmarks in Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series. Both are a language system and also so much more. They’re a magical language, imbuing power and as much don’t act in the same way as a spoken language or a code. Yet they’re still a language, they’re just a runic language.
Do you ever find yourself picking up words from fandoms and using them?
All the time, thankfully I don’t go as far as speaking them outloud as my fiance already thinks I’m weird enough as it is! 😀 My thought patterns end up taking on the speech patterns of the protagonist of the book I just read, especially if it’s written in a different time period. I end up thinking in pray tells and forsooths for a few days. One thing I always pick up are curse words which leads us onto the next question…
What’s the best fictional curse word you’ve ever come across?
As I just said I pick up curse words from fandoms, especially books all the time. My personal favourites for individual words include Star Wars Legends’ kriff (“kriff this!”, “kriffing X!” etc.) and sithspawn, Dresden Files‘ hells bells, and of course, Red Dwarf‘s smeg has to make this list too.
For the truly creative cursing Red Dwarf is on top of the list and is absolutely hilarious. There’s no one better at insults than Arnold Rimmer when he gets going. I also really loved the Glaswegian ones in Kevin Hearne’s Ink & Sigil (check out my review here) which some reviewers claimed were “too juvenile for them”, but if you loved Red Dwarf you’ll love these too. In a totally different way, I loved the protagonist of a book I just finished, A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, who didn’t really curse much other than the off ‘wanker’ but had a flair for random insults.
What about poems and songs in fandoms?
I’m not a big fan of poetry, yep, there I said it. There are some that catch my interest and appeal to me, but I have never and probably never will be a massive poetry fan. I can take apart a Shakespeare sonnet and tell you all about a 30-page metaphysical poem, and enjoy both of them, but I won’t seek out poetry.
Music is different, music has always spoken to me and while I suck playing instruments (I tried the clarinet and the piano in primary school) because I have zero patience for them, singing was something I could and did so. My voice is now completely ruined due to many years of illness, however, I was in the school choir during primary school and again in high school for several years. I was never going to be solo material but I could hold a tune, so music in fandoms doesn’t just catch my interest it goes right for my heart. The right song can make me cry more than words.
My twos favourite are both from World of Warcraft.
The first is Lament of the Highborne which is a horde quest where players return an item to Sylvanas Windrunner and she sings about the loss of her people. It is a beautiful, heart-wrenching piece of music that says everything it needs to.
The second is Daughter of the Sea, the song that Jaina Proudmoore sings as she moves through her animated short. It starts out quiet at first, a tentative song as she rows and is then taken up by a full choir. It’s another song of loss that becomes something more and it’s a song we hear throughout Battle for Legion, an anthem for Jaina and who she becomes.
What fandom quote is the first that always comes to mind?
Don’t ask me why but it’s always this one:
“When in doubt, shoot the wizard.”Tamora Pierce, Squire
Numair Salmalin is the most powerful mage in the land taught this to the pages when teaching them about magic and battles. I always found this funny and a useful thing to remember because it’s so true. In video games always go for the mages, especially the healers. Take them out and the warriors/melee usually go down pretty easily. You really can’t go wrong with it.
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Over To You
Thanks for listening to me waffle on about fictional languages and words! Next week is Six on a Sunday and I’ll be sharing my current loves 🙂
What is your favourite song from a fandom?
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