Sunday, April 14, 2013
I've always been fascinated by languages. Ever since I was little, I've always been interested in words, languages, and morphology. I was a Russian linguist in the military, I studied Japanese in college, and I am always thinking about words and their origins. I find it fascinating to identify where words originated or examine the meanings behind names. While it's not necessarily important in American culture, other cultures around the world sometimes choose a particular name because of what it means.
When I first began my Bachelor's degree, I chose an odd mix. I was majoring in Network Administration but my minor was in Linguistics. These may seem to be an odd pairing, but they represented two paths in my life at the time; the former was for my professional life, the latter for my personal life. While I have an affinity for language, I've never considered a career in that realm.
To bring this back to writing, my interest in languages often fuels research projects for my WiPs. If I'm having difficulty figuring out a name for a character for example, I may start looking for a name that has subtle meanings about that character. If I'm creating a fictional world with fictional people, I don't necessarily want to just make up words that sound cool. I want there to be a reason why I am choosing to use a particular phrasing if it's something the reader isn't used to. Profanity in fictional cultures is a prime example of this. I don't want to just use slang from our culture to fill in the gaps. I'd rather come up with a framework that fits the society I'm building. In any event, language is and always will be a big part of my writing.
How important is language for your writing projects? Do you consider the uses of language in your character's culture or background?