Filling Out the Languages

The language my characters speak has a lot of words for “husband.”

Well, it will, after I get around to filling in all the little gaps I’ve left for the word. (Yes, I have gaps. They’re all marked with the letters tk(for to come, but searchable)no space and a general description of the word I plan to put there.

I don’t intend to make a list, but I know the words exist inĀ  the language, and probably less than five show up in my actual manuscript.

It’s a mostly-English manuscript with minimal nonce-words.

I probably wouldn’t remember the words I make up/borrow/steal from start to finish, so I’ll add them in at the end.

Any thoughts on language? How deep do you go into language building?



  1. Reply

    In my first novel, I invented a new pronoun for referring to a sentient energy, in a somewhat Germanic language spoken by my POV character; I tried not to overdo it, because my feeling is that invented languages, like interesting names, make better pepper than gravy.

  2. Reply

    If you’re going to do research, talk to a native speaker. I’ve had people laugh out loud at choices I’ve plucked off of the Internet. “Nobody says that.”

    • Reply

      I would, but I generally stick to classical languages. I won’t get much lip off the Tocharians, regardless.

  3. Reply

    I make up a smattering of words to describe concepts that don’t have exact parallels in our world. I guess my betas will tell me if I make up too many…

      • Reply

        It’s either fantasy or very, very soft sci-fi, but I don’t think the comment sounded silly at all. I do drag in words from various real-world languages, and I know there are plenty of fantasy writers who use **horrors** modern languages, so, talking to someone who really speaks them is definitely a good idea. Seems that fits right in, regardless.

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