Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Creating words

You've created your world. You've brought a supernatural being onto the page. And sometimes they require their own language. A few words here and there. Curses, exclamations, incantations... Those words they'd fall back on when English just doesn't do them justice.

For the most part, I enjoy creating words in my being's native tongue. But sometimes, it takes a while for just the right letter and vowel combinations to come together. It's got to sound right. It's got to read right. You know?

How do I find 'new' words?

Um, I read things backwards. I've done this since I was a child. Specifically, I read road signs backwards (after, of course, I read them properly otherwise I'b be lost all the time). Towns, cities, road names, whatever is out there. The ones I see on my regular journeys, I bypass b/c, you know, I've already read them. Sometimes, all it takes is a change of one letter or vowel. I've come up with some cool, 'off-world' sounding words by doing this.

This weird childhood travelling pastime has led to me randomly reading things backwards. A word flashed on the TV, a word on the cover of a book, menus, whatever strikes me. . . (For instance, yesterday I spelled the word 'gulp' backwards in my head after the Hub used the word, and I realized it spelled 'plug'. I love it when that happens!).

Other things I've done is going through foreign language dictionaries, name databases, and my latest kick -- those verification codes you have to enter in blogger and other online forms. Yeah. Loads of possibilities there. :D


Merc said...

I've never thought of word verification, but that is an awesome idea!

For example, this one: skimpar


I make up words on occasion and usually throw things together (I admire the people who can conlang but it's just beyond me ;))... I'm definitely looking at word verification now!

x said...

You should play Super Text Twist online. Whenever the words get all mixed up, some crazy things happen, and I often sit there wondering how Yerl is not, in fact, a word.

LeeAnn Flowers said...

That is just too cool. It seems like I've always turned words around, just for fun. I actually had to stop reading a book when I noticed in the first chapter that the villain's name was Krej. Yeah, I got that and it bugged me as really lazy writing.

On a cool side note, there is a very tiny town in western Colorado a couple hours from where I live called Egnar. Range backward. :)

K. said...

LOL, Merc. Yep, you'll never look at word verification the same again. ;-)

Robert! Okay, Super Text Twist is way too cool...

LeeAnn -- Krej? That's hysterical. Was this a comedy? :D

LeeAnn Flowers said...

Nope. It was a regular book, no comedy intended, and that's why I couldn't read on. If they could do that in the first chapter...

And by the way, I had to remove Super Text Twist from my laptop. I couldn't stop playing.


x said...

Haha! Super Text Twist is the ultimate time waster, but I make myself feel better by convincing myself that I'm getting smarter by playing it.

And Kelly, I'm so sorry about your pup. Mine died last October, and I know how strong the attachment to a pet can be.

Oh, and by the way, really random, I sincerely cannot wait to read your book!! It sounds amazing!

Rebecca said...

Plus creation of your own words does run in your family, you do speak Dinkanese... complete word creation is simply language evolution.

Listening to the rah-dee-o.
Replacing the rah-dee-ate-er in the car.
Cah-lour-in in a cah-lour-in book.
Drivin' in "nells" with your hammer, otherwise known as "nellin'" something.