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Random Questions Thread:

Hello, fellow writers! Got any question that you can't find answer from Google or Wikipedia, but you don't think it needs a separate thread for? You came to the right place!

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edited 8th May '14 2:40:56 PM by dRoy

 7276 De Marquis, Fri, 19th Apr '13 6:03:09 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Healing. Oh, you said elemental. Never mind. Air. Earth should be their strongest affinity, and Air is usually seen as opposed to Earth.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7277 Killer Clowns, Sat, 20th Apr '13 8:52:21 AM from the Midwest
Easily entertained
My current project uses Translation Convention: it's implicitly understood that everybody is speaking Uelane, but it's translated into English, with equivalent dialects (e.g. somebody from a middle-of-nowhere small town gets a Southern "accent", a government official speaks pretty formally, et cetera.)

Problem is, there's one character who only briefly appears but is pretty damn important to getting the story rolling. His Uelane is absolutely terrible. To Uelane speakers, it's at You No Take Candle levels. But I can't figure out how to best convey this, especially the speaker's native language is English. The reason his Uelane sounds so broken to native speakers, in fact, is that he's using English grammar with Uelane words.

My current idea is to go with an arbitrary but internally self-consistent You No Take Candle and just leave it at that, but I feel like there's a better idea I'm missing to convey what's going on. Any suggestions?

edited 20th Apr '13 8:52:33 AM by KillerClowns

 7278 De Marquis, Sat, 20th Apr '13 9:15:05 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Well, the only obvious alternative I see would involve a lot of work on your part. You could create your own special grammar and vocabulary based on English, and let your main characters use it. As long as it's consistent, and one can figure out what is meant from the context, then the readers will eventually get used to it (like they do in "A Clockwork Orange"). Then, when another character comes in speaking normal real-world English, it will sound weird, even to the readers.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7279 Tera Chimera, Sat, 20th Apr '13 9:31:19 AM from somewhere out there
Cool Celtic Composition
[up][up] Do you have some basic grammatical rules for Uelane down, even if you don't have any actual words? Say, its sentence structure is Subject-Object-Verb, as opposed to English's Subject-Verb-Object. If you do, then you could try applying Uelane grammar to the English translation. If your structure is SOV, for example, then "I like ice cream." would become "I ice cream like."
"The Uncertainty Principle isn't about uncertainty and it isn't a principle; other than that, it's perfectly named." — David Van Baak
 7280 Ars Thaumaturgis, Sat, 20th Apr '13 1:12:09 PM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
[up][up][up] One thing that I seem to recall having seen done is to render the English-speaker's text more-or-less phonetically. The result should be that the English-speaker is difficult to follow — portraying the difficulty of the Uelane-speakers — but somewhat understandable to readers. The degree of mangling the English speech might inversely correlated to the degree to which the Uelane-speakers understand English.

For example:

Uelane-speaker: "What's the matter?"
English-speaker: "Whotr yoo sain? Aye dont uhndeh-stan yoo!"

edited 20th Apr '13 1:12:28 PM by ArsThaumaturgis

 7281 Noaqiyeum, Sat, 20th Apr '13 1:27:59 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
Ooh, that's neat.
D•R•Y•H
O•E•O•E
N•S•U•A
T•T•R•D
How about include a translation of what he meant to say, explain that his Uelane is terrible, and then include a translation of what he actually said?
I'd say I'm being refined

Into the web I descend

Killing those I've left behind

I have been Endarkened
Do you put spaces around an em dash?

Seeking for Light
[up] No. You do put spaces around an en dash, though.

 7285 montmorencey, Sun, 21st Apr '13 3:35:41 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
Which one's em and which one's en?
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
[up] http://www.kajhaffenden.com/articles/em-dash-en-dash-hyphen/

I know how to make all of those on a mac keyboard, but most people don't have macs so that probably wouldn't help.

 7287 montmorencey, Sun, 21st Apr '13 3:56:23 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
huh. I think Libre Office does that automatically for me. I rarely use en dashes, though, so I'm not sure whether it picks up on those (I tend to use 'to' for ranges, so I'd write '100 to 200$'). For an em dash, I just have to type [space][-][space][word][space]. In that sequence, the hyphen will automatically be transformed into an em dash.
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
 7288 Khantalas, Sun, 21st Apr '13 3:59:23 PM from ((Not actually a creepy adorable little girl.))
Creepy adorable little girl
I just use the character palette for whenever precision is required. Usually I just get an editor to do those things for me.
"Be mine, dear big brother."
Shadowed Philosopher
I used to just use double-hyphen for em-dash and hyphens otherwise, but I've recently actually figured out how to insert em-dashes in UTF-8, so now I use that. Never bothered with the distinction between en-dash and hyphen, and don't particularly intend to.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
Seeking for Light
@mont: if you're using [space][hyphen][space], it is most likely inserting an en dash, not an em dash. En dashes look like – this. Em dashes look like—this.

edited 21st Apr '13 6:25:43 PM by Nocturna

 7291 montmorencey, Sun, 21st Apr '13 6:44:13 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
Whoops, you're right. To be honest, I'm having trouble distinguishing them; not grammatically, but visually, unless I'm seeing them right next to each other. Most likely because they look different in different fonts. Never mind, I can just use the find & replace thingy to replace all my en dashes with em dashes when I'm done writing, since the shortcut for en dashes is faster to type and I really almost never use 'regular' en dashes.

Also, reading over the rules for their use, do you not insert spaces before and after an em dash in English? I keep getting such small details mixed up with other languages I speak.
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
Seeking for Light
Correct. No spaces before and after em dashes in English.

 7293 montmorencey, Sun, 21st Apr '13 7:20:44 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
That looks weird to me, from a purely aesthetic perspective.

Well, good to know. But never mind for now. Those are things I will concern myself with when I'm anywhere near the final draft rather than the rough outline.
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
Shadowed Philosopher
I've actually seen spaces before/after emdashes as an optional rule. I don't use them, but others I've seen do.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
 7295 montmorencey, Sun, 21st Apr '13 7:41:47 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
Yeah, I thought I'd seen it done that way, too, but I'm really not sure which language.

Maybe it's more of a convention than an actual rule? I'll have to ask my friend.
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
 7296 Ars Thaumaturgis, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 8:18:39 AM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Based on a quick look at Wikipedia's article, it looks as though use or lack of spaces around em-dashes varies — so I'm inclined to call it optional, or based on whatever requirements a particular publication or work may impose.

edited 22nd Apr '13 8:18:59 AM by ArsThaumaturgis

 7297 Killer Clowns, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 8:33:45 AM from the Midwest
Easily entertained
IRC, me and a friend had an argument about spaces and em dashes — she said no spaces, I said yes spaces. We both managed to find authoritative sources to support our claim. When I get a chance later today, I'll find them and link both.

edited 22nd Apr '13 8:34:24 AM by KillerClowns

I had a feeling it was like ellipses in that no one can decide if those are supposed to have spaces surrounding them either.

(I've been told yes, but it wouldn't make sense to have spaces surrounding ellipses in an example like this...? Would it...? It makes sense in some cases ... but not all.)

 7299 Ars Thaumaturgis, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 9:29:55 AM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
[up]I think that I tend to put spaces around my ellipses when I intend to indicate that actual text was omitted, and have no spaces before the ellipsis when the text is simply trailing off.

For example:
The original was: "Three-fifths are ready, which the shareholders should be happy about, and the remaining two-fifths should be done by Monday."
I might quote it as: "Three-fifths are ready ... the remaining two-fifths should be done by Monday"

On the other hand:
"What do you mean...?" He said.
"I... I don't know..."

edited 22nd Apr '13 9:31:31 AM by ArsThaumaturgis

 7300 demarquis, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 10:37:07 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
I've just always used a hyphen for everything... [slinks off]
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Total posts: 10,960
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