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Do you guys think the language you are using affects how you write?:

Responsible adult
I have a story planned in the pipeline that, due to Translation Convention, I will be writing in English, but is supposed to convey the sense that it was "originally" written in Japanese. It's probably going to kill me. I look forward to it.

If only for the scene I've planned where one character's Translator Microbes break down in spectacular fashion.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
 27 66 Scorpio, Thu, 22nd Sep '11 7:09:27 AM from Toronto, Canada
Banned, selectively
JMH: I didn't know about the Buffalo one until I looked it up. The Chinese have the "Shi" story about the poet who ate 10 lions. The entire story is "Shi shi shi shi shi shi. . ." with different intonations. In written form it makes a lot more sense because the pictogram characters are different for each distinct word.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are probably right.
Terracotta Soldier Man
I studied Latin in college, and I definitely think that this has skewed my English well onto the "flowery, high-sounding" side of the scale, at least in my normal writing. I'll sometimes use more Anglo-Saxon expressions when I'm trying to deliberately sound more "down-to-earth, " though.

 29 annebeeche, Thu, 22nd Sep '11 4:31:03 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
Vladimir Nabokov apparently did. That's why he wrote Lolita in English and not Russian.

I don't speak any languages fluently besides English, so I wouldn't know.
Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
Responsible adult
I'm not fluent-fluent in Spanish, but I've written some decently long stories in it (decently long meaning about three pages). I am a big fan of flowery language and saying ordinary things in way weird ways, and you can't do that it Spanish. It feels a lot less... "fluffy" than English, I guess you could say. However, a lot of Spanish writers go in for metaphor and simile, so there's compensation to be had.

All's I know is, there are a lot of bloody brilliant poets who originally wrote in Spanish.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
 31 66 Scorpio, Thu, 22nd Sep '11 6:45:53 PM from Toronto, Canada
Banned, selectively
I'm teaching ESL and in the process of preparing lessons I found myself researching about the history of English and etymology and such. There is a sort of hierarchy of English words based on word origins.

The overwhelming majority of the most common words are Germanic in origin, but if you restricted yourself to those words you would sound ignorant, albeit comprehensible.

Next is Old French as a result of the Norman Conquest. The Normans installed themselves as the nobility so the words of French origin tend to sound more sophisticated: yearly vs annually; ask vs request. Plus there is the dichotomy between the names of animals and the name of their meat. The Anglo-Saxon peasants tended to the animals - cows, pigs, deer - while the French nobles actually got to eat beef, pork and venison.

Third is the words of Latin or Greek origin which identify one as being educated. This started with the introduction of the Catholic Church in 597 by St. Augustine of Canterbury, but expanded with the Renaissance when Greek and Latin writings were ressurected in popularity, continued with the Enlightenment when Latin was the lingua franca among academics, and culminated with the modern era where virtually all technological neologisms are formed out of Latin or Greek.

You don't get that trifurcation in Chinese where new words are constructed out of older Chinese words. Whereas telephone and television transliterate as "far sound" and "far see" from their Greek/Latin origins, the Chinese words transliterate as "electric talk" and "electric see". More interstingly, motion pictures transliterates as "electric shadows".
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are probably right.
 32 annebeeche, Thu, 22nd Sep '11 7:51:14 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
Long story short—real English speakers don't speak English. </mild cynicism>

but if you restricted yourself to those words you would sound ignorant, albeit comprehensible.

I think it depends on how you use those words, you could potentially sound poetic.

It does not help, though, that many of the more complex words of Old English have not survived.

edited 22nd Sep '11 8:01:05 PM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
 33 66 Scorpio, Sat, 24th Sep '11 11:35:04 PM from Toronto, Canada
Banned, selectively
One thing about English is that there is no official authority to tell everyone how to use it. France and Japan have quasi-governmental institutions that decide on what is a proper word and how grammar works. English grammar, spelling and definitions are descriptive rather than prescriptive. That is, dictionaries and text books mostly tell you how people use English rather than what is proper English is.

A lot of the more complex Old English words were kennings, that is other words strug together. They didn't have a word for ocean so they said whale-road. We do largely the same thing today but using Greek or Latin terms.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are probably right.
It certainly affects my way of writing. In English, I tend towards dramatic one-liners for dialogue; in Swedish, the dialogues are much more down to earth/everyday-ish. And purple prose poetry-style is much more frequent in my English than in my Swedish, where I immediately realise how stupid it sounds (in English it doesn't, or if it does I don't detect it).
 
 35 annebeeche, Sun, 25th Sep '11 3:34:20 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
hranrād was one out of many poetic terms, and not the standard term for "ocean". Because they did not distinguish the sea from the ocean, they did not need a word for ocean, and thus they had , becoming our "sea", and mere, preserved in words such as "mermaid". If you showed an Anglo-Saxon the Pacific Ocean, they would call it , a grēat sę though it may be.

edited 25th Sep '11 3:43:38 PM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
 36 JHM, Mon, 12th Dec '11 5:53:03 PM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
*quasi-necro*

This whole thing about the influence of the Norman dialect of Old French on Middle English reminded me: A little while back, I was reading Mario Pei's The Story Of Language, one of the chapters of which discussed the evolution of given languages through various sample texts.

Now, when reading the Middle French text by Villons, even I with my limited French vocabulary was able to parse out at least some of the terms, though the jargon got me, but the fragment from Le Chanson de Roland? Oh, dear. As Pei points out, the character of the sounds themselves are much more... aggressive, with a strong Germanic slant and a definite tinge of battle about them. Villons's language was one of cities and merchants, but the Chanson... that was the language of knights, real ones, soldiering men with swords and axes and god-knows-what-else riding on horseback to siege fortresses and whatnot. I could practically hear it in my room as I read it.

Anyone else felt like that, when reading something, even if they don't really get it all the way?

edited 12th Dec '11 5:53:47 PM by JHM

 37 Yuri Strike, Mon, 12th Dec '11 8:56:56 PM from I'm telling nobody!
熊熊熊熊!
When I write in Chinese, my characters are likely to inherit regional cultures, such as that of Ling Nan, Jiang Zhe and Jing Chu.

BTW, the Chinese slang of a shotgun is a pen zi, literally meaning a spurter.
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