0483: "Fiction Rule of Thumb"

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Roiden
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Roiden » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:06 pm UTC

6453893 wrote:
Roiden wrote:
6453893 wrote:Honestly, I was wondering if anybody but me is interested in both calculus and James Joyce. I imagine there's a pretty narrow overlap between those two groups.




Hi, nice to meet you.



So you heard they're finally printing that collaboration between Jack Kerouac and W.S. Burroughs? Only a month or two from publication; I'm super excited.


"And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks", hell yes I'm excited. J'laime Kerouac and Burroughs. I kindave wish I was around to hear the news broadcast that they got the title from though

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Sprocket » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:17 pm UTC

awa64 wrote:Tolkien and Lewis Carrol get exceptions, but Frank Herbert doesn't? I'm a little surprised by that--but generally the rule holds.
Yes, Herbert is on this list.

I was actually just thinking about things like this recently. There are some times in LOTR that I'm uncertain as to if JRR is making up words to describe the landscape (which leaves me a bit lost going "so what am I looking at exactly?") or if he's just using obscure terms because you can only say knoll so many times.
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Ishmael
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Ishmael » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:21 pm UTC

I think that Stephen King should also get an acception, but only for the Dark Tower Series. In any other novels, the rule of 5 should apply.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby jqavins » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:46 pm UTC

mikekearn wrote:
jqavins wrote:The notion that the graph represents a probability is appealing, but there doesn't seem to be evidence that that is what Randall meant.


Take a look at the graph again. Tell me what it says along the Y-axis, please.


Did that. Stand corrected. Screwed up. How embarrassing. Edited earlier reply. Apologies all around. (For the record, did that before I saw this, but that's not important. Realized while sitting in meeting that, if y-axis is not probability, what the hell else could it be?)

Randall really should have labeled the values on the graph. If the little gap at the left represents his 5 word limit, then it takes a lot of made up words to drop the probability substantially. Also, by Sturgeon's Law, the average value across all numbers of made up words is 0.1. Therefore, the starting value with zero (or five) of them can't be much greater than 0.1, perhaps 0.15 or so. Meaning that, even with lots of made up words, the probability of goodness does not have far to fall, in absolute terms.
Last edited by jqavins on Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:00 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby hipp5 » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:47 pm UTC

I don't think anyone has mentioned Roald Dahl. That man definitely deserves an exemption. "Snozzberry? What's a snozzberry?"

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby jqavins » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:48 pm UTC

Ishmael wrote:I think that Stephen King should also get an acception, but only for the Dark Tower Series. In any other novels, the rule of 5 should apply.

How about an exception for the word "acception"?
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby TheAntiElite » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:56 pm UTC

There needs to be a neologism corollary.

Five words are insufficient to cover a suitably distinct racial/cultural paradigm shift.

If you're writing about magic, in a world where presumably it's not a common thing, you'll need terms not only for the magic itself, but the subcultures that come about with the haves and have-nots.

If you're writing about technology, well, stuff has to have names, depending on how diverse the technological differences are.

And if you're working with the paranormal as a whole, you can certainly use existing terminology, but with that comes baggage of an expected nature. Exhibit A: Telekinesis. Exhibit B: Precognition. Exhibit C: Psychics. It is quite impossible to find anyone who doesn't have certain preconceptions about those three subjects, especially when one assumes the default worldview of charlatanry in regards to the third, resulting in automatic taint of the prior two terms.

The rule of thumb works, of course, and as always there are exceptions to every rule - I just wonder if maybe there should be an exception or adjustment for genre and setting.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby xtifr » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:01 pm UTC

Man, everyone's so focused on the right-hand side of this graph--my problem is with the left! No one who has been stuck in a room with nothing to read but a collection of Harlequin Romances could possibly suggest that the absence of made-up words increases the chance that a book is good! :)

On a completely unrelated topic, I'd like to say that I don't really care what the definition of "planet" is, but any definition which suggests that Mercury is more like Jupiter than it is like Ceres strikes me as absolutely idiotic!
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby jqavins » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:07 pm UTC

TheAntiElite wrote:There needs to be a neologism corollary.

if you're working with the paranormal as a whole, you can certainly use existing terminology, but with that comes baggage of an expected nature. Exhibit A: Telekinesis. Exhibit B: Precognition. Exhibit C: Psychics. It is quite impossible to find anyone who doesn't have certain preconceptions about those three subjects


A skilled author is capable of overcoming the baggage through context, and is most likely to do so. Even a skilled author may choose to use a new word, but it is the unskilled who make up words as crutches. Therefore, the unskilled make them up a lot more than the skilled. That's why a) the rule works, and b) there are plenty of examples of good books with made up words.
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby JennyWren » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:09 pm UTC

*edit* jqavins just made something resembling my point while I was typing.....

We can argue back and forth all day about whether or not the graph is "accurate", how much we care about the fact that it's a probability graph, etc, etc. What really matters, IMO, is not the volume of made-up words, but their quality and usage. Some authors are masters of creating words, such that those words, like the fantasy setting, seem real and natural. Others (ROWLING) are obviously trying much too hard to write in their weird interpretation of the fantasy genre. Using non-standard words does not a fantasy setting make. Incorporating inventive language where appropriate can be a helpful part of creating a different world.

That being said, I think the x-axis should not only be function of the number of made-up words, but also their font and capitalisation. If you have to italicise or capitalise all your fancy-schmancy look-em-up-in-the-glossary words just so your readers go "Oh WOW check it out, I'm reading FANTASY!" then you should be thinking more seriously about your word choices.
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby RSMaster » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:10 pm UTC

I quite enjoyed this comic, especially because my brother and I used to enter the SciFi/Fantasy section of bookstores, pull out a book, count the number of odd words on a random page, and predict the quality of the story. If the book had a cool cover, or if it was placed near an author we both liked, we would read it to see how close we got. We got a pretty good knack for guessing at the book's enjoyability.
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Cynical Idealist » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:32 pm UTC

xtifr wrote:Man, everyone's so focused on the right-hand side of this graph--my problem is with the left! No one who has been stuck in a room with nothing to read but a collection of Harlequin Romances could possibly suggest that the absence of made-up words increases the chance that a book is good! :)

No, it does increase the chance. However, as pointed out above, by Sturgeon's Law, the graph can't go much above 0.1 probability at the y-axis.
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby indil » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:54 pm UTC

I'm reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons right now. He makes up tons of words, but they're usually understandable by the context, so it works. Won a Hugo Award too.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby bananarchy » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:55 pm UTC

Yea, fun reference and all, but I'm really enjoying Anathem so far. The words contribute to the atmosphere rather than detracting from the book, IMO.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby uosuaq » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:58 pm UTC

I think the curve should be flipped left to right, and the legends should be "number of words made up by author" and "how good the book has to be to pull it off".

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:30 pm UTC

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/7/23/

This was a pretty good comic about the same topic.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Juul » Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:30 pm UTC

Anathem: Because some people actually knew most of the words in my last three books.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Lumpy » Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:33 pm UTC

Do books involving inventors like Willy Wonka get any slack? Do portmanteaus count for less?

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Avram » Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:35 pm UTC

To all the people screaming "Hey, what about XYZ?":

Consider the graph as a line* of best fit. The correlation is by no means supposed to be a perfect one, and with any real-world data set there are going to be outliers and blips on the graph, which have little effect on some measures of a data set's central tendency.

Besides, there's probably strong bias going on here. Few bad books with made-up words spring to mind because: A) they aren't memorable, and B) you probably haven't read them because they're too shitty to be well-known.

Having said all that, this trend is certainly up for debate, but pointing out A Clockwork Orange doesn't disprove anything.

I have a suggestion for someone with enough time: take a random sample of books (random ISBN numbers, perhaps?) and count the number of invented words (perhaps from 20 randomly selected consecutive pages). Then find some way to measure the "quality" of the book (perhaps by averaging the score from professional reviewers, although bias will be introduced by the fact that many reviewers show a preference for particular genres) and plot the data.

* or curve? my knowledge of statistical terminology sucks

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby sxiz » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:04 pm UTC

But I loved 1984!

Pretty much all sci-fi and fantasy books get some leeway but replacing words that have perfectly usable English equivalents is just stupid.
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby yourresponsehere » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

I'm not going to go through every post to see if this has already been mentioned, but what about Clockwork Orange? That was a damn good book, and an amazing movie. I think the rule should only apply to magical fiction.
And yes, I do know somebody already mentioned Shakespeare.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Gingerbreadman » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:19 pm UTC

yourresponsehere wrote:I'm not going to go through every post to see if this has already been mentioned, but what about Clockwork Orange?

How about reading two post up, eh?

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby dudegalea » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:43 pm UTC

buildguy wrote:Fraa Erasmas:
Spoiler:
"Our opponent is an alien starship packed with atomic bombs. We have a protractor."



That was my favorite line! I had a genuine LOL when I read it.

I normally don't care for made-up words in books, but I thought (as others have said) they were very well handled in Anathem. I could almost always see why Stephenson had chosen the word he had, and it was useful to be reminded that these were alien things. I didn't even find the glossary necessary, but that might be because I read the book in a few days. I imagine that if you take your time over it, you might need to refresh your memory occasionally.

It's a bit like the way he used Finux in Cryptonomicon rather than Linux. It gave him the freedom to do what he liked with it. In the case of Anathem, the alternative words allowed the things to be alien.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Philomid » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:45 pm UTC

James Joyce anyone?

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Come ON people!

Postby greyhueofdoubt » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:04 pm UTC

I had to register to say this because it's so painfully obvious to me that I can't believe no one has mentioned it.

Most of the made-up words in Anathem aren't made up at all- they are respellings and slightly altered pronunciations of real words, mostly french.

suur= french soeur, 'sister'
fraa= french frere, 'brother'
Arbre= french for tree, same spelling
monyafeek= weird version of magnifique
say zhoost= weird version of c'est juste, roughly 'it is right'

extramuros= latin extra muros, 'outside the walls'
peregrination= latin peregrinus, 'traveling'
avout= switched latin de- 'formally' and vovere, 'to vow', to prefix ad- or a-, 'to'

You'll find many, many other examples like this in the book. I probably missed a few if he slipped in greek references or phonetic references to words I don't know. The point is that the comic was unfair to the book, as it actually did a great job IMO of explaining bizarre plots and ideas without resorting to awkward, arbitrary language. Like 'grok'.

And I suppose that to someone who doesn't know any french or latin, or to someone who doesn't sound out words as they read, this book must seem like a loosely-bound collection of made-up words. I assure you it is not.

thanks,
-b

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby MysticalChicken » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:07 pm UTC

Aw crapz. I'm writing a fantasy book (takes place on another planet) and I've made up a few words. They're mostly place names and names of fruit that don't exist on Earth though, and I think there's only two or three of them (excluding place names) IIRC. There are a few lines of a completely made-up language, but only like two, and then the girl (named Ika) who speaks that language learns "English" (in quotes because the language she learns isn't really English, I just translate it as such, because I'm too damn lazy to make up an entire goddamn language). I think I'll go back and edit them out, they're not really necessary now that I think about it. But fulru fruit, for example, HAS to be called fulru fruit. It's not an apple or an orange or a banana. It's a fulru fruit. (A small purplish slightly-bitter-tasting berry which has anti-seasickness properties.)

And nobody's name has any apostrophes, but one place (Mala'hek) does have one apostrophe. I think I might take it out. It would probably be pronounced the same either way.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Harleagh » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:13 pm UTC

Once again, registered just to say this: Those of you taking issues with Anathem's made-up words are reminded that Snow Crash is at heart a meditation on the tendency of languages to mutate rapidly and violently even when in close proximity to control groups that should prevent this behaviour. Anathem is a novel with something like a 10,000 year timeline. (Yay Long Now!) If anything, the minimal amount of linguistic drift was the most unbelievable thing in the novel. Coming from someone who's clearly been thinking about this for a while, it's actually pretty restrained.

That said: Awesome comic! It puts new things in my head!

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby arbivark » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:18 pm UTC

Since herbert or dune has been mentioned a dozen times in this thread,
Once upon a time, I found a book that was about Herbert.
It was a wonderful book, I thought, and it started me reading less science fiction and more science fiction criticism.
Later I happened to run into on the net,and whaddya know?
It's by Tim O'Riley, yeah that Tim O'Riley.
Here it is, my small gift to you,
http://tim.oreilly.com/herbert/

cory's link to excerpt from anathem glossary
http://boingboing.net/2008/08/22/neal-s ... s-new.html

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby sillybear25 » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:35 pm UTC

Lord_Jeremy wrote:And hey, what about scifi? Does "telescreen" count as a made-up word?


I think "telescreen" is in the clear because it's a combination of two existing words. Say you invented a creature (which I'll call a Lalkat). "Lalkat" would count one towards your word limit, but "Lalkatrider" or "Lalkatman" (Lalkat-rider or Lalkat-man, in case it's hard to read) would not, because they simply combine existing words with your invented one. I think.
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby VelociraptorEvader » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:43 pm UTC

So how bad would the book be that every word in it is made up? Does the graph look like it plateaus out?
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby metroid1337 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:08 am UTC

I'm pretty sure Douglas Adams deserves more than 5 words, but yes, many authors haven't earned the privalege or have misused it.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby fennecfanatic » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:38 am UTC

I agree entirely with the comic in the context of books where the words add little to the story. Too many in quick succession can utterly destroy narrative flow.

I was quite upset when I stumbled upon a heaping glossary at the back of the first Wheel of Time book, for example. Aes sedai indeed.

But there are exceptions, and I agree with the idea of conlangs deserving immunity from this. The trouble conveyed by the strip seems to be with stories that intend on forcing the reader to remember scores of mythologisms (a neologism I just invented this second to describe such things) just to read the book.

Offtopic: I just noticed David Caruso (actor, portrays Horatio on CSI: Miami) vaguely resembles Rick Astley. Truly a disturbing connection.
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Eternal Density » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:49 am UTC

SJ Zero wrote:Seriously. If your language has so many redundant letters that you need three apostrophes just to say the name of your race, just speak English.

I felt compelled to register to shoot you with a zat'nik'tel, shol'va! Then I shall kick your mik'ta through the Chappa'ai and drop a Ha'tak on you.
*tosses a few tac'unitagamunitions after you for good measure*

Okay, okay, maybe Goa'uld has too many apostrophes. But that's the fault of the Tau'ri!
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Borrowed Irony » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:51 am UTC

jqavins wrote:I would like to retract my earlier statement regarding rules of thumb after re-reading the strip. Oops.

But this part stays:
Just once (and I mean it: once and only once) I'd like to see a book that goes to the extreme. Start off in an extant earthly language, e.g. English, introducing a few made up words. Introduce more and more words, and sentences that use more and more of them together, until the reader has learned a whole made up language, and finish the book completely in said language, with not a word of the original language in the last chapter or two. It would require an author who is both hell of a skilled writer and one mighty good linguist to not only make up a rich enough language but also teach it to the reader while spinning a yarn worth telling. But it would be truly awesome if someone could pull it off.

I only wish I was talented enough to write such a book.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby tgape » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:53 am UTC

jenue wrote:How about Dr. Seuss?


Dr. Seuss' works do not belong in the fiction genre. They all belong in the awesome genre.

I'm astounded at how many people mis-categorize Dr. Seuss' work like that.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby tgape » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:55 am UTC

jqavins wrote:I would like to retract my earlier statement regarding rules of thumb after re-reading the strip. Oops.

But this part stays:
Just once (and I mean it: once and only once) I'd like to see a book that goes to the extreme. Start off in an extant earthly language, e.g. English, introducing a few made up words. Introduce more and more words, and sentences that use more and more of them together, until the reader has learned a whole made up language, and finish the book completely in said language, with not a word of the original language in the last chapter or two. It would require an author who is both hell of a skilled writer and one mighty good linguist to not only make up a rich enough language but also teach it to the reader while spinning a yarn worth telling. But it would be
completely unreadable for most people
jqavins wrote:if someone could pull it off.


Fixed that for you. HTH. HAND.

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby libra » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:19 am UTC

TheAntiElite wrote:And if you're working with the paranormal as a whole, you can certainly use existing terminology, but with that comes baggage of an expected nature. Exhibit A: Telekinesis. Exhibit B: Precognition. Exhibit C: Psychics. It is quite impossible to find anyone who doesn't have certain preconceptions about those three subjects, especially when one assumes the default worldview of charlatanry in regards to the third, resulting in automatic taint of the prior two terms.

The term "teleportation" was famously coined by Charles Hoy Fort. Alfred Bester, in "Tiger, Tiger" referred to the same phenomenon as "Jaunting," and an individual instance of same as a "jaunte," after the scientist in the book who demonstrated the phenomenon for the first time.

"Jaunting" was the term used by TV producer Roger Price in his 1970s TV show "The Tomorrow People." He used the term without context or reference to Bester's work.

Before that, the preferred term was "Apportation," before that term specified the phenomenon of small objects appearing out of thin air during seances, which brings us back to the heyday of paranormal terminology - the late Victorian era, and the rise in occultism and Spiritualism.

Before than, the term most everybody used for everything weird was "witchcraft."

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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Synthuir » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:19 am UTC

Thanks. That reminded me of the following important memo:

Important message from European headquarters
The European Union Commission have announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, however, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan for what will be known as Eurenglish. In the first year, 's' will be used instead of the soft 'c'. Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the 'k'. Not only will this klear up konfusion but keyboards kan have one letter less. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome 'ph' will be replased by 'f'. This will make words like 'fotograf' 20 per sent shorter. In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agree that the horible mes of silent 'e's in the languag is disgrasful, and they should go. By the fourth yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing ‘th' by ‘z' and ‘w' by 'v'. During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary 'o' kan be dropd from vords kontaining 'ou', and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or diffikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru.
Randall Munroe wrote:Google has solved my problem of urination.
crzftx wrote:You [theoretically] stepped through paper^-1, and called it paper. Maybe you can theoretically step through 1/2, but you've done nothing with paper.

Hopper
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby Hopper » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:45 am UTC

Interesting that Anathem is singled out. For anyone who's read/is reading it, it obviously has a lot of made-up words, but that's kind of normal for Neal Stephenson (aside from Baroque Cycle/Cryptonomicon). And if you've read, say Diamond Age, you'll realize that the fact that even some of the terms in Anathem are explained is a pretty drastic change. It also has a dictionary of frequently used made-up words in the back. I fail to see the problem.

And, like many others, my first thoughts when I read this comic were: "Uh, Shakespeare?"

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CmdrPage
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Re: "Fiction Rule of Thumb" Discussion

Postby CmdrPage » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:47 am UTC

I suppose I should join the legions who "had to register" in order to make a point, though mine is to take the part of the prosecution:
Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg wrote:...In other words, we could have told you that one of our characters paused to strap on his quonglishes before setting out on a walk of seven vorks along the main gleebish of his native znoob, and everything might have seen ever so much more thoroughly alien. But it would also have been ever so much more difficult to make sense out of what we were saying, and that did not seem useful. The essence of this story does not lie in the quantity of bizarre terms we might have invented; it lies, rather, in the reaction of a group of people somewhat like ourselves, living on a world somewhat like ours in all but one highly important detail, as they react to a challenging situation that is completely different from anything the people of Earth have ever had to deal with.

-From the foreword to the consolidated edition of Nightfall

Given that the original short story was published in 1941, it is probably safe to say that the problem of artificial vocabulary expansion has been around as long as genres that give the author remotest excuse to do so. Ultimately to me the question comes down to how artificial the words are: I do not consider many of the above-cited examples problematic as they come from the place all neologisms do, which is largely novel adaptations of or uses for extant words; proper nouns make up much of the balance. The words that always jump out of the page and stab me in the eye are ones that are unnecessary. Watership Down comes to mind; someone else mentioned it earlier as an exception but I hold that it is only an exception in that the book is well enough written to overcome that handicap. The book would certainly have been better unburdened by much of the rabbitese, especially as it was applied to already defined concepts such as the few animals that merited their own words (which was strikingly inconsistent; some animals were only named in English, some were sometimes named in English, and at least one was never named in English).

Of course, I vastly prefer words that have been just made up over the CamelCased conjunctions found in some books of late, as if to highlight the specialness of the new term over the two perfectly adequate words it replaces; that or as argument by the author that they are not being paid by the word.

jqavins wrote:I would like to retract my earlier statement regarding rules of thumb after re-reading the strip. Oops.

But this part stays:
Just once (and I mean it: once and only once) I'd like to see a book that goes to the extreme. Start off in an extant earthly language, e.g. English, introducing a few made up words. Introduce more and more words, and sentences that use more and more of them together, until the reader has learned a whole made up language, and finish the book completely in said language, with not a word of the original language in the last chapter or two. It would require an author who is both hell of a skilled writer and one mighty good linguist to not only make up a rich enough language but also teach it to the reader while spinning a yarn worth telling. But it would be truly awesome if someone could pull it off.

It is only a poem, but...
"`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe."
...etc. In college I had an assignment in the use of stream editors that used Jabberwocky as the seed and asked for various properties about it or mutations of it as the questions. By the end I was rather familiar with the poem.
Last edited by CmdrPage on Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:12 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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