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Captain Insanity

New language

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I had trouble deciding whether to put this in the Writing or Design forums, but I went with this one because more people are here. In my adventure game, there are two worlds, our world, and another, whose inhabitants left our world in prehistory but maintained _very_ tenuous contact with us (little more than discreet observation). Obviously, I can''t invent an entire new language for them to have developed over thousands of years, but this is of course how the story goes. I''m going to have to go for the standard cop out in these situations, which is to say the player''s character becomes implanted with an automatic translator of some sort (in this particular case, it''s a magical one, rather than a good old fashioned computer). However, while the game will be in English, I need help in changing just the odd word, or phrase, so that it still sounds just a bit...off. Stuff like colloquialisms, localised slang, corruption of existing words, etc, to remind the player just where he is. We''ll have no wise-cracking sidekicks with blatant new york accents here! Nouns are easy, especially proper nouns, and all games of this type invent a few, but what''s really difficult is verbs. In particular, I need to create different, original verbs that nevertheless sound familiar to the player, and that he can guess the meaning of fairly easily, so he doesn''t lose the thread of conversations entirely. Even using existing words to mean something else fairly similar would be good. (trivial examples:“Cease” v– to lose/give up possession “Quell” v– to rest/relax) Anyone like to help? Please, feel free to post your contributions. Th overall atmosphere is "olde-worlde", but with a few bits of Victoraian-level technology creeping in here and there. "If you go into enough detail, everything becomes circular reasoning." - Captain Insanity

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An old-style Thesaurus might be your best bet. Instead of just showing synonyms on a per-word basis, they are categorised by a general abstract meaning, which gives you a decent set of candidate replacement words.

I should point out though that you shouldn''t use the wrong forum to get more traffic. The only way forums like the Writing forum will ever take off is if people use it.

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most slang is simply a word taken literally which overtime gains new connotations.

for instance.

the word "gay" means happy. misuse turned this into mean a male homesexual.

while its difficult to see the connection of the two uses, the simple overuse of the slang defination has caused it to lose its old meaning. this occered over only a few decades.

basically you need to take words and highly abstract them to the point of absurdity. then ensure they are used in enough situations in which the player can pick up on the new meaning. this could even be used to make a fool of the player, or force him to really think about the context of the word. you could even have dictionaries that could be purchased to aide in the localised meaning and connotations of a word.

for instance the word molest means to bother, annoying, harrass. however the media transformed the word. now when its used ppl think it means to sexually harrass someone. such a slight change can really make a huge difference in the sentance:

some noobs on gamedev.net tend to molest other forum members with easily researchable questions.

you should look up the history and origins of words and really try to get a feel for how their use has changed. you can then go in a new direction of take things a step further. look at different slang varients such as ebonics, skateboard lingo, surfer lingo, foriegners misuse of words, etc.

almost everyone hear probably has heard the word "bad" used to mean good or cool. as well as "mad" used as a modifier like the word "very" except stronger. some may also know of using the word "mass" or "massive" to be used in place of very.

such that:
that is a mass cool game.
this is a massive sweet demo.

the idea was that massive means large so some ppl decided to use it in place of very to help signify a stronger variation. same with mass, since it can mean a large group.

look into hacker slang as well. since they have some interesing uses of words as well.

using old world syn for words is not good enough. while its refreshing to see large words used, you are not changing the meaning. in fact you are merely slightly changing the connotation depending on the culture/society that the player is a part of.

AeroBLASTER, that was a silly statement. tolkien definatly is not an authority nor the sole user of this technique. nearly any sci-fi work uses this when describing alien technology.

you could always take the exchange letters or phenomes for other letters/phenomes. ie use a simple cipher and let teh player gather information on the langauge. possible move around verb and noun orders. look into other languages as well.

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