Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by cntrational » 16 Feb 2016 00:38

Back then, people hated it not just because of the book quality -- but because of Paolini's sheer arrogance at the time, especially since the entire thing was his parents using their money to get his book going. Doesn't help to find embarrassing teen writers aiming to be the "next Paolini".

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by Ahzoh » 16 Feb 2016 01:36

Didn't know there was so much hatred for this book or that it was considered bad.
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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by alynnidalar » 16 Feb 2016 01:49

cntrational wrote:Back then, people hated it not just because of the book quality -- but because of Paolini's sheer arrogance at the time, especially since the entire thing was his parents using their money to get his book going. Doesn't help to find embarrassing teen writers aiming to be the "next Paolini".
Ahaha the Seamus Heaney quote, amirite?

After my initial love affair with them, I was in this weird place for a long time where I still enjoyed the books but recognized the flaws... I was simultaneously an active member both of an Eragon fanfic site and an Eragon anti-fan site. So I got it from both sides.

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 16 Feb 2016 02:53

I still like the Eragon books :) I recognize the flaws, but it kept me wanting to read and I liked being in the world that it existed in--that's mostly what I ask from a fantasy novel.
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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 16 Feb 2016 06:09

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:[...]but it kept me wanting to read and I liked being in the world that it existed in--that's mostly what I ask from a fantasy novel.
Isn't that essentially all one should want from a book aimed at that age of audience?

I mean anything that gets someone in the 10-16 age range to leave Facebook and touch an ACTUAL book is a success in my opinion. I mean, the book can be terrible, but if it helps someone segue into reading books that are good, and/or making conlangs that are good... well, then it's a good thing the book is around, isn't it? Besides, novels for folks just getting into reading novels should probably be "bad" and full of clichés so that folks learn about what those are and what a "predictable" plot is. It's only predictable, after all, because we've seen the setup before!

I mean, speaking for myself, I've read a lot of bad books in my time (anything R.L. Stine, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, etc.) but at that same time I began reading Poe (with a dictionary at hand). They were bad books, but they helped me to like the act of reading itself. So I'll chalk those up as a win.
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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by elemtilas » 16 Feb 2016 12:57

Thrice Xandvii wrote:
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:[...]but it kept me wanting to read and I liked being in the world that it existed in--that's mostly what I ask from a fantasy novel.
Isn't that essentially all one should want from a book aimed at that age of audience?
"That age"? This is pretty much a requirement even when the audience is much older. I don't know anything about the otherworld in question, but an engaging and delightful world to immerse oneself in is pretty ideal.
I mean anything that gets someone in the 10-16 age range to leave Facebook and touch an ACTUAL book is a success in my opinion. I mean, the book can be terrible, but if it helps someone segue into reading books that are good, and/or making conlangs that are good... well, then it's a good thing the book is around, isn't it?
Agreed on the first points. Even a rotten log fallen over a stream can serve the purpose of bridge. But that doesn't mean we should always build bridges out of rotten logs. A better quality story would have served the purpose more nobly. Or at least a better editor! [}:D]
Besides, novels for folks just getting into reading novels should probably be "bad" and full of clichés so that folks learn about what those are and what a "predictable" plot is. It's only predictable, after all, because we've seen the setup before!

I mean, speaking for myself, I've read a lot of bad books in my time (anything R.L. Stine, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, etc.) but at that same time I began reading Poe (with a dictionary at hand). They were bad books, but they helped me to like the act of reading itself. So I'll chalk those up as a win.
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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 16 Feb 2016 13:05

elemtilas wrote:Agreed on the first points. Even a rotten log fallen over a stream can serve the purpose of bridge. But that doesn't mean we should always build bridges out of rotten logs. A better quality story would have served the purpose more nobly. Or at least a better editor! [}:D]
Perhaps. But, "bad" books also tend to be super easy to read (I mean bad in the sense of cliché and such, not poorly edited and difficult to parse due to spelling/grammar). And so, good books might be slightly harder to dig into for a person not accustomed to reading novels, but, obviously I have zero research on this, I'm just going on a hunch. I mean, most kids books are objectively "bad" from a critical stand-point. Hell, a lot of young kids books don't really even tell much of a story at all. Just like games like Candyland aren't even games by some technical definitions.
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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by MoonRightRomantic » 22 Jul 2016 00:10

Long time since I visited this topic. Anyhow, I discovered a way that Paolini's infamous blessing/curse translation error could have made sense. This little snippet is a null-subject clause with SOV order, where the -o suffix changes the active voice to the passive voice.

Ancient: Atra frá rauthr skölir.
English: May [you], from misfortune, protect.

Ancient: Atra frá rauthr sköliro.
English: May [you], from misfortune, be protected.

Critique?

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by Lambuzhao » 22 Jul 2016 02:28

I only get posts for this:
Atra gülia un ilian tauthr ono un atra ono waíse skölir frá rauthr,
May luck and happiness follow you and may you be a shield from misfortune,
Sooooo
un atra ono waíse skölir frá rauthr
and may you be a shield from misfortune

This is like a one-to-one substitution cipher. What's the mystery here, again?
:wat:

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by Lambuzhao » 22 Jul 2016 03:28

this is a not-good translation into various elder Germanic languages:


:non: Áttir þu {at} vera sem skildi frá vreiði
have<PST.SBJV>2SG 2SG.NOM be<INF> ADV shield-DAT.SG PRP anger-DAT.SG

Old :eng: áhte þú wesan swáswá scýld fram wrǣþþum

:got: aihaidêdeis þu wisan swaswê skildau fram *raúhtim

The old :eng: and :got: translations are unsound primarily b/c I don't think you can use an infinitive with aihan/agan with the modern :eng: meaning of "ought to".

Possibly :non: eiga 'have the power to', 'have claim to', comes a little close

:wat:


BTW, does the color 'red' mean something bad in Paolini's books?
Last edited by Lambuzhao on 22 Jul 2016 17:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by MoonRightRomantic » 22 Jul 2016 14:00

Lambuzhao wrote:This is like a one-to-one substitution cipher. What's the mystery here, again?
:wat:
Paolini added the "-o" suffix to "skölir", which somehow changed the meaning from "a shield" (noun) to "shielded" (verb). This makes no sense as a conjugation unless it's a substitution cipher of English. The rewrite I used makes much more sense, but since I'm monolingual I used the absolute simplest grammar I could. Did I succeed?

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by Lambuzhao » 22 Jul 2016 17:04

I dunno. I suppose. Does Paolini use the /o/ as a VBLZ marker with other nouns? Or verbs, for that matter?

Look to other examples he has and compare.

I know next to nothing about his :con: language, except that, from what I have seen, it looks like quasi-Old Norse/Old English, but does not use the grammar of either.

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by Dormouse559 » 22 Jul 2016 19:21

The Ancient Language uses a surface understanding of Modern English grammar/derivation with a few words transposed on occasion. In English, you turn "shield" into "shielded" by adding a suffix. In Ancient, you do the exact same thing with "skölir". If for some reason "to shield" weren't a word in English, and we had to say "protect", Paolini probably would have chosen a different pair of sentences because the point is that they have to look similar in English.

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by qwed117 » 22 Jul 2016 19:44

But who cares? This is meant to be read by teenagers, not linguists.
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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by Dormouse559 » 22 Jul 2016 19:51

It's more the obvious debt the whole concept owes to the Middle Earth Elvish languages that irks me. Tolkien put fully realized constructed languages into his fiction. Paolini tried to imitate that and ended up with a overblown naming language. Nothing wrong with naming languages, but they just aren't designed to hold narrative weight like a full conlang.

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by Frislander » 22 Jul 2016 21:32

Dormouse559 wrote:It's more the obvious debt the whole concept owes to the Middle Earth Elvish languages that irks me. Tolkien put fully realized constructed languages into his fiction. Paolini tried to imitate that and ended up with a overblown naming language. Nothing wrong with naming languages, but they just aren't designed to hold narrative weight like a full conlang.
It's more than that: Eragon as a whole is representative of this iterative pseudo-medieaval fantasy which is unrealistic in all sorts of ways, including linguistically (even discounting obvious fantasy conceits such as dragons). Game of Thrones is a bit of fresh air in that regard, but even then it fails on the language front: given that the Andal invasion happened 6000 years ago, and the first inhabitants of Westeros came about 12000 years ago, how are Common Tongue and Old Tongue the only languages on the continent (which last time I heard was about the size of South America)? I know George R R Martin isn't a linguistics bod, but that is just ridiculous.

The general rule I think is if a fantasy writer hasn't thought out anything it'll be the language side, because linguistic awareness among the geneeal populace is just so low.
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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by MoonRightRomantic » 09 Aug 2016 21:51

Back to the topic of salvaging Ancient, I had an idea for indicating tense and aspect by auxiliary verbs. Verbs, by default, would be in imperfect present tense. Past tense, future tense, habitual aspect and perfect aspect would be indicated by auxiliary verbs: "to do," "will", "to be", and "to have", respectively (there are no participles). Since the language is a mnemonic aid intended for warping reality, it doesn't need to be natural.

Why would Ancient need tenses and aspects? To, and please contain your terror, alter reality with respect to time. A spell in the past tense rewrites history, future tense writes destiny. For reasons that should be obvious, nobody knows the auxiliary verbs and those who do dare not speak it.

Critique?

EDIT: By extension, it is impossible to tell a falsehood in Ancient because reality is changed to match the falsehood, a la Earthsea.
Last edited by MoonRightRomantic on 10 Aug 2016 16:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Has anyone salvaged Christopher Paolini's conlang?

Post by elemtilas » 09 Aug 2016 22:51

MoonRightRomantic wrote:Back to the topic of salvaging Ancient, I had an idea for indicating tense and aspect by auxiliary verbs. Verbs, by default, would be in imperfect present tense. Past tense, future tense, habitual aspect and perfect aspect would be indicated by auxiliary verbs: "to do," "will", "to be", and "to have", respectively (there are no participles). Since the language is a mnemonic aid intended for warping reality, it doesn't need to be natural.

Why would Ancient need tenses and aspects? To, and please contain your terror, alter reality with respect to time. A spell in the past tense rewrites history, future tense writes destiny. For reasons that should be obvious, nobody knows the auxiliary verbs and those who do dare not speak it.

Critique?
"Ancient" notwithstanding, that's a pretty damn nifty idea to implement within a magical language!

This is definitely going to tossed onto that pile of "language bits and pieces to consider"!
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