(urth) On Blue's Waters (Initial thoughts)

Jerry Friedman jerry_friedman at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 10 22:04:06 PST 2012

> From: António Pedro Marques <entonio at gmail.com> 
> Jerry Friedman wrote (10-01-2012 04:52):
>>>  From: António Pedro Marques<entonio at gmail.com> No dia 09/01/2012, 
> às
>>>  19:36, Antonin Scriabin<kierkegaurdian at gmail.com> escreveu:
>>>>  See, I found the way the thieves and other disreputables spoke in
>>>>  Long Sun
>>>  to be great; the odd words were carefully selected (like the vocabulary
>>>  of New Sun) from other places and cleverly used.  A lot of the words
>>>  were actually found in thieves slang from the 1800s (like 
>>> "dimber" for  example).
>>  My objections in the /Long Sun/ are to Xiphias (every sentence ends in an
>>  exclamation point!), Olivine (every sentence gets to the second-last word
>>  and then... every sentence gets to the last word and then repeats),
>>  and--ah--Remora.  (Do Oreb and the catachrest count?)   In the /Short
>>  Sun/ we get Pig and the people of Dorp.  Wolfe does better, in my
>>  opinion, with a lot of the other characters's ways of speaking.


> With the possible exception of Pig's 'eye dialect', how can those 
> characters' specific ways of speaking be presented other than as they are? 
> You may say you'd rather they didn't have specific ways of speaking, or 
> that their ways of speaking weren't so conspicuous (like those of thieves, 
> soldiers, councillors, and so on), but there I'd just have to disagree, as I 
> quite like Remora and just love Oreb, for instance. The one I feel is a bit 
> forced is Incus, but that's in character also.

I'm not sure what you're saying here.  I think Wolfe did a good job distinguishing the speech of the characters, except for the ones I mentioned, which are too mechanical for me.  (There might be other exceptions that I don't remember.)

> Xiphias can not but remind me of one of The Secret of Monkey Island's 
> characters.

I haven't played it, but permit me to say "Arrrrr..."
>>>  The character on Blue who simply had the order of words in his
>>>  sentences changed up clearly didn't have the same amount of work 
> put
>>>  into him.
>>>  Arrghhhhh!!!! NO, NO, NO, NO! He's DUTCH! It's a masterly 
> rendering of
>>>  Dutch that Wolfe does there! PLEASE, folks, wait a little before you
>>>  form your conclusions!
>>  Wikipedia says, "Dutch exhibits subject–object–verb word order, but in
>>  main clauses the conjugated verb is moved into the second position in
>>  what is known as verb second or V2 word order."
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_language#Word_order
>>  However, the dialect of Dorp has object-subject-verb order, with the
>>  conjugated verb never moved that I've noticed.  "Another Main you 
> got.
>>  Maybe a name it's got."  (OBW, Chapter 4.)

> You are right. Dorp's word order is not the same as Dutch. Not only the most 
> usual order isn't the same, Dorp's is quite consistent whereas modern 
> Dutch's is more complex than just SOV/V2. However, to me as someone 
> who's been learning Dutch, Dorp's english evokes just the right feeling 
> of dutchness.

I'm glad it works for you as a student of Dutch, but... well, I've said it already.

> I can't quite explain it, but, for instance, the placement of pronouns in 
> Brazil differs from that in Portugal. However, in some types of clauses, they 
> appear in the same position. Rather than perceiving that as being a similarity, 
> what it feels like is that a very different type of construction is being used - 
> so different that by following the different rules of placement, the pronouns 
> end up in what looks like the same position. Likewise, I don't think the 
> rendition of a foreign grammar in english has to be an exact tranposition of the 
> foreign rules. Well, I said I couldn't quite explain it.


>>>  Linguistic individuality is one of the things Wolfe pays a lot of
>>>  attention to and it's frustrating to see it taken for random
>>>  seasoning. And of course the _vironese_ thieves will differ mostly by
>>>  their lexicon. Speakers of related languages or dialects will have
>>>  different grammars and phonologies. My only complaint is the amount of
>>>  h's in a certain part of the book. Since the aitches really are 
> there,
>>>  one could do without the apostrophes.
>>  I have the gravest possible doubts that either the h's or "yer" for "you"
>>  are part of the dialect Wolfe seems to be aiming at.
> There is no Scotland in the Whorl.

Okay, why wouldn't it be better to use one's best imitation of a real Scots dialect (or literary Scots) than a combination of Scots with a feature from Classical Cockney?  Or just let the simple sentences and third-person self-references characterize Pig's speech?  On the other hand, maybe few people beside me were annoyed that they didn't know whether Pig pronounced the "r" in "yer" and "ter".

Jerry Friedman
---- Original Message -----

More information about the Urth mailing list