Friday, 22 March 2019

Invented words

I dearly love florid invented words in the mouths of some of my characters. I first took to language making in a story called New World. It took place in the future, and characters spoke in a clipped manner, eliding some words. I don't have any samples of dialogue from the 1970s story, because it was published in a kind of magazine and I only ever had one copy which has vanished long ago.
My next attempt was in the book CD and the Giant Cat, in which my co-writer and I invented terms to match the science fiction setting. A YAD was a young adult, a SENCIT a senior citizen and so on. Next came Trinity Street, set mostly in the 1990s, but with a character from the far future masquerading as a college student. He tended to throw in bits of German, French and Fijian mixed with his English. His name was DHQ49, which was blurred to Daichqu-forn, but for the purposes of his masquerade he was known as Gerhardt Watchman.
Sir Humphrey Bookerstaff, in the Reluctant Knight trilogy had his own dialect, mostly compounded of insults.
 ‘Thou idiot indebocket, thou clocketting cloche, thou nasty, nardly knight!' is just one sample of the comments he levelled at poor young Simon Knight.
Flax Lilykicker, from Flax the Feral Fairy, also had an interesting vocabulary...

“Lassie, do you know–” the hags began.
Flax picked up Butterfly’s second-best slipper and threw it at Maggie’s head. “Go away, you clackety slopper!”
The bluebird dropped the envelope, and flew away with an angry twitter. “Come back!” howled Flax. “Give me that invitation, or I’ll use your claws to comb my hair!”
Auld Anni picked up the envelope the bird had dropped, and opened it. “Miss Kisses informs Flax Lilykicker that she is not—”

Flax threw a hairbrush at Anni. “That’s my invitation, you tatty old haggis!” She jumped out the window, snatched the card from Anni and raced away.

 My most recent venture into florid-speak is with Tress, who appears in Court in Between. Tress is in love with a character named d'Chevalier, but that doesn't stop her calling him names.

Thou cockle-headed, purple-knickered, long-nosed corby. 

She keeps her real venom for Court Leopold who looks like d'Chevalier and whom she blames, with some justice, for depriving her of her favourite person...

“I’m not him,” Court said quickly.

She swept her gaze over him without pleasure. “Nay, thou’rt t’other one,” she said. “Thou’rt t’ skimpy unfeathered fowl,” she mentioned.

Tress has a lot more to say, much of it too highly coloured to be mentioned in polite company. As d'Chevalier himself says, 'And how does that sweet mouth form such words?' That's for Tress to know and for him to discover. 

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