Sf books with linguistic elements

tachyon

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I can only think of two off the top of my head:

The Languages of Pao - Jack Vance
Native Tongue - Suzette Haden Elgin

But I'm sure we could dig up others with a bit of effort.

Native Tongue has some sequels I haven't read.
 

-K2-

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@Jo Zebedee ; I'm not familiar with novels off the top of my head, however, last week after spending time on a linguistics forum among experts to hash out my series languages, I accumulated some great links to sites of linguists who specialize in conlangs. That includes David Peterson who developed a number of languages used for movies (GoT, The 100, etc.). His entire book 'The Art of Language Invention' is available on Youtube in 29 parts: The Art of Language Invention - YouTube

Is that the kind of stuff you're looking for? Or, just existing examples?

Past that, the classic for dystopian stuff is Newspeak in 1984 (which I'm sure you knew). 'The 100' language called 'Trigedasleng,' has examples found on the web.


K2
 
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Jo Zebedee

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@Jo Zebedee ; I'm not familiar with novels off the top of my head, however, last week after spending time on a linguistics forum among experts to hash out my series languages, I accumulated some great links to sites of linguists who specialize in conlangs. That includes David Peterson who developed a number of languages used for movies (GoT, The 100, etc.). His entire book 'The Art of Language Invention' is available on Youtube in 29 parts: The Art of Language Invention - YouTube

Is that the kind of stuff you're looking for? Or, just existing examples?

Past that, the classic for dystopian stuff is Newspeak in 1984 (which I'm sure you knew).

K2
That sounds significantly cool, thank you :)
 

-K2-

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That sounds significantly cool, thank you :)
Then here is D. Peterson's site: ~:David J. Peterson's Web Thing

Within it, you'll find a number of linked sites where other linguistic experts discuss developing new conlangs... or, deconstructing existing languages. Be warned however, like any field, it can become rather 'heady' quickly. Linguists have their own language to say a lot with a single word. So 'for me,' it took a lot to make heads or tails of it. :cautious:

K2
 
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Vince W

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Almost everything written by William Gibson. He invented many words that are part of our language on a daily basis. At times I think he's more of a linguist than author.
 

Toby Frost

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Harry Harrison's West of Eden books contain an "alien" language that he seems to have researched quite carefully.
 

chrispenycate

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Suggest Delany's Babel-17 and C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series, both spending considerable emphasis on the relationship between the language a thought is conceived in, and the structure of the resulting thought.
 

hitmouse

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And read The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. Not SF but will give you an entirely new way of looking at how language can be used.
 

Parson

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I'd like to underline C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner. The first book in series particularly centers around being able to understand the alien language from the inside out. Having studied the Bible and its original languages a bit. I understand that knowing the words and their meaning sometimes doesn't get you to what is actually being said and this is very much at the center of the first book entitled "Foreigner."
 

Star-child

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I'd like to underline C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner. The first book in series particularly centers around being able to understand the alien language from the inside out. Having studied the Bible and its original languages a bit. I understand that knowing the words and their meaning sometimes doesn't get you to what is actually being said and this is very much at the center of the first book entitled "Foreigner."
King James to the rescue?
 

Star-child

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Rather I would say that the King James version often illustrates the point rather nicely.
There always seems to be an opinion formed by modern scholarship that dovetails nicely with modern morals.


Thread topic - the phonetic sections of Feersum Endjinn are interesting in their readability while thinking about how creole and pidgins are created.
 

tinkerdan

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There is much to the notion of lost in translation.
My paternal side is Slavic; however being a second generation raised in the US I have none of the language.
When a Russian associate suggested some reading material from my 'homeland' The Good Soldier Svejek, I had to find a translation.
The best translation I could find had a forward where the translator admitted that there was a lot of humor that was lost because of both the Slavic language and the introduction of German language influence.


With that in mind--it brings to mind-Damon Knight's short To Serve Man; and just how fatal things can be when lost in translation.
 

Elckerlyc

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There is much to the notion of lost in translation.
Absolutely.
You may know the meaning of words but used in a sentence the words may mean something different. Much depends on the context in which it is used. An unfamiliar saying proverb is misleading if you take it literally. You miss the extra dimension of what actually is being said.
Especially so when it concerns a dead or totally unknown (say, ancient or alien) language and no one is around to point out the errors or the real (or double) meaning.
Languages and the perils of translation is a fascinating subject. Even without taking cultural difference in account. There should be loads of novels in SFF about this subject.

About that, I know I have read a novel with this as (sub)-plot, but can't pinpoint it. But the name Ursula leGuin hovers over the vague memory*.

*which isn't saying much, knowing my memory
 

Star-child

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An awful lot of the (real) Dune novels are about spoken and hand sign languages, their roots and connection to the way people migrated or what a language was originally used for (EG - Chokabsa was a language used during hunting). Much in there about everyday vs in-group language - words and names.
 
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