Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A thought about local linguistics

Recently I've been studying the Late Middle Ages/Renaissance, in particular in Italy. It's become increasingly apparent that 1: it's a great time and place for gaming, and 2: I already knew that, sort of, because how I've always imagined Pyresburg and various other bits of the coastal area near the Friendly Sea sort of matches up with what I'm learning.

Except for the names. The few locations I've actually given names that my players are aware of (the few-ness being a problem I need to fix...) sound like what they are: compound words, or purely made-up stuff. In both cases, chosen by somebody who can only speak English, and horrifically anglicizes any foreign words he comes across. What they don't sound like is Italian.

But maybe there's a (hastily ass-pulled) reason for this: they're "translated" to make them sound like they originated in the player's native tongue, much like in the game-world they originated in the character's native tongue and don't sound like they're "foreign".

Would you buy this explanation as a player? Have you used similar explanations before? Have I adequately explained my thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Well, aren't most proper nouns translatable to compound nouns? "Penn's Woods" or "City of Angels" or "Montana" which just means "mountain." Maybe that is a little post-Gene Wolfe of me, but yeah.