unexpected hazards in the English language

So fantasy writers love making up words, often by putting together two existing words to make a neat combination.

I don’t recommend creating some fantasy race called the “Shardborn,” however neat it may sound.

Because it means “born in dung.”

0 Responses to “unexpected hazards in the English language”

  1. fjm

    I have problems with Avatar: the last Airbender.

  2. nightwolfwriter

    Unless your alien race is actually born in dung.

    Then it might be appropriate.

  3. shadowkindrd

    Always a good replacement for words like bastard or other insults.

  4. j_cheney

    Always google names first…always google names first….always google names first…

  5. mrissa

    This is why I taught a friend a racial slur once. I was talking about how my grandmother would quote racial slurs but not use them herself but would not even quote “the f word,” and that I used similar circumlocutions for racial slurs like “the n word” and “the k word” but was fine quoting someone as saying “fuck” even if it was not a context in which I’d use that particular word myself. And one of my friends said, “Um…what’s ‘the k word’?” I tried giving her a hint as to what ethnicity it was applied to, and she really just didn’t know it. I wrestled with myself over it, but since she writes speculative fiction, I didn’t want her sending out a story with the planet of the K—s with their quaint K— tribal customs and upsetting some poor slush reader and embarrassing herself.

    • Marie Brennan

      My guess is that you’re referring to a Jewish slur, as it’s the only one I can think of off the top of my head that starts with K.

      I know what you mean, though. “Traditional” profanity — things having to do with sex and religion and bodily function — doesn’t bother me much at all anymore. But offensive slurs? I have a remarkably hard time making myself quote them directly, even if it’s in the context of discussion rather than use.

  6. ken_schneyer

    …and your point is?

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