In my post on the muddled linguistic nightmare/heaven that is the Giva POV, I failed to mention that an additional consideration rattling around my head is what Cedeiran scholarship on Elentian would even look like. I mean, the standard Cedeiran party line is that Elentians are a subhuman, demonic, bastard race. Even skeptics are hardly going to have a positive or neutral take on them—and that does spill over to language.

Naturally, I whiled away a few hours imagining the horrorshow of Cedeiran texts on Elentian. Something like:

The Elentian tongue, like its people, has origins in a past so distant and unknown that none can guess at the true stock. Whatever its base, the language today can only be described as the mongrel child of some gross linguistic hedonism, the result of many different languages mixing freely together without regard for the quality or legitimacy of the result. Consequently the language produced by this heedless admixture suffers from constant perversities, inconsistencies, unpleasantnesses, and general impurity—also, one might say, just as its people.

To their credit, however, the Elentians have made repeated attempts to enforce some order and respectability on their bastard tongue. Over a thousand years ago, the Elentian empress Elleyne [nb: Helaina of House Moiradar] ordered the dialect of the imperial city to be taught throughout the schools she established. More recently, some three hundred years ago, a Marelian queen named Jypolia [nb: Xipolye of House Myrane] commissioned the creation of a dictionary to be used in the schools, which rear up all Elentian children. The dictionaries standardized spelling and instituted a system of diacritics to untangle the disastrous orthography. Nevertheless, only so much can be done for so degenerate and wayward a language. Particularly in Nerocna, rogue dialects sprout up like weeds, and persistent just as stubbornly.

If this description seems too harsh, the intricacies of the Elentian plural should serve to illustrate.

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I regret my decision (except not)

Probably the absolute worst decision I made for the novel?

Deciding the main POV character would come from a foreign country.

Oh, it’s worked well in a lot of ways. The character, Giva, provides the usual Fish Out of Water benefits. Everything can be explained because it’s nearly as strange to her as us. She can ask questions for the audience. She can even validate/echo probable responses like “wait, what?” and “I’m never going to remember all those names.” And her presence has drastically reduced the difficulties I’ve had with the Real Protagonist™ for years.

(♫ how do you solve a problem like Arceeeeptraaaa ♪)  


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