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 Using Mando'a in your writing

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Daennika
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PostSubject: Using Mando'a in your writing   Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:55 am

I decided a few weeks ago that I'd stop using mando'a in my stories unless I really, really had to.

Reasons: sometimes I don't even understand what it could really mean.

Maybe it's because of the French in me and while bilingual, English is mostly my written language (I speak French in the day time) and writing believable dialogue takes some effort. Not a huge effort, but still... Some effort. I'm very cautious with the words my characters use and pulling mando words out of my butt feels almost hypocritical.

I didn't choose any of the connotations or many different meanings of, let's say, a word like di'kut. It's a damn popular one among fan fiction writers and since no one in their right minds would say "di'kut" in the real world, in my reader's perspective it screams: LOOK! I WRITE LIKE KAREN TRAVISS, I AM SO MANDALORIAN THAT I SHAMELESSLY SWEAR AND CURSE WITH ITS FICTIONAL LANGUAGE. But also: "I use this word because it means something to me, and maybe something slightly different to you."

Alright, I don't really need to upset anyone by demeaning the value of a fictional language. But this reminds of a past tantrum I made about Esperanto. I fucking hate people who are hardcore into Esperanto. Ever seen Rimmer from Red Dwarf?

Anyway, since I started including a few bits mando'a in my stories I'm gonna have to keep them showing up now and then for consistency. But if I had the chance to start over or edit the stories I would definitly NOT use mando'a any more. I'll drop a philosophical bomb here:

IT'S LAME!
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:47 am

Why do I use Mando'a in my writing speech patterns? Because Vhe'dn does. *shrug* It'd be out of character for her not to use it occasionally, so I'm obligated to slide it in there whether I may like it or not. I'm kind of apathetic about the language, really. I like understanding it, but I don't get all giddy, per se, when I get to put it in my writing. My characters take over when I type, and if they want to speak in Mando'a, then dang it, they're going to speak in Mando'a. Razz
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Daennika
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:41 am

You speak my characters' minds tongue

Though when I'm writing it always feels awkward to have Mandalorians saying things in Mando'a to those who wouldn't understand. It's reminiscent of RepCom scenes with Skirata letting a few words of mandalorian slip here and as when he's talking to Separatists or even Hutts. I approve a bit of Huttese now and then, but Mandalorians are supposed to be a rare "breed", am I right? Then not many people in the galaxy should be familiar with their language at all.

Yeah it might be a little non-canon if they didn't use any mando'a amongst each other, and it's written in their cultural code that they should be speaking the language in a sign of recognition.


Hell, I kind of feel like old Boba Fett for not trying hard enough to be mando Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:59 am

Oh, true; in that aspect, I agree with you completely. It bothers me when they let it slip in too much around people who will have no idea what they're talking about; Mandos are suppose to be pragmatic, and being misunderstood is in no way practical. For example, it bothered me how they used the word gett'se so much around other people.

So I figure I'd use it in my writing when the charries are in the presence of other Mandos, are trying to shake people down or play dumb, or are talking/swearing to themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:09 pm

I completely understand Daennika's concerns here. Are we abusing an invented language just for the sake of saying, "Ha! I know Mando'a!"?

I believe it comes down to context, and I think Vhe made a good point that if she's writing a Mandalorian character, of course, the language will find its way into the story because it'd be out of character not to.

So, the question is: At what point does this become language abuse?

Perhaps I've abused it in my story a bit? I'm not sure. If someone wants to judge that, then I'm for the criticism. However, on the flip side of that, I'm dealing with a squad of clones trained by a Mandalorian. I know that the Clone Wars cartoon series has not shown any of the Clones using Mando'a, but I'm not basing my story off the cartoon series. With that being said, I'm not just throwing out random Mando'a words either. They have to make sense in the context of my writing and be able to hold their own so that the reader doesn't need a dictionary at the end of every chapter. If a word becomes significant to the story and the non-Mandalorian character(s) in it, then the characters using the language are responsible for explaining its context/meaning. Chapter 5 (labeled as Chapter 6) of my story, I think, shows a good example of a single word that becomes significant to a moment in the plot.

To sum it up, yes, we should be very careful about this invented language and use it responsibly, not as a means to compete with other writers so we can "one-up" our Mando'a language skills. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:46 pm

I believe it should be context related. The few words that I've used in my own writing are self-explanatory and within context. Some that are not as self-explanatory, I find ways to explain in a round-about way. It's an additional challenge that also makes the reader be more interactive with the story as they need to "figure out" what the word is, hopefully without having to use a lexicon.

As in most cases people revert to their mother tongue when a situation becomes tense/dangerous etc... some native words are bound to pop up. (swear words mostly)

I think that as long is the story doesn't have whole paragraphs in mando'a and the story is still mainly in "basic", and the story doesn't NEED mando'a to move forward, then it's more of an addition that keeps the characters "in character". It makes the story more "authentic" sorta.
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Tenna
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:22 pm

I use the swear words mostly. Those are usually one of the first things you want to learn in a different language and remember the best.

I've never used sentences of it though. The first time I saw Mando'a being used was in an rpg game and it bothered me. I couldn't understand what they were trying to say and if the language and grammar even worked. I'm a little turned off by full on Mando'a but little bits and pieces like 'di'kut' 'ner vod' and so on don't bother me.
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Catika
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:46 am

I'm sick of doing the HTML codes for the italic Mando'a words. Really.

I've gotten conflicting views from my non-Mando obsessed friends when reading my stories: the boyfriend says he likes the Mando'a because it's more powerful to read than just plain Basic/English. My roommates get annoyed with it because they can't remember what the words mean--they seem to be the bigger representation of opinion on Mando'a from the non-obsessed.

I'd like for my writing to be more accessible to Star Wars fans who don't read KT or downloaded the Mando'a dictionary. For me, that's more important than making my characters seem "in-character"--if it's going to turn some readers away, I'd rather not do it.

I fully support the use of Mando'a in stories, though, but personally, I'm sick of doing all of the italics. :p They do come in handy for swear words if I want to keep the expletives down. But sometimes I want to be a potty mouth!
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:19 pm

From what few things I've written in SW land, I tend to avoid Mando'a or other language unless absolutely appropriate. For example, if it isn't a native Mandalorian he/she wouldn't curse in Mando'a, because curses are very deeply ingrained in one's culture. Greetings are another instance where it could be appropriate, like all Huttese speakers would greet each others with a warm Achuta Mandalorians would use Su'cuy for each other, but less for others. Specific terms for things in the narrative, like beskar'gam instead of armour or gal instead of drink only serves to confuse people. Foreign or constructed languages in stories are there to get people into the world of a character, not to put up barriers between the story and the reader.

Example of extremes:

Kal: "Tion'vaii ner haranyc gal?"
Kal: "Where the haran is my gal?"
Kal: "Where the haran is my drink?"
Kal: "Where the hell is my drink?"
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Cody MacArthur Fett
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:44 am

I think it (like people have said before) has a lot to do with context. I mean, if the character (let's call her Ruusan) is trying to insult another character (let's call him John) who may not be familiar with Mando'a then of course she's going to curse in Mando'a, and then when John asks what the word(s) mean she's going to reply that it's a special Mandalorian of saying "I like you". John's going to say "OK", and then Ruusan is going to right back to cussing him out in her native language.

Likewise, in another instance, Ruusan is talking with her male friend Gavil while John is around. While talking with him in Basic Ruusan sprinkles more then a few Mando'a phrases and words into the conversation, along with quite a bit of emphasis on certain words. While Gavil knows perfectly well what she's talking about, John does not. So at the end of the conversation Gavil leaves thinking that Ruusan is going to pick up some items that he needed to get while she's in town, and John's left fuming because he's almost certain they were talking about something very dirty behind his back.

An interesting case would be beskar'gam. Which I'm pretty sure could be construed to be any armor made out of beskar, whether-or-not it's Mandalorian in design or not.
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Douglas Fett
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:32 am

I think you guys bring up some good points. While I don't write fics, I do write for online RPing, where my character is Mandalore (set in KOTOR era - post KOTOR2), so throwing in Mando'a phrases and terms is common.

While I'm never going to make whole sentences, I do use the terms with the intent of making my other Mando RP members look the term up in the dictionary to understand what it is the guy is saying. Of course I also do it because it's in character, but then again...maybe it's just me, but I've always found it odd for Mandalorians to speak basic (a foreign language) all the time with some Mando'a (their language) thrown in every now and then.

While we're at it, I should also note that I throw in Scottish Gaelic sometimes as "archaic Mando'a." And just for the record, when I started using it, I had no idea of the Celtic influence Traviss instilled in the Mandalorians.
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PostSubject: Re: Using Mando'a in your writing   Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:38 pm

Daennika wrote:


I didn't choose any of the connotations or many different meanings of, let's say, a word like di'kut. It's a damn popular one among fan fiction writers and since no one in their right minds would say "di'kut" in the real world,
Oops... I think I need to get checked into a mental facility...
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