Word Play

One of the. . .side effects of being simultaneously the author of a long-running series which contains quite a number of made-up words, and a long-time reader of Just About Anything is that. . .sometimes readers of the stuff I write don’t know when I’m using a “real” word or a made-up word.

I hasten to say that this is not just something that I do — use old words, or make up news ones.  Most writers indulge in word play.  We wouldn’t be in this business, if we didn’t love language.

From Trader’s Leap, we have the following. . .odd. . .words:

brume — (broom) mist or fog.  This is an English word

empyrean — (em-PEER-ee-in) celestial. This is an English word

louche — (loosh) disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way. This is an English word

wrapt — (rapt) past participle of wrap. This is an English word, although it is an old English word

aequitas — (ee-KWI-tis) This is a Latin word, the basis of the English word “equality”.  It is also the name of a goddess: In Roman mythology, Aequitas, also known as Aecetia, was the goddess of fair trade and honest merchants.

ombudsone — (ohm-BUDS-one) one third of this word is made up.  The English form is “ombudsman,” but in the Liaden Universe® we try to avoid unnecessary gendering.  So “man” in the original gets replaced with “one,” and I think we should immediately adopt this word in real life.

daibri’at — (DAY-bree-aht) Liaden Universe® Tai Chi.  This is a made-up word

sokyum — (SEW-kee-um) a large feline-ish creature.  This is a made-up word

zaliata — (zah-LEE-ah-tah) For the purposes of our narrative, it denotes an energy creature, perhaps an angel.  Another made-up word

And, there!  That was fun.  At least, it was for me.


6 thoughts on “Word Play”

  1. …and I knew all your “English” words were “English” words… lordy….I clearly read far far too much and my vocabulary is way overeducated…(I do learn new words all the time when I read China Mieville. That man uses language like a scalpel.)

    But yeah. You’re right. It’s FUN 😀

  2. This is one of the reasons I love your books. I delight in looking up the *maybe* words and discovering where they come from. I think the first was Timonium. I find Tom Robbins and Douglas Adams are also good for challenging my vocabulary. (not to say credulity) Other things I appreciate about your Universe are how the workings of balance and melanti have influenced my thinking about this universe.
    Thank you.

  3. I never assume one way or another with your writing, but when reporting typos I err on the side of over reporting, figuring better that than to miss one.

  4. This is not a criticism of anyone’s Tyop Hunting work, which I very much appreciate. I wrote this manuscript (so, all those errors are mine, to begin with), and have now read it three times, while two editors and a copy editor have also been through it, and you guys have still managed to find stuff we missed. I’m in awe.

  5. And the moment it’s committed to ink-on-paper (or the digital equivalent), ALL of us with pick up our copy and find something we never saw before!
    I have often suspected that my brain automatically edits what I read for spelling and makes its corrections … I have resorted to using a transparent ruler and going backwards through the copy. It works for me.
    But having just acquired Trader’s Leap, I am enjoying the First Read with no comments from back brain! Loving it!

  6. Ha! I mis-guessed one. Somehow I’d mentally related empyrean to empirical. ?
    It’s fun to learn new words this way, thank you!

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