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Alternate Terminology: Landships, Farseers, and Localnets

Coiler

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Great article. I'll just say two comments.

- The "As you know Bob, Harold Stassen won twenty terms as president" effect seems to be especially common in short stories I've read.

- My personal criteria is "will it confuse the reader?" So for military rank and unit names (and boy could divergences change a lot of those) I'd use a familiar term like division over a different one that might be confusing, but could use "grand colonel" instead of general freely as I think that's pretty intuitive.
 

Thande

David Miliband reacts only
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I enjoyed writing this one - there will be more in future weeks, as there's plenty of examples to go into.

Beyond technology terms I later intend to look at things like the names of chemical elements and perhaps company histories as well. As well as adding flavour for AH stories, researching these is interesting in its own right, and hopefully that comes through in the articles.
 

Thande

David Miliband reacts only
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Televisor always sounds like something you wear around your forehead.
While farseer sounds like a fantasy equivalent to a television.
A lot of German terms when literally translated fall into the latter category, which says as much about the English language as it does the fantasy genre.
 

Balaur

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- My personal criteria is "will it confuse the reader?" So for military rank and unit names (and boy could divergences change a lot of those) I'd use a familiar term like division over a different one that might be confusing, but could use "grand colonel" instead of general freely as I think that's pretty intuitive.
Speaking of division... well, that was used historically for everything from a platoon equivalent to a, well, division. The British army in the 18th century had whole parallel systems of tactical and administrative units. Majors used to be called Sergeant Majors, even though they were a commissioned rank above a Captain and below a Lieutenant-Colonel. So much glorious potential for confusion.
 

OwenM

The patronising flippancy of youth
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A lot of German terms when literally translated fall into the latter category, which says as much about the English language as it does the fantasy genre.
Or about how German tends to calque rather than borrow.
Thinking about this inspired me to look at the Anglish Moot again, which is probably good for this in general - I think they've gone a bit too far in "nothing Latin/Greek!" to be understandable since I last looked.
 

Thande

David Miliband reacts only
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Or about how German tends to calque rather than borrow.
That's what I meant.

That reminds me of when Leo Caesius from the other place noted I'd discovered a calque just between two dialects of English: Google Chrome, at one point, used the cutesy description 'Under the Hood' for their settings page in the US version. For the UK version, they'd translated it to 'Under the Bonnet', even though that's not really a phrase we use in the way Americans do theirs.
 

RyanF

Needle in a Beerstack
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Great article @Thande, be especially interested in what you would cover from company history in future installments.
 

OwenM

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That's what I meant.

That reminds me of when Leo Caesius from the other place noted I'd discovered a calque just between two dialects of English: Google Chrome, at one point, used the cutesy description 'Under the Hood' for their settings page in the US version. For the UK version, they'd translated it to 'Under the Bonnet', even though that's not really a phrase we use in the way Americans do theirs.
I think German is the rarer one in that though, although I suppose it's a bit different in say French or Hindi where they borrow from ancestors of the same language.
 

Thande

David Miliband reacts only
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Great article @Thande, be especially interested in what you would cover from company history in future installments.
I was actually going to make that my first one, but then I found an article online from 2011 which basically had done the exact same companies in the exact same way I was going to, so I decided to rethink that and go with technology first.
 

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
Speaking of division... well, that was used historically for everything from a platoon equivalent to a, well, division. The British army in the 18th century had whole parallel systems of tactical and administrative units. Majors used to be called Sergeant Majors, even though they were a commissioned rank above a Captain and below a Lieutenant-Colonel. So much glorious potential for confusion.
And that's not even going into the British Army (and probably others) tradition of using different names for exactly the same thing at the same time depending on which Regiment one is in. "What's the difference between Section, File, Troop, Platoon, and Squad?" Well, they might be the same thing, or they might not be. A Troop of Royal Marines is platoon sized, but a troop of RHA is Company sized, which is called a Commando in the Royal Marines.

Incidentally, am I the only person who really wants to see what America would look like in the scenario described in the first paragraph?
 

AndyC

Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses
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My apologies for not tweeting/Facebooking the link: I've been remarkably ill all day.
To be honest, I only managed to upload the article because I'd staggered down to cancel my Travelodge booking and by the time I got to the point of mutually linking the article-thread, I was completely chinstrapped.

Feeling significantly better now, so have just belatedly done the advertising bit (better late than never), but it does illustrate that maybe we'd better come up with a procedure for when I'm unavailable.
 

OwenM

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My apologies for not tweeting/Facebooking the link: I've been remarkably ill all day.
To be honest, I only managed to upload the article because I'd staggered down to cancel my Travelodge booking and by the time I got to the point of mutually linking the article-thread, I was completely chinstrapped.

Feeling significantly better now, so have just belatedly done the advertising bit (better late than never), but it does illustrate that maybe we'd better come up with a procedure for when I'm unavailable.
Get well soon Andy.
 

Thande

David Miliband reacts only
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My apologies for not tweeting/Facebooking the link: I've been remarkably ill all day.
To be honest, I only managed to upload the article because I'd staggered down to cancel my Travelodge booking and by the time I got to the point of mutually linking the article-thread, I was completely chinstrapped.

Feeling significantly better now, so have just belatedly done the advertising bit (better late than never), but it does illustrate that maybe we'd better come up with a procedure for when I'm unavailable.
Thanks for struggling through! Yes I agree we should set up a procedure for this.
 

napoleon IV

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I'm going to start working some of these terms into everyday conversation:

"Man, do you know that the federal government has a whole lot full of landships that will never be used? What a waste of taxpayer money!"

"What did you say?"

"The federal government keeps building landships it will never use. I saw it on the farseer."

"OK Napoleon, I know you're using English, but I can't understand what you're saying."
 

Geordie

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As well as farseers and raycookers, there's another source of alternative names.

I don't know whether this will get covered in your alternate company histories, but another source of technology names is brand names that become so ubiquitous that they're treated as synonymous with the tech itself. Hoover is probably the obvious OTL example, while others have noticed that some people seem to use the term iPhone to describe any and all smartphones. Similarly with iPad and tablet. Sellotape is another one. Kindle, perhaps, too. Fitbit?

So, in another world, could another company be so all pervasive in a certain field to ensure their name becomes (for many) the name of of the kit? Probably only for certain items. It needs to be common. As in "used in nearly every house" common. Any less, and the brand may not enter popular consciousness. Also, it need to be new. It is unlikely that the collective masses will decide to name an electric oven after a market leader, because they've all had ovens already, just powered by other means. Unlikely isn't impossible, but it is still unlikely.

Maybe a brand of fridge? Do we all take the milk out of the smeg in another TL? My thoughts seem to be mainly linked to the kitchen. Washing machines, tumble dryers and microwaves are other potential things for names. Perhaps cameras?

Putting such terminology in organically can be an issue, mind. Anybody can write that the hero "climbed aboard his autovelo/velocipede and roared off into the night". In other cases, it's sometimes harder to avoid an explanatory footnote.

No TL is likely to have more than one or two of these terms. They're not overly common, but since wisely, they might help add flavour.

I tried this myself, in a previous bit of writing. Given the fact that literally nobody mentioned it, I'm not convinced it was a success. In Let Them Talk, I had a power cut hit a Labour Party Conference. Jim Laurie then went to the piano "under the lights of a thousand Nokias". This seemed to hit the mark. A brand leader who, if they'd played the switch to smartphones better, could have sewn up the market. Might not have replaced "mobile" or "cell", but it could have done. Obviously, in OTL, they fumbled that move, so well never find out. In an ATL, though?

It's fitting that you've written this article, @Thande, because alternate names is something I always consider to be a particular skill of yours. Another SLP writer who (imho) excels at this is @Mumby, who might recognise two of the examples used in my post. Whether he invented the terms or not, his writing was where I saw them first.
 
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