Language Discussion: Making up words.

Making up Words

How do you introduce a made up word or a foreign word into the text as a writer or a translator? What considerations should be taken? Should one simply make a glossary or leave a note at bottom of the page?

While I do attend for this thread to start a discussion, I do have a question for the audience that sparked the idea of this thread.
Do you see any issue with using "unlevels". It not actually a word, even though levels is one. I thought of a using real verb from dictionary, but doesn't convey same meaning of physical unbalance with connotation of mental unbalance while foreshadowing to an an anxiety cause by the creaking floor. Is there perhaps such a word that I have forgotten? Should I go like Shakespeare and create a word anew.

The creaking
floor unlevels his steps, but he need not run but simply move. The flair in his
nose causes him stutter in his breath. Easing his cold, the warmth of kitchen’s
stove can be felt just outside the doorway.



  • edited November 2015
    How do you introduce a made up word or a foreign word into the text as a writer or a translator?

    - You provide context or an explanation through events, or put the word in an explanation provided by in-novel character... Those are the basic options.

    What considerations should be taken?

    - When transalting an untranslateable word, as Ren once posted, there will be a need to choose between a 'direct transaltion' (through phonetics) and the literal translation through the use of one or more words which describe that one word/phrase that can't be transalted well.

    - When creating a word, an author should try speaking it out loud to make sure it sounds good enough and is not ridiculously hard for readers to remember, nor does it make people guess 100 times how should they be reading it... For example:


    Are bad examples.


    Are somewhat better 'corrections' of the above. Although i still would probably not use such names or made up words in my own story...

    Should one simply make a glossary or leave a note at bottom of the page?

    - Depends what you want to write. A thick book that would resemble The Lords of the Rings, or an internet novel? In my opinion, the more reader is forced to break immersion and search through glossaries, or even worse, is facing huge amount of TN's in middle of a chapter or 'directions' aka (*1) (*2) to 'explanations' to words below the chapter... The worse the novel is and the worse author's ability to create an interesting world which is introduced step by step - not in a huge wave of stupid information, is. Like, i tried reading a certain novel which on it's second chapter had a 5 word title for an expert who appeared in it. The title wasn't telling me anything, it was neither making the character be 'OP' apart from literal wording. If anything, too much 'worldmaking' at wrong pace can only destroy a novel, instead of helping it. I know it's much easier to just dish out info and expect reader to 'remember it' or 'go back and read it again if he needs', but... I want to read a novel for fun, not to spend 10 minutes remembering the stages and tittles of cultivation after reading 4 pages on a novel -.-


    As for the overall language... Unless there is a part where your character listens to or exclaims poetry, sticking to normal, average english is probably the best option. It's 'quality' and amount of 'hard words' and 'descriptions' can vary, for example from MGA to ATG (basically 2 extremes), but it depends on what kind of audience an author is targetting.
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
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