Resource Earth Words and Their Star Wars Equivalents - a helpful index for writers

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by DarthThesaurus, Feb 15, 2007.

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  1. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    I'd actually guess denim is probably denim. Leia certainly appears to be wearing jeans in RotJ, and since we have humans, ducks, roses, and bees (which are at least sometimes called bees), I don't really see any good reason why in the great variety of the GFFA there shouldn't be a plant so close to cotton that the differences collapse rather than the similarities. ;)

    You could call it blue serge or something, perhaps, if it bothers you that the word "denim" may come from the Earth (French) city Nimes. "Jeans" and "dungarees" evidently both come from city-names as well.

    Then again, so does copper (among other elements) and I'm not likely to try to change their names if they come up!

    A syringe, if you mean the type used to give an injection, may or may not be a hypospray. I keep thinking that's Star Trek, but I've seen it in other science fiction and I suspect it may have wandered into Star Wars as well. You could probably just as well use syringe if it's any other variety, though.

    For the record, I'm inclined to think that transparisteel is more for construction and things like starship windows -- there's certainly plenty of sand in the GFFA, and I think it would require more explanation to claim nobody had ever made it into glass than to say they had!
  2. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    Well, in TESB, Han told Luke to stay alive while he put up the shelter. So, for most survival purposes they would use a 'shelter' instead of a tent. If it were a primitive culture with tents then I'd consider making up a word in whatever alien language they use.

    I think that they would use glass in the GFFA more for art objects than for utensils and windows since some form of plastic would be much more durable and less breakable. I imagine that the plastics in the GFFA are very high quality.
  3. 1Yodimus_Prime Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2004
    star 4
    It is true that, were you to get very, very specific, you'd soon come to the realization that every word in the English language (and every language for that matter) is inherently and inextricably tied to the Earth from which we originated. There is no way around this fact. But obviously, there is a point where words start to become generic. Where they start to become basic (no pun intended). Let's call it the "Generic Line"

    This is the point where words can be freely exchanged between realities. A duck is just a nonsentient avian lifeform that likes water. Trees. Bushes. Ground. Ship. Glass. etc etc. It's all a question of whether or not you believe the word-in-question is on one side of the "Generic Line", or the other. I don't believe Denim is generic enough to count - an alternative should be looked for. Persephone believes it is generic enough. Ardavenport, on the other hand, thinks even 'tent' is not quite generic enough to be allowed over.

    The "Generic Line" can be blurry.


    There is only one good piece of advice I can give on trying to pry out whether or not a word can cleanly transfer from English to Basic, and that's this: put it in the story. does it sound out of place? No? Great! Oh wait...it does?

    Okay, NOW come over here, tell us you absolutely NEED a different word, and we'll see what we can do. :D
  4. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    Well, I've never had occasion to refer to denim specifically and would probably go with something a bit more generic myself, if it came up. (I want to use "nankeen" somewhere, but haven't had occasion for that either.) I was more making the point that this isn't an especially rational choice on my part -- particularly considering I probably would have made it without looking up the etymology. I still think Leia was wearing jeans, though, whatever she might have called them. ;)

    (I'd be tempted to call them dens, actually. A sort of nod to denim, and also a hint that they're sturdy stuff for rough wear, like crawling around in a den or playing den mother or whatever. But on the other hand, I don't really like introducing an alternate term for an object that's common and recognizable to both reader and character, unless the term is also immediately recognizable or can be made so. Otherwise I'm spending time introducing something that doesn't really deserve it.)

    I'd suggest "shelter" is a generic term that would include tents. You could make a shelter out of woven branches, use a hard-shell fold-up segmented plastic thing that could double as a sled when compacted, and so on. Choice of what to call it probably depends on whether it actually is a tent and whether, in whichever case, the speaker would tend to go for the precise or general term.

    Oddly, while some very basic (heh) words pass without remark, in other cases a word that is slightly obscure -- or at least, obscure in the eyes of the writer/reader -- will lend a more "otherly" flavor to the story and be considered more palatable. I remember somebody asking about an alternate word for "backpack," which baffled me because... well... how do you boil that down any further? But I threw out "rucksack" and apparently that made them happier. I remember reading about some book -- not Star Wars related -- where the author systematically went through and used just slightly unusual word choices for a bunch of common items. Not obscure words or anything, ones that most readers would know, but not the ones they'd expect. Buildings didn't have floors or stories, is the one I remember; they had tiers. It sounds like a pretty neat strategy and effect. Unfortunately I never tracked down the actual book and now I don't know what it was.
  5. ShadowofLures Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 3
    Wow. [face_plain]

    Yodimus, that's excellent advice, and same with Persephone.

    I think it's time for an *up*, don't you? :p

    -Lures @};-
  6. ShadowofLures Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 3
    another *up* is in order, but I do have another question:

    is "sleeping bag" the same as "tent" in Star Warsian, or does it have a special name?

    -Lures @};-
  7. 1Yodimus_Prime Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2004
    star 4
    I'm not sure if I've personally ever read about a GFFA character using a sleeping bag or not. That's the sort of detail I usually miss. But I can say this much - often what separates an object from Earth and an object from the GFFA has less to do with its name than with its aesthetic. Usually, this means the object is either extremely high tech or extremely low tech in comparison, and possibly alien in design as well. You'll have to decide how that applies to your sleeping bags. I don't suggest repulorlifts so much...but stuff dealing with transmitting heat, maintaining internal temperature (for cold weather bags), color shifting either for camoflage or simply to be stylish, being made light compressable materials that allow it to be stored tightly inside backpacks...that sort of thing. Or, as I said, just the opposite.

    Sometimes, while making these decisions, a variant word (or even a completely new one) will pop up that better-describes the object you're constructing. Sometimes not.

    What's more important is that you've brought the GFFA to life just a little bit more.
    And that's a job that's never finished.

  8. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    anybody know a GFFA phrase that equates to "the lion's share"?

    I tried using "the royal share", but it really doesn't work because the scene is a slave household...

    any and all suggestions will be gratefully appreciated!
  9. StarWarsIsGood Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 22, 2006
    the rancor's share?

    gets the message across kinda
  10. 1Yodimus_Prime Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2004
    star 4
    That's a good one.

    Kryat's share works well too. Any animal that might be considered the top of that planet's nonsentient food chain would work well within that metaphor.
  11. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    These are awesome. Thanks!!

    How well known are these animals to people who don't inhabit the same planet where they are found?

    The passage I'm working with is as follows (Padme is observing that Anakin looks a little small for his age):

    Shmi's thinly fleshed frame had already told Padme that mother gave the _____'s share of the larder to son, but likely it was still not enough.

    (pardon the blatant mush....)
  12. StarWarsIsGood Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 22, 2006
    since its from a naboo perspective you can use this:

    Naboo Creatures from wookie

    and pick the scariest critter you can from it. Not many people would know about rancors i assume, and an Outer Rim or hunter type might be the only ones to know about the Krayt Dragon.
  13. moosemousse CR - FF:UK South

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2004
    star 6
    :eek:

    Please tell me that's not real.
  14. MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2001
    star 5
    Sadly I believe they are both used in novels. :p
  15. Drabba_the_Hutt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2005
    star 4
    I'm pretty sure that the early West End books (they released the Star Wars Roleplaying Game in the late '80s and created a lot of the terms in use now) included references to that musical genre, but I don't know if it was original to them or if it comes from an even earlier source.

    And I thought the GFFA equivalent of "sleeping bag" was "tauntaun." :p


  16. Aerex_Matare Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2005
    star 1
    How about holidays? Life Day seems to be the GFFA equivalent of several things: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's. Are there equivalents to Easter, Halloween, Independence Day? What about unique holidays only found in the GFFA?
  17. Idiots Array Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2000
    star 5
    Life Day was originally described as a Wookiee holiday but it's become, probably, the most well-recognized holiday in the GFFA.

    Name Day or Naming Day would be the equivalent of someone's birthday.

    Harvest Day is a pretty generic name and could be celebrated on just about any world, perhaps as a cross between Thanksgiving and Halloween.

    I've heard the name Liberation Day applied to the liberation of Coruscant by New Republic forces but the same name could easily be applied to the liberation of any world from the Empire. Or, for a twist, perhaps in a Galactic Empire setting, a planet could mark Liberation Day as a liberation from the Old Republic/Seperatists, etc.

    It's not a holiday per se but I'll throw it out anyway. In some of my own writing I've made reference to the Imperial Games, a galaxy-wide set of athletic competitions where planets send a delegation of athletes to Coruscant (Imperial Center) in order to compete in my own GFFA nod to the Olympics. My original idea was that Ysanne Isard reestablished the then-defunct Republic Games in order to demonstrate the solvency of her regime and to boost the flagging Imperial morale.

    The idea could easily be adapted to another setting and would be cause for widespread celebration, either during the competition or upon the return of a victorious team.

    As for GFFA-specific holidays, have a browse through Wookieepedia and see if anything jumps out at you.

    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Holiday
    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Holidays
  18. MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2001
    star 5
    Holidays are planet specific more often than not and there are only a few GFFA government holidays I would think.

  19. The Musical Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 13, 1999
    star 5
    If I recall, doesn't Palpy also institute an Empire Day when he disbands the Republic? I seem to remember him saying something about the first Empire Day in his address to the Senate.
  20. brodiew Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2005
    star 5
    What about the refrigerator? I've been calling it the cooler in recent fics? Does that work?
  21. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    Well, it could, but you might want to be careful to make it clear from context that it's not, you know, an insulated box you store food in with ice or freezer packs for short-term transport. *grin* That's what I think of as a cooler. No reason it couldn't be used somewhere for something that actively cools food, though.
  22. CodyMonKenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2001
    star 4
    this is a really cool thread. Does any one know of the SW equivellent to cigerettes or cigars, or what ever the people in GFFA smoke to kill themselves. :p
  23. 1Yodimus_Prime Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2004
    star 4
    I've heard of 'nicobacc' inhalers being used as an equivalent to cigarettes. I don't know where, so I can't say if it's official or not.


    Works better than 'deathstick' though, which is clearly not like a cigarette in any way whatsoever, even though some people suggest they're the same. You don't smoke vials of liquid. Sorry. :p
  24. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    Somehow, even knowing it's not correct, I find myself picturing "deathsticks" as rather like pixy sticks. Except with drugs instead of sugar.
    gracesonnet likes this.
  25. 1Yodimus_Prime Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2004
    star 4
    ^^^^ [face_laugh] [face_laugh] [face_laugh]
    Funniest drug imagery ever!
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