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Big-Worderitis - Is there a Cure?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by MsLanna, Jan 22, 2009.

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  1. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2005
    I have it, I have it bad. And I don't know what to do.
    Maybe it comes from beign a foreign speaker? I was always encouraged to use big words.

    I don't choke people, I suffocate them. Then I don't avoid the consequences, but circumvent them, unobstrusively.8-} I'd hesitate to elaborate on the ramifications of this mannerism - but I need help.
    This style doesn't work any when you try to write let's say a child. My current problem exactely.

    How do I get back those fine compund verbs and small adjectives to put around nouns of preferrably 4-5 letters? Looking up alternatives with my leo.dict helps but it is no real solution.:(

    Help?[face_batting]
     
  2. Alexis_Wingstar

    Alexis_Wingstar Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2006
    If you have any young neices, nephews, cousins, etc., you could hang around with them on a weekend, taking them to a park (weather permitting), and just have a conversation with them. Really listen to their answers to your questions (your inquiries should be of the type that cannot be answered "yes" or "no"). You can also read a few children's books that are aimed at the age you are trying to write to get you into the mindset of small words.
     
  3. Golden_Jedi

    Golden_Jedi Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 10, 2005
    I have the same problem, Lanna - native polysillabic Spanish doesn't help and my backgroung in writing scientific papers either...

    For canon characters at first I made lists of words they used (and didn't use) in the movies, for OCs I just go with my guts, trying to remember that, in the end, they're not speaking English but Basic :p and that it must have a lot of variations from planet to planet. But I agree with you that child-speak is the most difficult thing.
     
  4. Ceillean

    Ceillean Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 13, 2001
    Instead of using dict.let, Lanna, try thesaurus.com. It might help with choosing different words for the big words.

    Try thinking like a child. ;)
    It works -- it really does. Or watch a movie where children play a major figure and just listen to them speak.
     
  5. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Alexis - The only way I'd get in contac with children of that age, would be waylaying one at his way home from school. Somehow I doubt that would be socailly acceptable.:p
    I considered books, but since all books for children in libraries here are in German, that's not so much of a help. And I don't really consider buying any.[face_blush]

    Golden_Jedi - German is reknows for its tendency to just put long words together to make even longer words. Schifffahrtsgesellscahft, Überrollbügel, Warentrennblock, Gummibärchenorakel. 8-} Scientific papers are fun. At least you can use words like heliocentirc there without geting weird looks.[face_laugh]

    Ce - I don't think your daugfhter will make it to the age I need this year, no? Too bad. thesaurus com usually drieves me nuts. At least it seems to have an automaic filter that makes things ToS compliant.:eek: Thinks like a child.[face_thinking]
    Films are not good. they are in German, remember? You live here, too.:p
     
  6. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    I find I have the exact same problem, Lanna and I am a native speaker. I find it hard to write as a child because I use "big words" in everyday conversation without thought and have been told that I do so all my life. Even when I was little I used big words for my age I just don't remember what those big words were! :p

    As for my recommendation, try watching children's TV shows where there are lots of children in it, not just characters. I figure the ones on your TV are all in German and that doesn't really help so try youtube (or something like it) and watch Sesame Street or dare I say it... Barney.
     
  7. Ceillean

    Ceillean Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 13, 2001
    Mel, I sort of meant english kiddie movies. :p
    I have a few so if you're in need -- I'm the source. [face_mischief] For the movies. :p

    I use thesaurus every day. It's a great program when you need different sort of words and it shows you antonyms.

    And nah...I don't think Lilly will be the right age this year. I mean, she talks. A lot. A WHOLE lot. Way too much sometimes. :p But it's still gibberish more or less. A mixture between German and English words. Cute but gibberish.

    And Barney...*shudders* Evil incarnate! :p
     
  8. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    I find that I just write, and as I go, if I find that I just haveto be pontifical, it never hurts for 'Pem' to say in her journal something like:

    Tam, we had a big meeting today with all of Pay-pa's fellow Masters, and they said they had to 'circumnavigate (I had to look that up - it means to go around, like) the crisis' with the weird people who still think the Empire was a good thing,(like that mean old *bad word*) Miss Vissen...

    *Sorry, I've also got a bad case of diarrhea of the word doc these days!!*


    And yes, 'she' puts in the phrase *bad word* when she wants to swear...
     
  9. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 1999
    Even monosylabic words can be a problem if they are not in common usage. Irritated, or ticked off, are much more common than, say, vexed.

    Sometimes, the best way to go is with a good beta, who can read over the problem areas and advise you on better ways to phrase things. I love my betas.
     
  10. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2005
    I can relate, mavjade. I wasn't allowed to do 'baby-speak' when I grew up because my sis insisted on teaching me to speak 'right'.[face_plain] I got whacked one each time until I substituted 'Wauwau' with 'Hund'. See, I don't even know what English kids say before they say dog. :oops:
    And there's a game I play with my best friend called 'leaving out foreign/educated words. Conversation tends to get slow then.[face_laugh]

    Okay, Ce, bring me some on Monday, I can strand it. I am sure I can. [face_worried]
    Does Pooh count? I got some Pooh...

    Breezy - [face_laugh] I just tried to put 'discriminate' into the story. I did the misspell+ half misinterpret routine. [face_worried] Cool youth speak. It's what has me worried. But I try to pull a Williams on that. Without actually stealing 'chizz', 'scan', and 'ho dszang'.:oops:

    Lilith - what about swallow?[face_worried] I also have to remember adults don't look exasperated to the kid. And what would 'embarrassed' be for a child? this is all so difficult.:(
     
  11. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    In "Pem Speak": it would be "And I got all red and stuff,"
     
  12. Golden_Jedi

    Golden_Jedi Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Yeah, I know... I even had Schprachdiplom from the BRD Kultusministerkonferenz once upon a time! :p Now I'm just amazed I can even remember that. :rolleyes:
     
  13. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 1999
    Swallow's a common enough word. Granted, most kids might not pronounce it right, but every kid's heard it often enough while learning to feed themselves.

    As for emotions that a kid might not understand, I'd go with Breezy's idea and explain the physical symptoms, instead of the emotion behind them. Tight lips, tired eyes, face going red (or green, or grey, or puce as required by the species in question), that sort of thing.
     
  14. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2005
    To bad the prank was supposed to make somebody else be all embarrassed. :( Well, good thing that you can't trip somebody in a hoverchair. That would be discriminalisation or something anyway, meaning it's almost a crime. Probably.

    Describing body language is a good solution foe the emotions of others, though. Too bad Jedi are not supposed to be angry.[face_shame_on_you] they are 'not happy' instead.


    Sprachdiplom? I am impressed Golden_Jedi.:eek:
     
  15. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Oh Pem gets 'mad' all the time! She's also very familiar with 'Ma-mere's lips getting all thin'.

    Jedi or no, children are children, not robots, and don't forget what things kids will laugh at things that adults will try not to (like *farts*! and it's no sin if you as an adult giggled when you read that - I did too!) [face_blush][face_laugh]
     
  16. 1Yodimus_Prime

    1Yodimus_Prime Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2004
    It's even funnier cuz you're screen name is "Darth Breezy" :p
     
  17. Ceillean

    Ceillean Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 13, 2001
    I'll bring you something nice to watch on Monday, Mel. And Pooh doesn't count. [face_devil]

    Be afraid. Be very afraid. :p
     
  18. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Beyond hanging out with/watching kids, the best I can offer is proof-read and edit out all big words. I've spent enough time around kids to know that they don't know what the big ones mean, but they'll ask what they mean, but not look them up.
     
  19. 1Yodimus_Prime

    1Yodimus_Prime Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Well, I do remember when my brother was about six, he surprised the hell out of me by casually using "inconspicuous" correctly in a sentence. Which doesn't prove anything. but rather serves as a reminder that you should never assume anything about children. They know both more and less than you think they do.

    As far as vocabulary goes ? or the lack of it, rather ? one thing to keep in mind is that most of the things we use words to communicate, kids use facial expressions and body language to communicate. So in a conversation, were you would say, "He was completely exasperated as we ran away.", a kid would say, "And he looked at me like this" - makes a face - "And we were like" - laughs - "SO scared, and then we ran around back and hid."

     
  20. Jedi_Perigrine

    Jedi_Perigrine Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 22, 2008
    Yodimus stole my thought...don't assume that just because they're kids that they won't know big words. I went to one of them thar' fancy private schools and I had a rather large multi-syllabic vocabulary far beyond my supposed age range. Everybody's different!
     
  21. thesporkbewithyou

    thesporkbewithyou Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 13, 2005
    The only problem that I have with using movies as a study guide is that sometimes they "grow" the kids up, so to speak. Most movies that star kids (Matilda comes to mind) are usually about the extraordinary ones - and so sometimes, those kids have vocabularies and affect mannerisms that are far beyond the norm.

    Or the kid dialogue is dumbed down, which is equally unhelpful.

    BUT, Calvin and Hobbes (a comic series by er.. Bill Waterson, is it?) is a perfect example of the way a six year old would act, or someone in that age range. Granted, Calvin does display an unusually high level of intelligence and vocabulary at times, but at the heart of things, he is a six year old boy, and acts like it.
     
  22. Alexis_Wingstar

    Alexis_Wingstar Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Another good 5 - 6 year old book series is Barbara Park's "Junie B. Jones" series... but then you probably can't get them in English in Germany :oops: I wish I had the books my son had when he was 5 and 6 , I'd PM you with a few things that had particularly good childspeak
     
  23. Ceillean

    Ceillean Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 13, 2001
    We can get english books in Germany, Alexis. Goodness -- just imagine! Lanna and I wouldn't have anything to read. Ack, the horror! :p
    Thank God for the internet and the English speaking section at the bookstore. ;)



     
  24. 1Yodimus_Prime

    1Yodimus_Prime Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Yeah, it's the other way around actually. Just try getting an originally-foreign-language book, of any kind, in the States.
    SO. ANNOYING.

    There's one in particular that I've been dying to get my hands on, which seems to have gotten great reviews in other countries, and three years later, they still haven't gotten around to bothering witha US publishing date. What, are trees an endangered species all of the sudden?! And even the ones where the publisher does make english-language editions quickly, they still get to prance and hop about England for months and months if not years on end before, grumbling, they make their way across the freakin pond. If they even do at all. :mad:

    But enough about that. We were talking about children or something?
    :p
     
  25. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2005
    We were, but I still don't want to buy children's books just because. Except if Dr. Seuss counts? I always wanted a reason to buy his books.[face_blush]
     
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