Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Dayton3, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    Not to be a Grammar Slammer Bammer about this, but (regardless of the definition of "spoken," whether it includes only native speakers or also secondary speakers) Arabic is never listed in the top three.

    Native-speaker lists usually list Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish as the top three, while secondary-speaker lists bump English up to second place...

    ...and of course, talking about "Chinese" as a language (rather than separating out distinct languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese) is an example of the very thing you're complaining about. ;)
     
  2. Baerbel Haddrell

    Baerbel Haddrell Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character


    Thank you!

    I enjoy good discussions but I must admit, sometimes I am hesitating to post because I am aware of it that I am not a scientist and can`t compete with some people and the knowledge they have. On top of that, English is not my native language.

    I have experienced it before that I tried to make a point, the next poster kind of polished what I wanted to say into a more scientific English and gets praised for it. It is frustrating sometimes but on the other hand, it is an opportunity for me to learn and follow an interesting discussion.

    Therefore I am grateful for this post.
     
  3. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    What do you mean by 'specific name'? The names of language are translated from language to language like anything else; it would be rather strange to have a people refer to their language using another language's terminology. In French, the name of the language is français; Spanish, español, etc.

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  4. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    The United Nations list of approximate number of native speakers across the planet by the millions. And it is Arabic, Chinese (including all regional and national dialects) then English. If you find a more accurate list then I will gladly stand corrected.
     
  5. Rosalind

    Rosalind TrekLit's Dr Rose Mod Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    yep, very much so. :p

    the primary language is zhongwen, hanyu, or something else I forgot (wen and yu both means language), putonghua is just the word for how it's spoken.

    I'm guessing what you described here is what Andrew meant. France-francaise, deutschland-deutsch, zhonggue-zhongwen, etc.


    actually I rather say my first language is chinese than mandarin, because mandarin is the spoken form of the language, not the language. and it's also not my first spoken language, which is what those forms ask for. :p

    I'm guessing Mandarin/putonghua is to Chinese what Queen's English is to the English. the difference between the various dialects in Chinese is much bigger though, I found a lot of the Japanese pronounciation of hanzi or kanji is a lot similar to Mandarin than Cantonese (4000km away) or Shanghai dialect's pronounciation (2000km away) of the same characters. years of Opera (the 100+ types of opera in China are all in local dialects) means I'm pretty good with the dialects, but it always take a while to figure one out. thank goodness for the written language!
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    No, the Češi speak čeština, die Deutschen speak Deutsch, the Nihonjin speak Nihongo, the English speak English, the Russkie speak russkiy yazyk, and le Français speak français.
     
  7. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    Considering this is the International Year of Languages, the United Nations website was uniformly unhelpful is giving me these figures. :/

    The only copy of the UNESCO estimates I could find online is here, and it lists Arabic fifth.

    "Arabic" is a problematic term itself, since (much like "Chinese") not all languages in that family are mutually intelligible, and I (at least) am one of the people who has trouble thinking of dialects as part of the same language if they can't understand each other.

    Here's some discussion about this problem.

    Anyway, the point is that there are some cultures whose word(s) for their language/nationality are the same (français, português), some who do not (see extensive discussion of distinctions made in China), and some who depend on the situation (I'm Canadian and speak mainly English, but a citizen of England wouldn't need two different words).

    So...would you consider a character who didn't adhere to these distinctions unlikeable? ;)
     
  8. Andrew Harris

    Andrew Harris Writer Red Shirt

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    Sorry, but I have to punch your punk card here. As I mentioned, I lived in Prague for five years, so you might imagine that I speak a bit more Czech than Wikipedia.

    You're making the typical mistake of someone who's unfamiliar with the language. Czech has one of those crazy, tortuous systems of cases, genders and declension, in which the suffix of the word constantly changes based on its position and use in the sentence--whether it's the subject or object, or the genetive case, the vocative case, etc. etc.--there's actually 21 different potential suffix forms for each word.

    Thus, "I speak Czech" is "mluvim cesky".

    "I am Czech"is "jsem Cech."

    The "Czech Republic" is "Ceska republika."

    A Czech-English dictionary is "Cesko-anglicky slovnik".

    The "Czech Railways" are "Ceske zeleznice".

    And on and on, up to 21 times. In English, it's spelled the same every time. In Czech, they're spelled different each time.

    But the thing to remember, and what most Americans don't immediately fathom, is that in Czech, even when they have different suffixes: They're all considered the same word.

    You might very well be reading a news story and see the name "Billa Clintona"; because the changing suffixes (which also sometimes eliminate the letters before them) are not considered to be actual parts of the word. It's not like English (such as, for example, with late-later-lately), in which the suffixes create actual, different words. In fact, Czech words conjugated into their various suffixes don't even appear in dictionaries.

    So, yes, the Czechs really do speak Czech. Honest, swear-to-God. And calling them "the Češi" is incorrect, because the Czech language doesn't have a word for "the".

    Just something to consider in the context of a discussion about how one cultural bias (America, Federation, poser-academia) inflicts itself on other cultures.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  9. Rosalind

    Rosalind TrekLit's Dr Rose Mod Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    ah, but the written language is the same so we can understand each other. :p

    seriously though, sometimes there's more in common between English and German than some of the chinese dialects.
     
  10. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    Because English is derived from Old High German, so that would make sense :p
     
  11. Baerbel Haddrell

    Baerbel Haddrell Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    Interesting. My mother grew up in a very rural part of Germany in which a dialect called Plattdeutsch was still spoken. She told me when they got American visitors they understood a lot.

    When I was a child we were on holiday in Bavaria once and I noticed that for me who grew up with Hochdeutsch (which is the usual German) understanding Bavarian German is even more difficult than Plattdeutsch.
     
  12. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    Sorry to be nitpicky, but languages (both real and created) are a hobby of mine. English diverged from the rest of the Germanic language group earlier than that. By the time Old High German existed, Old English was already its own well-defined language.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_languages#Diachronic

    Language shown in a row with each other existed at the same time as each other. Reading from top to bottom, history moves forward.
     
  13. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    That table is somewhat simplistic in nature and doesn't take into account numerous factors, chief among which is the fact that languages do not diverge at set points but in a continual fashion. Old High German and Old English are much closer than a simple language table would have you think. I spent half a semester on a paper on this very subject. I'm not going to go into it in much depth now, but I will say that many words in Old English did not actually evolve from the South Germanic language group itself, but from the slightly newer and diverging Old High German. We sent some words over there as well which have since fallen into the archaic category, but English doesn't tend to drop words from the language, it just adds new ones.

    Language as we all know is fluid and English itself is comprised mainly from the South Germanic languages, but as Old English evolved into Middle English, we were conquered several times and adopted Roman words, Greek-Latinate words, French words, and so on. A simple trawl through the dictionary today will show you that very few words from Old/Middle English are actually still used in everyday speech - except those created by Shakespeare, we've kept those.

    But we diverge from the OP. I would have to say that of all the hundred and twenty or so ST books I've read, the character I dislike most of all is Jellico. I didn't like him on screen and I haven't liked him in print.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    Shakespeare wasn't Middle English. The language spoken (and written) during the Elizabethan era was Early Modern English.
     
  15. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    As I posted above, language is fluid, but linguistic historians (or whatever the name du jour is) like categories. Early Modern English is a misnomer, and used primarily to teach people about the transition, but it has no place in the real world.
     
  16. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    How did my thread evolve into something about languages?
     
  17. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    ^ You weren't here to remind folks how wrong they were about everything.
     
  18. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    Clearly an oversight on my part.
     
  19. JAG

    JAG Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    :guffaw::guffaw:

    Threads in Treklit ebb and flow like the Ganges.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

    But you agree that there was a transition, that the language of Shakespeare was a part of the evolution of the language we know as Modern English. Indeed, Shakespeare coined or codified more of the vocabulary of Modern English than any other single writer (although the King James Bible was no doubt highly influential too). Granted the obvious fact that language is fluid and categories inexact conveniences, I stand by the assertion that if you have to use a category label, "Modern English" is more appropriate for Shakespeare than "Middle English."
     

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