Jump to content
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

Anath G'Renn

Poll of the Week: Romulan ale and Sci-Fi Naming Trends

Poll of the Week: Romulan ale and Sci-Fi Naming Trends  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think of the [Species] [Noun] trend for naming things in science fiction?

    • Giving the audience a point of comparison in the real world can actually help immersion and describes alien objects in terms the audience will understand.
      2
    • It would make sense that alien names for objects, when translated by humans, would use the names of similar human things.
      6
    • I understand why it is done, but it seems unrealistic for aliens to use human terms to describe things from their own world.
      2
    • These simple names should be replaced with original alien vocabulary whenever possible. Language is an important part of worldbuilding and worth the effort.
      0
    • Have a different opinion? Let us know what you think below!
      2


Recommended Posts

Are you a science fiction writer looking to add some new object to your fictional universe? Maybe a culture in your story needs some kind of unique dish that is mentioned in the story to help flesh out that world. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to create a long list of names for objects in a story that are completely alien and that are at least somewhat decipherable. This leads to a common theme in many science fiction franchises with an alien species that gets explored in great detail. Eventually you’re likely to see something along the lines of [Species Name here] [Human Noun here].

Star Trek has created a long list of original names for things in the many alien cultures that exist in its universe. In fact, Star Trek boasts one of the most comprehensive languages featured in fiction, Klingon. Still, it is quite easy to see examples of this simple formula all over the Star Trek universe. Romulan ale, Saurian brandy, and Bolian soufflé all being examples in terms of foods and drinks. There’s also the difficult-to-acquire Tholian silk, Cardassian pinochle, and all kinds of variants on Earth diseases such as Ankaran flu or Rigelian fever.

This week’s poll asks you what you think of this common naming convention. Is it just a simple trick used by writers that is understandable, or does it break your immersion? Coming up with an entire alien lexicon is a worldbuilding task that not every writer or author will find to be worth the cost. What do you think of the [Species] [Noun] trend for naming things in science fiction?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Delan Han said:

Ordering Romulan Ale (made with Romulan yeast, I assume) would/should describe such a broad category of different types of drink that it wouldn't be something you ordered so much as the parent category of what you ordered.

I think you're on the same track that I am when I think of this topic. We see similar trends in my part of the world here today - when I order beer, for example, I'll use a category. Belgian ale, American lager, India Pale Ale (kay, that last one is a stretch, haha!). "Can I get your Czech Pilsner on tap, please?" Food is a little more of a stretch, but we still see something similar today as well. I wouldn't order 'Moroccan lamb' at a Moroccan restaurant, I'd order Mrouzia. But if I was at an eatery that catered to different ethnicities of food, I'd expect to see it listed as 'Moroccan lamb' on the menu, and likely order it accordingly. So I don't find this naming convention strange, but it's also situational. I won't have my character sitting with Bajorans at a Bajoran restaurant and order 'Bajoran spring wine', for example. He'll order 'spring wine', or like @Delan Han said, make up some believable specific name.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think my general rule of thumb with names is if I replaced the Species (Bajoran, Bolian, Trill) with Terran, would it make any sense.

In the OP example of a Bollian Soufflé, if I told the replicator Terran Souffle would that be enough information to get an answer (in this case I would bet not, unless the replicators work on a default setting that allows them to dispense some generic option when given a generic request.  But Terran Souffle wouldn't let the replicator know if I meant sweet or savory, and any number of options below that).  The Spring Wine example.  If I ordered Terran Spring Wine I wouldn't be giving nearly enough information at all.  French, Italian, Spanish, German, American, would need to be known at minimum, beyond that you could specify type of wine, locality within the region, and even down to the vineyard.

 

We do thing kind of thing every day without thinking about it much.  After my post above, I'm not going to try and create a wine lovers guide to Trill, just to see if I can come up with something that seems internally consistent.

(Don't look at me like that, I find this kind of thing relaxing)

 

~Patrick

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh lord, this is a rabbit hole I could get lost down.  If no one hears from me in a week send help.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm totally with you, @Delan Han! The whole "monoculture" thing drives me nuts. I think way too deeply about these things too.

As you say, with little old Earth being as diverse as it is, why shouldn't pretty much every other planet be as well? 

That's why I liked what 'Enterprise' did with the Xindi.

I'm looking forward to delving deeper into the Bardeezans in the future and fleshing them out some more. :D

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am now actively researching how terrioir is described, how different varieties of grapes are classified, and how wine is made.  Once this is done, I'll move on to spirits, probably starting with gins as I know the least about those.

Even if this is never actually approved for use in game, I now must see this through.  I may be lost.

~Patrick

Edited by Delan Han
missing word
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those who may have been following my decent down rabbit holes, I have posted the document to the Species Guild forum group looking for comments and critiques.

 

If you have a chance and are interested take a look.

~Patrick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.