Thursday, July 2, 2015

Primal Frontier: Quick and dirty language guide

One of the problems I encountered almost immediately when working on realistic alternate history with dinosaurs is that I had to throw out all scientific dinosaur names from the start. Almost all dinosaur names were given to skeletal fragments that simply wouldn't apply if they saw the whole animal, and these were given mostly during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Albertosaurus? That one is out. No Alberta in Primal Frontier. Mosasaurus? Named after a skull found, meaning "lizard from the River Meus." And that's not counting the misnomers.

So I realized pretty quickly that almost everyone would be adopting whatever the natives who had been interacting with the dinosaurs for thousands of years were calling them and go from there. I try my best to describe the dinos as best I can so that anyone with any dinosaur knowledge can deduce what they are, but just to help keep track of general terms I'm writing this basic guide to help ya'll out, along with some of the other words the natives use. That way you won't have to go back between books to catalog a frigging language!

Afratex: Blanket term for Dromeosaurs, roughly translating to "hook claws". This can apply to anything from the tiny actual sized Velociraptors to the huge Utahraptors.

Jakura: Blanket term for large predatory theropods, applying to anything from Alioramus to the giant T-Rex and company. Megalosaurus and Allosaurs are the most common. I have a soft spot for Allosaurus, he doesn't get enough love in fiction.

Katatonda: Blanket term for Iguanodonts and duck billed dinosaurs, everything from Iguanodon, Parasaurolophus, Corythosaurus and the likes. The name roughly translates to "the ones that sing."

Thamapa: Blanket term applying to sauropods, everything from Apatosaurus to Brachiosaurus. The name roughly translates to "the mountains that move."

Ankton: Basic term for Anklyosaurs, although I'm contemplating whether I should use it to also apply to Stegosaurs. I'm not sure yet. I really want to get a Kentrosaurus into one story. One of my favorite dinosaurs! He doesn't get proper love.

Stryk: Basic term for Pachycephalosaurs.

Prayan: Blanket term for horned dinosaurs, roughly translating to "shield necks." These include Protoceratops, Triceratops and Chasmosaurus for examples.

Dwarl: Blanket term for flying reptiles, everything from Dimorphodon to Pteranodon.

I still have to come up with more general terms for other dinosaur groups and primitive reptiles, as there are just so many! I'm also extremely anal about these sorts of names, because I feel like every name I come up with feels like something a child would come up with. I'm hoping they don't sound too bad!

I'll continue to update as I come up with more linguistic things as I release more books. I'll probably write down the more specific animal designations as well so that the paleo-fans know for sure what some of these animals are and they don't suffer an stroke.

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