This is topic Using other writer's terminology in forum Open Discussions About Writing at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
G'day. For my novel Daisyworld I have been spending the last eight months, on and off, searching for a name for the dispossessed class that provides the bulk of manual labour. When thinking about it, the term proles immediately leapt to mind, but it had already been used by George Orwell. Blast!

Well, 2015 is upon me and a new year beckons with all its limitless possibilities. So, I sat down and typed 'prole' into my favourite search engine with interesting results.

One on-line dictionary (Websters) had this entry: A person who has low social status : a member of the working class.

Great. Then I thought about checking its origins in my on-line dictionary of etymology. This is what it said: Short for proletarian (n.), 1887 (G.B. Shaw); popularized by George Orwell's 1949 novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four." As an adjective from 1938. Related: Proly (adj.); prolier-than-thou.

So, I'm now actively considering using it. It has the right feel and carries the right implications for my milieu. So, if it's good enough for George to pinch from George then it's probably okay for Phil to pinch it from George. However, I may have to change my name to George.

I guess the moral of this story is: If a word has the right flavour for your story but has already been used, check its origins, you may be surprised.

Posted by Meredith (Member # 8368) on :
Lois McMaster Bujold has used it in the Vorkosigan saga, too. I'd say it's available for anyone to use.
Posted by TaleSpinner (Member # 5638) on :
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well speaking as a mere prole who never even heard of Daisyworld, my OED defines prole thusly, and no Georges in sight:

prole informal, derogatory
n noun a member of the working class.
n adjective working class.

C19: abbreviation of proletariat

The way I see it, is, if it's in the dictionary it's a word, free for all and sundry, even writers including us proles (not that you're a prole, Phil, usin' words like etymolywossit you're clearly an edumacated gent) ... including us proles to use freely. And it'll be great reading SF that features proles, people with whom I can identify - maybe they ain't heard of Daisyworld too.
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
Certain words do get into the language. "Robot" started as an untranslated Czech word in Karel Capek's play "R. U. R." (He used it to define something we would now call an "android.")

That dates from the 1920s, not from science fiction before it was established. If I recall right...Heinlein came up with "Waldo," meaning a remote manipulating device...Asimov came up with "robotics" and, according to some reports, and with a different definition, "psychohistory."

Jack Williamson came up with a host of science fiction terms, such as "matter transmission" and "space alien," but, probably most notably, "genetic engineering."
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
I'm curious how "prole" relates to a theme suggested by "Daisyworld."

Prole's Latin translation is progeny, one of the two roles working class Roman citizens contributed to society; the other, manual labor. Both the sole "properties" possessed by the working class. The proletariat's "black" or "white" daisy could be the construed roles of proles and the "bourgeoisie," middle class, and management, with more real-property ownership (realty) and influence on votes due to more property wealth. Property ownership drove voting rights and, consequently, political power. Marx, of course, uses those divisions in his socialist -- classless -- theory.

I do research words, reading and writing. Even seemingly everyday words. A dictionary helps to discern discrete word properties that may entail subtle differences or strengthen meaning from their use, or lead to a stronger and clearer understanding. The article "a," for example. About one of every two uses of that most simple of adjectives is misused or abused for offhanded though intended formal composition.

Prose grammmar is an entire other beast from formal composition's grammar. Same language, same grammar principles, similar vocabularies, entirely different rhetorics. Formal composition, impersonal information rhetoric; prose composition, personal emotional expression rhetoric.

Formal composition takes the place of black daisies, perhaps, as first evolved and warmed the biome so that white daisies could thrive. Prose composition takes the place of white daisies, perhaps, and moderates heat such that both genera enjoy a mutually beneficial thermal equilibrium. Black daisies would perish from warmer temperatures in which white daisies thrive. Much room for congruent symbolic meaning between black and white daisies and proletariat and bourgeoisie: each regulates the other's habitat.

The feudal estate system arose out of Roman society, the three estates being nobility, clergy, and commoner. Commoner divided into proletariat and bourgeoisie. The fourth estate of the press likewise emerged as divided between proletariat and bourgeoisie. Nobility, also stratified, owned property by fiat of fief and earned its trickle-up income by taking a percentage of the property's earnings as rents and taxes. Even today, land use is owned by a property owner, not the land itself, which is a property of a state.

Clergy's role is use ownership and exemption from state rents and taxes in exchange for no political meddling, as the idea, less than pure, was during the feudal age. Monks could be construed as proletariat, perhaps minus the progeny role; bishops or abbots and abbesses as bourgeoisie.

[ January 01, 2015, 10:44 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
I have wondered about using some words because they are associated with certain writers if not actually invented by them.

For while Tolkien's Orcs was one of those words but now it seems to has been used enough by other writers.

Another word is one I see used by Laure Anne Gilman in her Retriever series. transloc I might be leaving out a letter there. In either case it means using her "current" to transport someone or object to another location. I googled it and found an app by that name, and I tried wikipedia to see if I could double check the spelling but they don't list that word with her. Nothing that would indicate she didn't invent it or at least be the first to use it with magic transportation.

I tried to ask her twice about it but she never responded to that question--yes she has to others.
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
Tolkien reintroduced a lot of older English words and phrases back into modern English---"orc," "Ent," maybe even "hobbit."
Posted by TaleSpinner (Member # 5638) on :
Some while ago I researched "ansible" and found Ursula LeGuin on record allowing other writers to use it - but unlike orc it's not in my OED, which I guess means it doesn't occur often enough in theOED's Corpus of modern English usage to be regarded as "Modern English" so I guess we'll have to wait until it's invented.
Posted by Natej11 (Member # 8547) on :
I first heard the term "mundie" in the "Wolf Among Us" game. However it's a logical abbreviation of "mundane", and generally when you talk about the magical world the other side of the spectrum is the mundane world.

So I'm using "mundie" in one of my YA fantasy novels to refer to people in the mundane world. It may be the same term the creators of the Fable comics use, but considering how easy and natural the term is I don't consider them to have any strong exclusive claim to it.
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
"Mundie" explicated for reader-effect implications offers insight into the term's artful uses. Artful uses realize use of another creator's coined term as reinvented, transformative, original expression.

Present time to back in time -- the -ie suffix is a diminutive inflection and a feminine inflection. Diminutive inflections signal affection, familiarity, or contempt. Used as a term of endearment, "mundie's" use by, what? metalies (metaphysicalies) signals affection. Clarity is needed for that use because the term has three or more possible distinct meaning axes.

If metalies use the term for familiarity reasons, clarification is needed as to whether the use is negative or positive emotionally or mundies are inferior next to metalies: joke fodder, fond amusements, or pet-like, for examples. For contempt expression purposes, clarity is also needed, how metalies think disparagingly of mundies. All three axes may intersect for any occasion; each use requires its own mythology and emotional context and texture development and ought best practice be a transformed use, changed use each instance.

Mundane's denotative contemporary meaning is earthy, worldly, or commonplace (adj). Circa 1990, a connotative mundane meaning evolved to mean dull. Among generation XYZ, dull is the default meaning of the term. The two meanings are not mutually exclusive, though. The earthly realm is far from dull and the metaphysical realm is not free from dullness.

Mundane is a contemporary English word derived from Latin mundus, which connotatively means world. Mund- is the root word: world, denotatively.

Latin possesses a number of inflected cases contemporary English has long abandoned, gender and status markers in particular. The suffix -us is a masculine affix that derives from verb usus : to make use of, again, denotatively. Mundus' denotative meaning is to make masculine use of the world, though that meaning is and was rarely used due to the "world" word's usage transcending mundus' roots' origins. Likewise, "mundane" as an adjective perhaps means a masculine use of the world, figuratively maybe. Might then "mundies" be masculine and metalies feminine? Again, figuratively.

Affixing a feminine suffix to a masculine word is a feminine behavior. How do masculine sensibilities use the term? With derision for enemies? To snub or diminish perceived or actual inferiors? As a term of intimate affection's endearment for a love interest? For a protégé, son or daughter, or other "dependent" loved one or associate or acquaintance?

All the above goes to mythology and emotional context and texture development. For me, this type of research informs consideration of each and every and all words' reader effects. Bald, incidental, offhanded use of "mundie," for example, misses opportunities for mythology development and overlooks possible reader effects -- emotionally stimulating or alienating effects or both.

Not to mention, opportunities for plot development. Say one agonist calls a fond acquaintance mundie, who, in turn, replies with "metalie." The two enjoy a laugh. Later, another agonist calls the same acquaintance mundie in a derisive manner. Confrontation time; them's fighting words, a possible tension development and a surprise moment possibility.

[ January 04, 2015, 01:57 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
Interesting observations, extrinsic, that I must admit not to have considered. Although, upon reflection, my choice of the term prole as an uncapitalised noun, rather than Prole was a deliberate typographical choice. Proletariat implies equality, Prole implies a respectable contraction, however prole is a disparaging diminutive.

I now face the same dilemma concerning the ruling classes. Daisyworld is not a democracy, rather, it is a corpratocracy.

Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Oligarchs control corporatocracies. Ollie(s)? Or for explicit masculine derision maybe Olivers. Oliver is Latin for olive tree, the signal wealth status symbol of classic era Mediteranean culture. Beeves the ancient culture's wealth status. Ollies or olivers and proles. Hah-hah-hah, heh-heh-heh, hee-hee-hee.

[ January 04, 2015, 09:56 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
Oliver: from Olivier, Norman French version of the Germanic Alfher ("elf warrior") or the Old Norse Aleifr ("ancestor's descendant.") Changed by association with oliva, Latin, "olive tree."

Pays to do a little research, hun?
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Polygenesis rather than mongenesis indicates a common usage word may derive from several sources and merge into one, as well as split into several progenies. The older Greek word for olive is elaia. Elf's Norse origins relate to Greek alphos, white leprous spot occurring on plant matter, like olives, and other life generally.

The interjection for the exclamation "huh" -- is the conventional spelling. "Hun" is conventionally a Germanic slur and an idiom contraction for honey as a term of endearment.
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
More a matter of "n" being right below "h" on my keyboard, and looking somewhat alike to the sleepy eye.
Posted by Reziac (Member # 9345) on :
There's also plebes.

LeGuin officially gave the word "ansible" to the SF community, to do with as it would.

I use "fuligin" in more or less Gene Wolfe's usage, but it's from a perfectly good Latin word for sooty-colored as in showing no shadows, so Wolfe's ownership is suspect. [Wink]
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
One's ownership of terms is always suspect---especially when one derives them from some already-existing teminology. Latin or Latinate terms infest English---if there's a good short Anglo-Saxon or Germanic word for something, chances are good there's a more elaborate Latin or Norman French word for the same thing.
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Contemporary Anglay-ish is a smorgasbord of languages, other-language loan words anglicized, maybe half of English vocabulary. English itself originates from Germanic Angle and Saxon tribe indo-European proto-languages. Latin is a Greek indo-European derivative melded with Germanic proto-language principles and, in turn, Greek derived from Egyptian, Hebrew, Babylonian, Sumerian, and Persian influences, to name a few contributors.
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
The phrase I've heard English best described with goes something like "English is the result of Norman men-at-arms making dates with Saxon barmaids." H. Beam Piper, I think.

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