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Lost in translation : using fictional language as a form of narrative
chapterposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Denise Beckton
The success of works such as The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien 1954), Star Trek (NBC 1966), Avatar (Cameron 2009) and Game of Thrones (HBO 2011) is evidence that the appeal of fictional languages, within novels and on screen, is both enduring and global. The cult-like popularity of these works can be partly attributed to the fictional languages within them that mimic and transform the reality of life, as we know it, into a believable fantasy. However, despite their cult-like following and economic success, comparatively few examples of fictional languages exist within the literature and film industries. This chapter examines this underrepresentation and the motivations and strategies that drive and assist writers, in particular, to create languages for fiction literature. In doing so, it shows how these inventions can be used, as textual agents, to enhance narrative elements such as characterisation, setting, atmosphere and plot. Further to this, the chapter will demonstrate how fictional languages help establish imagined worlds that appear, to the reader, to be both plausible and authentic.