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Karen Traviss

Skapek-Skocap's Avatar

01.30.2012 , 09:11 PM | #21
Lots of people hate Traviss. I don't mind her, especially because I RP using her language, tenets, and culture for the Mandalorians.

People don't like her because they don't like seeing Jedi and Sith actually killed by anyone expect each other... Sure, they were overpowered, but that doesn't mean everything she writes is complete BS.

For all the haters, play the BH Storyline and enjoy BioWare's implementation of Mando'a in TOR.
Aka'an Tal - The Mandalorians - Bounty Hunter
-- Verda kat'taylir nass be trattok'o - A warrior knows nothing of defeat - Mand'alor the Indomitable --
Arsenal Mercenary - The Best Class in PvP since the Mandalorian Wars

ErikModi's Avatar

01.30.2012 , 09:43 PM | #22
I can't find the exact quote, but I remember when a lot of this was new, and someone posted a quote from her blog or something, her answering why she seems to have it in for Jedi. She basically says that she finds Jedi arrogant, absurd, and basically deserving of destruction, except for when she creates a Jedi character, where she can give them, I think she said something like "more positive personality traits." But for any Jedi not created by her, she loves to show them up with Mandalorians, who really are the better individuals.

Basically, it was a long, convoluted, and very insulting way of saying that anything not written by her sucks and it's her duty as the only decent author in the Star Wars universe to tear apart what everyone else wrote.

And then she ragequits when Lucas decides that what she wrote doesn't fit in with his vision of what the Mandalorians should be in the story he wants to tell. Go figure.

I remember being at a Star Wars writing panel at GenCon MANY years ago, I think Episode I had just come out. And someone on the panel was talking about the liason between LucasFilm and Bantam Books, the liason telling the authors that "You're playing in George's driveway, with his toys, and you're adding some of your toys to the pile. When he backs up the truck that is that first movie, he's going to run over a lot of your toys." The point being that George Lucas wasn't beholden to any EU author to abide by their established canon. For instance, Timothy Zhan named the capital world of the New Republic, Empire before that, and Old Republic before that Coruscant. George Lucas liked the name well enough to let it stick, but he could just as easily renamed it Abbical, Zynif, Lot-irack, or Bob. As it turns out, George ran over a lot of Timothy Zhan's continuity with the prequels, specifically the timing of the Clone Wars and the talk of the "early clones the fleet faced" and "clonemasters." Does Zhan complain and quit writing for Star Wars? Nope.

What I see when I look at the information about who Traviss is as a writer is that she's just as arrogant and self-centered as she accuses the Jedi of being. She has to have things her way, has to make things fit what she wants them to be, irregardless of how anyone else, EVEN THE CREATOR OF THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SHE'S WRITING FOR, wants them.

And all this can be summed up by her "pet name" for any Star Wars fan who criticizes her work. What does she call the people who don't like her writing style, writing choices, characterization, treatments of other characters, or who basically doesn't proclaim her work to be flawless perfection of the highest order, inflating her own ego?

Talifans. You know, like Talibans?
Jedi vs. Sith, Page 97, column 2, paragraph 4, line 1:

Prior to the Battle of Ruusan, the Jedi used crystals from many different sources, and ignited lightsabers in every known hue, including purple, orange, and gold.

BrandonSM's Avatar

01.30.2012 , 09:53 PM | #23
Quote: Originally Posted by Artein View Post
So I recently ordered the first novel from the Republic Commando series (Hard Contact I believe is the title). This is my first Star Wars novel ever. I've played many games, read some comics, watched movies and cartoons but never read a SW novel before.

So yeah, I want to hear different opinions. I've read that she's horribly bad, but also some people really like her books. I'd love to hear some constructive discussion. Should I expect something really bad? Something just fine? Something good? Something awesome?
She is the Fandalore of the Fandalorians!
Hapan: "This creature has information that could lead us to a woman who has been kidnapped. We will get that information."
Luke: "This woman is a citizen of the New Republic, and if you do not take your hands off her, I will take your hands off you."

psychogobstopper's Avatar

01.30.2012 , 10:12 PM | #24
I really liked her Republic Commando novels (and Imperial Commando), but didn't care much for her entries in Legacy of the Force. While I liked the heavy Mandalorian focus in the RC novels where it made sense, it felt incredibly forced when inserted into the LOTF story.

DarthMoord's Avatar

01.31.2012 , 02:16 PM | #25
Quote: Originally Posted by Jmannseelo View Post
Actually, I think this points to a larger EU flaw not at all unique to Traviss. Namely: Luke Leia, Han, Lando, Boba, etc must all be like, what, 70-plus years old by now? Yet they're all still running around and having adventures as if they're in their 30s. Luke I can almost buy because he's a big Jedi Master and all, but one would think the biggest adventures the others could have is changing their Space-Depends.
You forget how technologically advanced Star Wars is. You're talking about a society that has sufficiently advanced technology as to be virtually magical. Leia even says in one of the novels when Han is 50 that if he starts taking care of himself he can expect to live to be 120 before he starts developing medical issues from his old age, this makes 120yo the equivalent of 60-70 for humans. At seventy years old Han would still be about as healthy and capable as any of us are, were, or will be at thirty-five.

As for Karen Traviss' novels I would recommend Hard Contact to young readers, around ten or so. It's not well written, but it's not bad, and the prose is simplistic and repetitive. After Hard Contact I can't recommend any of her books, since as the editors give her more freedom her soap-box ******** gets worse and worse until they ultimately wind up with one of her mouthpiece Jedi jumping in front of a padawan's lightsaber meant for a clone who was trying to kill the padawan and his friends in Order 66 to protect the clone. No it's stupid and as moronic as it sounds.
Quote: Originally Posted by greycobalt View Post
Anyway, I always wanted to hear definitively what happened to her. I knew there was a huge war between her die-hard fans and the people that couldn't stand her work. -snip- The only rumor I've heard is that she got an early look at what they were planning to do with the Mandalorians on the Clone Wars series (either because she was penning a new Mando book or because she had friends, I don't know). Allegedly she was incensed at what she saw, and wanted it changed to fit what had been established (mostly by her) or she was going to quit writing them. They didn't change it, so she quit.
What happened was Karen Traviss was contracted to write Star Wars novels for the Republic commando series where she did some detailing of the Mandalorians (really stupid detailing), she then went on to retcon a number of other authors' materials in her works, then when The Clone Wars came out they represented the Mandalorians as three different factions rather than two and had the homeworld be a desert instead of a forest-world. Karen Traviss threw a fit that anyone would dare retcon her work like a true hypocrite. She also had a penchant for referring to fans that didn't like her work as terrorists and fans of the Jedi as neo-nazis. I'm not even joking, this is taken literally from her blog:

'I'm sure you think you're a nice decent person who's kind to animals, recycles faithfully, and fills in tax returns honestly. Maybe you believe in God, too. But to me, you're someone who harbours a vile and degrading belief in the concept of Untermensch - the idea that some humans aren't human at all, and we can do as we like with them, for whatever arbitrary value we put on the words "real human." You're looking for ways to sift your kind of human from the humans who don't matter, and who can be consigned to the fate of animals. In fact, if you use the phrase "real humans" at all, my case is proven.

That belief in a league table of humans - and the casual acceptance of it by nice people who were kind to animals and filled in their tax forms on time - led to the enslavement and murder of millions.

It's slave-owner-think: it's Nazi-think. And yes, I bloody well hate it, and all those who think it.

It's not about Jedi - who don't even exist. It's about you.'

I will admit, I do enjoy her vision of the Mandalorians far more than what they became on Clone Wars (faaaaar more). But I don't know if throwing a hissy fit was the right way to go about it.
Why? The Clone Wars ones actually make *********** sense. In Karen Traviss' world the Mandalorians are a bunch of self-sufficient farmer-raiders.

1. In the new canon they're from a desert world. Which makes sense? Would the vikings have taken up the extremely dangerous profession of raiding coastal towns if they had everything they needed year round? No.

2. Karen Traviss' "Man'doa" 'language', according to her, did not have a method of expressing time until offworlders insisted on it. English has literally over a dozen methods of expressing units of time because our ancestors were a bunch of horse-raiders who needed precise means of expressing time for the purpose of coordination. This is another point that makes no sense.

3. According to Karen Traviss the Mandalorians are capable of fabricating a superior metal to a Galaxy-spanning civilization. This would be like the island nation of Anguilla being able to produce working power armor but the combined efforts of every other UN nation couldn't.
See the sniper on the hill.
Rifle's loaded, he's ready to kill.
Kill the enemy, steal his soul.
So early. So early. So early in the morning.

Rhyltran's Avatar

01.31.2012 , 02:39 PM | #26
Quote: Originally Posted by Skapek-Skocap View Post
Lots of people hate Traviss. I don't mind her, especially because I RP using her language, tenets, and culture for the Mandalorians.

People don't like her because they don't like seeing Jedi and Sith actually killed by anyone expect each other... Sure, they were overpowered, but that doesn't mean everything she writes is complete BS.

For all the haters, play the BH Storyline and enjoy BioWare's implementation of Mando'a in TOR.
That's not it at all. Some people have touched up on it but sorry this is wrong. It has nothing to do with the best Mandalorians being able to show up certain Jedi. It's about how she ADMITTED she hadn't read any novels except her own. She admitted at best she does a quick skim in previous novels. It's especially apparent in the legacy of the force series where many of the things she writes is contradicted by events that have appeared in the previous novels.

She has also compared people who like Jedi to nazi's. There's a very valid reason why people dislike her. It has nothing to do with her writing (well, sorta) but it has more to do with her personality and attitude.

DarthMoord's Avatar

01.31.2012 , 02:59 PM | #27
Quote: Originally Posted by Skapek-Skocap View Post
Lots of people hate Traviss. I don't mind her, especially because I RP using her language, tenets, and culture for the Mandalorians.
It's not a language. This is from a linguist I know on another board:

by this person

Mistake One of Mando'a:
the consonant phonology of mandalorian appears to be as follows
m n ŋ [ng]
p, b t, d k [k, c], g
f [vh]?, v s, ʃ [c, sh]
w, j [y] l, r
tʃ [ch, c], dʒ [j]

Does this look familiar to you? It's english, minus th [path], dh [paths], z and zh (zh being a marginal sound in english anyway, found only in things like 'vision' and foreign loans)

Where are the implosives? Why does it have both an s and an sh? Why can't ng be an inital noise? Why does it have a voiced affricate dzh but no z or zh? Why is there no fricative version of k or g? No clicks? why not other affricates besides the two found in english? What about noble kx, or pf, or gb, or kp, or ts and dz? How about some prenasalised plosives? Palatal plosives, my absolute favorite of noises the human mouth can produce? Hell, how about palatals or retroflex noises at all?

It doesn't need to have all of these things, but having it be the exact same as english spelt funny without the letters th and z is hardly good.

Further, Ms. Traviss does not specify what her notations mean, except in horrible phonetic spelling like ROOS-ahl-or for ruus'alor. This makes it vaguely impossible for me to tell if how many vowels there are, but I guarantee it's about the same as an anglophone's imagined "Generic Foreign" vowels. There appear to be all 5 long english vowels, and at least 3 (a, u, and i) appear to have long forms based on doubled spelling, yet since there's no phonetic notation I cannot tell at all. The 'ROOS-ahl-or' style is insufficient, as based on that I'd imagine it to be spelt ruusaalor. Why not some umlaut, or distinction based on nasalisation, or vowel harmony or somesuch? It could be justifiable if it were better described (perhaps the a, u, and i long vowels are remnants from a time when it had long and short a/i/u, but short i and short u in certain situations lowered to become o and e, thus explaining why there is no long e and o?), but that is not done. Further, see Phonotactics later for why even such an explanation fails hard.

Similar issues plague consonants. What is the letter R, praytell? Is it the rare-among-the-entire-planet english R? The spanish tap? Spanish trill? German uvular, trilled or not? What about japanese lateral r (although the japanese also use a tap)? All of these sounds are entirely different in articulation, their perception as similar is something of a cognitive mystery. Is L velarised or clear? T and D- are they apical or laminar? dental or dental-alveolar? Can they be flapped intervocalically?

Incidentally what about tone? The vast majority of human languages have at least 2 tones, yet Mando'a doesn't? It doesn't need to, but it's just another notch in 'Is anglocentric'.

The biggest issue, however, is the spelling. Traviss carelessly spells /k/ as both k and c, something unprecedented and unheard of outside of the roman republic and its descendants, for no apparant rhyme or reason, not realising that english is one of the few languages to be so strange. She uses an apostrophe in random words for absolutely no detectable reason. Let me digress for a minute to make a public service announcement to every Fantasy Writer and Sci-Fi Author since the dawn of time.

There are five acceptable times to use apostrophes in a language transcription.
1) To mark glottal stops. Consider using a dedicated character such as h or x instead.
2) To seperate collisions that would cause dipthongs, like hothouse into hot'house. Consider hyphens instead, or ignore it. For vowels, consider diaresis.
3) To mark palatalisation or similar things, if you are creating a russian-inspired orthography. Consider not making a russian language that way, perhaps marking it by silent vowels or alternate vowel transcriptions like irish does for its slender consonants.
4) To mark ejectivisation, implosiveness (via 'b, 'd, etc), or other exotic consonants save clicks. Congrats, this is a worthwhile reason, although consider if unicode or a custom font allows you to make it a ligature with the letter to better prevent it looking like stupid fantasy apostrophies. When possible, find a new way, like bb or hb or whatnot for implosive b. Apostrophes are not a good thing.
5) Because you are an idiot and think it makes a language look exotic. Reconsider everything about your life.

Now, back to spelling strangeness. Traviss does not stop at merely using c and k for words, which could be salvaged by claiming c represents, say, /tʃ/ or /c/ or /k/ while k represents /k'/ /k/ or /q/ or somesuch. She also uses it to spell sh, in situations like b'aalec (pronounced ba:liʃ as far as I know, based on her transcription of bah-LEESH). This is entirely silly, as it is used initially in words like ca'tra to mean /k/ (KAH-tra) and even /s/ in words like cinarin (see-NAH-rin), meaning that Ms Travis has intentionally or not duplicated a spelling artifact that results from vulgar latin in terms of soft vs hard c. Consistancy could still be salvaged, but she does not in fact follow through and also make g soften to another noise in front of front vowels like she does for c, presumably because english does not (we changed all our soft gs like the one in 'gaol' into j[ail]).

Further, she uses y and i interchangeably, a spelling artifact that goes back to the merger of /y(: )/ and /i(: )/ back in classical latin and was thus duplicated in french and thus english. This is a pet peeve of mine, it's like using 'x' for 'cs' or 'qu' for 'kw'. There is no conceivable reason for this except:
1) The language is a descendant of latin, or closely influenced by latin or its descendants. (Romance Languages, English) OR
2) The language was romanised by english speakers who were not linguists or even competant but instead were extremely dull missionaries. (Some foreign languages, but not many)

If you simply search and replaced ' with a null, and fixed the spelling, Mando'a would still be complete ****, but would at least not offend the entire universe merely by existing.

Finally, as an afternote, Stress. This one is marginal but it bugs me: Mando'a has unpredictable stress on words, as shown by the few examples I cited above. Some languages do have irregular stress, it is true. However, it's merely another "English doesn't have regular stress, so Traviss did not even think of putting regular stress in because it never occured to her." Further, if the stress is irregular, why not mark the vowels with an acute accent or other mark for stress? Orthographies are meant to be readable and sensible, not poor imitations of the already somewhat dilapidated system english uses.


There are none. For those of you who don't know, Phonotactics is why the word Firk doesn't exist in english but could, yet Dlakŗtsvi can't, despite the fact that one can easily say either if you try. (try pronouncing ŗ like the supposed "ir" in the word skirt and you'll realise english actually has 4 "vowels" you've never even realised existed: Skirt, Pull, Adam, Eden). Phonotactics governs what sounds are allowed in english, like how 'str-' can be a starting consonant cluster, but zd- can't.

Mando'a does not appear to have any constraints other than what english would allow. It has few consonant clusters, but they include 'str-', 'tr-', '-rg-', '-tn-', -n'b- (!), -shg-, etc. There appears to be no practical limits on what consonants can appear together in a word, and initially the rule appears to be 'if english can do it, so can mando'a'. For an example why this matters, imagine japanese if you deleted all the letter u. Further, words in hebrew can be things such as bkat or bnei. Finally, Hawaiian can't have any consonant clusters at all. This gives flavour to a language, especially in what ones it allows or disallows. For an example, see Tolkien's adaptation of finnish phonotactics to give his elven language a light sound, allowing voiced consonants only after a homorganic nasal stop [-nd-, -mb- were allowed, but b and d could not occur anywhere else.]


Dialectical variation and allophonic distinction are given a cursory nod by Traviss, ironically to make her language even more englishlike.
Mando'a is pronounced much as Basic, with a few exceptions. There is no "f," "x," or "z," although some regions do pronounce "p" almost as ph and "s" as z. Those letters have been added to the Mandalorian written alphabet to aid the transliteration of foreign words. Occasionally, the pronunciation of "t"s and
"d"s are swapped. "T" is the modern form; "d" is archaic. "V" and "w" are also sometimes interchangeable, as are "b" and "v"-another regional variation. "J" is now pronounced as a hard "j" as in joy, but is still heard as "y" in some communities.

The initial "h" in a word is usually aspirated, except in its archaic form in some songs and poems, and "h" is always pronounced when it occurs in the middle of a word.
Leaving aside that an unaspirated h is rather impossible, Traviss makes a rather bizarre move, saying that h was silent beforehand and now is pronounced. If so, where did it come from? Sounds don't spring up from nowhere. Hypercorrection can't occur across the entire language, and a restorative sound change using a near-silent archiphoneme like a vowel-initial glottal stop is almost unprecedented. I at least have never heard of a silent letter being restored.

Further, more generic foreignism: J used to be /j/, like it should (English is the only language, based on the corrosive influence of french, to misuse this consonant), but now is /dzh/? This one is at least plausible, it is in fact how the old french j (which later lost the intial d- in the cluster) arose from softened g. However, it's just... generic.

Generic Foreignism: Spanish b-v distinction loss, and Latinate/Germanate (in opposite directions) v-w distinction loss. Further, is d archaic or not? She has d all over her words, and indicates it is pronounced as a 'd' in the pronunciations, but also has T all over the place. Is the archaic pronunciation swapping d and t? That's impossibly stupid, for numerous reasons. Further, the lack of distinction indicates to me that either d or t or both are often flapped, meaning it's another englishism. (Example of flapping: Say itty bitty city. Now say iddy biddy ciddy. If you are flapping d and t, they will not be distinguishable. Now, for an added bonus. Say that sound with nothing in front, but something after it, say- ttina, or ddina. Keep trying if you can't do it at first, saying 'itty' or 'city' while paying attention to how your tongue moves. Notice what happened when you did? Suddenly it became the letter r. An alveolar flap is yet another rhotic sound used as r in some languages (including some varieties of japanese!) and yet english considers it a -tt- or -dd-. Rotokas considers it a d or r, the two are the same to them. Et cetera.)

Further, no X is hardly a thing to pride yourself on. There is no concievable reason any conlang should ever use the letter x for /ks/ unless it is a fictional descendent of Vulgar Latin. Ever. Using x for other purposes (/sh/, as in old spanish), /?/ as in piraha, etc. is acceptable if you're willing to put up with it making you look stupid.

On the plus side, the letters qu are entirely absent from Mando'a, which is like saying "He tripped over his own feet, but on the plus side he hasn't vomited on the floor yet". QU is another latin artefact via french in english, and CW or KW, depending upon your choice of k spelling, is entirely correct and proper. Although don't use kw- in a conlang without good reason. Example: In a language I have made kw- is just one of several *****l versions of consonants (pw, tw, bw, dw, gw, lw, rw, hw, and in some dialects sw and zw round out the mix, as -w based consonants are considered a basic consonant up there with generic p, t, k). It's concievably acceptable to make a language where the only *****lised consonant is kw, but I tend to err on the side of not making a language too much englishlike without extremely good reasons.

You'll note we're 9 million words in to this epic failpoem and I haven't even gotten to grammar yet. Luckily, we're almost there. The Apertif is getting done, so we can move on the main course soon... as in now. Let's go. Put on your hazard gear for this.
The language is a very regular. It has no cases; only two forms of the verb and a tense prefix system; and simple rules for creating adjectives out of nouns and verb stems. Spelling and punctuation have optional forms so it's
hard to be completely ungrammatical.
I will admit I'm impressed that Traviss knows what a case is considering how English-biased her language is, but I'm pretty sure she knows some German so it's not like it's a godlike achievement or something, like if she actually knew what phonotactics were.

Now, don't get me wrong. Some languages are very regular and simple. Chinese as far as I know has no irregularities. Turkish has one (To Be, of course). Many languages have no case. Languages that the average english speaker would call "Simple" (Analytic languages) are quite common [Turkish isn't one, but Chinese is]. But it's still lazy and anglocentric to do so. If this language were designed competantly, I'd almost guess it were meant to be a language for lazy english speaking nerds to read and learn. It seems to pander to the idea of 'like English but simpler and more regular, with kewl space words spoken by Space Gurkhas'.

Let me briefly explain types of languages to you:
The first form I will explain is the Synthetic Fusional Language. In this language, a single ending (often very compact) will tell you multiple things on a word. For example, in Latin, -as means 'plural accusative-case', and the verb ending -verimus means 'we will have been [verb]ing' (Future-Pluperfect Indicative Active 1st Person Plural). That is a lot of information to carry in a 3 syllable word, no?
The upside of synthetic fusion is that a language has practically free word order. If I know that '-us' means 'Singular Subject' and '-as' means 'Plural Object', there's no way to confuse the following sentence: Gallus Cenas Consumpsit. (The frenchman ate the dinners). There's also no way to confuse the following: Consumpsit Gallus Cenas. Cenas Consumpsit Gallus. Gallus Consumpsit Cenas. Since the subject is still tagged, and the object still tagged, word order is basically free for simple sentences and even more complex ones.
The downside of synthetic fusion is that a language has a ******** of grammar to memorize. Each ending for each type of noun and verb and verb tense and so forth must be memorized. Latin has at least 48 verb endings I can think of at the moment, and 50 noun endings, plus irregular verbs and nouns.

That sounds like it really sucks, what else is there?
Well, there's analytic languages. Plus: No grammar tables to memorize. Everything is pretty intuitive for an english speaker, because english is rather analytic. Example: "I now eat those many egg" (I'm eating the eggs). Downside- word order is now fixed. "Now those many egg eat I" no longer means the same thing. Word order and when to place certain things, and how to form now complex verb ideas like "I will have not been able to have done that" (merely "id nonpotuero facere" in Latin, which is 3 words vs 10). These things can become just as complex as synthetic languages, just in different ways.

Often, things will fuse on the end of words. Like, Many- might become a prefix meaning 'plural'. So Manyegg, Manydog, Manyman, etc. Further, verbs could get things like "Now-Eat-I" or "Eat-I-Now". This is known as Synthetic Agglutinative. Upside: Word order is now looser, especially if you get things like Manyeggob (object), Isub (subject) as english examples. Downside: things like "Eat-I-Now-It" are much longer words than before, although there's now less words in a sentence.

Finally, if agglutinating gets crazy and multiple concepts start fusing into single words, things can become polyagglutinative. Many amerind languages such as Inuit have entire sentences expressed as a single word based on agglutinating particles that now include roots/stems of words, at the cost of the sentence being huge.

Languages can also have less pure status than just 1 of the 4 types- German has agglutinating nouns but a fusional noun case system, and "complex" (synthetic) verbs. English has relics of its fusional case-using past, like verb endings and the difference between Me and I, but it also is largely analytic in structure.

Why did I just turn into linguistics instead of Mando'a?

Because time and time again, Traviss takes the easy way out. It's just "Analytic with a few fusional elements". English, but simpler. There's an entire world out there, and she's stuck on a gloomy island in the north atlantic. No offense to Brits, but your language isn't the crown jewel of the entire world. Maybe a conlang should explore new waters. I'd rant about things that could have been done differently, like a semitic root system, or a latin-like noun case declension system, or making it polysynthetic, but it'd just be long and griping. Let's just move forward with this trainwreck.

The infinitive ends in -ir, -ar, -ur, -or or -er. Removing the "r" usually produces the stem.

Sometimes an apostrophe separates the terminal vowel, to indicate the slight glottal stop of some Mandalorian accents. This apostrophe, known as a beten, or sigh-as in Mando'a-can also indicate breathing, pronunciation, or dropped letters.

Mando'a is predominantly a spoken language, and contractions and pronunciation variations occur just as in any language.
-Vr, then. Haven't ever seen r used as a verb infinitive suffix.

Traviss is bull********. She KNOWS there is no basis for her abuse of the letter '. "It can mean just about anything" in a spelling system means "It means nothing". Spelling is systematic, and marking breathing is hardly intelligent outside of the realm of speech pathology. Further, she never explains how it marks pronunciation shifts (palatalisation? ejectivisation? what?), meaning even she doesn't know.
The verb cuyir (to be) is frequently dropped and indicated by word order, as in ni (cuyi) verd-I (am) a warrior.

To say "It's good", a Mandalorian will often just say jate (good) rather than bic jate - it (is) good - or the full form with the verb, bic cuyi jate.

The addition of the prefix tion turns a statement into a question.

The prefix ke or k' indicates a command. Using ke with the infinitive is
formal, but in everyday colloquial use the verb loses its -r ending.
Dropping the copula is at least not in english (much, save in some dialects). I can't complain. Also, '-tion', although it looks much too like 'question' and thus sets off my '[un]conscious english cribbing' alarm (nothing is as embarassing as that happening to a language), it at least is pronounced 'ti-on' and not 'shn' like english does due to vulgar latin hijinx.

Infinitive Imperative is rather spanishy, but I can't complain either. This is actually not too bad of a session, which is a rope-a-dope for the next one that will punch you in the cut.
To create the negative form of a verb-or, in many cases, a noun- add
the prefix n', nu, nu', or even ne (depending on ease of pronunciation) before either the whole sentence or the negative phrase, depending on meaning.

Pronunciation is always a key factor in determining which letters are dropped when spoken. The negative prefix often denotes a negative noun, such as ne'briikase (unhappy).
Hi I'm this idea and I didn't work in Esperanto, please euthanise me. Also, 'pronunciation is a factor in how the language sounds when spoken'? No ****. Give me some pronunciation info, then, unless you think mandalorian is pronounced with accents ranging from japanese to aussie to canadian to nigerian and that the dropping of letters changes depending upon whether said mandalorians speak which of those languages natively.
A summary of the verb forms, using jurir:

Ni juri kad: I carry a saber.
Nu'ni juri kad: I don't carry a saber.
Ni ven juri kad: I will carry a saber.
Ni ru juri kad: I carried a saber.
Ke jurir kad: Carry that saber! (Formal.)
Ke'nu jurir kad: Put that saber down! (Literally,
"Don't carry that saber!")
Okay, the use of 'don't carry' for 'put down' is rather good. It reminds me of latin, how you will form negative commands by "Cease to X!". However, this does not excuse the complete boringness of these particles. Yeah, it's analytic. I get it. **** that ****. Your language should not be boring me to death, even if it is analytic.

Here's a brilliant idea- make some particles called evidentiality particles. I stole this **** from Quetchua and it makes any language 200x more awesome instantly. Have sounds tagged on the end of verbs or as analytic particles or as a factor in fusional endings, depending upon how you want it, which indicate things like "Hearsay", "Probably", "Sure", "Proven Fact", "Untrue", etc. Hunter-gatherer cultures often develop these because it's useful to say like "There might be a tiger in that bush, stay still" or "There's probably going to be food at the tree" or "I heard that there was a huge noise last night, what do you think it was?".

That's just one example of a way you can change a language to make it still analytic but more interesting. Instead of saying "I hear existed loud noise yesterday possessive night, what think it was?", say "Existed loud noise yesterday possessive night hearsay, what think it was opinion?".

Further, note how englishlike the grammar is, within the limits traviss is allowed by her own structure (such as an imperative prefix) she makes it entirely englishlike with SVO grammar and similar. There's nothing per se wrong with SVO itself, it's tied for most-common-word-order, but it's like murder evidence piling up. The alibi is looking a little thin, if one even existed. I also guarantee that adjectives come first in Mando'a, despite a vast majority of SVO languages using noun-adjective form. Germanic Languages and French are actually exceptions to the rule, which is really galling because it means the only deviation from the generic she has is to make it unintentionally more englishlike. A few seconds on google if you know where to look can get you resources on whether adverbs come first or last, whether the direct article is before or after a noun, et cetera, including statistical percentages based on linguists' observations.

Aaand here's the gutpunch.
Gender nouns are the same for men and women. Gender is implied contextually, if relevant. Where gender clarity is necessary, the adjectives jagyc (male) or dalyc (female) are added.
can't disapprove, although I think colloquially -jag and -dal would dominate since -yc is completely useless from an optimality theory point of view and just from a practical one.
There is no need to make verbs agree with subjects - there is one form only.
This is also implied by analytic, like the lack of gender, so I'm not too concerned, although I still think it's lazy to make an analytic language without any cool features to back its simple grammar up.
A prefix system indicates tenses. Colloquially, Mandalorians use only the present tense, but they adopted the prefixes ru (past) and ven (future) when dealing with species who need specific tenses.

You cannot exist without a past and/or future tense. Arguably the future is a luxury, many languages do without (Japanese, for instance), but the past-present distinction is vital. Or at minimum, having a past-present and a future tense to distinguish now from later.

How do the Mandalorians not use measurements of time? I was originally going to shrug this off with 'oh, they must use analytic words like 'now' and 'later' like my "I now eat many egg", but then I realised, 'ru' and 'ven' are those words. Ven for instance is a root found in words meaning meaning 'future'. It's mad. I might believe it if I were told of an example people who don't use time distinctions at all (the Pirahã, perhaps, I'd not put anything past them), but it seems implausible enough that it sets off my alarms. Further, in a primitive hunter-gatherer society, perhaps you don't need time measurement, but how do the Mandalorians manage to do anything in modern civilisation without times? They can't make it clear from context, especially since Traviss doesn't state this when usually she would love to say "context will tell".
There is no passive form. All verbs are active. If needed, the passive is formed by using the adjective and - if spoken in full - the verb cuyir.
Here Traviss confuses the passive form of a verb ('the lamp was broken' is passive, focusing on the lamp compared to 'something broke the lamp' which focuses on the person or event which is only implied in the passive sentence) with the participle ('broken'). Just because in english they look the same doesn't mean they are the same, and further, making passives work via 'copula participle' like I think she intends is very, very english-romance. Why not a word that flips a verb to passive from active? How about a word that deletes the subject by taking its part as a null word, so that 'Null broke lamp' serves as 'the lamp was broken?'. How about actually making verbs slightly not analytic, and making them alter somehow for passives. They could, say, add a suffix, or change the pronunciation of the end in a regular way like, say, tat to tad. (which would be hard since that would require Traviss have not ended any active verbs in voiced consonants, for instance, so it's too late now unless she wants to revise her 1186 word dictionary.
The indefinite article eyn, (an) is almost always dropped except for emphasis, as is the definite article te, or the more emphatic haar (the).

Plurals are formed by adding -e. The "e" is always pronounced as "ay".
The first sentence is rather good- a difference between a more emphatic and less emphatic article is at least not obviously englishlike, although translating haar as 'this/those' and te as 'the' makes it less exotic.

The plural information is useless. Regularity is again okay, if a bit stale (how do the Mandalorians keep their language that pure and regular? Turkish is an anomaly, and Chinese doesn't use endings. Endings are volatile things, they often change based on how they're attached which causes irregularities (like engilsh -z, in dogs (dogz) vs s in cat(s) vs oz in heroes (hiroz), although that one is at least regular. See latin for some irregularities in pluralisation, or technically singularisation, in Declension 3). Further, the pronunciation info is just taunting us. "Always pronounced 'ay'" (which I assume is english 'ay' (ei) and not 'rest of the world ay' (ai, since i=y/j). What else could it be? What other e sound is there in mando'a?

My guess is she's trying to distinguish e from ε, both of whicha re in english. Play is ple in phonetic notation, and Pet is pεt. Ay also accidentally implies dipthongisation (ei, which is different from e, although largely equivalent to e: [despite what you're told, english doesn't have length distinction, e: = e in english. Our 'short' vowels are actually different entirely, and have been since their long counterparts moved in 1300, our terminology just didn't update]), but this further just nails in 'english language', since that's exactly how you'd pronounce a terminal e in english too.

Fun fact; Mando'a has possessives that are the same as its pronouns. No, there's no 'of' equivalent. You just say 'you chair' for your chair. This is simplistic almost to pidgin levels, making me wonder if Mando'a would make more sense as a language that had shattered post-conquering by the New Republic and was a trade tongue pigin like Unserdeutsch or Tok Pisin. Example Tok Pisin sentence: "Dat man hi bi goodpela bi tru" (He was a good fellow/person, this statement is true). Pidgins are highly analytic, simplistic in grammar, and based on the phonology of the conqueror (thus why mando'a sounds like english). This is the only conceivable explanation for all of the facts about Mando'a and yet it still doesn't work, as it has almost no basic/english words in it.

Adjectives and adverbs are formed by the addition of the suffix -la or -yc (pronounced eesh), depending on which makes pronunciation easier. There is only one form of the adjective.

The adverb is exactly the same as the adjective.

Comparatives and superlatives tend to be constructed from adjectives with -shy'a for the comparative or -ne for the superlative.
'depending upon which makes pronunciation easier' is not a rule of grammar. At minimum, jesus, make a rule, like 'yc after consonants, la after vowels', so that it's grammar. That's not a *********** language.

Adverbs and Adjectives being the same makes me leery, as adjectives should ideally have more ties with nouns than with 'generic descriptor phrase'. After all, many languages use them the same (we talk of 'the rich' and 'the wealthy' in english.) Then again, it's not inconcievable, especially since Mando'a has such a strict word order and is english structured so it's always Adjective-S Subject Adverb Verb Adjective-O Object.

finally, back to pronunciation, to bring us full circle

The stress on syllables shown in the lexicon is as commonly spoken, but many Mandalorians place stress on different syllables.
Oher points to note:

-uy: pronounced oo-ee
How is this not obvious from reading it? Is it because english doesn't have uy in it so they're confused? I notice that 'ay' in Mando'a does in fact mean e as I suspected, except in one word where it's transcribed as ay (real ay) for no reason I know of. Gaa'tayl is /ga'tajl/, but Gaa'taylir is /ga'telir/. I have no clue why. Oh hey, there's another place for apostrophe. Two of them- contractions of prefixes and suffixes [Traviss does not realise you can't contract a word in the middle, it has to be at a boundary where two words intersect or else it's not a contraction] (l'ordeurves), and in phonetic transcription for representing stress
u: oo
Again, how is this not obvious. Also, why does U get attention, but no other vowel explanations like when it is ε and when it is e.
cye: shay
-yc: sh after a vowel
c: k, when it comes before a at the beginning
of a word
c: s, when it comes before other vowels at the
beginning of a word or in the middle of a word
cy: sh or ch
No. I refuse to even talk about this. **** you. I'm done, this page is over. I'm not going to get into vocabulary.
Pronouncing terminal consonants varies in songs. They often become extra syllables. For examples, tor becomes to-rah and tang becomes tan-gah to maintain rhythm and meter.
This is not how you make poetry or song. Yes, sometimes poets and songwriters cheat a little, but it's not supposed to be a rule.

In conclusion, gosh darn it all.

Somewhere across the Atlantic, the reincarnated spirit of J. R. R. Tolkien pulls the trigger, crying, and does not know why.
See the sniper on the hill.
Rifle's loaded, he's ready to kill.
Kill the enemy, steal his soul.
So early. So early. So early in the morning.

LukeDanger's Avatar

01.31.2012 , 03:26 PM | #28
If Traviss wrote anything right, I'd have to say her TCW work, the novelization of the movie itself and "No Prisoners", was best. The novelization generally lampshaded/called out a lot of the movies' problems, while "No Prisoners" basically deconstructed the entire Clone Wars (series and the war itself) by the third chapter, and did so in a way that you could see the point but didn't make the Jedi entirely horrible.

As in... the first thing Pellaeon (yes, that Pellaeon) does when Ahsoka comes aboard his ship is make her put some stanging clothes on (keep in mind this was released at about Season 1's tail end)... I couldn't stop laughing at the scene, told from Rex's point of view.

Nautius's Avatar

01.31.2012 , 03:26 PM | #29
I read the The Legacy of the Force series that was authored by Traviss, Allston and Denning.

All three were horrible. In fact, i never want to read another SW book again.

Traviss was entirely too fixated on Mandalorians to the point it broke continuity of the story.

Allston wrote every character as the same character. There was no depth. They were all smug, overly logical snots. I am guessing he was writing himself into the story. As in, Han Solo Allston, Leia Allson, Luke Allston, etc.. defeating the forces of evil with logical nerd rage.

Denning was the most tolerable but he ended up making the bad guy into a simpering, idiotic, (and almost comical) whiny *** where the others wrote him as truly dangerous. There was no punch to his prose. Very boring.

So, what you ended up with was 3 writers cancelling each others' stories out and the series was a jumbled mess.

My advice... do yourself a favor and don't read ANY of them. If you feel you have to read one just to know, don't read anything from those three.
"Life is tough. It's tougher when you're stupid." - John Wayne

Nautius's Avatar

01.31.2012 , 03:33 PM | #30
Quote: Originally Posted by ErikModi View Post
... She has to have things her way, has to make things fit what she wants them to be, irregardless of how anyone else, EVEN THE CREATOR OF THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SHE'S WRITING FOR, wants them.


/stabs own eyes
"Life is tough. It's tougher when you're stupid." - John Wayne