The Bastard Language

Kingdoms WebA few days ago in the newsletter, I gave readers a quick breakdown, a 101 (actually, more like a 0.0001) lesson on how to pronounce Welsh words and names.

Then I found out that I have some readers actually living in Wales!  So cool!  All of them were very kind and didn’t point out any errors I had made with my Welsh lesson.

Why were we talking about Welsh?

One of the kingdoms in Kiss Across Kingdoms is the ancient Welsh kingdom of Powys, which I spoke about in “All Of Time And The Whole World, Too.”  There are a few Welsh names in the book that look odd, if you try to read them as English names.

But even English, back then, was nothing like what you and I speak now.  If you concentrate very hard, you might pick up the odd word, but Anglo-Saxon is only distantly related to modern English, which has picked up traces of every culture and language that has had an influence on the English speaking world, including Rome (Latin and all the Romance languages that are based on Latin, including French and Spanish), Anglo-Saxon, Gaelic, Medieval French and more.

No wonder non-English speakers find English a challenge!

Because of this bastardization and the shift of languages over the centuries, I usually don’t bother trying to “sound” old-fashioned in novels that are set in historical settings.  Characters living in those times hear the language of their time and it would sound as natural to them as English does to you and me.  As the story is being told through their viewpoint, I use modern English with no modern slang to represent their speech.

I wrote a lot more about this in “Why Should Historical Characters Sound Like They’re Speaking Funny In Historical Novels?”, which I wrote a few years ago now.  If you like etymology (the study of language history), you might find it interesting.

But in the meantime, Kiss Across Kingdoms is now officially released as of Friday and has some glowing reviews already.   It’s book 5 of the Kiss Across Time series and this is one of those series where it really pays to read them in order…but the first book, Kiss Across Time, is free, so if you’d like to dip into another time travel vampire menage series, there’s no excuse!


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