Mystaran Etymology of Nations

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Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Gawain_VIII » Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:18 pm

My dad, unlike myself, is multi-linguistic. In addition, we are both historically inclined (although my historical interests in more Eurocentric--especially the Celts). He had once described to me the differences between the three Northern Reaches countries--how they mirror the modern Scandinavian countries as oposed to being generically "Viking". He had always spelt Soderfjord with an Ø. I took his superior knowledge for gospel--until recently, I noticed that Havard, on the new Mystara Wiki, had spelt it with an Ö. A quick search and I discovered that Havard, naturally, was correct.

This got me to thinking... with a few more searches, I've come up with this:
Söder = Swedish word for "south"
Fjord = Norwegian word for "inlet" (I assume that this wordis universal in the Scandinavian languages, but the dictionary I was searching doesn't confirm such.)
Vest = Norwegian word for "west"
Øst = Norwegian and Swedish word for "east"
Ost = Swedish word for "East" (notice capitalization)
Land = Swedish and Norwegian for "land"

If my dad was correct and each NR nation corresponds to a RW Scandinavian country, which is which? Based on what I found, I'm guessing that:
Söderfjord = Sweden (assuming "fjord" is universal)
Vestland = Norway
Østland/Ostland = Either Sweden or Norway
NOTA = Finland
Heldann = Iceland (specifically stated in regional description from X1--I can't seem to find an Icelandic root, my guess is that the name is purely invented)

Of course there are other proper noun etymologies that can be discussed--Thyatian/Roman and Traldaran/Greco-Balkan for example. One thing that has struck my anal-retentive nerve is the pseudo-Celtic names of the Hinterlands and IoDawn... While I understand that the authors are not attempting to completely mimic the RW cultures, it does seem that certain areas were provided a bit more research than others.

Please discuss,
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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Zendrolion » Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:59 pm

Well, if you take the three Northern Reaches nations, we see that Ostland is in the east, Vestland is in the west, and Soderfjord is in the south; things seem to fit in.

If we're talking about precise historical references regarding each of the three Northern Reaches nations, I think the authors of GAZ7 didn't care about which Scandinavian culture they represented (as long as Scandinavian they were), but generally gave them a Viking character, inspired more or less on an historical period rather than on a culture.

For example, Ostland represents the age of Viking expansionism, the age of raids and drakkars that went down to France, England and the Mediterranean Sea to pillage civilized lands and/or trade with them. Vestland, instead, represents a later phase in which a stable feudal kingdom has brought order and raiding has been substituted by landowning on the noblemen's part. Soderfjord, on the other hand, represent a sparsely-populated, chaotic rabble of quarreling jarls, a situation like the pre-kingdoms era in RW Scandinavia.

If we'd like to find anyway a parallel between Northern Reaches and RW nations - besides what GAZ7 says - I like to imagine Ostland as Denmark (soon after the time of Cnute the Great, 11th-12th century A.C.), Vestland as Sweden (Sweden was under Danish control in late Middle Age, but raised many times against the Danish king, until it gained full indipendence in the 1520s), and Soderfjord as Norway (a sparsely-populated, mostly wilderness land over which the Danish crown laid intermittent control in the early and middle Middle Age).
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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Gawain_VIII » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:19 pm

Zendrolion wrote:If we'd like to find anyway a parallel between Northern Reaches and RW nations - besides what GAZ7 says - I like to imagine Ostland as Denmark (soon after the time of Cnute the Great, 11th-12th century A.C.), Vestland as Sweden (Sweden was under Danish control in late Middle Age, but raised many times against the Danish king, until it gained full indipendence in the 1520s), and Soderfjord as Norway (a sparsely-populated, mostly wilderness land over which the Danish crown laid intermittent control in the early and middle Middle Age).
The Expert rulebook states that the KW was modeled after 15th C. Europe. What were the states of Scandinavia during the 1600s and how do they compare to NR?

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Havard » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:44 pm

@£$£@$€$£€€!!!!

I just wrote this long response to Roger's original post and then the system crashed. :x

Okay' let's see if I can tackle this one:
Gawain_VIII wrote:The Expert rulebook states that the KW was modeled after 15th C. Europe. What were the states of Scandinavia during the 1600s and how do they compare to NR?
They don't. I'd say the NR nations resemble the Scandinavian Kingdoms at various stages between 700-1200 AD.

Zendrolion gives a fair description of the situation in his post, but basically I'd say that the three Northern Reaches countries represent three stages that each of the Scandinavian Kingdom's went through at some stage or other. Ostland is the raider-Kingdom, which IMO represents the early period of all of the Kingdoms. The raider era ends for Denmark and Sweden a few decades after 1066 after having been driven out of England and with Christianity gaining hold. Vestland, the modern medieval country could be Norway in the 12th Century or Denmark. I suppose it could also be Sweden after 1520. I agree with Zendrolion that Soderfjord probably is closest to Norway, especially geographically. Politically it would correspond to Norway sometime between 700-848 AD, although it also bears some resemblance to Iceland.

I never really got what it would mean that Heldann resembles Iceland (as opposed to one of the other Viking nations). It could mean that Heldann:
1) is less organized with no king.
2) Has a well respected Thing.
3) Has Geyzirs and Volcanoes (less likely?)
4) Holds firmly on to its traditions and heritage
5) Is a country where criminals or others who have made enemies in one of the other Northern Reaches nations can escape to in order to avoid a worse fate.

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Cthulhudrew » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:55 pm

Also bear in mind that Gaz7 presents a much different picture of Vestland than do modules X3 and X13 (especially X13). Gaz7 takes a more "generic" viking sort of approach, and X13 Vestland is a more modern, verging on feudal nation. Personally, I like the X13 interpretation more, and use that (and it seems more in line with the 15th century approach, actually). Closer to 16th-17th century Sweden (much like Zendrolion said).
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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Gawain_VIII » Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:20 pm

How, then, would you phonetically pronounce Söderfjord and Østland vs Soderfjord and Ostland. Based on what I can find, Ö and Ø are equivelant letters in Finnish and Norwegian, respecively. Do they sound the same as well? According to this article, Ø has the sound of the English short i or short U.

Just for reference, I have always pronounced (probably incorectly) them as SUEder fyord or SEWder fyord--kind of like soda, meaning soft drink--and OWEst land or Oohst land But I have also heard AHst land. (Yes I know, my phonetics are horrible.)

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Havard » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:45 pm

Ø and Ö are the same. The latter is the Swedish version, the former is used in Danish and Norwegian. I don't know if that sound exists in English, but it is close to the "ea" sound in "earth" or the "i" in birth.

If you consider Old Norse, I suspect Sodrfjord might be a better spelling however.

Okay back to your original post:
Gavain_VII wrote:Fjord = Norwegian word for "inlet" (I assume that this wordis universal in the Scandinavian languages, but the dictionary I was searching doesn't confirm such.)
Universal. Also used in the English language.
Vest = Norwegian word for "west"
The same in Danish and Swedish.
Øst = Norwegian and Swedish word for "east"
In Swedish it would be Öst.
Ost = Swedish word for "East" (notice capitalization)
Again with the omlaut.
Land = Swedish and Norwegian for "land"
"Land" means both land and country. Note that the greater regions in Norway are referred to as Sørland, Østland, Vestland (and Nord-Norge, though there is also a "Nordland").

I'll do the two weird Scandinavian letters as well:
æ (or ä in Swedish) : Pronounced not unlike the English "a" (Scandinavian a is pronouced "Ah")
å : As "ou" in fought, thought,

Note that I make no references to Finnish as I have no knowledge of that language (Beyond a few swear words) and it bears no similarity to the other Nordic languages.

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Hugin » Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:06 am

Havard wrote:@£$£@$€$£€€!!!!

I just wrote this long response to Roger's original post and then the system crashed. :x
Hint: Anytime I type up a relatively long post I ask myself, "Would I really want to have to re-type this all over again?", and if the answer is no, I do a super fast select and copy before I hit Submit! The WotC board taught me that lesson many times and taught me well. ;)

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by hihama » Sat Jul 12, 2008 9:22 am

Havard wrote: Note that I make no references to Finnish as I have no knowledge of that language (Beyond a few swear words) and it bears no similarity to the other Nordic languages.

Havard
I can make those references. Finnish belongs to a different language group than the other Scandinavian languages. But we have a lot of loan words and influence from Swedish. Ö and ä are also original Finnish letters, and we also have å but that is loaned from Swedish.

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Thorf » Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:56 pm

Fascinating thread. It's hard talking about pronunciation based on English sounds, because it varies so much from accent to accent. This is really a conversation better held in person, actually talking to each other. ;)

Incidentally, I'm including some fields related to this topic in the locations table of the Database. Currently for each location I have Name, In-world Language, Real-world Language, English Meaning, and Corrected Name. So for example we would list Vestland, Heldannic, Scandinavian (or perhaps a more specific real-world language?), "West Country". (Correct Name is for noting correct spelling and grammar in the case of a name that is not consistent with the real-world language it's from. It should be pretty fun working out these details for all the various countries.
Hugin wrote:Hint: Anytime I type up a relatively long post I ask myself, "Would I really want to have to re-type this all over again?", and if the answer is no, I do a super fast select and copy before I hit Submit! The WotC board taught me that lesson many times and taught me well. ;)
I've been doing that for years now too. ;) And of course I learnt the hard way...

(Hits CTRL + A, CTRL + C, then Submit...)

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Belathauzer » Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:46 pm

This thread, as well as a few other similar ones (Gecko's thread on Races & Cultures, and Havard's thread on the Tangor Nations), has gotten me thinking about Mystaran languages and their real world analogues. Not sure whether it warrants a new thread or not, but let's see where things go.

Has anyone used RW languages in their games (aside from your own native tongue obviously) to represent a Mystaran language, or used RW languages as a model on which to base a Mystara lanugage? If so, have you carried this over to alphabets and written language as well?

The Mystara (or KW at least) Common tongue is accepted to be Thyatian, which would be equivalent to Latin in the RW. When playing though, players would use whatever language is their native tongue (English in my case), to converse in 'Common' as we cannot all be polyglots and converse in various tongues with ease. I do like to throw in Latin words and phrases in my games for extra flavor, and like to use the Roman alphabet and numerals when writing is involved. Nothing conveys the power & glory of Rome better than latin alphabet inscribed on marble in Roman font. Curious to know what the rest of you do.

I am also curious to know how you handle Karameikos/Traladaran. Traladara is accepted to be Slavic, but there are many different and distinct Slavic regions. I take it to be most similar to Southern Slavia (Balkans area - Bulagaria & Macedonia), whose languagues are Indo-European; but I also get a Hungarian/Austrian/Romanian feel. Hungarians traditionally speak Hungarian or magyar, which is in the Finno-Ugric family (supposedly introduced to the region by the Huns). Which culture/language do you feel best represents Karameikos/Traladara, or would you use a combination?
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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by agathokles » Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:03 am

Belathauzer wrote: Has anyone used RW languages in their games (aside from your own native tongue obviously) to represent a Mystaran language, or used RW languages as a model on which to base a Mystara lanugage? If so, have you carried this over to alphabets and written language as well?
Most Mystaran languages draw clear inspiration from RW languages. Using them in game, however, is limited by the players' knowledge, which means that, beyond Thyatian/Latin, I could use some Sylaire/French and Milenian (or Traldar)/Greek, but not, for example, Northern Reaches or Traladaran languages.
I am also curious to know how you handle Karameikos/Traladaran. Traladara is accepted to be Slavic, but there are many different and distinct Slavic regions. I take it to be most similar to Southern Slavia (Balkans area - Bulagaria & Macedonia), whose languagues are Indo-European; but I also get a Hungarian/Austrian/Romanian feel. Hungarians traditionally speak Hungarian or magyar, which is in the Finno-Ugric family (supposedly introduced to the region by the Huns). Which culture/language do you feel best represents Karameikos/Traladara, or would you use a combination?
Traladara is an odd mix of Slavic, Hungarian and Romanian (which is indo-european, but of the Romance family). I downplay the Hungarian aspects, and stress the Slavic aspects. The Romanian aspects are justified by the Thyatian domination (cultural and political). Greek influences on Slavic languages (e.g., many personal names) should also be stressed due to the Traldar history.

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Havard » Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:13 am

agathokles wrote:Traladara is an odd mix of Slavic, Hungarian and Romanian (which is indo-european, but of the Romance family). I downplay the Hungarian aspects, and stress the Slavic aspects. The Romanian aspects are justified by the Thyatian domination (cultural and political). Greek influences on Slavic languages (e.g., many personal names) should also be stressed due to the Traldar history.
I think this is a sound approach. "Korysegy" is the only example I can think of as an example of Hungarian language as "'egy" is a typical Hungarian suffix (pronounced something like "edge" I think). Romanian influence is more in the sense of the Horror feel (Vampires, Werewolves etc), but also the "-escu" suffix used in names like Sulescu. Explaining this as Thyatian influence is not a bad idea, although Sulescu himself migh disagree :twisted:

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by agathokles » Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:43 am

Havard wrote: I think this is a sound approach. "Korysegy" is the only example I can think of as an example of Hungarian language as "'egy" is a typical Hungarian suffix (pronounced something like "edge" I think). Romanian influence is more in the sense of the Horror feel (Vampires, Werewolves etc), but also the "-escu" suffix used in names like Sulescu. Explaining this as Thyatian influence is not a bad idea, although Sulescu himself migh disagree :twisted:
:) The Thyatian cultural influence in Traladara dates back to a time before Sulescu (who's "only" 300 years old).

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Havard » Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:56 am

agathokles wrote::) The Thyatian cultural influence in Traladara dates back to a time before Sulescu (who's "only" 300 years old).
Good point! I wonder if Sulescu himself was a Thyatian, but shifting to a more Traladaran mindset after he became a Vampire, perhaps because of who his Sire was, or if his Sire was in fact a Thyatian (or Minrothadder) who influenced Sulescu to make his name more Thyatianized...

By the way, the assumption that Hungarian, Romanian and other non-slavic influences are downplayed for the Traladaran aspect of Karameikos opens up to some new possibilities:

1) Is there a Mystaran Romania somewhere?
2) The Mystaran Hungarian niche is presumably filled by Christian Constantin's works (although I don't know those as well as I would like).
3) What about Albania and other non-slavic nations on the Balkans? Do they have their Mystaran equivalents somewhere?

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by agathokles » Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:23 pm

Havard wrote: Good point! I wonder if Sulescu himself was a Thyatian, but shifting to a more Traladaran mindset after he became a Vampire, perhaps because of who his Sire was, or if his Sire was in fact a Thyatian (or Minrothadder) who influenced Sulescu to make his name more Thyatianized...
It's also possible that his (human) ancestors were part-Thyatians. Two centuries before Sulescu became a Vampire, Thyatian traders and clerics already visited Marilenev, and probably other city-states in Traladara.
By the way, the assumption that Hungarian, Romanian and other non-slavic influences are downplayed for the Traladaran aspect of Karameikos opens up to some new possibilities:

1) Is there a Mystaran Romania somewhere?
2) The Mystaran Hungarian niche is presumably filled by Christian Constantin's works (although I don't know those as well as I would like).
3) What about Albania and other non-slavic nations on the Balkans? Do they have their Mystaran equivalents somewhere?
1) Yes, the Bulzan Voivodina in Christian Constatin's work on Hule.
2) Yes, the Monzagian Banat basically fills the M-Hungary role.
3) Guess what, the Sandjak of Antasyn in Christian Constatin's work is basically M-Albania :). There is no correspondence to the Illyric, Thracian and Dacian nations of the ancient times, though.

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Ashtagon » Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:23 pm

I'd say Boldavia in Glantri is a pretty close M-Romania.
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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by hihama » Sun Jul 13, 2008 5:48 pm

I would say that Boldavia is M-Transsylvania, which is not exactly the same thing as Roumania.

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by agathokles » Sun Jul 13, 2008 7:52 pm

hihama wrote:I would say that Boldavia is M-Transsylvania, which is not exactly the same thing as Roumania.
Indeed. Boldavia focuses on the "Dracula" aspect of Romania, which doesn't exhaust the possibilities of that nation for Mystara. OTOH, Transylvania is part of Romania.

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by hihama » Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:40 pm

agathokles wrote:Indeed. Boldavia focuses on the "Dracula" aspect of Romania, which doesn't exhaust the possibilities of that nation for Mystara. OTOH, Transylvania is part of Romania.

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Yes, Transsylvania is the forested and mountainous part of Romania, very much like Boldavia. The other parts of Romania are Moldavia in the east and Walachia in the south which both are more flat areas bordering rivers. There is also the fact that Transsylvania was for quite many centuries part of Hungary. So maybe northern parts of Karameikos are the original M-Transsylvania.

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Andaire » Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:51 pm

For the as-yet unreleased Sulescu adventure of the 1019 almanac, I used the following pattern: the Traladarans in the central-western region, with its dark woods and isolated villages and lychantropes and nosferatu, have Romanian/Wallachian names, with the occasional Transylvanian one. The Slavic names are used to represent the New Karameikans, mostly in Mirros and the larger cities and where Traladarans and Thyatians have mingled. The Thyatians of Karameikos have Greek or Roman names, with a preference toward Greek/Macedonian ones. In true Balkanic, albeit rather ahistorical, fashion, you have Romanized Greeks who rule over a Romanian people, thus giving rise to a new Slavic culture. Plus several elven cultures. And Alphatians, in the time of the almanacs.
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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Gecko » Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:00 pm

not much 'net time so let me combine several responses into one (sorry!)
Belathauzer wrote:Has anyone used RW languages in their games (aside from your own native tongue obviously) to represent a Mystaran language, or used RW languages as a model on which to base a Mystara lanugage? If so, have you carried this over to alphabets and written language as well?
I have in my pbem games, especially If I want the players to overhear something in a language that they don't know then I pick the nearest real-world language, use online translaters to translate it, then I go through and change say, the second syllable of each multi-syllable word (in case the player knows the language in question), and whal-la! for an example, go here and scroll down to week 2 or especially that last part of week 11 or a little bit in week 12 (boy, reading through that again I think I really went overboard with the accents in weeks 11 & 12, yikes :oops: )

regarding the Hunagarian/Romanian/Slavic/etc. traces in Traladaran:

I tend to save the Hungarian more for Boldavian. And don't I remember somewhere someone wrote up about how the coastal Traladaran's had one dialect, and the inland/forest/hills Traladarans had another? I would go along with that.
Havard wrote:
agathokles wrote::) The Thyatian cultural influence in Traladara dates back to a time before Sulescu (who's "only" 300 years old).
Good point! I wonder if Sulescu himself was a Thyatian, but shifting to a more Traladaran mindset after he became a Vampire
I could see that over three centuries he adopted many things from the other culture (ie the earliest Normans into Ireland assimilated so much that later the English considered them as bad or worse than the Irish {their opinion, not mine :roll: })

re: various people discussing Transylvania.

Transylvania was, IIRC, historically more assotiated with Hungary than Rumania whereas now today, again IIRC, it is a largely Hungarian populated region of Romania

Edit: Hervé got his post in while I was still drafting mine, I rather like his take...

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Shannon » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:16 am

Please forgive my ignorance, but what is "NOTA" in the phrase "NOTA = Finland?" An acronym, I presume?

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Re: Mystaran Etymology of Nations

Post by Ashtagon » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:20 am

NOTA is a common acronym for "none of the above".
Emma Rome, otherwise known as Ashtagon
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