Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Six Words and Seven Winds

Six Words

So it probably surprises no one who is even vaguely familiar with me that I like words. One of the primary sources of inspiration for me when I write Ampersandy stuff is Joseph Wright's incomparable tome from the turn of the twentieth century, The English Dialect Dictionary. And when I say tome I actually mean tomes, because it's a six-part beastie and runs to somewhere around five thousand bountiful pages. And when I say tomes I actually mean pdfs. I would love to own a hard copy of the thing but that is not only very expensive but of less utility than a searchable pdf. Much as perusing the thing is great, being able to search a specific term and find synonyms in twenty different English dialects is my favourite way of enriching my nomenclature*.

But the serendipitous acquisition of intriguing words is also great. I've always said that you can look at any page and find something gameable. I shall now attempt to prove this to myself with a few random examples, one from each of the six volumes (and probably draw them because I like to make things as time-consuming as possible).

Several hours later;

This one is going to be easy. There are so many names for this kind of bogeyman (bugbear is the least awesome one). Note how in the examples in the Somerset dialect there is the form béol-bag'ur. I like that one.

Béol-Bag'ur. Evidently sufficiently evil that he must wear purple death's head pants.

This is a random process and this was a suboptimal page but herbalism is good. Fumitory is said to be not just good for removing freckles but good for eye ailments and poisonous. Gameable. 
Fevertory: looks poisonous

This is also easy, and the fact that it's from Devonshire means that's two opportunities for bad West-Country accents already. Obviously the Hinderling is a particularly useless kind of hireling, and the notion that there are kinds suggests a taxonomy of hirelings. I cannot stress enough that hireling taxonomy is grossly underdeveloped.

Ornately ensatcheled rustic hinderling

Pirrie-dog looks like a corruption of pariah dog. This one is also easy. It's an annoyingly parasitic kind of dog

Also gameable. PCs need pets. The pirrie-dog is meek unless its master be harmed, it also probably steals provisions.

I like guns in the game and this one gets points for being a proparoxytonic trisyllabic compound from the Shetlands.

Because it's a fowling piece, this shimylick is ornate and doesn't do a lot of damage. Aristocrats covet it, though.

There are a lot of words for sickly, underdeveloped, malnourished people in the dialects of the 19th century

Yurlin: yet another kind of wretched little fellow. I do not know what he is reaching for but I want to play him. He is wearing green winingas.


Seven Winds

I was reading this post by Arnold and I got to thinking about the winds that have names, like the Sirocco, or the Mistral. There's a wind in Western Australia called the Fremantle Doctor that brings cool relief when things are unpleasantly warm, and a wind that blows across the Great Lakes called the Witch of November that I can't imagine is very pleasant. Wikipedia has a great list of named local winds.

So I wrote about these winds. The only one of these I know well is the Scrafflehorn, which led me frequently astray when I was young. It is very difficult to resist.


Seven Winds are held to be of special significance by the Magonian Tempestarii, who, by the secret art that is theirs, do call them from out of the very firmament. Likewise, among certain cunning folk of more meagre realms the art of Whistling Down the Wind is known.

In each tradition, the production of certain tones is required. The Magonians have developed, through queer metallurgical and sonic arts, a type of ocarina of yellow-grey metal, and playing certain melodies upon it brings down the wind. Hedge Wysards merely whistle with their fingers, or upon an ancient eaglebone flute. Times and seasons needs must be right or the wind will disobediently dissipate and all be becalmed.

1. The Gaberliltie: Lyrical and gentle breeze that blows across sunlit streams and sends the yellow willow leaves in tumbling cascade. It undermines the dictates of the waking wit, suggesting rather slumber in shady places where dreams of distant music fill the fancy. It is ever a cause of tardiness and distraction.

- The Gaberliltie will cause folk to go missing for a time, but only in daylight. Their excursion will be spontaneous and seemingly harmless as the Gaberliltie beckons them towards dappled shade and running water to wile away the day.

- A magician may use this wind to carry a snatch of song, to bear a piece of parchment, to lead an unsuspecting person astray by day

2. The Scrafflehorn: A warm wind, fragrant with the mingled perfume of flowers and of distant smoke, that comes on certain autumn evenings. It wakes in the hearts of those too young to stray abroad at night a wanderlust to do just that, and to run with the wind, encapsulated within an unseasonal warmth, always in the eventide and always away from safety toward some manner of trouble.

- The Scrafflehorn abducts innocent people with a kind of beckoning entrancement and they eagerly go forth unaware of the danger. In the night are sudden chasms and smugglers and nobles on ignoble trysts and innumerable dangers besides.

-A magician may use this wind to carry seditious words, to bear a piece of cloth, to lead an innocent astray at night

3. The Knaurthaw: Laments among barren boulders and among the wiry brush of forlorn and distant places. It whistles and mutters interminable and does not cease for maddening weeks.  And it is a hermit wind that scorns populated places in favour of the utterest desolation. But the lonely find in it some bitter solace, that like the restless soul within them the Knaurthaw grieves without cessation, and solely for the sake of grieving.

-The Knaurthaw afflicts wanderers in desert places with loneliness and madness. It is difficult for those afflicted to determine that it is the wind that is doing this but the suffering caused by the delusions and savage melancholia is real.

-A magician may use this wind in a wilderness to carry threatening message, to drive a little boat, to drive a lonely person mad.

4. The Rackletongue: Inordinately perverse and malicious wind that with fitful gusts seeks to upset the order of things. Fine garments are thrown by it into the mire and inkpots upset upon inspired poetry. It has about it a sullen vindictiveness, that any should strive to remain untouched by disorder aggrieves it and it punishes them with innumerable petty slights.

-The Rackletongue acts like a petulant intent on causing as much distress as possible and it seems to know what is important. It is not especially strong but it targets that which is valued.

-A magician may use this to carry an angry message, to drive a large boat, to break things from afar

5. The Lournagh: Cold sorrow manifest as a wind off the mountains. It carries with it the stark essence of those elevated regions of inimical stone and sky. The uncaring nature of the Lournagh suggests, to those sensitive to such things, the uncaring nature of the cosmos-at-large.

-The Lournagh is not a strong wind but it is frigid and saps the will to live. Numb emptiness prevails where it blows. It tempts with oblivion and the meaninglessness of everthing.

-A magician may use this wind to freeze a person, to carry a desolate message, to induce self-destructive despair

6. The Rambaleugh: Fearful tempest that tears reckless and unbound from boreal wastes in search of ruin to wreak. It carries with it sudden squalls and sleet and heedless brutal violence. Shouted words are snatched away in the howling, and familiar geographies rendered obscure by the blinding tumult.

-The Rambaleugh is perpetually enraged in its stupid kind of way and will smash everything, if need be, to sate that rage. Unlikely things are borne aloft by it and dashed to pieces on the rocks

- The magician may recklessly ride this wind or use it to destroy things

7. Uncle Withershins: An unwholesome exhalation as of the last breath of a moribund earth before the death rattle, Uncle Withershins is more malefic and defined a personage than the other winds. He blows through the underworld, among catacombs of immemorial decay, and bears with him the redolence of rank odium. His gentleness is leprous, no noxious vapours are dispersed, but borne along slowly in a haze. Miasmas, especially, are his gifts, and ill-tidings.

-Once Uncle Withershins is loosed upon the world he will blow where he wishes. Wherever he blows suffering increases.

-A magician can bestow Uncle Withershins with prophecies of doom to promulgate to those who least deserve it, and to seek out miasmas to inflict upon the populace

Quick Windy Glossary

Gaberliltie: troubadour or travelling minstrel
Knaurthawing: discontented grumbling
Lournagh: sorrow
Magonia: fabulous land held by mediaeval French people to be among the clouds**
Rambaleugh: tempestuous
Rackletongued: harsh, blunt
Scrafflehorn: rascally youth
Tempestarius: weather-worker
Withershins: anticlockwise. Opposite of deosil

*Of course I could just make up words for things. It is perfectly ok if you make up words so long as you don't show them to anyone. Unless you're a philologist and have spent decades creating your own language. That's ok too.

** Written about by Agobard of Lyons in 815, source here. Mediaeval Aliens!

"But we have seen and heard of many people overcome with so much foolishness, made crazy by so much stupidity, that they believe and say that there is a certain region, which is called Magonia, from which ships come in the clouds. In these ships the crops that fell because of hail and were lost in storms are carried back into that region; evidently these aerial sailors make a payment to the storm-makers, and take the grain and other crops. Among those so blinded with profound stupidity that they believe these things could happen we have seen many people in a kind of meeting, exhibiting four captives, three men and one woman, as if they had fallen from these very ships. As I have said, they exhibited these four, who had been chained up for some days, with such a meeting finally assembling in our presence, as if these captives ought to be stoned. But when truth had prevailed, however, after much argument, the people who had exhibited the captives, in accordance with the prophecy (Jeremiah 2:26) "were confounded … as the thief is confounded when he is taken."


  1. Very cool, between this post and Arnold’s it feels like some elemental character of air has been captured, like the bones (first breath?) of a work like Veins of the Earth or the theme-appropriately-snuffed Broken Fire Regime.

    Although I’ve picked up a copy of The English Dialect Dictionary based on your recommendation in a past post, the glossary is a much-appreciated convenience.

    1. I couldn't find a reasonably priced hard copy. There is a cheap volume 4 (MNOPQ) floating around pretending to be the full text and enraging people who buy it.

      I think glossaries are probably a good idea.

      I'd love to see a Magonian setting with skyships and suchlike Ghibliesque whimsical wonders.

  2. The witch of november can really ruin your afternoon:

    1. Oh, and it almost goes without saying but it's brilliant to see you posting again.

    2. I do appreciate it when people say that. Thanks for reading.

  3. Dude... now I want to play a wind-wielding magician; he'd keep them all in his six-demon bag.

    1. So the way I'd do that is to have Magonian as a BECMI style race-as-class with a kind of French mediaeval sky elf kind of a feel about them and kewl weatherwitchy level titles and magic spyglasses that can see through time.

  4. Words you will like:

  5. You have the best words.

    You approach winds from language and personality and magical uses. I approach winds from history and society and details on how to kill them.

    Between the two of us, thatst a pretty complete approach.

  6. I have three years' worth of these words on file waiting to be resurrected from their state of extinction. It feels like a sacred duty (that I am not taking seriously).

  7. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think your use of "nomenclature" is iffy. It's not a synonym for "vocabulary". The word refers to a technical term for something, a body of such terms or a system of assigning thereof. It can be argued that vocabulary is a subtype of nomenclature (i.e. your vocab, in a sense, is your personal nomenclature for the entirety of the world), but I've never seen the word used like that.

    1. Nomenclature is the system by which things are named. I guess I should have been more specific with my explanation. I'm interested in Fantasy as a genre and very much interested in Tolkien's use of words from his invented language to refer to the invented things in his invented world. At some crucial point in my development I became aware of Tolkien's criticism of E.R. Eddison's use of entirely made-up names for his characters and for places in his invented world. I mean made-up as in not part of a consistent linguistic system, just some noises that he applied to whatever he felt like; i.e. exactly the system almost everyone who has written fantasy has used ever since.

      I internalised this criticism to the extent that whenever I see obviously made-up fantasy words I cringe. There are some ways in which made up words can convey meaning; through sound symbolism, ideational mimetics and resemblance to existing words, but real language is different because it is the product of the same evolutionary algorithm that has produced all the novelty and diversity of living things. Words, like living things, are evolved. Each word is a twig on a colossal arborescence that includes all other words. Hrunjenfrurg is just some sounds. I can enjoy Hrunjenfrurg at some level but it is an uprooted thing, unrelated to anything really. It has no roots, it has no cognates to be its cousins. It has no context at all. I don't really mind if people make things up but I do derive a lot of enjoyment from finding real archaic or obsolete words to name the things I invent. It still works as a strategy of estrangement (nobody knows the words) but the names I apply have a consistency and exist within a broader linguistic context.

      The specifics of Eddison's approach may have a hitherto unacknowledged significance which I hope to elucidate soon.

    2. Oh, that's what you mean—a system of assigning names to fantasy concepts and object. My bad, I should have thought harder before offering corrections.

      On the subject—now that I've actually understood what it is,—what do you think about Vance's way to achieve this? Personally, I'm a fan of his ability to give off the impression that his invented words are real and you just need to look them up.

      (It's probably no secret to you, but maybe some readers of this post would find this informative:) What Jack Vance does is drop invented words in such an immediately rich context that it seems like there's no chance it was invented on the spot. He would list types of trees, and half of them are actually fake but you'll never freaking notice. He'd refer to creatures using what you'd swear is a word you've seen a million types in folk literature and mythology, no more peculiar than "brownie", except it's likely the only use of this word in the entirety of literature, even Vance's own. Cool stuff. Of course, it's much easier said than done, but so is Tolkien's method (that requires years of dedication, not to mention a lifetime's worth of philological expertise). Only calling shit "flathynkin" (and explaining right away that they're like angels but also crocodiles) is easy.

    3. I like Vance, and the irony present in Vance's work, like in the work of M. John Harrison, helps me to digest his made-up words. But I'm not especially fond of the made-up words approach. I prefer Transpontine Redoubtable (which was in the Dying Earth rpg, not sure if it was in Vance originally) to Sandestin.

  8. This English Dialect Dictionary is astounding, thank you so much for sharing it, Tom. This PDF is amazing:

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  30. In an industry like Home Inspection Answering Calls Solution is very important as you get your job through calls so if you miss the calls you are getting as inquiries, you will eventually lose the sales. Home inspection services hold the essence of a good impression by delivering 100% customer satisfaction which means that at the end of the day, if your customers are not happy with your services, this will impact your business badly but a very important point that is missed that a person will only book an inspection if he is convinced on call about what he will be provided with once he does it. If a person calls a company, worried about the state of his house and call is not picked, he will definitely call the next best option to fix this problem. And even if the call is attended and he is not satisfied with what he is being told, he will not proceed further and book an inspection. This is where people need to understand the importance that Call Center Solution for Real Estate holds. If a person is satisfied, he will definitely give you the job and spread positive word of mouth about the services he got from the moment he called the company till the moment the inspection was done.

  31. What do people think about a business having the need to outsource a call center to get help as a Calling Solution Home Inspection is also one of those industries in which assistance from outer sources is present as performing the actual home inspection is different and being available all day for query calls is different. But this does not mean that these calls are not important, they are equally important as a sale because out of all these calls, a study showed that there is a 33.33% chance that one call is a potential sale which means that if you are getting 5 calls, 1 out of them can be a potential one but if you miss the call due to your commitment to work which is not a bad thing, you will eventually lose more work which means loss. Therefore, in an industry like Home Inspection Call Center is a word that sounds like a blessing due to the mere fact that home inspection companies need professionals to answer their query calls and satisfy their customers about the services they are going to get beforehand so that they are 100% sure about their decision and once the sale is locked, the cause is served. But this cannot be done without the help of a third party who treats your business like their own, gets to know it, knows how to satisfy your customers by highlighting your positive points and book and schedule appointments without any clash and extreme professionalism. To your luck, Inspector Call Center is exactly doing this in order to provide you the extreme comfort of just doing your job, giving the maximum output out there without having to worry about the fact that someone out there is calling you for help and you are not available because gone are such days, now you can perform your job with 100% effort and respond to all the calls and queries at the same time, all thanks to ICC.

  32. A really nice blog where we can found useful information.Thanks you.
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  33. when we talk about home inspection houston, the top name that surfaces in front of our eyes in 1st rate inspections because of the extraordinary services they are providing. They are serving Houston, Cypress, Spring, The Woodlands, Katy, Sugar Land and surrounding areas. This company is not only looking for customers but also understands how overwhelming the home buying process can be hence they want to make it easier for you. They have been serving for more than 10 years hence they take pride in being the houston home inspection because of a great amount of positive reviews plus a number of certifications including InterNACHI, CPI and CMI which makes them credible and reliable. Another very prominent feature about their services is that they provide same day reports so that when we walk away from your home, we want you to be satisfied and sure about what next steps you need to take to make your home a safer place for you to live.

  34. On March 11th, 2019 a user submitted the reports of the radon levels found inside their house which were 5 pCi/L. This is more than the safe level recommended by EPA which is 4 pCi/L. this one report is alarming because if one house can have elevated levels of radon at their home, other houses can be on the verge of danger too. Radon Testing in Collinsville has become important now because of this situation and a thorough home inspection including radon testing and mitigation is the need of the moment. Real Estate inspection in Collinsville is mastered by Hawley as their team is experienced and they fulfill all the requirements necessary for a successful home inspection. In addition they have a bundle of positive customer feedback and five star reviews so you do not have to worry about the privacy or security of your home while letting a stranger inside your house. Book an appointment today and let us take care of all your inspection related worries.

  35. If you have decided that due to any reasons, you want to get your house inspected then you must do it in a proper way. We suggest that you do your proper research before letting a stranger inside your house. Know about their company, their work and do not forget to look for reviews and recommendations. Positive word of mouth about a home inspection company or a specific home inspector is always a plus. Hawley Home Inspections have Certified Inspectors in South Western Illinois on board with them so you can rely on those home inspectors completely as Hawley ensures to send the best Home inspector Collinsville IL for your satisfaction and a thorough inspection. They are certified by InterNACHI and ASHI hence there is no need to worry about their reliability. They will visit your house, complete the inspection thoroughly and provide you a detailed report about the analysis and recommend you further help if needed.

  36. When it comes to home inspections South Western Illinois, Hawley Home Inspections secures the top position because of the exceptional customer service it provides and the certified professional home inspectors that are a part of this team. The fact that both of these constituents are unavoidable while considering to book an appointment for a home inspection for your house or the property you are about to buy. There are many factors that force us to get a home inspection done but if you are living on a property and it has been more than a year that you got your house inspected, this is the right time. If the situation is worse and you have never gotten a home inspection done before, it is never too late to start now. You can just start by giving Hawley Inspections a call and leave the rest to us. We promise to send you the most home inspector Illinois MO has to offer and we claim 200% customer satisfaction as well, so what are you waiting for?

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  48. It may seem like all buildings have the same kind of roof, this commonly isn’t the case. Residential roofs and commercial roofs are usually quite different. The first thing that makes a Commercial Roofing Texas different from the residential one is its design. The commercial roofs have flat designs and are typically not visible to the passersby on the street. Their slopes are very slight only to ensure proper water drainage. This is why they are commonly referred to as low slope roofing. Residential roofing Texas is usually done by focusing upon its decorative and aesthetic purposes. Residential roofings have greater slopes, they are more visible to the people passing by the property on the road. They are made in a way that makes them attractive and more appealing to the public. They are easier to install and do not take much time to be inspected.

  49. Commercial roofs with efficient drainage systems that quickly transfer water from the roof surface into drains or gutters are always well-designed. The roof of a commercial building should drain water off completely within 24 hours. Commercial Roofing Companies Fort Worth usually install roofs with a slight pitch design that directs the water towards the drain. Fast drainage is necessary because water collection can significantly overload the weight capacity of a roof. Not many people know this but there are two types of drainage systems; gravity drainage and siphonic drainage. A drainage system includes interior drains., edge drains, gutters, downspouts, and scupper drains. They work together to drain the water away from the roof and restore it to its dry state. Every roof needs regular maintenance. Most of the time people only go directly for repairs when they see a problem with the roof. Usually, they forget about the existence of the roof entirely. This is not a good practice. If you want to hire the Best Roof Testing Company Dallas to check the condition of the roof and its drainage system you have so many options available. Dallas, Texas has so many commercial roof inspection companies that provide excellent roofing services.

  50. Have you hired Commercial Roofing Contractors Fort worth for the installation of a new roof? Well done! The roof is the most important part of any building and ignoring a damaged roof can only make things harder. Well, the first thing you need to do now is to prepare for what’s going to happen. First of all, you must make sure that the roofing company has access to your roof. Clear roads and sidewalks before the team arrives to protect the items from debris and to allow the roofers to work as efficiently as possible. Move vehicles and other items away from your driveway if at all possible. This keeps your automobiles, children's toys, and other valuables safe from falling debris or dust.Whether you have ordered Commercial or Home Roofing Services in Dallas, tx you need to be fully prepared. If you have pets or small children, make plans for them to stay with a friend or relative while your new roof is being installed. The noise created by roof tear-off and installation might be disturbing to dogs and small children. The construction material, debris, and dust can also be hazardous for the residents.

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