February 28, 2020, 03:26:26 PM

Author Topic: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?  (Read 974 times)

Offline Rostum

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2020, 05:21:01 PM »
Just using ass would be my suggestion. Good enough for Shakespeare in act 2sc2 Hamlet and the Tempest act5 sc1and Midsommer Nights Dream ofc.

Probably much older but Ngram really only starts being useful with the invention of the printing press.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 05:29:27 PM by Rostum »

Offline Matthew

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2020, 08:23:31 PM »
Cretin?

Turd shoveller?

Shitsack?

« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 08:25:28 PM by Matthew »

Offline Bender

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2020, 08:48:33 PM »
Dunce, Dolt, Nitwit
"I shall hunt your firstborn children and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives!" - M-Bot

"Who needs science when you have a dragon?" - Neil DeGrasse Tyson in Sharknado 6

Offline Peat

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2020, 10:20:37 PM »
So what would be the British corollary of Jackass in the 1700s or 1800s?

how do you convey a word meaning "stupid person" both contemptuously and chidingly between two people of the lower class?

Given how you people use the word "pants" no answer would surprise me...

NINCOMPOOP!

Offline cupiscent

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2020, 03:11:37 AM »
One of the unfortunate side-effects of google docs is that people who comment on your piece actually get an email if you decided to ignore their advice or not or other people made other comments.

Aaallllways make a clean separate copy for the readers, so it remains well apart from your actual working document and you can be diplomatic about these things. :D (Also quite often just because people have identified a problem doesn't mean they've identified the best way to solve it; you can accept their advice without accepting their corrections.)

I feel like I need nuance on "jackass". Is it just "stupid" or is it specifically someone who makes stupid choices/decisions / does stupid things? I feel like the Australian version is probably "boofhead". For a more British sound, I would actually suggest "plonker" but I think that's no less modern than these other examples.

Perhaps the answer is that if you want to use jackass, bring all the language in your novel to the same level of modernity/Americanism, and really ground your authorial voice in that. Gideon the Ninth has shown us that strength of voice can be a huge plus for a novel (even if it can be polarising among readers).

Offline Elfy

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Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2020, 04:16:21 AM »
There was a running gag in Sergio Aragones' Groo the Wanderer comic book that the greatest insult anyone ever offered to Groo was to call him a mendicant, this is largely because Groo didn't know what the word meant.
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2020, 11:25:31 PM »
Hmmm what about "cad"? Actually, this one is more upper class.

Scoundrel
Rogue
Scumbag
Swine

Hmmm that might be more on the 'bad' sense than 'stupid'.
For stupid:

Thick
Daft
Witless
Fool

I feel like there's something that could be done with swine...

Also, another word i was told was too modern is "okay".
Is that something a lot of people agree with?

Offline Peat

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2020, 11:36:09 PM »
Hmmm what about "cad"? Actually, this one is more upper class.

Scoundrel
Rogue
Scumbag
Swine

Hmmm that might be more on the 'bad' sense than 'stupid'.
For stupid:

Thick
Daft
Witless
Fool

I feel like there's something that could be done with swine...

Also, another word i was told was too modern is "okay".
Is that something a lot of people agree with?

I've been told that too. Couldn't give less of a toss myself but it seems to bother a decent number of people so begrudgingly avoid it.

...

One day I'm going to write a book in the style of Penelope's Web (I think that's it) that does away with all sense of avoiding anachronism and calls Agamemnon the "mother****er in chief" and things like that.
This is the blog of Peat - http://peatlong.blogspot.co.uk/

Offline cupiscent

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2020, 11:42:27 PM »
Also, another word i was told was too modern is "okay".
Is that something a lot of people agree with?

Use of "okay" totally threw me out of Mark Charan Newton's Drakenfeld. (I mean, that's not why I put the book down, I had other problems, but I remember that.) But partly that's because in every other respect he was clearly aiming to evoke Roman, so a character saying "okay" just... did not fit that image for me at all. That's what I mean about voice - if your characters are chatty and colloquial throughout, if it's all "fellas" and "kinda" and whatnot, then perhaps an "okay" or three wouldn't feel so out of place?

I mean... "okay" is also a wishy-washy, boring word anyway. You could probably find a punchier alternative.

Offline Matthew

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2020, 02:29:26 AM »
I mean... "okay" is also a wishy-washy, boring word anyway. You could probably find a punchier alternative.

Whenever I write, the dialogue is always the weakest part for me (in real life too lol). I find I have to try and make it more okays and kindas just to stop the characters sounding wooden since real people don't tend to talk all eloquent or even punchy. 

Offline cupiscent

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2020, 09:55:31 AM »
I mean... "okay" is also a wishy-washy, boring word anyway. You could probably find a punchier alternative.

Whenever I write, the dialogue is always the weakest part for me (in real life too lol). I find I have to try and make it more okays and kindas just to stop the characters sounding wooden since real people don't tend to talk all eloquent or even punchy.

yyyyeah but real talking makes rubbish dialogue in literature. People talking repeat themselves and ramble in circles and jump from topic to topic and leave points unfinished because they get distracted. Reality, in general, makes for rubbish fiction. You want the story that is truer than true. You want verisimilitude, not reality.

Offline Peat

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2020, 12:44:30 PM »
I mean... "okay" is also a wishy-washy, boring word anyway. You could probably find a punchier alternative.

Whenever I write, the dialogue is always the weakest part for me (in real life too lol). I find I have to try and make it more okays and kindas just to stop the characters sounding wooden since real people don't tend to talk all eloquent or even punchy.

yyyyeah but real talking makes rubbish dialogue in literature. People talking repeat themselves and ramble in circles and jump from topic to topic and leave points unfinished because they get distracted. Reality, in general, makes for rubbish fiction. You want the story that is truer than true. You want verisimilitude, not reality.

This. If I'm ever in a position to write a list of writing tips that other people listen to, this is going on it. Pretty prominently.

Which I guess is why this topic is pretty long - there are a bunch of words that ruin people's verisimilitude.
This is the blog of Peat - http://peatlong.blogspot.co.uk/

Offline Matthew

Re: Would you use the word Jackass in a medieval setting?
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2020, 01:53:04 PM »
I didn't mean talking in circles and making a character ramble on or go off topic or forget the point half way through, not even using the specific words like kinda. More that they should talk naturally to their character.

You have a blackheart mercenary captain, fresh from a decade of war, they are going to struggle to talk to a normal person without barking or spewing obscenities (I've known ex-soldiers of said rank and they've treated everything as do or die and it took one I knew for a while several years to tone it down to civilian life).

You have an uneducated street urchin risen from nothing to guard the princess, they wouldn't be all thee and thou (or however the posh folk speak in your world).

Nothing pulls me out of a book more than dialogue that shouldn't be in their vocabulary. I'll tend to write the same annoying way myself, something almost poetic that from one angle makes me think, ooooo that's good. Then on an edit pass I'll look at it and just sigh.

The use of contractions and slang spattered into speech is what makes it speech and not writing. For your 'writing' let it flow, but when they 'speak' let the moment feel real. The characters should have their own voice, and not the narrators; their speech should fit into their world, their station in it, and most of all their state of mind at the time of saying it.

If they're reminiscing, it will be more like how you say it, they'll talk like a storyteller, well rehearsed through obsessing over the loss of their friend or great victory or whatever. If they're about to enter a street brawl it'd be F this and suck on a cock.

A further example is the trope of a nobleman speaking to a peasant being all wishy washy and superior and smug. It's written to make you dislike the character and for nobles with no experience of talking to those below their station, living their choreographed lives, it makes sense and is appropriate. Same for the urchin talking to the princess, they talk the only way they know how.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2020, 01:57:23 PM by Matthew »