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Author Topic: Names and words, their origins and uses.  (Read 2020 times)

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The Skarzs

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Names and words, their origins and uses.
« on: February 16, 2016, 04:24:49 AM »

Mr. Jacques was fond of creating names for his characters, often having a physical characteristic of the creature in question making a large contribution to the decision. The vermin were pretty obvious with this: Swartt Sixclaw, Bluenose(?), Slitfang, etc. The goodbeasts were also known for this, often more pointing at traits of their species or where they live, like Dunespike, Urthclaw, or Brush. Of course, sometimes he used real names, more common in the earlier books of course, but still an interesting decision. I'm curious what others think about the use of these names in the series, or even what names we liked the best.

There were words used in the series as well that we may find curious. For example, where did Brian get Dryditch Fever from? I could look up the symptoms and come up with a real life counterpart (would take quite a bit of time), but it's a peculiar choice of name nonetheless.
Everyone knows the fearsome battle cry of the badgers and Salamandastron: Eulalia! One reason I wanted to start this topic was that I found out something interesting. I wonder if Brian Jacques knew when he used the battle cry in his books that that word is not original. It is in fact a name. There is a Christian martyr of the 300's AD called Eulalia. Go figure that something one would think is so original was used a thousand years ago.
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Groddil

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2016, 04:29:12 AM »

Brian was probably sitting at a dry dock (he WAS a sailor after all) and looking at the map in the front of one of his books and saw the ditch.

"Drydock. Ditch. Dryditch."
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 04:39:27 AM by Groddil »
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Ashleg

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2016, 04:50:42 AM »

Or he fell into a ditch that didn't have water in it and got sick.
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Groddil

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2016, 04:59:04 AM »

True, never thought of that.
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Ashleg

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 05:01:08 AM »

It would make more sense. XD
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Banya

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2016, 09:53:39 AM »

I've always been amused by the large number of "normal" (English) names in the earlier books, such as Jess, Sam, Tim, Tess, Martin, Mariel, Winifred, Ben, Bella, Amber, Cynthia, and Selena; Mossflower even had a shrew named Emily, who's so minor her existence is easily forgotten.  While some names we've heard in real life still pop up - Violet, for example - the later books include a greater number of original names among the woodlanders.  I love the quantity and variety of names in the series.

Some of my favourite names are Banya, Blekker, Piknim, Deodar, Inbar, Sloey, Gingivere, Mhera, Deyna, Keyla, Juniper, and Trisscar.  And, of course, hares with incredibly long names.  There were fewer and fewer of them in the later books (I don't consider Taggerung one of the later books).
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Jetthebinturong

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2016, 12:52:10 PM »

Actually Jacques said he got 'Eulalia' from a real warcry. I can't remember which warcry or where he said this, but it was in one of the 'ask Brian' pages.
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The Skarzs

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2016, 02:31:02 PM »

Actually Jacques said he got 'Eulalia' from a real warcry. I can't remember which warcry or where he said this, but it was in one of the 'ask Brian' pages.
Interesting. I wonder where it really originated from. . . Unfortunately, one would have to do a lot of digging because "Eulalia" is much more common as a Redwall term than anything else, methinks.

Or he fell into a ditch that didn't have water in it and got sick.
. . . The only way he would get sick that way would be dehydration. :P And dehydration has some of the closest symptoms of Dryditch Fever, but it isn't half as deadly as described. . .
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LT Sandpaw

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2016, 03:42:54 PM »


 I believe Eulalia was a Nordic word that actually meant 'Victory'.
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Ashleg

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2016, 03:55:41 PM »

Or he fell into a ditch that didn't have water in it and got sick.
. . . The only way he would get sick that way would be dehydration. :P And dehydration has some of the closest symptoms of Dryditch Fever, but it isn't half as deadly as described. . .
So maybe he fell into a ditch that didn't have water in it, and was thirsty, so he realized he was degydrated whilst in said ditch and took that back for the books (and added onto it to make it more interesting.) XD
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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2016, 04:39:40 PM »


 I believe Eulalia was a Nordic word that actually meant 'Victory'.
I'm not sure about the language, but I can second the meaning.
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Ashleg

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2016, 07:45:27 PM »

As for names...
Maybe it just has to do with that family's background (species, where they came from, etc.)
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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2016, 05:29:43 AM »

I looked up Eulalia it is said to have been a Greek baby name meaning sweet-spoken.
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Banya

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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2016, 06:10:08 AM »

I encountered "Eulalia" in a biography as the name of a British nun, an acquaintance of the writer, in the early 1900s.  Wish I could remember the book.

I recently found this cool story on Redwall Wiki's page for Samkim:
Quote from: Redwall Wiki
Samkim was named for Redwall fan Samantha Kim. She wrote to Brian Jacques at his radio show at the BBC and they became pen pals. Mr. Jacques suggested he name a new character in a book he was writing after her, Samkim. In their letters, Miss Kim told the author how much she loved the way the mole characters spoke. Twenty-five years later, Miss Kim and Mr. Jacques finally met at a reading he was giving in NYC, where Miss Kim currently resides. She was the first in line to have him sign her book, Salamandastron.
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Re: Names and words, their origins and uses.
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2016, 02:22:50 PM »

Did they not put that in the American edition of the book? It says that plain as day in the original version.
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