The Two Languages in Vermin

In today’s blog post I thought I would discuss the two languages in Vermin.

In the novel, you will notice that certain phrases Nicholas says are italicized and unfamiliar. This language is called Valdin Zungta, which is comprised of real life language, whose pronunciation I am familiar with, and two of which I speak a little of.

I incorporated this language into the series during my second draft. I’d always thought it would be interesting to do but it wasn’t until I was finishing an assignment on root and origin words for my linguistics course that I began building a dictionary for this series. Initially I only intended on having a few slang words here and there, but in the end I had stayed up for 24 hours straight, and had formed everything from pick up lines and insults to numbers, directions and the weather.

I went from that to writing songs in this language, as well as translating popular real life ones so that I could test out the sound and feel of it. I wanted to hear it spoken before changing certain lines in the text…and I really liked it.

When I’m writing I will speak the sentences in Valdin aloud to make sure they translate properly.

Before I was accepted to publication, I made sure that I was conveying the meaning behind what was being said by character’s speaking this language through their actions. I watch a lot of shows in other languages, and over the years came to realize that you can get the gist of what someone is trying to communicate based on how others react. I applied this to my writing in hopes that it would work and was thrilled when I learned that it was one of the things that got my book accepted for publication, as it added to the world building!

I’m hoping that readers will pick up on the meaning of certain words throughout the book, but I’d also love to share a few phrases in the near future and translate them for you. Perhaps I’ll share one of the popular songs I covered in today’s post so that you can get a feel for the language!

I also got permission to share a sample of an early chapter, and will announce when that will be posted as soon as I can. It will most likely be next week.

Chapter 1 Snippet

I pulled this quote from the first chapter of Vermin. One of my favourite things about this chapter is how it showcases the dynamic between Rose and Roland, which I’ll try to describe here without giving away any major spoilers.

These two interact more like siblings versus an uncle and niece. They have a close relationship to the point where even when they’re rolling their eyes and disagreeing with one another, it’s clear that they enjoy each others company and also respect one another.

Roland as an uncle, versus Roland with his friends is something that I find amusing and enjoy writing. He always seems to be trying to balance being a “responsible adult” and his natural exhausted, yet impulsive self. He’d probably sleep and snack all day if he could get away with it. As I’ve grown with this character, it seems as though Roland has this curated version of himself for when he’s out in public, and even at times struggles to revert back to his natural state while he’s at home. That’s why those scenes where it’s just him and his family spending time together are some of my favourites in this first book, because at a certain point he stops trying to “act” and allows himself to just be.

I think his youngest nephew brings that side of him out the most.