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Thread: Question regarding 'PokéSpeak'

  1. #1
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    Question Question regarding 'PokéSpeak'

    Hello all. Is there a general consensus as far as how 'PokéSpeak' should be written or does it not matter? I've been away from writing for a long time and am working on a story where one of the main characters is a Pokemon. Whenever he speaks, should it look like, "Hello, I am speaking." or use a different punctuation [such as brackets] or 'use apostrophes around it?'

    Basically, I want to have said character be able to talk within quotation marks without any special formatting. However, I want to know if that's seen as acceptable within the community, as I think some people may feel only human characters should speak without special formatting to avoid confusion.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
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  2. #2
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    I'm pretty sure it's however you want to do it. I used to use "<Pokespeak>" for when they talked, but I don't know if I would use that same method now and it caused some problems with formatting on ff.net. I'm pretty sure it's fine as long as you're able to tell the difference between human speech, Pokemon speech, and thoughts.
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  3. #3
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    Nah, there's no real consensus. I personally use "*Pokéspeech*" but I honestly don't even remember where I came up with that. I've seen [brackets] and 'apostrophes' as well. I'd avoid <these> as well as 'italics' because a lot of folks associate those with telepathy. There's also the case where, if enough of your characters understand Pokéspeech, or if it's Poké-POV, you could choose to use no special formatting at all.

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    Yeah, as Griff and Chibi said, it depends on what you want. The most common method I've seen is "Italics with normal quotes,", but there have been all sorts of different ways, including just using narration to try and convey what the Pokémon is saying (which I don't recommend, b/c it bogs things down).
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    I've seen tons of methods, and they all felt as if they were intruding into the word structure. <This> or [This] is eye catching and bad, and "This" could work, but I would use narrative to convey the attempted message. The idea is that they CAN'T easily communicate.
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  6. #6
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    If it's normal spoken speech, I don't think you need to do anything differently from how you write regular human speech. If, on the other hand it's telepathy as the anime is so fond of doing, I use italics for it.

    Continuing the anime example, Meowth is the former while Mewtwo is the latter.

    However, if what you're doing is having the Pokemon speak in what is often called Pokéspeak - saying its name - and then translating it into English, that's harder. What I do is not write the Pokéspeak at all and use description and context to indicate what it is conveying.
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  7. #7
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    I never ever considered PokeSpeak is a form of "language". More correctly speaking, it is not any syntactically translatable language in terms of linguistics in the sense of those languages developed and spoken by human beings, where there exist a methodical system in grammatical structure and vocabulary construction, such that every educated individual can learn to speak that language from ground zero. PokeSpeak, from my POV, they are nothing different from the meowing of a cat and barking of a dog or tweeting of a bird or neighing of a horse. That is just a sound they make when they want to express their emotion, where that is conveyed through the tone and mood of the voice, but not through the word itself.

    That's why personally, I always waver unfavorably whenever I saw writer write out PokeSpeak as like a form of human language, quoting them with quotation marks or whatever parenthesis. Bonus point if directly writing the sound itself out instead of translating them. These are some examples on the top of my list:
    1) "Pika, pikapikachuuuu--!!!" The electric rat was unsettling, pointing to the shrub nearby. It seems like something is hiding.
    2) "Pi~ka~? <What's the matter?>"
    3) "Hey Pikachu, did you manage to talk to Charmander?"
    "Pi! Pika, pikapi,pikapikapikachu~"
    "Ah...... So are you trying to say it sit still at there waiting for the sun to rise and shine?"
    4) "<I'll be the one to win this match. Now, are you prepare to be the coal of my fire?>" Charizard howl towards its opponent aggressively, determinedly ready for the upcoming battle that will be start just within the next few seconds.

    A linguistically comprehensible language, or simply any languages spoken by human being, the meaning of speech is conveyed largely through the choice of words itself, and the meaning is refined and stylized through grammar. Tone and mood of voice may also be one factor in conveying the meaning of speech, but in writing, because we cannot read the tone and mood by simply looking at the texts (unless you uses interjection, but interjection itself is yet not any lexical words with concrete meaning), hence vocabulary and writing style become the crucial factors.
    And that is exactly what PokeSpeak failed as a language, because it doesn't have vocabulary. They are at best functioned as interjection in part of speech. So even one write out what the pokemon "spoke" in its original voice, no reader can comprehend what the hell does "Pi! Pika, pikapi,pikapikapikachu~" means, so it just becomes rubbish texts.

    And that's why, I personally preferred to rather narrate what the pokemon trying to convey through expositions. Not only does that seems less awkward from writing POV, but it also established a perception concept to the reader about the writer hence myself, which is I see pokemon is not the same as human being, hence I do not treat them the same as human being, and I don't let the pokemon characters within my fic act too much like human being, including communicating with one another through talking.
    (BTW, interesting Real-Life fact: Only human being communicate with one another through the means of linguistic language, either verbal or written. But animals and insects and plants, 99% communicate with one another through non-verbal means)
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  8. #8
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    That depends on how closely you want to adhere to canon.

    If your Pokemon are going to speak as intelligently as human beings - say that in your fic, for example, humans can simply understand Pokespeech quite well, as though they were bilingual - then there's no need to use special quotation marks. It's not confusing because a language/communication barrier isn't going to be a plot point for you. If you're wanting to adhere more specifically to how Pokespeech works in the anime, then you might not want to translate it directly into English at all. In the anime, it's pretty easy to gauge what the Pokemon are trying to say, because of their gestures and facial expressions as well as the current context of the plot.

    Most commonly, if you don't want to use ordinary quotation marks, I've seen brackets like <> or [] used. This is really quick and easy to get used to from a reader's perspective. However, the issues mentioned about the difficulty ascertaining between Pokespeech and telepathy is a valid one. Just pick one style and remain consistent with it, above all.

    Personally, while I have been extremely bad at actually updating my fanfic, so maybe I shouldn't be talking...I never bother indicating Pokespeech because at least in my fanmade region, humans and Pokemon speak the same language. Some reviewers really hate this, though, so just be warned.

    Really, though, in the end you're not going to make everybody happy. So just do what's best for the particular constraints of your fic, as well as what seems to have the broadest appeal to the demographic here.
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