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I'm working on a fanfic and... well, I just wonder this in general too...
What might be the best approximation to Fai's language/culture?
I realize a few certain things...
-1, In the manga, text from the game "Alchemy" was used to represent magical-type gibberish.
-2, In the Japanese language track of the anime, it was just plain gibberish with no set sound or accent that I could discern.
-3, In the English dub, they used French-sounding gibberish.
Now, I know the fangirls squee over the French... But, I'm not sure it's entirely fitting due to his snowy icy world and style of dress. I've been thinking over many comparable cultures to fit him more closely into (though of course keeping in mind there will never be a 100% match since Celes is its own world).
-Russian (the fuzzy coats, the cold north, but that's about it)
-Latin (very much associated with magic, but a little too abrupt-sounding with all the "s"es)
-Icelandic (culturally magic-oriented in beliefs, cold north, but most of the dress doesn't fit from what I see)
-Finnish (about the same)
-Gaelic (Very close clothing-wise, but not snowy-cold enough, culture = unsure of yet)
However, it seems whenever I google-image search a more general spread of nationalities, like "Scandinavian cloak" or "norse" type stuff, I get several with the right flavor in detail (closeup designs on sweaters, etc), but not in general (too many dark-vest white-sleeve type things). It's trying to get specific that trips me up (Even though, say, Sweden was in general "Scandinavian", by the time it became its own place, the dress changed a lot).
So maybe his culture predates the modern countries and only can go back to older eras, but that'd make writing the language more difficult since no modern automatic translators would go so far back.
I unfortunately don't know much about northern European history or culture, and my time for research is limited so I end up getting time for too little accomplishment and too many dead-ends. But I just know I've seen Fai's and Ashura-ou's styles somewhere dangit! It seems right between Celtic/Gaelic and Viking-type-times in my opinion...
Any input from those with more knowledge (or time on their hands)? Something fairly ancient would probably be nicest, but at the same time harder to find a translation tool for.
Hope we can have fun mulling over the possibilities. Any ideas appreciated ^_^
Wow. You've certainly gone in depth.
I guess I've always thought Russian or Scandinavian, but at times he just seems to be the typical foreigner, what with his inability with chopsticks, opinion of sushi and just his general appearance. Blonde, blue-eyed...
In Hanshin when they lose mokona, his speech looked pretty Russian, but also just like a less flowery version of what the letters in his magic are like, so that could be irrelevant.
So yea, I don't know. You sound like you're on the right track.
I guess I'll look at it from several possible angles whenever I get the chance...
Current examination: Geography.
Since I keep being torn between Gaelic and Norse origins, I decided to poke a land between the two general regions. So, between Ireland, Iceland, and Denmark... lie the Faroe Islands.
This land had been settled by both Vikings and Irish (the DNA shows a clean split between Norse and Celtic ancestries), among others, so it's a good place to look at the intermingling of both languages which evolved into their own Faroese. That was branched off of Old Norse, a North Germanic language. Of the modern languages, Icelandic is closest to Old Norse.
Thus, if we used this example due to the mix of Gaelic and Nordic in terms of geography and settlement history... then Icelandic would be the simplest one to use that has modern free online translators for ease of use.
It's a runic language, with letters appearing like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runic#Elder_Futhark
While it's not QUITE the same as the ones in the manga used for Fai's speech... http://www.onemanga.com/Tsubasa_Rese...ronicles/9/03/ it does have a few similar elements. And just remember there's supposed to be as much nonsense as real-symbols in there, just as with Kurogane only having a few hints at Japanese in his.
So, it might be one good guess. It's not perfect though... For one thing, it's hard to judge the clothing correctly since there's little visual record of what they wore in the way-ancient days in the Faroe Islands. Modern-classic doesn't look quite right, yet the flavor isn't completely off either...
Still, it's nowhere near close enough. Also, the geography is cold but not snowy or icy enough to be much like Celes. It is pretty much cold all-year round but rains more than snows (maritime subarctic). Windy, rainy, cold, usually overcast with sunny days being rare. The rocky terrain is fitting though.
One more complication is that the actual Faroenese language was unwritten for most of its history, everything passed down orally, while Fai's magic abilities specifically use writing. But it would be entirely possible that that was precisely why magicians were gifted; they used writing when others did not. If you look at his writing when he does spells, much of it DOES look like runes.
Also, since it's been pointed out that his spoken-language-bubble-of-nonsense contains Cyrillic font (which is commonly credited to Russian), many runes can have Cyrillic counterparts as evidenced by this particular chart: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...edic_runes.jpg
So... there's ups and downs to the theory, but there's at least some ties to this location/language. In summary: an Old Norse type language, or in general Germanic roots, possibly equating to Faroese (influenced by Celtic tongue) or Icelandic by modern proximity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_language
I'll explore other aspects of possibility tomorrow, I'm sleepy.
It's pretty bloody obvious that Fai's western. His colouring and inability to use chopsticks seal that. I'm not sure whether he's North-Eastern European or North Western. His colour suits both, but his dislike of fish (remember that random little short story where they have sushi?) implies he's from a more landlocked place which immediately writes off Scandinavia. They also do occaisonally eat raw fish in Finland and there's a dish made with raw samon in Sweden called gravlax. What we don;t know is whether Clamp know this and were including clues as to what his culture is based on or whether they were just running with the 'westerners don't eat raw fish' trope. The mention of a rare wine and references to 'Celes alcohol' are so generic that they're useless. There aren't any other food clues that I can think of, other than Fai's ability to bake which says more about his magic skill than anything else.
The designs on their clothing so have a very Scandinavian look to me. The big brooches on Fai and Yuui's fancy clothes in Valeria are quite viking, as are the wings and noseguard on the Valerian Emperor's crown, and the patters on Ashura's throne. The hats of the soldiers in Ceres are rather Russian though, as is the slightly Asian quality of their collars. I'd look into Russian designs as well and see what I could find if I were you. I'd do it now for you, but I don't have time (I'm not writing this post in order. I'm reading Ceres and making notes as I go). The designs on their clothes aren't as free flowing as celtic designs though, so I'm inclined to think it's more a scandinavian/North-eastern European fusion than a scandinavia/Celtic one. There was a lot of viking settlement in the Ukraine, so you might want to look into that and see what sort of style they have. The one mildly silly thing is the way EVERYONE wears ornate, fur lined clothes. It's so not like that in cold countries. People generally just wear what they can, but who cares about reality when it comes to fashion! It's a Clamp manga!
Here's a tip. If you're looking for examples of style, don't just use the internet. Art supply stores and some bookshops (also libraries!) have books of pattern and design samples from various cultures for artists to use as inspiration. They frequently have exampls of designs that aren't stereotypically associated with areas but are still traditional and are also WAY more to the point than internet searches. Clamp may have use slightly more obscure Norse or Russian or Celtic or whatever styles as part of their inspiration so you may need to dig a bit deeper. I'd go looking around too, but I"m in a small town in South Poland (long story) with less internet access than I'd like. . .
The architecture seems to be generic fairytale gothic which is genreally European and doesn't help us much. The spikyness seems more designed to mimic ice than reference any cultures. The arches in Ashura's castle's library are generic gothic, as are the columns. The houses are also generic western and don't look particularly like any reigon.
Landscapes are also generic mountains + snow with coniferous forests. Again, generic northern European. Both west and East. Mountains are a bit more Scandinavian that Russian, but Russia is so huge that there are a very many massive mountain ranges there so that doesn't really affect anything.
Fai's speech looks WAY more Cyrillic that runic to me. As for his magic writing, it's definitely got runic elements, but it also looks alot like the glagolitic script of the former Yugoslavia which has far more loops and cirlces in it's characters than futhark. Glagolitic was a major influence on the development of Cyrillic (which also incorporated Greek and Hebrew elements) and I think is well worth a look. Here's a link to a picture of a page in glagolitic. The bits in red at the top look particularly Fai-esque. More than anything else I've seen.
I think Fai's culture is a loose blend of all the northern european cultures. The reference to an emperor in Valeria reminds me vaguely of the Czars of Russia (down to and including a tendency to psychosis XD). We need to be careful not to overanalyse everything. If you do what you can with clues from the manga and loosely reference northern Europe with other details, you should be sweet!
This isn't particularly relevant to anything, but I think 'Celes' is supposed to be 'Ceres', who was the goddess of growing plants and agriculture - strangely perfect for an ice world. It's also a dwarf planet in the Kupier Belt (and therefore an ice world if there ever was one! The Kupier Belt is the reigon of planets out past Neptune).
Read the little "World of the untold story" things at the end of various published volumes of the series because they contain the most little throwaway lines about Fai's culture that aren't relevant to the plot.
Also, I'd recommend an Eastern European bias in the food Go try some homemade style Ukranian perogies. With onion butter. They're AMAZING!!! Oh, zurek, a sour soup from the South of Poland, is also really good! As is borscht which is beetroot soup generally described as Russian but found many other places.
I've just done a bit of research on fluorite to see if there were any clues there. Fluorite is an extremely common mineral worldwide. The largest deposits are in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Norway, Mexico, and Ontario in Canada (where I'm from!!!). The first five seem to point to a north European base for Fai's culture. There's a Russian element too. The largest fluorite crystals are found in a mine in Russia - which again hints at Russian elements in his culture. It's also the state mineral of Illinois. . .
Awww, it's prone to a phenomenon called 'crystal twinning'. . .
It comes in a very many different colours and glows under UV light
It's metaphysical properties are said to include improvement of mental awareness and ability, dispersion of excessive energy, promotion of order over chaos, aiding of interdimensional communications, promotion of freedom of spirit, and improving the power of other crystals. Apparently fluorite wands increase the power of spells. Apparently it has a special affinity with Piscies. . .
It doesn't really have any folklore associated with it other than it's described as 'the home of the rainbow' because of the large number of colours it omes in. It's quite pretty actually.
Hope my rambling helped!
Last edited by Tsubasaholic; February 17, 2009 at 12:27 PM. Reason: Thought of other things to say
Wow, Tsubasaholic... That was amazing observation and research!
I love how much detail you went into all that. Indeed, looks like any one particular country or language might not be entirely possible for a connection with Fai.
At least I did go back and see still more of many of the theories you support substantiated in the manga (Celes arc), especially with the state of dress of the dead-folk and the crazy-king.
I looked at a couple terms that were used in the manga too... such as crazy-king's kingdom (and Fai's birthplace) being called Valeria (At very least, that seems the most accepted spelling, though that could be different). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valeria Most places called that historically have been Latin. Though as it says, it can be used as a name meaning "strong, healthy, or capable", used in Russian, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian and Latin American Spanish countries. By the other connections we've found so far, Russia and Romania seem the closest in that regard. (But it sounds like such a Nordic thing to say for some reason! Maybe because it reminds me of Valhalla...? )
Then there's "Luval" castle where Fai used to live. No idea the official spelling... could be Rubal, Ruval, Ruvar, Rubar, Luval, Luvar, Lubar, Lubal, Luvare, Ruvalle... Gah! If an official spelling came out it sure would help see if there's another connection to be found there. @_@
In terms of written language, oh yeah, I definitely see his spoken text leaning towards Cyrillic and written towards Glagolitic, you're absolutely right (Looks like Cyrillic is exactly what they used when they typed it out, along with a few random wingdings, lol). Though since both are descended from Greek, it manages to look a lot like the plain ol' Symbol font... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbol_(typeface) in a lot of ways. So that might be one simple way for one to represent his language without a reader having to install additional fonts since it comes with most computers.
Also, I'm not sure if this was kept in the scanslated manga or not, but in the Japanese when Ashura appeared and said to young "Fai", "I've come for you," the child answered, ".....From Gehenna?" CLAMP put that in there distinctively; they used the kanji from Hell (Jigoku), but in the pronunciation beside it, sounded it out as Gehenna.
It's a very distinctly Hebrew name for Hell... or more literally a place on Earth more like what the poor kid had already been enduring, a dumping place for the bodies of "sinners". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehenna
(Or, if you wanted to extend this to still Scandinavian influence, consider how many mangaka draw influences from modern popular stuff rather than only the ancient roots of it... There is a Norwegian death-metal band called Gehenna! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehenna_(band) )
But back to looking at Hebrew text... Wow, lots of similarities yet again to Fai's written language. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_alphabet But likewise as you'll see on the large chart... it descended from Phoenician, which also has a LOT of similar elements. Greek in turn descended from Phoenician as well.
So, it's Phoenician that's the binding factor between Cyrillic, Greek, Glagolitic, and Hebrew, all of which have strikingly similar elements to the magic text (and the text on the scroll that the kid read in the pit).
But yeah, it's still quite spread out, and I keep not having much spare time for more research (heck, why do you think I keep visiting these boards in the middle of the night like this when I should be sleeping? LOL). But it looks like we at least can identify what bits and pieces of influence CLAMP has been throwing into this tasty and diverse Fai stew.
And for the record, my Mom came directly from Poland as a teen and my Dad's mom was also from Poland, so I'm still quite Polish in bloodline. Oh and a distant cousin (we still called her Ciocia) used to make us kids Zurek! Oooooh it was deliiiicious! She made Zupa Ogorkowa too, and my mom can make it just like her, so nostalgic! Mmmmm, now I want some, lol!
Last edited by ZaCloud; February 24, 2009 at 07:01 AM.
I'm a bit of a research monster! I go WAY too deep into everything.
Good idea to look up the names!
Did you catch that there was a Roman provence with the name Valeria ripensis/Pannona Valeria incorporated part of Croatia and Hungary (Interestingly, Croatia is one of the places where they used Glagolitic). Interestingly, the currency of Russia either is or has been the 'rouble'.
My impression is that the reference to the Hebrew term for Hell is more just because it sounds cool than as a culture clue (but as far as culture goes, Hel is a Norse word. And the name of a resort town in the North of Poland!). I've noticed there's a tendency to reference Hebrew mysticism in manga a lot. It's come up for me before.
It's interesting. Phonecian inspired the alphabets that are crashed back together to make the Cyrillic alphabet. The Phonecians were seafarers on the Medeterranean though, which is a far cry from an ice world.
I want Fai stew. . .
I don't go on message boards at night (can't get to a computer after 8 on weekdays), but I do find myself staying up far too late reading or talking to people. I guess we're just night owls and there's nothing we can do about it.
You ARE very Polish. South Polish too, judging by the culinary references. I'm not even slightly Polish. My family all came from either the British and Irish Isles or Germany and I'm at least 3rd generation Canadian on every branch of my family tree. Very, very boring. Have you ever been to Poland? God I love Zurek. It's probably the best thing I've had since I came here. Haven't had Zupa Ogorkowa yet though. What's it like? Does it also have that beautiful sourdough quality that makes Zurek so damn fine?
It is called "gravad lax". I am swedish
Tsubasaholic: Oh, I forgot to mention, it definitely seems like Fluorite was chosen as a symbolic companion for Fai on purpose, given the qualities you listed. That just makes it even more awesome. ^_^
From Old French ~female- (Eng)fairy or magical creature. (French) - Faith
Germanic (Faiga) - Bird
Old English (Faine) - joyful
All sort of fitting, but not quite how it's pronounced either...
Other Scripts: 結衣, 優衣, 結 (Japanese)
From Japanese 結 (yu) "tie, bind" or 優 (yu) "gentleness, superiority" combined with 衣 (i) "clothing, garment". It can also come from standalone 結 (yui) using a nanori reading.
I'm trying to find the kanji that were actually used though since it changes the significance of the meaning. Not finding any variants of such a name in other languages though... Well, it's CLAMP's made up world, they can overlap Japanese into it all they want.
And the closest I could find to Ashura...
Usage: Near Eastern Mythology
Perhaps derived from Semitic roots meaning "she who walks in the sea". This was the name of an ancient Israelite goddess.
Well... he WAS under water for a long time...
(As for Zurek vs Zupa Ogorkowa... I'm not sure how to compare them since I last had Zurek probably when I was seven and I'm now 26... But I've had Z.O. (A.K.A. - Pickle soup) as recently as age 19... Been too darn long though, I need moar, lol! Anyway... Pickle soup is sour, it might be a different kind of sour though, this is due to the dill pickles and juice. Here's a recipe so you can see if it looks appetizing or not: http://www.recipezaar.com/Polish-Dil...le-Soup-138138 There are many variations though, I don't think Mom uses egg, and she uses a lot of sour cream mixed in. Some versions use more vegetables or less, some use meat and some don't. Depends on the cook I guess. But I say that the potatoes are essential and any who leave them out should be hit on the head with a q-tip! )
Lady Sakura-chan: Welcome to the discussion. And yeah, "gravlax" is just a way to kind of shorten the name, and make it a cross between what all the various countries call it since they all vary a little bit. Thanks for the Swedish true name of it. It actually looks delicious. :9
LOL, a possible clue, but... probably not. XD
Ok, I've been trying and trying to find Yuui's proper name-spelling, but it's hard when I'm not very fluent in Japanese and ファイ (Fai) is often used to mean "file" or is part of another word, so it's hard to narrow the search down, and ユーイ （Yuui) doesn't come up with much alongside it so they probably do use kanji or something... Gah!
But anyway, one of my results got this Chinese page: http://baike.baidu.com/view/531027.htm
I use Google translator on it and get this: http://translate.google.com/translat...&swap=1&swap=1
Of course a few quirks come up due to the Chinese writing system and certain ones used to sound out words often come up as abbrieviations for other countries (such as all the Iraq references coming from the "i" sound at the end of "Yuui"). So mentioning of countries is certainly to be taken with a grain of salt.
But down there is a sentence about "Thrace" (pronounced approximation of Ceres)...
Country: Thrace (now located in northeastern Greece is Greece and Turkey and the Balkan countries bordering the bridgehead, but also the connection point to connect the Eurasian continent)
It seems fairly well-worded like it's confidently giving a location, lol. I have no idea, will check more on the possibility later, but just thought I'd toss that out anyway. Even if just for laughs at the Engrish.
(And Shaoran, which would be closer actually to Xiaolang, I guess means "Little Wolf" as it comes up a lot with both Chinese and Japanese pages in translation tools... and Kurogane is obviously "Black Steel". I knew that already but thought I'd share. Fun stuff! )
Last edited by ZaCloud; February 25, 2009 at 12:38 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
*bows down to scawy researching people*
I had something to add, but I have forgotten it completely... I'll read through your rants again and write it down as soon as I think of it. Later, though.
Well, many reviewers are clamoring for me to continue my fanfic and I finished the chapter I was working on... so after many changes and a failed attempt at just using the Symbol font, I at least temporarily put Fai's language as Finnish. My first alternate would have been Russian at this point, but many don't have Cyrillic font, so I opted for one that uses 80% standard letters but was still from up-north and easy to access translation tools for.
Subject to change depending on what else might come up in our little investigations here. I made note that it's a placeholder language.
For any interested, here's the story which takes place right between Acid Tokyo (chapter 125) and Infinity (chapter 126), to be updated whenever I get the time and the writing bug bites me more: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4835225/1/Blood_of_Life . Pretty much Kurogane and Fai -centric (using my more comfy spelling of his name since that's what's supplied on the site anyway), vimpirism-induced angst and drama.
Last edited by ZaCloud; March 01, 2009 at 06:32 AM.
I just read your fanfic and like it! I think the Fai/Kurogane scenes at that part of TRC are some of the most powerful in the entire manga. It makes me so happy at the beginning of Nihon when Fai decides that actually he's glad to be alive. I think out of all the characters in TRC Fai has grown the most. He's awesome.
Thanks for the info about the names! And it does look like it's most definitely referring to Thrace. If I find myself heading down Thracian way while I'm in Poland I'll see what I can find. OK, now I find myself wanting to drop everthing and jump on the first train to the former Thrace just so I can find out stuff for you. . . seeing as how I've never actually met you that's a bit sad. . . don't mind me, that's just my overenthusiasm talking.
Haven't had Zurek since you were 9?! Tsk tsk ZaCloud, you're neglecting your cultural heritage! BTW, what part of Poland are your folks from? Just a bit curious as the culinary references (and my host family are very familiar with Zupa Ogurkowa and I hopefully will have it soon) make it sound like around here.
I just read the fanfic too. I love Kurogane telling Fai not to waste electricity. Oh and I discovered that unlike the majority of online translators, the google one actually gives out stuff that makes sense. Well, at least grammatically. I don't think what Fai was saying can quite be called making sense .
Tsubasaholic: Oh, wow, lol, that's... strong devotion to an idea, lol. Well, you don't hafta go on any sort of road-trip for ME, but if YOU randomly ever want to that's up to you. The lead's not terribly solid, but it carries some promise. I'll read up more about their culture n stuff when I get more time; they're currently running me ragged at work.
Not sure which region either side (of my parentage) is from, I'll hafta ask when I has spare moments to call 'em (and such moments not being in the middle of the night )
Shirubia: Hehe, yeah, Google translator's much better than the majority out there, highly recommended; they take suggestions to improve which is awesome. Though there was a time when it was really good for some such as Japanese, but more and more it's been getting really weird.
Both: Fweeeeee!! Thanks for giving mah fic a browse. *runs around squeeing and flailing* Glad you enjoy it so far. I'm about 1/4th done with the next chapter (it looks like it'll end up being 5 or 6, possibly longer, just hope I can stick with it and get more time to stay in the flow sometime ). There was just too much potential development for me to pass up, and seeing the direct method Kurogane used to get Fai to drink in the manga, that clued me in that Fai must have always been reluctant, which makes for some good friction-fiction.
Kuro-G Eat your blood, Fai.
Fai No! Dun wanna!
Kuro-G It's good for you.
Fai It's yucky!
Kuro-G Oh come on now, here comes the airplane, fshyuuuuuun!
Fai *keeps his mouth clamped shut*
Kuro-G Damn it, just one bite!
Fai: You said a bad wo-- *omph*
Kuro-G There see? Not so bad eh?
Fai *making a sour face* Yes it iiiiiiiis!
(End extremely OOC omake )
Last edited by ZaCloud; March 10, 2009 at 03:11 AM.
I've been wondering if a trip to Croatia might be fun for a while and I'm occasionally a very impulsive person I'm having a busy time at work too
"NO! Dun wanna!" OK, that was HILARIOUS!!!
You may want to take into account that the phonemes from Tolkein's Elvish come from the Finnish language.
Also, when they call him the Magician, that probably refers to the Magician card in the Tarot deck.
Just a thought...