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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:17 pm 
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Kyewdz-rkrthar
Goblin :r: post-Mending Planeswalker :planeswalker:
(Note: she introduces herself as Kyewdz, as a goblin's full name in her culture is used only in important occasions... and by very angry parents)

Appearance
relevant sketches

An intense goblin girl with a wiry physique; her skin is light green, her bushy eyebrows and hair - which naturally grows in a wild mohawk - are bright orange, her forearms and the back of her four-fingered hands sport twin tattoos - which are covered with long metalworking gloves if they seem to attract unwanted attention. Kyewdz usually wears a sleeveless shirt, long trousers full of pockets and a pair of sturdy boots, in additions to her ever-present pair of goggles, an unique pair with dozens of small buttons and levers. When traveling, she carries around a backpack with weird metallic items tied to it or peeking out from it. Kyewdz has a tendency to stare and gesticulate a lot when absorbed in a conversation or line of thinking, which happens a lot.

Personality and behavior
Kyewdz is passionate and enthusiastic about her ever-changing interests (of which machinery and artifice are the only constants) and about learning in general; she can spend hours studying or practicing her interests without interruption. Her analytical mind bores easily and craves problem-solving, which in turn speed up her thoughts and speech; she tends to use what she considers "efficient" speech, using simple sentences (but complex words when necessary) and removing any non-necessary word (similar to Mordin Solus's stylized speech). This tendency is increased by intense focus or emotion.
She prefers to avoid strangers' attention, especially in crowds, and tries to avoid being involved in discourses or contrasts she hasn't a strong opinion about, but she feels compelled to act if she sees a way to protect victims from harm. She's careful about opening herself with someone, afraid she might lose them if she started to care. She hates secrets and manipulations, especially when not necessary to protect oneself or a loved one.
Kyewdz is afraid of dogs and unnerved by large animals, especially wild ones, and is most comfortable in big cities; she likes to dance, to try new foods and drinks (she prefers spicy and salty food, and food/drinks that prickle on her tongue). She's shy when it comes to intimacy, and is easily flustered by racy topics; Kyewdz has had a few crushes, but has little to no experience in relationships.

Skills
Kyewdz is a creative problem-solver when it comes to practical issues, able to connect her many basic skills to design solutions. She also learns very quickly, jumping from an interest to the next when relevant available books and knowledge dwindle or something more interesting comes up. She has notions of chemistry (from when she almost lost a toe to acid), kinetics (from when she was almost crushed from one her own inventions), geology (from when she was almost vaporized by an unexpected lava burst), artifice, mana, medicine (first aid in particular, unsurprisingly)... the list goes on and on, but she always returns to her true love: metal. Metallurgy, engines, heavy machinery, animating, enchanting... she lacks the experience with the more exotic metals of the Multiverse, but her mastery allows her to combine the more traditional materials and techniques or adapt them to unlikely scenarios. She has the knowledge and patience to forge a complicate item from ore but rarely does so, preferring to scrounge up haphazard mechanisms on the fly.

Magic
Kyewdz has rudimentary skills in pyromancy, electromancy, metal animation and metal enchantment. Her goggles' magical lenses can be tweaked via the buttons and levers on their rim to filter or make more visible any kind of radiation, from visible light to infrared (heat vision) to mana, and she can easily add makeshift binoculars or microscopes to them thanks to her other feats of magic.
Her tattoos make her forearms and hands absurdly resistant to many dangers, from temperature to electricity, from blunt force to sharp edges. She can also use her tattoos as a focus to refine and enhance her spellwork in fixed ways, allowing different feats depending on which fingers she extends, as portrayed in the image in the Appearance section:
-Removal (index+middle): a very focused flame ignites from the point of the two fingers, its size proportional to the channeled mana. Can be used to dig grooves into almost any materials or cut like a blowtorch.
-Addition (middle+little): with a simple touch a surface can stick to basically anything; pulling will easily separate the objects, but this "adhesive magic" is quite resistant against sliding. Kyewdz can use this power to stick her hands to a surface to cling to it; prolonged treatment can result in the perfect welding (as far as the materials allow) of two metallic objects.
-Charge (index+little): Kyewdz's fingers produce a spark that can stun and even incapacitate creatures, or turns into a form of energy the hit object can use or store, if any. This power can also animate (preferably metallic) constructs that can carry a simple order before their magic fades; Kyewdz often keeps a bunch of small magnetic rods on her person for this specific purpose.

Combat
Kyewdz dislikes violence, and will flee to a position where she can avoid harm if feasible. She has had basic self-defense training that taught her how to protect herself from attacks and wiggle out of holds; her Removal flames could cause serious damage, but Kyewdz would never use them on a living being, preferring to use Shocks to make herself an unappealing prey or, when in dire necessity, to knock her opponent out. She's also likely to animate and "glue" together items that can hinder their opponent's movements, and can quickly adapt and exploit her surroundings.

Background
Born in Kerrtas, a technologically advanced plane, from a father that had earned a job well above the average goblin. Kyewdz grew admiring her father, even if his job made her family unpopular among other goblins, and made treasure of one of his sayings: "few like goblins, but true craftsmen recognize true skill"; following his words, she pestered everyone in her community to learn the skills that interested her, proving a quick learner.
She convinced her father to design a set of magical tattoos like his own, enhancing her limited magical abilities, for her fourteenth birthday. One night, as her new tattoos were still healing, her father didn't return home for dinner. When Kyewdz's mother sent her to check up on him, his overseer at work told her he wasn't officially employing him, and after Kyewdz promised she'd never come to the overseer again, he told Kyewdz her father used to go to a vedalken teleport facility after his work hours.
Kyewdz went to the facility, and was shown the way to a dark storage room where the mangled corpse of her father lied. The facility's security tried to capture her, but Kyewdz managed to escape the room. She ran desperately around the labyrinthine facility until she ended up trapped in one of the facility's exhaust pipes, where she gave up and started to cry desperately, her spark igniting just before a magical discharge could turn her body into mist.

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Last edited by Huey Nomure on Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:21 pm 
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Firstly, I want to apologize in advance, because I haven't actually read this yet; but I feel it's worth talking about the name here, for a moment.

The thread caught my attention because "Kewz" looked like a late 90s / early 00s pre-teen name -- something deriving from the old "kewl" spelling of "cool". I'm glad it's a shortened version of the full name, but I'm left wondering a few things.

Firstly, how exactly are you pronouncing it, and is the apostrophe strictly necessary? I know an apostrophe (in a name) is usually to indicate a glottal stop, but when I look at that name and try to pronounce it, the sounds seem to flow into each other in a way that doesn't seem to need a glottal stop. Or maybe it's because I'm so unused to pronouncing it that I can't tell how to insert it?

So, here's my pronunciation:
/kɛuzɚɪkθɑɹ/

Which, if roughly correct, leaves me wondering a few things with the name spelling.
* Firstly, why use a w? Couldn't you accomplish the same with a u, or is there something I'm missing in how you would pronounce "Kewz"?
* If the answer to the first question is that I'm mispronouncing it and that you did, indeed, mean it as /kuz/, then I feel like I should object for the aforementioned resemblance to the "kitteh" speak of the early internet.1
* Secondly, I feel like, unless there's something I'm missing, you could get away with an e instead of the apostrophe and make the name look more appealing, or perhaps separate it into two names (Kewz Rkthar) and make it easier to read.



1 Note: I recognize that my experience with other languages might give me a bias here toward absolute pronunciation of the five vowels (in this case, reducing <e> to /ɛ/ and <u> to /u:/), so I can understand if your reasoning is that <Keuz> would end up being pronounced totally incorrectly (e.g. /kjʊz/).


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:22 pm 
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[quick research on phonetic symbols]

Quote:
Note: I recognize that my experience with other languages might give me a bias here toward absolute pronunciation of the five vowels (in this case, reducing <e> to /ɛ/ and <u> to /u:/)

And that would be a good bet for any of my other characters, as generally use that pronunciation. Kewz's shortened name sounds... like... kjuːdz? Which is a mashing of an English-typical sound (as in "cue") and one of the Italian sounds for "z", which... now that I think of it... is not a winning choice...

Quote:
is the apostrophe strictly necessary? I know an apostrophe (in a name) is usually to indicate a glottal stop, but when I look at that name and try to pronounce it, the sounds seem to flow into each other in a way that doesn't seem to need a glottal stop.

Hm, probably a hyphen would be better; when I pronounce it, the tongue shift from dz to hard r sounds like crap, so I wanted to add half a syllable's worth of pause to accommodate it. Though to be honest the second part of a goblin's name in that culture is deliberately hell to pronounce for a non-goblin tongue, which works like the Navajo in WWII to recognize people trying to infiltrate goblin communities... again, this might be just too high a cost for the value of the core idea.

The pronunciation I have in mind should look like something like this:
/kjuːdz-rkrθar/

Cuedz or Cuetz maybe would be clearer for the first part, but look weird to me.

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To anybody reading this, including my future selves: have a good life!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:16 pm 
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Well, firstly, I'm noticing I missed an R when I was reading the name initially. Oops.

Second, I know I'm about to harp on about bits of the name I thought "don't work", but I don't think any of my questions really needs more than an explanation as to why you chose it; I don't want to nitpick your creation to the point that you change it because of my nitpicks, I just thought it worth talking about some oddities that you may not have thought of, but if it was brought to your attention you might think could use a tweak. Similarly, don't take any of my alternative spellings as anything you have to adopt.

Third, I went looking up Italian phonology, since I wasn't sure what you meant with the "dz" phoneme. As expected, Italian and General American (the dialect of English which I speak, complete with the cot-caught merger) share most of its phonemes, but /dz/ isn't one of them. As an English speaker, my instinct would have been to write it out <dz> instead of <z>, but that's because of the way we generally pronounce our zeds. The first word I can think of which we do use /dz/ is a loanword -- pizza, of course. A <zz> may work, but probably not unless there was a vowel immediately following it.

And that would be a good bet for any of my other characters, as generally use that pronunciation. Kewz's shortened name sounds... like... kjuːdz? Which is a mashing of an English-typical sound (as in "cue") and one of the Italian sounds for "z", which... now that I think of it... is not a winning choice...

English is... weird. It's a Germanic language at heart, but it borrows so much from Latin (and Greek), AND it's a relatively young language as well, so it has a LOT of irregularities. Coupled with The Great Vowel Shift from a century or two back, and the fact that it's never had a spelling reform like a lot of other languages have (the Spanish Ñ, for example, came into its own as a letter due to a spelling reform in the 1700s), and it's almost impossible to get English to behave like a proper schoolchild.

So, my point is, probably don't use received English pronunciation as a guide, maybe?

Like, if you want to just toss back and forth ways of spelling /kjudz/, I can think of a few ways. <Kuedz>, <Kyudz>, <Kiudz>, are all really unwieldy ways of doing it, at least with my dialect. None of them look very good, of course.

I'm actually fond of using <j> as a /j/, but I also recognize that most English-speakers are not going to catch on to that right away. Still, <Kjudz> or <Kjuzz> doesn't look quite as awful as those other spellings I offered, but maybe that's just me. There's also the option of using an umlaut over the e, though I would suggest only having a single odd mark (worth mentioning Tevish's mini-essay on naming), so I'd suggest EITHER <Kjuz'rkrthar> OR <Kjëzrkrthar>, but NOT <Kjëz'rkrthar>.

Hm, probably a hyphen would be better; when I pronounce it, the tongue shift from dz to hard r sounds like crap, so I wanted to add half a syllable's worth of pause to accommodate it.

That's where the Germanic roots of English are already a step ahead of you. English leans into its "r" a lot more than the Romance languages, and has a lot of that "harsh"-ness that you're probably thinking of.

Consider the word <berserker>, in which all of those <e>s are silent. If memory serves, this actually comes from Norse, which would have written the word closer to <brzrkr> anyway.

I don't think there's really a "middle ground" here, as it's... not quite a matter of taste, but of the cultural and linguistic landscape separating us and our native tongues. I would say a hyphen would probably make it read a little better, but that's not to say that it's superior. I mean, at the end of the day we're talking about a completely arbitrary spelling of a completely made-up character of a made-up race.

Though to be honest the second part of a goblin's name in that culture is deliberately hell to pronounce for a non-goblin tongue, which works like the Navajo in WWII to recognize people trying to infiltrate goblin communities... again, this might be just too high a cost for the value of the core idea.

I don't have anything really to add to this part, but I wanted to give a bit of trivia about Navajo that I recently learned, because it is an absolutely fascinating language. It has 12 levels of animosity, for one -- this is something English only really does with its pronouns: you call a human "he" or "she", but not "it", but you don't (in proper English) call a rock or an animal anything but "it" -- and the top category includes humans and LIGHTNING. That alone just tells you so much about their culture that they see lightning as inherently on the level of humanity. Navajo also has a rare form of conjugating verbs to mean "you and I help each other do to {the verb}" -- I believe it's called the cooperative conjugation. Navajo is also surprisingly resistant to loaning words, to such an extent that their word for "tank" (the military vehicle) is a long word that fully translates out to "the vehicle that crawls around by means of which big explosions are made and that one sits on top of at an elevation".


The pronunciation I have in mind should look like something like this:
/kjuːdz-rkrθar/

Cuedz or Cuetz maybe would be clearer for the first part, but look weird to me.

I'm of two minds with <Cuetz> here, because in both spelling and how my English training wants to pronounce it, it resembles <cute>. On the one hand, I feel like that takes away from the mystique of the name to begin with, but on the other hand, she is kind of a sweetie pie by looks alone (I did check out your sketches of her), so maybe that fits in with her theme?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 4:44 am 
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Third, I went looking up Italian phonology, since I wasn't sure what you meant with the "dz" phoneme. As expected, Italian and General American (the dialect of English which I speak, complete with the cot-caught merger) share most of its phonemes, but /dz/ isn't one of them. As an English speaker, my instinct would have been to write it out <dz> instead of <z>, but that's because of the way we generally pronounce our zeds. The first word I can think of which we do use /dz/ is a loanword -- pizza, of course. A <zz> may work, but probably not unless there was a vowel immediately following it.

And since languages are weird, I'll have you know that I pronounce pizza with a /ts/ sound :D

Fascinating stuff about the Navajo language.

Quote:
On the one hand, I feel like that takes away from the mystique of the name to begin with, but on the other hand, she is kind of a sweetie pie by looks alone (I did check out your sketches of her), so maybe that fits in with her theme?

In the end I think I'll go with Kyudz. (I'll refrain from using special characters, as I prefer to be able to spell names in a story without the need to copypaste them.) I tend to be rather gritty, in general, but that spelling makes me think of the word "cute", so maybe it'll help me soften her a bit.

*looks at the background*

Maybe.

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