Have you ever had a point where you really want to write a story, but you get stopped in your tracks by wanting to be faithful to the era?
This has happened with Achromatic, which is sitting on the backburner until further notice.
As I mentioned some time ago, I have had the story based on Cartimandua, the Queen of the Brigantes, brewing away in the back of my mind. At the time, there were two prominent Celtic languages spoken across Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. These were Brythonic, which dominated the lands below Edinburgh and Falkirk, and Goidelic, which was spoken in Ireland and Scotland.
The issue? There is little to no Brythonic translation sites available across the Internet. If I wanted to be true to the England of the first century AD, it is practically impossible.
How to work around it? According to Wikipedia, the Brythonic language diversified into sub-languages over time. These were Welsh, Cornish, Breton, Cumbric and Pictish.
Cumbric and Pictish are officially extinct.
Cornish was a dormant language that currently has a passionate group of people (estimated at just under 560 in 2011) trying to reinvigorate it use.
Breton is not even based in England, having crossed the pond to France, where an estimated 210,000 people spoke it in 2007.
Which leaves us with Welsh, which is spoken by almost three quarters of a million people in current-day estimates.
Google Translate has an English to Welsh conversion module.
So, despite modern-day Wales barely joining Brigantes’ south-westernmost point, using this language is the most faithful I can be to capturing the era.
Considering the complete lack of information regarding the Brigantes prior to 43AD, when the Romans began their push northwards, that is an amazingly daunting clean slate to work with. Even the historical names of locations don’t exist.
Amazingly daunting, but it is absolutely awesome to have such a blank canvas within historical fiction. Justice will be done =)