Okay, so I’ve had this issue on my mind for awhile now and I’d really like to know what you guys think.
So, when writing a story set in a fantasy world I’d say it’s safe to assume that the characters in this world don’t necessarily speak English. This doesn’t matter since as an onlooker we get to understand whatever language they’re speaking as English either because we are omniscient or are viewing the world through the eyes (and ears) if someone who does understand it. So, regardless of if they speak English in this fantasy realm or not, we understand the dialect.
Here is the crux of the issue for me. If we understand the language as a native would, why do some authors insist on introducing made up words into a language that is, for all intents and purposes, either English as we know it or some language translated into English? I see this most often in swear words. In real life, when we hear someone swearing in another language, isn’t there a translation for said swear using English words? Another example is the names of locations. I get wanting to call your cities something cool, but why name a city Lilcansta or something and have a character explain that it means “by the river” when you can just use Riverside? (This is assuming the city was named by humans who speak “English”.)
What I’m getting at here is if the language used to name things is a surrogate for the English language (or is the English language), then why introduce weird nonsense words and try to pass them off as part of this language?