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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm writing a story about a country that has tribes. It's set in medieval times. My problem is, the main area of the country has a lot of huts (big huts made of wood and other natural materials) and tents etc which I've called a city. Which it practically is. However, when we think of the word city, we think paved streets. This large and spread out collection of dwellings does not have paved streets. There are thousands of people living in this 'city' but I really need to call it something else which both explains it's more primitive type of existence plus the amount of people living there.

I'm sure it's really obvious, but I can't think of a good word.
 

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Medieval and pre-medieval cities were called exactly that: cities. It doesn't require paved streets although paving for main thoroughfares has been around for a very long time.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Patrick Szabo said:
Town, burgh, hamlet, village...um...
I think village is on the right track. But still gives the impression of a smaller place. I was thinking encampment, but that sounds temporary. While it's set in the medieval era, it's not an English country. Probably more like ancient Nordic people.
 

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Why don't you just call it a city but explain the physical characteristics naturally in the story. . . . . .
 

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Hi,

Settlement is good, but considering that you've said it has huts and tents I'd also consider it perhaps as some sort of encampment. Basically a tent city which was never meant to be one, but as people forgot to move for whatever reason, slowly becomes more permanent.

Cheers, Greg.
 

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Personally, to me, "city" in fantasy/historicals/etc is more of a hierarchical word than a "it must have skyscrapers" word. It made me think of all the hubbub about "coffee" over the years. Jo Walton is one of the people who has addressed this HERE:
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/11/what-is-it-with-coffee

But beyond that, there have been scathing "just call it what it is" things. I would be thrown more by calling it something that is hierarchically small and then having to keep readjusting my understanding of the place bigger and bigger and bigger as things happen and the area gets mapped visually in my head as I read.
 
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