What language do Therans speak?

Discussion on the Earthdawn game line, errata, and feedback not related to playing or GMing.
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Re: What language do Therans speak?

Post by Slimcreeper » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:16 pm

That's an interesting point. It also poses the same problem but from the other end. Why do orks all speak or'zet in Throal that is clearly recognizable? Elves and obsidimen, because they are so long-lived, don't beg this question to the same degree, but orks and even the other races do. I mean, some of the normal rules don't really work. In a large kaer you might have tens of thousands of people speaking a language completely unrelated to the language that another large group speaks. They go into a hole in the ground for 400 years, and when they come out, the racial languages are still perfectly intact? Furthermore, they can communicate perfectly well with another group that has nothing in common but race but lives on the other side of the province and was in a hole for 400 years with a different linguistic group? (In addition to the linguistic drift you would have seen before the Scourge from living so far away.) And they all speak the same racial languages as the people in Throal? A more realistic approach would to have a regional languages rather than racial languages for sure, unless the languages are magical in nature.

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Re: What language do Therans speak?

Post by Fortesque » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:48 am

I think the point Etherial made still reinforces the "non-changing" aspect of racial languages inside Throal. The racial language spoken was secondary to Throalic. Think about how a character is built... All elf, t'skrang, obsidiman, etc., characters are speech multi-lingual, but only know one written language - Throalic. Those are the freebies for skill ranks. Every character speaks/reads/writes Throalic to solidify communication throughout the whole of the kaer. The racial spoken language is put in there to give people racial/cultural "roots".

You can think of some neighborhoods of ork banding together so ork grandma's can sit around and play ma'jong together while speaking ort'zet. Or elves hosting a quad-yearly festival in grand meeting hall where everyone is expected to speak Sperethiel and offer allegiance to the Queen of the Court for 24 hours. The racial language becomes a cultural connection to the people's history, but a less effective/efficient means of daily communication for kaer life. It doesn't die out - mostly due to the prideful - but it isn't spoken with such commonplace that it evolves the meanings of words or invents new ones.

Remember, the Oxford English Dictionary now acknowledges a new definition for "literally" that coincides with brain-dead valley-girl speak. ie. "He was soo hot, he like, literally, melted me with those eyes." She did not melt. The word was used figuratively... But a dictionary records our language, doesn't confine us. So a new definition was added for "literally" and now our language has evolved. Because people speak it more often...

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