Languages

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Slimcreeper
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Languages

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:42 am

So this is my head cannon about languages:

Most racial languages are magically linked to the race that speaks them as it LGF'd away from human. Which is why trolls all across Barsaive speak troll. And it makes sense because of the power of Naming magic that language should have that kind of power.

Languages may drift, even magical languages, and develop dialects, but the drift is picked up across the province - even the world. When the magic fades (or collapses) at the end of a cycle, the languages vanish as well. When the mana rises again, the languages reemerge. It seems organic, but it or'zet in the 6th world is linked linguistically with where it was at the end of the 4th, complete with loan words from Throalic and other languages. I think (although I am not a shadowrun person) that or'zet has emerged again in that milieu and sperethiel is still a thing.

I imagine windling as about 50% sign language. And by signs I mean full body movements, just like a bee's waggle dance.

Humans do not have a magical language. It follows the rules of linguistics that we are familiar with.

Sharkforce
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Re: Languages

Post by Sharkforce » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:19 am

isn't throalic the main trade language of barsaive? and isn't it not dwarven? (or rather, the language is *a* dwarven language, but not *the* dwarven language).

Bonhumm
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Re: Languages

Post by Bonhumm » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:00 pm

Sharkforce wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:19 am
isn't throalic the main trade language of barsaive? and isn't it not dwarven? (or rather, the language is *a* dwarven language, but not *the* dwarven language).
The Player's Guide do state that: ..the Throalic dialect of the Dwarf tongue has become the common language. My understanding from this is that Throalic Dwarven (in Barsaive) is the local 'international dwarven'; at bit like 'BBC English'. Its the 'dialect' everyone who speaks dwarf can 'switch to' whenever their own dialects, accents or slangs are too different from those of their interlocutor.

It's a bit like saying 'English' is the main trading language in the world right now; there is a ton of different accents, slangs and dialects of English but most people can understand each other but sometimes (say in extreme cases like a Scott meeting an Australian) they usually can both 'restrain' their slangs/accent and attempt to speak a more 'international' English to make sure they understand each other.
Slimcreeper wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:42 am
Humans do not have a magical language. It follows the rules of linguistics that we are familiar with.
I feel like I'd have to disagree with that. The fact that the Human RACE was the only one 'surviving' the end of the magical era do not mean that the 'Human Language' during the 4th Age was in any way less magical than the others. My guess would be that once magic disappeared, the magic racial human language disappeared too and thus each human society had to create new languages from scratch; that would explain why there is not a single racial language for humans in the 5th Age.

Of course, there is the whole issues of the Immortal elves still being able to speak Sperethiel during the 5th age.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Languages

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:37 pm

As far as the "common language" goes, I would not give too much thought to it, in my mind that is just a multi-system crutch to make games workable. Things just go so much easier if you assume that everybody you will ever meet speak Throalic. In practice it might really be that only the better educated and those who deal with strangers speak Throalic. Officials, the better merchants and inn-keepers, plus of course Adventurers and other travelers. Your common farmer or tradesmen that don't deal with foreigners much (butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers) might possibly speak little or no Throalic, relying upon their racial language instead.

Plus of course, Throalic is only the common tongue of Barsiave, The common tongue of the region is Therian, and people with international aspirations are expected to know that.

Plus, does anybody know if the racial languages are more than province wide? Do humans in Cathay speak human or Cathay human? And if Cathay Human, is that closer to Barsaive Human or Cathay Trollish?

As for Dialects, my understanding is that while some might be close, some are very far apart. Reading Scythian I think is considered a hard test for somebody who only knows Throalic. And Therian started out as a dialect of Sperethiel, but over thousands of years has grown to be mutually incomprehensible.

As to the language magically linked to race thing, I don't know. I think in Shadowrun the Sperethiel making a reappearance is mostly due to snooty immortal elves trying to reestablish the culture they were born with. Telling elves that if they want to be "proper elves" then they need to speak Sperethiel and look down upon those who don't.

But I am not sure about Or'zet, and maybe you are right that all the languages are magical. It is just something I have never heard of before. I would say that if languages are magical, then Human ought to be just as magical as all the others. After all, in the Earthdawn world, all humans speak the same human language. Maybe in shadowrun the "natural human language" has just not firmly reasserted itself yet.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Languages

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:24 am

So I'm thinking (again, without any justification from the text or anything) that as the meta types faded as magic dropped, their languages dropped, leaving only assorted human languages. We know there are dozens of human languages actually exist in the world, and they are not magic (I know it's not _exactly_ our world, but the conceit is that RL is a low-magic cycle).

_Furthermore_ I posit that as races emerge from LGF or Goblinize or whatever it may be called at the beginning of the uptick of the in different parts of the world, they should not be the Eurocentric ork, dwarf, elves we know and love from tolkien, but at sort of continent-wide average of what cultures think a monster looks like. And they would have their own languages.

If they are not magical, and there is no physiological reason why one race couldn't speak the language, then it is just a language. In that case, it should be based more on region of origin rather than meta type.

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Mataxes
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Re: Languages

Post by Mataxes » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:43 am

I think you probably shouldn't overthink it. Language is complex, and for the sake of gameplay is often simplified -- in Earthdawn and in other games.

I suspect the "racial" languages (and the rules around learning languages) as presented in ED1 were put together without really considering the lareg-scale ramifications of how that might play out as the setting expanded to lands beyond Barsaive, and there hasn't been sufficient reason in later editions to address or change that.

(I know I didn't really do that while working on ED4.)

Approach as it you want in your games, but I don't see any basis for there to be some "magical nature" to the racial languages that would carry forward into the future and allow them to reappear. I think there are more prosaic explanations for some of the stuff that crops up in Shadowrun lore.
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Slimcreeper
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Re: Languages

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:58 am

Oh, I'm overthinking it because I _want_to_, not because I should! :)

I have an ESOL certification, so it's extra interesting to me.

Sharkforce
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Re: Languages

Post by Sharkforce » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:51 am

oh, and to fill in some 6th world information for those not familiar with shadowrun (for what it's worth, given the games were officially separated a while back for IP reasons), sperethiel exists in the 6th world because immortal elves brought it forward with them, or'zet exists only because dunkelzahn left the orcish rosetta stone (more or less) to an ork activist when he died, and dwarves have no racial language at all.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Languages

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:09 am

But! *puts on orichalcum foil hat* that’s exactly how the universe would conspire to return something magically significant to the world!

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