great article, well written. i'm personally very interested in language aquisition in both adults and children. i speak arabic fluently, however, even for me it is difficult to understand someone who speaks in a dialect if they come from the western part of the arabic world. arabs may all speak arabic, however, dialects within the arab countries are very different, and in some cases, one can offend another by using a word that is quite a compliment in ones own dialect. Go to Comment
Somehow I missed this one long long ago. Well that has been fixed.
Lingual families are an important in the real world study of language. It is easier to understand when you use see graphic boxes or venn diagrams.
There is a great diagram in Hero system 4th and 5th edition. It documents all CYCW (common year common world) languages and gives you an easy to follow box system for these langauges. The Hero system language system works really well and incorporates all these concepts in a simplier format.
I am looking for an open image of this document, but I can only find some on the Hero System board. I will try to get an active link or simply upload one of those to the gallery.
I guess you could incorporate particularly different distinct dialects by saying that instead of only understanding that dialect to one level lower than usual, you only understand it to two levels lower. Go to Comment
This is certainly a good post, something that I would tend to take for granted. The one thing missing is the entry for the mongrel language that was created as a synthesis of different languages from different linguistic families.
English. It is a difficult language to learn since it has its roots in Welsh, infused with Anglic, Saxon, and after 1022 (i think) strong elements of Latin and French. It spans the germanic and romantic families, but belongs to neither, and it is one of the more difficult languages to learn, regardless of what others may be known Go to Comment
An important subject, all too often glossed over with a generic 'common tongue' or 'trade language' that everybody, regardless of race or culture, is supposed to be able to speak fluently.
The inclusion of languages and thus people not being able to understand each other (or worse yet thinking they can understand each other) leads to all sorts of interesting scenarios, not to mention adding a considerable degree of realism to the game-world.
A truly worthy 5/5 plus gets today's Hall of Honour vote Go to Comment
Cool...a little complex for the average gamer, but it's a great concept. One bone to pick - in many cases, dialects DO pose a problem with communication. I can speak High German just fine, and even get along in Allemannisch, but throw me into a Swiss alpine village, and I'll be lucky if I can even get the basic gist of the sentance. That being said, incorporating that into the system would probably add more confusion and take away from the fun, but I just thought I'd throw that out there. Go to Comment
I think I'd have added some more classifications to the Definitions section.
For instance, "Native Speaker" doesn't entirely encompass the range of facility with a particular language.
Jargon - Jargon is terminology that relates to a specific activity, profession or group. In many cases a standard term may be given a more precise or specialized usage among practitioners of a field. (Also known as Lingo.)
Patois - Nonstandard languages which derive from brogues, creoles, dialects nd pidgins, most of which are advanced forms of Native Speach.
·Pidgin - A pidgin is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common, in situations such as trade. In fantasy games these are commonly known as "Common Tongue," or "Trade Tongue."
·Creole - A stable language that originates seemingly as a nativized pidgin.
·Dialect - A variety of a language characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers, applied most often to regional speech patterns, but may also be defined by social class.
·Brogue - A brogue is a strong dialectal accent.
In addition, there are several "Special Languages" which deserve mention.
Cant - An argot or cryptolect, a characteristic or secret language used only by members of a group, often used to conceal the meaning from those outside the group, the most common example of which is Thieves' Cant.
Argot - primarily slang used by various groups, including but not limited to thieves and other criminals, to prevent outsiders from understanding their conversations. Common examples include Carny and Gypsy (as opposed to the Romani language).
Liturgical Language - A sacred language, or liturgical language, is a language that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life. Examples of this include the use of Ecclesiastical Latin by Christian Churches, Classical Arabic, Classical Chinese, and Hebrew.
Sign Language - Rather than just a language of those who are deaf, I classify this as an non-verbal/unwritten form of body language used for communication. This can range from simple hunting or battlefield language, to more complex gestuers used by secret societies or social classes. Go to Comment
Now that is a useful comment from an anonymous user. A good theory does not only explain things that are known, it can also foretell things that are not. There is bound to be a research for the "unknown element", like for the elements of the periodic table.
Aside, great work, and a well thought-out foundation for a magic system (providing the theory is true, of course ;) ). Go to Comment
You could even get people trying to predict the properties, with greater or lesser success. Imagine the PCs being sent on a quest for Element X, with about three competing theories of what it should look like. Go to Comment