llamaenterhear
Username: Password:

Author Topic: Prehistoric Pitch  (Read 69 times)

0 Members and 1 Lonely Barbarian are spying on this topic.

Offline Gossamer

  • Procrastinator Extraordinaire
  • Strolenati
  • King
  • *
  • Posts: 772
  • Be who you claim to be, that is all.
  • Awards Hall of Heroes 2013 Newbie of the Year 2013 Best Play By Post Player
    • Awards
Prehistoric Pitch
« on: January 23, 2015, 07:45:03 AM »
I viewed a documentary today, regarding how language works, its origin etc.

So I got an idea for a game/experiment. Play as a caveman/cavewoman, in a small clan that's just on the cusp of inventing their own language.
There would be no internal monologues or thoughts allowed. Only external expressions and direct actions together with the few words we start with along with any words we can invent and collectively agree on. And when I say external expressions, I don't mean "Grok looked angry." Describe instead just what you are doing, frowning, baring teeth, throwing things around etc.

In a world where there's no headshaking for no or nodding for yes. Where there's no words for colors. Did you know that in some places in Asia they didn't until recently make any distinction between blue and green? They used the same word for it, and as a result they weren't able to distinguish between those two colors. I find that very interesting.

Even if this doesn't attract enough interest for a game, I would love a discussion on the matter of language.

Now names. Ideally I wouldn't want to start out with any names. I don't think animals have names for themselves in their heads. But of course part of communication is needs. If you coordinate a hunt, you may need a certain member of the tribe to do a specific action at a specific time. Wild dogs, lionesses and wolves seems not to communicate while hunting, but their success rate is pretty small in either case. Elephants do communicate in the more traditional sense though, both by sound and by vibration, but who can really tell what's going on in someone else's head? Heck I find that hard even with humans for the most part.
Not to mention that it would be hard to follow when everyone's referring to themselves as I and to everyone else as simply pointing at someone unnamed, so names may end up being a neccessity since pbps are played blindly. But it would be nice to avoid the stereotypical Groks, even though most syllables initially will be grunts. Maybe the names are physical differencies, like bright eyes, broad chest or something.

I welcome your thoughts.
Samotny Osovjaltek - Dwarven Guild – Level 1
STR: 3 | END: 3 | CON: 3 | DEX: 5 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

Offline Moonlake

  • Strolenati
  • Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 340
  • Awards Article Guild Elite Article Guild Hall of Heroes 5 Questor Item Guild Golden Creator
    • Moonlake's Fiction Space
    • Awards
Re: Prehistoric Pitch
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2015, 07:07:15 PM »
Actually, I'm quite interested in languages in general (although mostly it's limited to the 2 languages I actually speak which are Chinese and English) although my status is a wobbly non-gamer/would-be gamer at the moment.

My interest in languages is usually in terms of appreciation for prose but things that draw me also include things like how particular phrasings arise and the original context etc. But what Goss you are suggesting is interesting in that I think it would get the participants mining into non-verbal communication in details first.

I think names based on physical characteristics are sensible and I also think that maybe early sounds produced, besides grunts, might involve mimicking of animal sounds since these are what cavemen have exposure to. These are just what came out from the top of my head.

Human (Level 2)
Crysilis Embroider -  Apprentice Weaver
Moonlake Ku - Apprentice Strolenati
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 4| CHA: 2 | INT: 3
"Crazy woman devoted to 2 Worlds, 2 Guilds and randomness"
Visiting beloved Dragon Empire


Offline Gossamer

  • Procrastinator Extraordinaire
  • Strolenati
  • King
  • *
  • Posts: 772
  • Be who you claim to be, that is all.
  • Awards Hall of Heroes 2013 Newbie of the Year 2013 Best Play By Post Player
    • Awards
Re: Prehistoric Pitch
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 09:27:31 AM »
Ni hao. :) If I had infinite time, I would learn every language.

I know what you mean, when you're teaching someone else, you tend to realize things about your own language that you had never considered before. And when you look at related languages that share a common base.

Good idea. Do you think the names could be in English denoting their actual meaning or should everything be refered to in the made up language? For instance Him-hunt-well instead of Mwr-huhu-ohm or something. :P It would make it easier to remember maybe but dunno if the opposite would make it feel more authentic.

I've been playing around a bit. Two words for hunt, one for a successful hunt and one for a failed hunt. Huhu or something similar to mimic the panting sounds of exertion, and ohm and gwr for a pleased sound of eating and a complaining growling belly. And then to specify, mimicking the animal's noise. How does that sound?

I feel it doesn't neccesarily have to be set on earth and the tribe doesn't have to be human either. It would probably make for a more interesting game if the animals and enviroments encountered aren't what one would normally expect, and it would also avoid the expected gender roles of hunter and gatherer.
Samotny Osovjaltek - Dwarven Guild – Level 1
STR: 3 | END: 3 | CON: 3 | DEX: 5 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

Offline Moonlake

  • Strolenati
  • Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 340
  • Awards Article Guild Elite Article Guild Hall of Heroes 5 Questor Item Guild Golden Creator
    • Moonlake's Fiction Space
    • Awards
Re: Prehistoric Pitch
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 04:46:39 PM »
In terms of the names, I think there's an easy 3rd way approach which is to put the English meaning in OOC and then use the made-up language throughout. Or get players to tag a bracket after their names containing the English meaning.

What you came up in terms of the actual sounds in use sound sensible and certainly more than I could think up. The idea that the cavemen are not on earth or even human is excellent. It would make things a bit harder (well, depending on how different from earth/humans it really is), I think, but I seem to be a somewhat crazy woman who always goes for ideas that are out of my own element :lol:

Human (Level 2)
Crysilis Embroider -  Apprentice Weaver
Moonlake Ku - Apprentice Strolenati
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 4| CHA: 2 | INT: 3
"Crazy woman devoted to 2 Worlds, 2 Guilds and randomness"
Visiting beloved Dragon Empire


Offline Gossamer

  • Procrastinator Extraordinaire
  • Strolenati
  • King
  • *
  • Posts: 772
  • Be who you claim to be, that is all.
  • Awards Hall of Heroes 2013 Newbie of the Year 2013 Best Play By Post Player
    • Awards
Re: Prehistoric Pitch
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2015, 01:29:51 PM »
Usually, laziness wins out. I dunno if tagging brackets would be something people would stick with. Maybe if it was so the initial posts served to teach what it means, and then it could be dropped.

Probably only different enough for the enviroment to provide some surprises every now and then and maybe a hidden twist or two for the story. I guess I would have to setup some loose guidelines for the world before any thesauruses can be made. But you don't think it sounds too silly? I guess most words have kind of a basic nature. Onomatopoetic words are another thing, like how can people from different parts of the world have such distinctive ideas about how animals sound for instance.

So what words would a loose clan-like extended family need besides words for hunting, which probably ought include some directions or something. But how does one name a direction? Why is it called left and right anyways. And how does one convey a direction from one observational point that only applies for someone with a different perspective, besides just... pointing somewhere. Maybe stick to pointing...

Oh yeah, so I was thinking, since they're primitive, they probably would have no concept about what causes pregnancies, and as such, they wouldn't have any concept of what a father is. But since it's kinda hard to ignore being birthed by someone, they know what a mother is. And a mother would remember who her children are. So how do you show that someone is your child? You take their head and shove it to your breast, that's what.  :lol:
So yeah, that kind of physical communication would probably be the most common, grooming, hugging, hitting, shoving. There would probably be a male and a female alpha, basing lots of it on chimps and apes. But I still want to avoid some of the less savory parts of such directness, which is why I feel it's a good idea to not make them physically human.

A few other things to consider would be that there wouldn't be much room for gear and loot other than sharp rock and sturdy club. :P So that's worth keeping in mind. The best thing would be if the whole creating the language thing could stand as its own selling point.
Samotny Osovjaltek - Dwarven Guild – Level 1
STR: 3 | END: 3 | CON: 3 | DEX: 5 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

Offline Moonlake

  • Strolenati
  • Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 340
  • Awards Article Guild Elite Article Guild Hall of Heroes 5 Questor Item Guild Golden Creator
    • Moonlake's Fiction Space
    • Awards
Re: Prehistoric Pitch
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 04:16:36 PM »
Well, if people are too lazy with brackets, then I guess we will stick with one-liners on what names mean in OCC and use the made-up names.

I think your approach- only having small deviation from Earth to have surprises is a good approach else it might be free rein for the imagination but too unruly. I think guidelines would be good and very needed too.

Game-wise, I think building up your own vocab could be fun to the right people and I certainly think it of interest to me both in a serious (as in hobby-wise way) and light-hearted way. I can't really speak for anyone else.

In terms of vocab, these are what I come up off the top of my head:
- day and night (or maybe just night expressed as sound/gesture for sleeping)
- can eat? (thinking that they might forage and this phrase however expressed in used in context of unknown flora)
- possession as in mine, yours (may be just finger pointing)

And yes, avoiding the unsavoury parts are a good idea  :thumbup:

Human (Level 2)
Crysilis Embroider -  Apprentice Weaver
Moonlake Ku - Apprentice Strolenati
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 4| CHA: 2 | INT: 3
"Crazy woman devoted to 2 Worlds, 2 Guilds and randomness"
Visiting beloved Dragon Empire