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Author Topic: Language and Magic  (Read 829 times)

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Offline Alexande Doyle

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Language and Magic
« on: April 24, 2012, 03:27:59 PM »
So I'm working on an article on how language and magic are intimately linked and I wanted to run a few things by you guys to see if they make any sense.

First off, I've found that when crafting spells, it helps to think in terms of abstracts.
Magic generally deals in the manipulation of abstracts. Every magical spell takes one or more abstract concepts (destroy, rebuild, create, isolate, protect, etc.) and brings them into the world to create some sort of effect. But while the specific effects of a spell can be incredibly diverse, the generalized concepts behind them are not. If you take a sample of about 100 spells, you will be able to identify some common concepts like:
•   Destroy
•   Manifest
•   Protect
•   Control
•   Perceive
•   Rebuild
•   Dismantle
Metaphorically speaking; think of a magical spell as a sentence. To form a basic sentence you need nouns (the target of the spell) and verbs (the abstract or effect of the spell), you can further enhance your ste Take, for example, destroy;
After assembling a list of concepts I realized they could be further simplified into two categories.
•   Change
•   Preserve
All magical spells and effects can be simplified into one of the aforementioned two.

Any of this making sense so far?

Offline Pariah

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Re: Language and Magic
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2012, 05:31:29 PM »
It makes sense, though I'd personally go at it the New Speal way, with your list of actions (make, heal, preserve, etc..) And then slapping the fun prefixes on (plus, double plus, un...) Making something like the generic hurt spell just be /unheal/.
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Offline valadaar

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Re: Language and Magic
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2012, 08:26:59 PM »
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ars_Magica for an example of a word-related magic system.
   
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Offline Strolen

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Re: Language and Magic
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 12:09:54 AM »
I think I see you are going somewhere with it but you are hiding the big reveal from us. What did you come up with?

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Offline Alexande Doyle

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Re: Language and Magic
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2012, 06:53:58 AM »
I think I see you are going somewhere with it but you are hiding the big reveal from us. What did you come up with?

My main point is that it really doesn't matter whither or you not you use some obscure arcane language to cast or just plain English. Essentially; Language is magic and magic is language.

Magic is a system that allows us to interact with, and manipulate abstract forces.

Language is also a system that allows us to interact with, and manipulate abstract forces. So it really shouldn't matter what language is used when casting.

« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 09:02:58 AM by Alexande Doyle »

Offline Chaosmark

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Re: Language and Magic
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2012, 10:55:40 AM »
Yes and no.

With respect to describing magical effects, yes, any Type 0 grammar is equivalent to any other Type 0 grammar. But we already knew that, because (with very few exceptions) we describe our magic systems using English (or whatever language we're conversing in), not the ArcanoTheurgic Tongue of whatever world we're playing in.

However, depending on the magic system in question, the actual language being used to cast could be exactly what causes the magical effects in question. You have to tell the universe to smite yon fool with a lightning bolt, but the universe only understands ArcanoTheurgic, not Common or Orcish.

I also disagree with the "abstract forces" part in both cases, but that's completely tangent and highly dependent on the world in question.
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