Jump to content

Welcome to Obsidian Forum Community
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Languages in PE, how are they made?

language linguistics

  • Please log in to reply
67 replies to this topic

#1
Merlkir

Merlkir

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 402 posts
  • Location:Czech Republic
  • Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
How are the languages of PE's world being made? We've gotten quite a bit of the lore yesterday in the 20th update and I had a mixed reaction to the names in there.
Some sound vaguely Earthly (especially the elven ones remind me of Gaelic or something like that), others are quite alien.

Do you guys have a linguist on the team, or are the writers "just winging it"?

Certainly I can understand that most players won't be ever able to tell the difference, but there are advantages to creating the whole thing the "proper" way.
(it's easier to scale it up later, or add cultures or cultural evolution)

Especially since PE aims to be a long series of games (if all goes well), doing this part of the worldbuilding in depth might be a good move.

(if anyone's read Neal Stephenson's ReamDe, there's quite a funny subplot about a writer taking over a fictional MMORPG's lore and rewriting ALL THE NAMES, because he's a linguist and the names don't make sense.)

Someone posted this in comments under a RPS article about the screenshot, I wonder if you're familiar with this language development kit:

http://www.zompist.com/kit.html
  • Rostere, JediMB, septembervirgin and 1 other like this

#2
Merlkir

Merlkir

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 402 posts
  • Location:Czech Republic
  • Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
No fans of linguistics around here? :(

#3
Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

    Vorpal Panzerfaust of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 6128 posts
  • Location:England, This Blessed Plot
  • Xbox Gamertag:MonteCarlo
  • Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
No. TBH it's getting into hyper-nerd territory for me, like people who want to speak Klingon.

Because once you start trying to make rules for linguistics the whole thing falls apart (I know i'm a bore about Neal Stephenson's REAMDE I love that bit)
Next thing people will want to know about authentic in-game pasta recipes. And stuff.

So although linguistics is a fascinating topic, I don't want Sawyer applying his Spock-like brain to explaining why Celtic and Italian / Latin - inspired names coexist.

Edited by Monte Carlo, 12 October 2012 - 02:45 AM.


#4
ddillon

ddillon

    Hellion of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 124 posts
  • Location:U.S.A.
  • Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
Getting ready to log off for the day, so I must keep it short, but:

For magic runes, I say use the Elder Futhark.

For magic spells and chants, I say use Latin.

These can be used without tying PE to the associated cultures and will likely invoke a stonger feeling of the mystical than a fictional language.

Edited by ddillon, 12 October 2012 - 02:48 AM.

  • JediMB likes this

#5
Karranthain

Karranthain

    Huscarl of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 1188 posts
  • Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
I'm very interested in onomastics myself, I love it when the names in a fantasy world are well thought out. That's one of the reasons I really enjoy Lord of the Rings - though I'm not expecting such attention to detail in PE :)

That said, I'd really appreciate it if some work would go towards that.

Edited by Karranthain, 12 October 2012 - 02:50 AM.


#6
Merlkir

Merlkir

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 402 posts
  • Location:Czech Republic
  • Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

No. TBH it's getting into hyper-nerd territory for me, like people who want to speak Klingon.


Hang on! Going on and on about cooldowns and vancian magic on forums is dandy, but the minute someone mentions that languages should make sense, it's hyper-nerdy? :D

Crikey.

(I don't speak Klingon, but I used to write in Quenya now and then. I also created a crude version of a Southron speech based on Old Persian and Hittite for our Middle Earth RPG. ULTRA MEGA HYPER NERD ALERT!)

Edited by Merlkir, 12 October 2012 - 02:52 AM.

  • Rostere, JediMB, theseez and 3 others like this

#7
Merlkir

Merlkir

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 402 posts
  • Location:Czech Republic
  • Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Getting ready to log off for the day, so I must keep it short, but:

For magic runes, I say use the Elder Futhark.

For magic spells and chants, I say use Latin.

These can be used without tying PE to the associated cultures and will likely invoke a stonger feeling of the mystical than a fictional language.


(Doublepost of doom, sorry.)

That is certainly doable and would indeed save resources. BUT, in my eyes that's a bit unprofessional.
There are students of linguistics who'd probably create a usable language for a reasonable fee. (good grief, am I advocating the abuse and exploitation of students and undercutting freelancing linguists?! How utterly wrong of me.)

The lore of any RPG eventually becomes the subject of player disputes and fan creations. They'll start caring a lot about this world where they experienced many adventures. If they find out the writing system and magical language are not original and straight out ripped from our world (and not even very interesting/unusual choices of earthly languages at that), they'll be disappointed.

I'd be. ;)

An example of a success in this matter (I'd say anyway) - the Dothraki language in Game of Thrones. The actors are not speaking Bulgarian, Romanian, or Czech (which is a common practice, you let the extras speak some babble in their native tongue and pass it as whatever alien language they're supposed to have. Try screening that movie in Romania, that'll be fun.), they're speaking a fully functional language. The writers don't need to write babble, they can write exactly what they need and it'll be consistent.

Edited by Merlkir, 12 October 2012 - 03:01 AM.


#8
Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

    Vorpal Panzerfaust of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 6128 posts
  • Location:England, This Blessed Plot
  • Xbox Gamertag:MonteCarlo
  • Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer


No. TBH it's getting into hyper-nerd territory for me, like people who want to speak Klingon.


Hang on! Going on and on about cooldowns and vancian magic on forums is dandy, but the minute someone mentions that languages should make sense, it's hyper-nerdy? :D

Crikey.

(I don't speak Klingon, but I used to write in Quenya now and then. I also created a crude version of a Southron speech based on Old Persian and Hittite for our Middle Earth RPG. ULTRA MEGA HYPER NERD ALERT!)


:D right back at ya

#9
TheMufflon

TheMufflon

    (1) Prestidigitator

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • Backer
While I feel that drawing up entire languages is a bit of an overkill, having cohesive naming conventions is important. It helps define the cultures within the game and makes them more distinct. It also avoids the trite fantasy cliché of all names just sounding like random syllables stuck together.
  • Karranthain and kenup like this

#10
Hormalakh

Hormalakh

    Lone Locust of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 1658 posts
TBH I completely agree with OP. If you spend the time and money now to develop a decent lore and language and world now, the next three PE games will just write themselves. Honestly, every time I find a universe that I find deep with multiple layers within it, it makes me want to come back for more. It's like how the great movie directors made their movies. Some put in so much detail and work that you just want to keep going back and finding all those little gems.

Don't skimp on coming up with a good language structure. This world already doesn't have the printing press. How are people going to communicate without some sort of understandable spoken language that isn't just gibberish?

#11
Karranthain

Karranthain

    Huscarl of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 1188 posts
  • Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

While I feel that drawing up entire languages is a bit of an overkill, having cohesive naming conventions is important. It helps define the cultures within the game and makes them more distinct. It also avoids the trite fantasy cliché of all names just sounding like random syllables stuck together.


Indeed, proper care when creating naming conventions is one of the best ways to create a believable world. That's what made Lord of the Rings one of the best, in my eyes.

It's a good idea to start from historical sources : http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/

#12
Aedelric

Aedelric

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 473 posts
  • Location:Vienna
So, what Obsidian needs is twelve years to produce the game, because that is the length of time is takes to come up with a polished setting with believable languages such as in Lord of the Rings or A Song of Ice and Fire.

I say keep it simplistic, everyone speaks common so the game is enjoyable without requiring a dictionary. But keep the illusion of depth with snippets of various ancient languages throughout the world. I agree the one thing we need the most is continuity, although we do not need much in the way of languages, when it is used it has to be well thought out.

Also it is fairly `hyper-nerdy´, and so are the cool down crowd. :p

Edited by Aedelric, 12 October 2012 - 03:43 AM.


#13
Merlkir

Merlkir

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 402 posts
  • Location:Czech Republic
  • Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
I dare say it doesn't take that long if you're not just one guy. (being one J.R.R. Tolkien does help, sure, but division of labour and all that does a lot)

#14
Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

    Vorpal Panzerfaust of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 6128 posts
  • Location:England, This Blessed Plot
  • Xbox Gamertag:MonteCarlo
  • Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
Me? I'm really hoping, for selfish reasons, that everybody speaks English.
  • nikolokolus and anek like this

#15
HumanFlesh+5

HumanFlesh+5

    Landsknecht of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 117 posts
  • Location:Walpurgis Night
  • Gold Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Me? I'm really hoping, for selfish reasons, that everybody speaks English.


me too, because with all the elves in the lore i fear the incoming of elfish words ... and really ... elfish words a little overused since lord of the rings ... if you bring a new language than nothing near the elfish of lord of the rings, please

Edited by HumanFlesh+5, 12 October 2012 - 03:51 AM.


#16
Fluffboll

Fluffboll

    Fluffy White Kitten of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 27 posts
  • Location:Sweden
  • Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
Anyone played Jade Empire? They created an entirely new language for that game and it made the game sooooooooooooooooooooo much better for it. If they can afford/have time to do it I really hope they will.

Edited by Fluffboll, 12 October 2012 - 03:58 AM.

  • Syraxis likes this

#17
Merlkir

Merlkir

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 402 posts
  • Location:Czech Republic
  • Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
To clarify - I'm not saying characters ingame should speak in these artificial languages (however cool that would be).

I'm simply proposing they add at least a basic linguistic step to the writing/worldbuilding pipeline. No need for Tolkien-like insanity, the advantages (especially in the long run) should be enough to warrant even the little time spent.

Names and onomastics have been mentioned - that's exactly what I mean. Names can tell us a lot about what/whom they describe. Even without thinking about it too much we can guess what race/nationality someone is, or if they're culturally related to someone else we know.

I doubt Obsidian are writing down every single type of crops grown in every part of PE's world, there's no need to have whole dictionaries of words for all the languages either. But to know what type of languages they are, how they evolved and interacted, what grammar changes there were in that evolution/interaction etc., that just adds consistency, believability and increases immersion. It also simplifies the process of extending and developing the world further.

#18
Piccolo

Piccolo

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 431 posts
I'm a little bit underwhelmed by what i've seen so far. The impression I get is that they're just making words up as they go along, often with very distinct similarities to a mixture of Earth languages.

It would certainly be nice to have some proper, unique fantasy languages in the game, as that kind of thing (along with having some really well thought out of lore) can make a world feel alive and believable - not to mention much more memorable, if place names and such really sound distinct from Earth.

I'm not saying characters ingame should speak in these artificial languages (however cool that would be).

That would be very cool indeed... especially if our characters had to take the time to learn a certain language in order to interact with a group of NPCs. It's something i've always wanted to see in a fantasy RPG, but as far as I know, it's only ever been touched on very lightly.

Edited by Piccolo, 12 October 2012 - 04:40 AM.


#19
Amentep

Amentep

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 3366 posts
  • Location:Fawcett City
  • Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Anyone played Jade Empire? They created an entirely new language for that game and it made the game sooooooooooooooooooooo much better for it. If they can afford/have time to do it I really hope they will.


They also received a lot of flak about it from people, despite the language having been created by a linguistic expert.

Unfortunately I think its a "no win" scenario.

#20
Merlkir

Merlkir

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 402 posts
  • Location:Czech Republic
  • Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
Huh.

Created in four months, for just over $2,000, it is a real language


I like the sound of that. ;)

edit: ok, holy ****.

2) Tho Fan is an inexcusable insult. Bioware has lowered the Asian people to the level of Twi'leks. They have denegrated a people by treating them like Elves and Dwarves. Not only is Tho Fan offensive, but Bioware has repeatedly told lies about it. Yes, it's true. Bioware promotes Tho Fan as a "real language" and have repeatedly said how "Asian" it sounds. There is coincedentally no audio of the "language" in either the "making of" videos or any of their commercials, so consumers cannot know how bad it is until they buy the game. This is consumer fraud, as cursory examination reveals the "language" is not only gibberish but sounds nothing like any Asian language. If Bioware thinks Tho Fan sounds Asian, they must think Asians are savages.


uh..

Edited by Merlkir, 12 October 2012 - 05:18 AM.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: language, linguistics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users