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J.E. Sawyer

Constructed Languages and Intuitive *~ Culture Feels ~*

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It doesn't make sense, but we're viewing everything with Latin orthography and we're going to hear very little of it actually pronounced, so the "cultural feels" of it (IMO) have to come through orthography rather than pronunciation.  If I were to write everything with English orthography (still problematic in many ways due to huge inconsistencies), there would likely be little apparent inspiration for the language/culture.  In the original example I gave, Cornish is much more intuitive to read and pronounce than Irish, but is much less obviously Celtic in origin/flavor.

 

In something like the Game of Thrones TV show, the pronounced sound of Dothraki and High Valyrian are much more important than the orthography because we're hearing everything rather than reading it.

A fair point, I suppose. I guess I'm just a stickler for this kinda stuff. So, on the topic of conlangs:

 

1. How much are you focusing on making the history of the languages apparent in their design? e.g. semantic shift from cognates and re-borrowings? Will the ancient sources of languages we come across (say in ruins) be obviously different (yet related) to their modern counterparts?

 

2. Are there going to be any conlangs based on languages outside of the indo-european family? (I'd particularly expect this for the Orlans and the Dwarves, given their fluff thus far.)

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At the extreme end of the spectrum, ideally I could write everything in IPA and every player (also well-versed in IPA) would read the words perfectly without the need for anachronistic orthographies.  Since our game will be primarily read instead of listened to, I'm currently leaning toward using anachronistic orthographies to convey the feeling of the inspirational source languages.  That's not necessarily "the right" way to do things, which is why I started this thread.

 

You've made a perfectly valid point, though.

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For what it's worth (I may just be looking for trouble) I live in London and attended an inner city school where the mix of culture's from all over the world created what is effectively another variation on the english language.  It goes beyond a type of slang (based on what was implemented in PST) to an accent and change of various words that professionals (some of whom I've worked with) consider a verbal communication of intent - so if you don't speak in this manner, you may be considered an outsider or a threat.

 

That may be totally irrelevant, but thought I'd post it anyway.

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At the extreme end of the spectrum, ideally I could write everything in IPA and every player (also well-versed in IPA) would read the words perfectly without the need for anachronistic orthographies.

[ðæʔd biː pəɹfɪkɫiː faɪn baɪ miː]

 

(Seriously though, IPA aids aren't that bad of an idea, preferrably in some sort of in-game glossary of terms.)

Edited by Micamo
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A fair point, I suppose. I guess I'm just a stickler for this kinda stuff. So, on the topic of conlangs:

 

1. How much are you focusing on making the history of the languages apparent in their design? e.g. semantic shift from cognates and re-borrowings? Will the ancient sources of languages we come across (say in ruins) be obviously different (yet related) to their modern counterparts?

 

2. Are there going to be any conlangs based on languages outside of the indo-european family? (I'd particularly expect this for the Orlans and the Dwarves, given their fluff thus far.)

 

 

1. Not tremendously, but a little.  Due to the number of cultures and languages, I'm not going to delve deep into each language.  Engwythan and Glanfathan are from the same part of the world and are loosely related (as Cornish and Irish are).  Eld Aedyran and Hylspeak (similar to Scots) are essentially older versions of the "common" contemporary Aedyran which is, for all practical purposes, English.  Vailian doesn't have any branched or ancestral languages represented in the game, but Dyrwoodans have appropriated some of their words (e.g. "duc").

 

2. The languages spoken in Ixamitl, Naasitaq (boreal dwarf-dominated), and Rauatai (northern aumaua-dominated) are all non-Indo-Euro in inspiration.  They will be developed with less depth because they aren't as commonly spoken in this part of the world and frankly, I'm much more familiar with Indo-Euro languages.

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i'll never get the hang of those constructed languages

why not just use REAL irish cornish or french/italian in the few places where you'll have to use those languages

it should sound just as strange to the average english speaking reader ;)

no one ever had a problem with dwarves using a scottish dialect, and it's just as modern as those others would be

anyway, do as you please, but i just don't get it

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To be clear, our conlangs won't dramatically veer away from their inspiration languages, but sometimes deviating from the source can actually avoid some stumbling blocks/issues (e.g. "bean" as the Irish word for woman).

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I like the attention to detail. I trust, since this will be read, that spelling among the different areas inhabitants will be the same? For example, I cant say I would have noticed that "bæl" vs. "BAY-ul" are both describing Bael River.


image,Gfted1,black,red.png

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Yeah.  You probably wouldn't notice that unless you heard a Dyrwoodan (or Aedyran) pronounce it and then a Glanfathan pronounce it.  Individual personal names may be spelled differently, especially among Dyrwoodans, who may borrow the sound of Glanfathan names transcribed into their own orthography -- or vice-versa.  This is very common in Earth languages.

 

Durnisc used for a Glanfathan name may be spelled Dúirnis, with the "i' after "ú" being a silent glide vowel added to satisfy the "slender to slender, broad to broad" vowel rule and to maintain the "r" and "sh" sounds from the source name.

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Slightly off topic but do you think the amount of non-player/cnpc voice acting will be on the BG side or the IWD side ?

I have no idea why, but this thread has given me ~* emigration feels *~.

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To be clear, our conlangs won't dramatically veer away from their inspiration languages, but sometimes deviating from the source can actually avoid some stumbling blocks/issues (e.g. "bean" as the Irish word for woman).

fair enough, but on a larger scale, isn't that a battle that you can't really win? you make something sound right for english readers => now the french (or whoever else) start to read funny things because now it has some meaning in their language :D

of course, i'm aware you are making this game for english speakers primarly, so it's not a big deal i guess

 

anyway, i just wanted to say how very much i enjoy reading about development related stuff like this from you guys; loving your open way of communicating with us backers!

keep on rockin'

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In CRPGs I don't usually care how strange looking words should be pronounced, but it would be nice if collector book has pronunciation guide for strange words.

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As long as we don't get names like Z'dgyv-qylix, which is all but unpronounceable by individuals possessing human vocal anatomy

Georgian

 

Berber

 

And my favorite, Nuxalk (Bella Coola)

 

 

Probably the oldest recorded instance of trolling in the history of humanity.

 

Personally, I think they're beautiful.

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Slightly off topic but do you think the amount of non-player/cnpc voice acting will be on the BG side or the IWD side ?

 

Quantity-wise, more in the realm of the BG games.

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:w00t:

 

woo!

 

It would be a cool idea to provide some naming schemes for character creation for the different conlangs. Kind of the the D&D 3E and 4E books provided a few sample names of each race etc

 

Dunno whether this is something you've already covered in the campaign almanac or manual or something (or even in-game in the character creation name screen).

 

Since my first character will probably be a black supremacist vailian chick with a pimpin' feather hat, I'd like to have an appropriate name :)

Edited by Sensuki
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fair enough, but on a larger scale, isn't that a battle that you can't really win? you make something sound right for english readers => now the french (or whoever else) start to read funny things because now it has some meaning in their language :D

 

 

of course, i'm aware you are making this game for english speakers primarly, so it's not a big deal i guess

 

True.  Vailian probably runs the biggest risk of this, especially since it's a cased language (most contemporary Romance languages are not).  I already had a native Italian speaker call me out on the Darcozzi Paladini (an ancient order of palace guards from the Grand Empire of Vailia).  "Hey buddy, who named that, some backwater farmer?!"

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I already had a native Italian speaker call me out on the Darcozzi Paladini (an ancient order of palace guards from the Grand Empire of Vailia).  "Hey buddy, who named that, some backwater farmer?!"

Toes: there are millions of them for stepping on, both unintentionally and deliberately.  Go get 'em, Sawyer!   :cat:

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http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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I have no problem with your approach to spelling (that is, using the orthographic conventions of the language inspiring each conlang for flavor purposes). It's not the way I would do it, but it's not my game, so do what you think is best to convey the feeling you're trying to capture.

 

I would like some sort of pronunciation guide, however, as my knowledge of Irish spelling rules, which are complicated and full of exceptions, is moderate at best, and my understanding of Italian orthography is even worse. I do like to know how the author intends for me to pronounce a word.

 

Thanks for putting so much thought into your conlangs, Josh. Most fantasy writers seem to just throw a bunch of weird sounding words out there without any sort of systematicity (which always torpedoes my immersion in the fantasy world). 

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Maybe just a glossary (including all the main proper names of people, places, and objects in the world) in the manual wouldn't be too much trouble, and would provide a nice little bit of "for those who need to know...", :)


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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As an Irish man, I fully support the idea. Bring on the incomprehensible words. :grin:

 

When I read update 53 I was wondering how you'd managed to make Cean Gúla from woman of blood but it definitely has the right ring to it which is what you're looking for really so well done.

Edited by Shoeless Joe Jackson

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How will we even know how the words are supposed to be pronounced? Unless they are verbalized in-game wont it be as always, the players will come up with whatever sounds right in their heads.

 

That's what I expect, but I wanted to find out how much players care about their expected pronunciation matching the "real" pronunciation (for whatever that is worth).  My assumption was that players don't really care as long as they don't stumble over the words while reading them, but it's a baseless assumption.

 

 

Personally, I find it FAR more immersive if the languages are not all designed to be intuitively pronounced correctly. That's not the case for a selection of real languages. If every language in P:E is intuitively pronounced correctly by English speakers, that just makes them seem more artificial for all sharing the same pronunciation features. I'm far more interested in a range of languages whose orthographic features and phonetic features do not all correspond in the same way.

 

Also I care a lot about rich and well developed languages in general; it's one of my favourite things.

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It seems that since the player character will be new to the land, that would allow for moments in which locals could provide pronunciation tips whether by transcribed journal entries or by asides in dialog like, "you'll want to head over to the town of X; the locals pronounce it..."  As long as some hints are provided, I think most players will be fine with their mental approximations of the words being spelled out in front of them.  

 

The only note of caution would likely be for words that might appear in VO dialog or narrative which might be pronounced in a markedly different manner than their spelling.  For those words, there should be some consideration for making sure player expectation roughly conforms to VO execution.

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When you see something written in Irish, there's little doubt what language you're looking at, but the pronunciation will quite often not be "right" in your head.  As it applies to the languages, names, etc. in Project Eternity, how much do you care about the intuitive pronunciation of our conlangs?

I couldn't care less. You're going with invented languages, they might as well be counter-intuitive and/or complete gibberish. I don't think I'll conjure up the energy to memorize the rules of even the more "intuitive" languages in P:E; there's simply no compelling reason for that (i.e. the medium doesn't lend itself to that).

 

I'm also 90% sure that in conversation, both online and IRL, people talking about P:E will substitute their own words for in-game terms; i.e. that watchamacallit-banshee you've shown us, I'm confident that people will simply refer to them as banshees. Same for ogres, fire giants, dwarves and dragons ("wurms").

 

edit: btw, we know there will be a limited amount of VA in P:E. Make sure that a lot of those lines contain conlang words, or else it's going to be really artificial and immersion breaking.

Edited by Sacred_Path

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Personally, I wouldn't bother making words visually closer to what they sound. More often than not when something like this comes up, my own rendition sounds better to me than the actual one, i.e. it's subjective if the word is not encountered spoken.

 

Generally speaking, I think context is important, too. English is not my native language, so it might be different for others, but when I read a paragraph in English, I'm in "English reading mode", so to speak, meaning that I'll read everything like I think it would sound in English. However, when there's multiple instances of fantasy (foreign?) words, I start reading those differently. Sometimes I even read an English word wrong before I notice its meaning...

 

Going for this what would work for me would be that the foreign words are in italics, just so that my brain pays attention and doesn't just steamroll over these words.

 

About the VO I have just one concern. I think it would be a good idea if when you first hear some word that wildly differs in pronunciation it would also be first encountered in that same VO, preventing  the player from already having their own version in their heads and then subsequently thinking about it every time they see/hear it.

 

One thing I'd also like to see is the use of loanwords in common dialogue, specially in areas where cultures come in contact with each other.

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