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J.E. Sawyer

Constructed Languages and Intuitive *~ Culture Feels ~*

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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?!"

 

 

Hopefully there will be no Russian inspired languages and I will be able to avoid any WTF moments like in Alpha Protocol (where I couldn't even read what was written in supposedly Cyrillic script).

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Always enjoy looking up and learning new things, so i'm all for this. Had the opportunity a few years ago to attend a recital of Beowulf in the original old English performed by an RSC veteran, it was absolutely captivating, even though I admit that I had professor Tolkiens translation open on my knee. Think it might be an especially interesting route for the Chanter to take, finding purer Glenfathan translations of the more modern saga poems.

 

Edit: Recently played through Icewind Dale 2, and had my liitle one interested in Latin, simply because he wanted to know what the spellcasters were saying. Now that's what you call educational. Next up Total War, and all the Sun Tzu qoutes.

Edited by Nonek
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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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This also reminds me of the "Tempos, not Tempus" thing from the Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter expansion. Was that your idea, Josh?

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I believe the best solution would be pronunciation guide section somewhere in the manual, or in a separate booklet/file (like the Sigil slang guide in Polish release of Planescape: Torment). This way, people who care about such things could read up on it, while the others would be able to ignore the matter.


 

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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

 

zeh-DIG-eve gill-ex would be my wild stab in the dark.  Hmmm, wrote fark instead, not sure what that means.

 

Ultimately with regards to the constructed language, I think as long as the terminology doesn't go overboard (as in the old Planescape setting warning of going overboard with cant slang) so that the context is understood I'm okay.  I don't worry about pronunciation that much personally (one of my first jobs involved calling people's names out - you kind of get over mispronouncing things quickly).

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That's what I like about my languge. No fuss with pronaunciation.

 

I don't have to think about it because it's written exactly like it's pronounced. If you can write it you can read it, if you can read it you can write it.

 

More fictional languages could go that route.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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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

 

Fun fact: Any human being can pronounce any syllable or word used by any other human. Even those aboridgini sounds.

 

It takes some vocal gymnastics abnd lots of practice to get your troat and tounge to learn it.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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As a result of dyslexia, I sound out words very poorly. "Normally" spelled words and unusually spelled words make no difference to me.

 

The sound of these words define many of my associations with the setting. As a result, I would hungrily listen to short pronunciation clips in an in game encyclopedia. I would greedily listen for cleverly placed barks and shouts. This is because the flavor of Project Eternity sounds so delicious.

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Might it be possible to have a companion who spoke one of the more tongue twisting of languages, and your intellect and guesswork allow you to slowly gain an understanding of his tongue, like with the Dabu in Sigil? Might be a good way of integrating the learning into the game, and make pronunciation and such a more organic thing. The translation scenes with Fell were brilliant role playing to my mind, and equally they might be keen on learning some of the younger languages.

 

Might be a touch too awkward to design such a character (with such a focus on linguistics) however.


Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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All this makes me very happy.

 

- About pronunciation being un/intuitive - I think it could be a cool way to distinguish some of the more alien cultures - maybe the human languages are more or less intuitive, but suddenly! the player hears an elven name pronounced and it's quite unintuitive. Oh, that's right, they're quite different to humans!

 

- About the fact we're reading it transcribed in latin script anyway - it's the old Tolkien "old timey translator" trick - we're simply being fed an approximate translation of all the languages. The differences we see now are perhaps not at all what the actual languages sound like, it's the translator giving it his best effort to make their respective relationships obvious by relating them to languages we know.

 

Names in language X are pronounced differently than we (mostly English speakers) would assume from the transcription? Well, in the analogue of language X, names are also pronounced differently to the way they're written down in the common tongue Y (whatever that is). And that difference of language X pronunciation to the Y transcription is kind of similar to the way Irish names are pronounced compared to being written down in the latin alphabet.


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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

 

zeh-<click>DIG-eve <brief pause> gill-ex would be my wild stab in the dark.  Hmmm, wrote fark instead, not sure what that means.

 

Ultimately with regards to the constructed language, I think as long as the terminology doesn't go overboard (as in the old Planescape setting warning of going overboard with cant slang) so that the context is understood I'm okay.  I don't worry about pronunciation that much personally (one of my first jobs involved calling people's names out - you kind of get over mispronouncing things quickly).

 

 

Lol, no no no... it's pronounced exactly how it looks!

 

 

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

 

Fun fact: Any human being can pronounce any syllable or word used by any other human. Even those aboridgini sounds.

 

It takes some vocal gymnastics abnd lots of practice to get your troat and tounge to learn it.

 

 

Well, fun fact for you: I made that up, so it doesn't really count as a word used by other humans... and really it's more accurate to say that every human has had the potential to pronounce any phoneme, as we can lose some of that potential as our vocal anatomy and/or brain wiring changes in early childhood. It really can be all but impossible to acquire certain new sounds. But anyway the point is that we're not contriving exotic languages for the sake of seeming difficult to pronounce.

 

Granted, my travel has been biased towards different European and Latin American countries, but I generally find it very easy to pronounce stuff correctly even if I don't know the grammar or vocabulary of the language. Even Chinese or Japanese I could do without much difficulty, and I've really never had any contact with speakers of that language. Gaelic and Cyrillic-based languages are a fun challenge but ultimately doable. But there are some fantasy RPG con-langs for which this general ability does not translate at all, and even though this is theoretically justified by the fact that different races should have very separate languages, it's more frustrating than anything.

 

But I guess now I'm just getting into the territory of ranting about how we must always have fantasy races if they're all inevitably modeled after humans aside from rather nominal differences (pointy ears, body hair, skin tone). I sort of don't get why we bother when the most convincing races will be those most based off humans, since we're the ones whose behavior there is historical precedent for. But now I'm horribly off-topic so I'm going to stop. But seriously, if there's anything that's based purely on convention for convention's sake, it has to be fantasy races.

 

So I guess to bring it back on-topic, it's really not going to impress me that otherwise generic elves and dwarves are "so different" that they have a dramatically different language system. However, it sounds like that's not going to be an issue, so hooray...

Edited by mcmanusaur

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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

 

zeh-DIG-eve gill-ex would be my wild stab in the dark.  Hmmm, wrote fark instead, not sure what that means.

 

Ultimately with regards to the constructed language, I think as long as the terminology doesn't go overboard (as in the old Planescape setting warning of going overboard with cant slang) so that the context is understood I'm okay.  I don't worry about pronunciation that much personally (one of my first jobs involved calling people's names out - you kind of get over mispronouncing things quickly).

 

 

Lol, no no no... it's pronounced exactly how it looks!

 

 

That's how it looked to me!

 

Unlike Raymond Luxury Yacht, which is pronounced "Throat Warbler Mangrove".

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I'm very interested in linguistics. A while ago I made a program in Java to analyze languages as Markov chains (of any order). One use of this is the ability to identify languages based on their transition matrices - the "reverse" is of course generating probabilistic strings of text from an already computed transition matrix, essentially creating probabilistic conlang words.

 

Among other more unrelated theoretical interesting stuff was the possibility to calculate "entropy" of the language (in the information theory sense).

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"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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I'm very happy to see how this topic is addressed :D As for approaching the intended pronounciation with an "anglification" of the written representation: Don't do that please. The only situation I can imagine where the look of the words presented in the initial posting could be a problem, is if there are spoken passages without subtitles or clues in text before/after that situation/in the journal to link complicated words to their written representation.

Oh, and as in the Italian example, it certainly is a good idea to have a native speaker / reader of the base languages have a look at the outcome to avoid silly sounding words or such with unintended meaning ;)

 

 

Rostere: Hm, Stockholm, computer linguistics... Would you happen to know a professor Volk? :)


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Since we'll mostly be reading dialog, I don't have a problem with this, as long as it does not involve location names. Otherwise, it has to be clear to the player that even if the pronunciation is different, people are talking about the same place.

 

I was also thinking that there could be an in-game codex(lexicon?) that has a section for how words are pronounced. I doubt a large percent of players will use this, but I personally like to say the word I'm reading in the intended way.

 

There are lots of games that have had this problem, both from your earlier games like the NWN2 games, and other rpgs out there. It isn't the end of the world if I pronounce the word the right way or not, but I hate it when someone tells me that I'm not speaking the right way. I personally feel more attached to the whole world and setting when I know what is coming out of my mouth isn't gibberish. On the other hand, most of us are probably used to this already. 

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As it applies to the languages, names, etc. in Project Eternity, how much do you care about the intuitive pronunciation of our conlangs?

I don't care at all.

 

For me what matters most is the setting. If the setting demands that some languages are not able to be intuitively pronounced then they should not be able to be intuitively pronounced. Just as languages in the real world don't contort to my needs and force me to adapt, so should the languages of the setting.

 

 As long I have the means to find out how a word is pronounced I'll be content.

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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

 

zeh-<click>DIG-eve <brief pause> gill-ex would be my wild stab in the dark.  Hmmm, wrote fark instead, not sure what that means.

 

*The character to whom that name belongs rolls his eyes while letting out a sigh of exasperation*

 

"... It's pronounced 'Steve.' Gyah!"


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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Oh, and as in the Italian example, it certainly is a good idea to have a native speaker / reader of the base languages have a look at the outcome to avoid silly sounding words or such with unintended meaning ;)

 

In the case of the Darcozzi Paladini, that would never make sense in any of the source romance languages because it's exhibiting characteristics of a cased language.  Vailian, unlike Italian, French, or Occitan, is cased.  If we used prepositions and articles to represent those relationships (especially to the extent that Italian does), it actually comes across as too Earth-like, IMO.  Consuagli asegia seems "Romance-y", but consiglio dell'assedio looks unmistakably Italian.

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As it applies to the languages, names, etc. in Project Eternity, how much do you care about the intuitive pronunciation of our conlangs?

 

Not much.  Entering a new world, I expect elements to be foreign, and could imagine unintuitive pronunciations being effective as long as there's been enough familiar material introduced to keep me grounded.

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Oh, and as in the Italian example, it certainly is a good idea to have a native speaker / reader of the base languages have a look at the outcome to avoid silly sounding words or such with unintended meaning ;)

 

In the case of the Darcozzi Paladini, that would never make sense in any of the source romance languages because it's exhibiting characteristics of a cased language.  Vailian, unlike Italian, French, or Occitan, is cased.  If we used prepositions and articles to represent those relationships (especially to the extent that Italian does), it actually comes across as too Earth-like, IMO.  Consuagli asegia seems "Romance-y", but consiglio dell'assedio looks unmistakably Italian.

 

 

So did it occur to you to change these propositions and articles to fictional ones?


"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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It did, but most Romance articles and prepositions tend to be short (and often abbreviated/contracted as in consiglio dell'assedio), so don't know if they would wind up actually feeling that much different if I switched a few consonants and vowels around.  Vailian is the only language we have that's based on widespread Earth languages, so I thought it was more important to more significantly shift it away from their Earth counterparts.

 

Changing the articles and prepositions to fictional ones doesn't really solve the "problem" of fictional grammar because neither approach is attempting to actually be correct Italian/French/Occitan, just to have the flavor of those languages.  Consiglio frezz'assedio is arguably as "wrong" as Darcozzi Paladini.

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Language geek here. Clean, phonetic spelling is boring. I would love it if orthography reflects language history in the world of P:E. Just stick an appendix somewhere in the manual that describes the phonetics, orthography and (even better!) grammar and vocabulary of the languages, and I'm a happy panda.

 

Even better, have different spellings for the same things depending on who's talking. And misunderstandings.

 

Tangent.

 

You'll find a spot on a map in Southern France which is marked "Temple des druides," Temple of the Druids. It's a small stone ruin built partly into a cave and partly under a big rock overhang. Popular with hippies.

 

However, the story of the name is much funnier than if it was actually a temple of the Druids. Turns out that some time during Napoleon III, the official cartographer showed up and started marking up places of interest. He, naturally, spoke French. The locals, naturally, spoke Provençal. Not the same thing. So he asked them what this spot is called, and they said something along the lines of "toumple dei drudas." "Cool," he must've thought, "Temple of the Druids." And duly marked it down.

 

Thing is, in the local patois, 'toumple' means 'cave' and 'druda' means 'prostitute.' The place was actually a spot where the poorer village prostitutes went with their johns for a little privacy. So the locals called it the Cave of the Whores.

 

I would love to see this kind of misunderstanding in P:E too.

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Clean, phonetic spelling is boring.

 

Why simple when we can complicate heh living s*** out of things...right?


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Clean, phonetic spelling is boring.

 

Why simple when we can complicate heh living s*** out of things...right?

 

It's not complication for complication's sake - The fact is that natural languages with universally clean phonetic spelling are near nonexistent. Such a language is obviously artificial and bespeaks no history or background for its culture. It's a complete flavour vacuum.

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