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Old 07-16-2003, 12:51 PM   #1
Realedazed
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Hope this makes since. Sometimes, I'm not good with words.

I've played a few MUDs where their where several languages. Some races had their own languages and some classes did also. Now, in the two main games I play now there is to identical debates. Should all languages be something accessable to all characters.

In the main game I play, we have several racial languages. When there are many of my race around, I prefer to to speak in my own tongue. I do this espeically since my character is snobby and doesn't care for those not of her race. I guess I'm just selfish or something, but I can't stand when someone not of my race can understand me. I can see if they have reasons to learn the language, but if they learn it just to be nosy, in annoys me,

In my opinion I think it takes away from the uniqueness of the race. I don't know. What about you guys?
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Old 07-16-2003, 02:10 PM   #2
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For a spy character, it makes somewhat sense that they would acquire the skills to learn another racial language. And, of course, I suppose the argument could be made that anyone could spend the time, energy and cost of learning a new language. However, if it's too acessible, then it somewhat defeats the purpose of having racial languages. On the other hand, perhaps certain languages have a telepathic component or unique physical requirements that make it only possible for members of that race to communicate.

One idea, depending on if the coder is willing to do this, is if learning a racial language does not confer complete understanding, rather like listening to a drunken speak. For example:

TROLL: Boy, howdy, that giant in the woods sure has some bad breath!

NON-TROLL WHO LEARNS TROLL HEARS: Bbbogrrr, howdy, thaggrr Griahhhnt in da Wdddrs sgrrr has some brrrd breath!

Thus, listening to trollish would be difficult but not impossible (and subject to misinterpretation) and require the player who's being nosy to spend a bit of effort.
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Old 07-17-2003, 11:11 AM   #3
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On the mud I play, it's entirely possible for everyone to learn every language, however most people don't bother because there's more important things to do, and people rarely speak their native tongues in public anyway. It's a skill-based mud, so your skill in the language determines how much of someone's speech you understand. It's possible to become fluent in any language, but it takes a LOT of work (For example, my current char knows a lot of languages, but isn't fluent in any of them, and I've been playing her over a YEAR. Of course, languages are also something I don't work on that often.)

Some languages are rare and/or semi-secret though, mainly the languages of races that you can't play unless you get put into a body of that race (i.e. you can't start out as one). Knowing these languages tends to add to your prestige, however most people don't go around bragging that they know them, because then everyone would beg them to teach them the language and they don't want to, they want to keep it semi-rare. Sometimes people even trade rare languages like they'd trade spells.

On another mud, there's a language known only to a group known as Templars. It's perfectly learnable by anyone else, however I'd imagine very few outside the group ever learn it because if the Templars ever found out, they'd kill them or somesuch. And no self-respecting Templar would voluntarily teach it to an outsider, so if it was ever found out who taught the outsider, the teacher as well as the student would get punished.
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Old 07-17-2003, 02:12 PM   #4
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It's not a common feature, but I prefer MUDs where there is an actual language barrier. No common language, which is ridiculous (in a MUD where at one time the people were devoid of magical or technical communication, that is, most MUDs. Some could reasonably have one), and maybe even several languages for one race, though I have yet to see that in a game. It'd be realistic, but you'd lose track of them quickly.

Anyway, I think that as long as the vocal chords and mouths of different species are basically the same, those languages should be able to be spoken, and all languages should at least be able to be learned to some extent.
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Old 07-17-2003, 08:45 PM   #5
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No common language, which is ridiculous ...
In real life, absolute language barriers (i.e., there exist no individuals who speak both languages in question) only exist for the first generation of substantial contact between cultures, if even that. In culturally diverse societies, such as Hawaii, all members standardize on a single language, which may be an amalgamation of the languages spoken by the various groups (such as early plantation pigeon) or the language spoken by the dominant group (English).

It would be extremely unrealistic to have such barriers in a MUD unless each culture was isolationist and/or the MUD is new and the setting is such that the different racial societies have not yet come into substantial contact.
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Old 07-18-2003, 12:02 AM   #6
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I didn't say the barriers had to be absolute. In fact, I specifically said that they should be able to be learned by everyone. There has yet to be a common language made that has been accepted by everyone on earth.

Your races only need to not have been in contact long enough for them to develop their own languages, or away from other races for long enough, or just politically seperated from others. Actually, my theory is that even if a species were to evolve side-by-side in a symbiotic relationship, differing basic languages would evolve. Look at what smiling means to most apes.

If different languages develop, people are going to want to keep the ones they like the best. We have theorhetical contact with every person on earth, yet there are still at the very least 4000 languages in existance. Even if, in the MUD, culture has existed as long or longer than culture IRL, it's still unlikely that that MUD would have a common language everyone would like to speak. Not to mention the possibility of telepathic and somantic words that may not be pronounciable by other races, but which may be fundamentally ingrained as an understandable component of language in one species' mind, and which may restrict them from understanding something else.
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Old 07-18-2003, 02:16 AM   #7
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Your races only need to not have been in contact long enough for them to develop their own languages, or away from other races for long enough, or just politically seperated from others.
You are presenting a hypothetical situation that is hardly the case in any MUD society of which I am aware. In all cases where multiple cultures have come into substantial contact, they have either developed a common language or used one of their languages as a standard.

A substantial language barrier in a MUD would only be plausible if characters rarely associated with individuals of a different race. Unless the majority of your characters stay cloistered within their racial homelands for the duration of their lives, they will know at least one language commonly spoken by all other socieities with which they have regular contact.

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There has yet to be a common language made that has been accepted by everyone on earth.
Straw man. There has yet to be substantial social contact between everyone on the earth.
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Old 07-18-2003, 01:19 PM   #8
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You are presenting a hypothetical situation that is hardly the case in any MUD society of which I am aware.
Have you been to every MUD out there? Have you even been to more than 10? I know of many that should have this.

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Straw man. There has yet to be substantial social contact between everyone on the earth.
The common language I was referring to was a specific language, "common", found in most diku-deriative MUDs, and many who take after them. It is known by _every_ beginning character, no exceptions at all, and I find that annoying. Common was not in the context of "common to a few", that is, learned by a neighboring country in most schools, but "common to all". Do you know Ethiopian? Islamic? Even passibly good Norwegian?


In most MUDs, the setting is in the past. A lot of people still lived on farms or houses seperated from others. Most of those raised their children without much contact with the outside world beyond tax collectors, neighboring farms, and trips to the nearby town. I doubt in all the hard work that a parent would take time to teach more than a few words of Far Hendric (or Trollish, whichever floats your theme), a language that they think they will barely ever use but which is in common use maybe 150 miles from their farm, to their offspring.

The problem with this is that most MUDs are necessarily small in world size. 10 rooms to the east or less, and you find another city. It might actually be 30 miles to that city, but it's easy for players to cross, so more people are going to come out to that farm. It's a bit of a trip to trek up to the borders of the nation of Hendric, maybe 50 rooms, but, for some reason, not one a sturdy farm boy couldn't make in a MUD day. In extreme cases I've seen it become 10 rooms for that 150 miles. So why have language barriers? Because in reality, the trip could take much more than a day. People will talk to people two days away, but a week is another matter. Then it's wasting planting time.

I know, no adventurers come out of the farmlands. Players occupy that one niche only. Or not. RP isn't always about slaying dragons and scoring with the elf chick in your party. Maybe I do want to play a farmer, perhaps a farmer next to that dragon lair who profits off of would-be heros by letting them stay the night for a rest?

*shrug* I just want a little realism. I don't want to automatically speak "common" every time I log in, or even have it available for other people to use, I want to speak the farmer's native dialect, even if I'm misunderstood by three or four heros.
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Old 07-18-2003, 06:50 PM   #9
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I think your criticisms are misplaced. In every MUD I've ever played (I've been MUDding for 11 years now), each new character is assumed to be an adventurer, and there is at least one large city with a healthy number of inhabitants representing each race. Such a place would have, out of necessity, developed a common language, and all adventurers in the region and citizens of said city would know it.

I believe what your trying to argue is that more MUDs should have races which are isolationist in nature and no large racially diverse population centers.

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Do you know Ethiopian? Islamic? Even passibly good Norwegian?
Why would I? Aside from the fact that I've only seen one or two Jordanians in passing at school, never been to Norway, and quite possibly have never had the pleasure of meeting an Ethiopian, the closest thing we have to a global de-facto common language is English.
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Old 07-19-2003, 02:24 AM   #10
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Why would I? Aside from the fact that I've only seen one or two Jordanians in passing at school, never been to Norway, and quite possibly have never had the pleasure of meeting an Ethiopian, the closest thing we have to a global de-facto common language is English.
You are illustrating my point exactly. If you were to meet a (native) Ethiopian right now you would likely not be able to talk to him much. A Jordanian might know english, and a Norwegian probrally would (I've been to Norway, and because of it's proximity to England, most people know English, and those that don't can grab someone off the street, and chances are they do). But "common" as an actual language is silly. Better to have English and Norwegian, with Norwegians able to take English at character creation with minimal cost. I'm using these as an example, but you get the drift. Language barriers are very fun to RP, I know from experience.

Even in a single country, some people have trouble making out an accent radically different from their own. Also, both Norwegian and Chinese (I'm sure there are others) have such a thing as writing the same for everyone, but several pronounciations, and even the whole language, radically different to two people in different areas.

Many MUDs are also in a timeframe where people were exploring a great deal. You might just meet a native from the east coast of another continent on the west coast of yours, and he would be the only one to count on for knowing how to communicate. He has probably already encountered your language, but maybe he didn't take time to learn it. *shrug* I dunno. I just think MUDs could be spiced up a great deal by adding these sort of questions to think about. An exotically outfitted outlander charging at you atop a horse might not produce the same reaction as a native doing the same. "Can I even get him to understand me enough to begin to convince him to stop?"
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Old 07-19-2003, 06:10 AM   #11
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Of course that woudl be interesting. I simply took issue with your original assertion that a common language is ridiculous in most MUDs, which usually have at least one large city with a remarkably racially diverse population, implying a prolonged period of unbroken contact.

MUDs without such a city are the exception rather than the rule.
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Old 08-01-2003, 11:46 PM   #12
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But just the same - sooner or later (probably later) the races of a MUD will agree on a single language that should be used to communicate for trading and negotiations and suchlike.

Does this mean that every char on the MUSH will be able to speak that language perfectly? Heck no - where'd be the fun in /that/? After all, no two races think exactly the same. A Zangali (or Troll or Ogre, or whatever the equivilant for your MUD theme is..) won't be able to speak Terran Standard as well as, say, a Human. The former will, however, be able to understand Standard well enough - and they'll be able to /speak/ it. Just not very well. But hey, where's the fun of being able to speak Standard perfectly when you can befuddle those around you with broken Standard?
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:07 PM   #13
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I've always wanted to see a mud that incorporated real life languages into it. A mud that is based say in the dark ages of England. So you have English being the common tongue, then people who play the mud and know German, or French, or Spanish, can use that in character, and you could even have areas for France, Spain, and Germania. Too bad no one has tried it yet, I think it would succeed greatly considering you have people in those countries that probably would try the mud, of course Asia couldn't be used since their alphabet is symbols, but it's still an ambitious project I'd love to see done in the mudding world.
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Old 08-12-2003, 07:29 PM   #14
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I've always wanted to see a mud that incorporated real life languages into it.  A mud that is based say in the dark ages of England.  So you have English being the common tongue, then people who play the mud and know German, or French, or Spanish, can use that in character, and you could even have areas for France, Spain, and Germania.
Except that "English" in the Dark Ages is absolutely nothing like the English language used today, and would be perfectly understandable by Germans of the same time period.  It was, after all, the combined dialects of three Germanic tribes (the Angles, Saxons and Jutes) which developed into Old English.

English is my native language, and I can also speak a reasonable amount of High German (and therefore also understand some Low German), but I can barely understand any Old English.
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Old 08-12-2003, 08:26 PM   #15
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And they didn't use Gaelic in the movie braveheart did they? Or Latin in Gladiator. I think it comes down to providing fun and entertaining things, which is why you don't follow the exact context of a time period when it comes to things like this.

-Delerak
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Old 08-14-2003, 01:24 PM   #16
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While you could do a system like Eagleon's, where the price for knowing a language shrinks as you get closer to the country where it's prevalent, I prefer the following idea.
The theory is fairly simple. At some time in the world's (read: game's) history, some all-encompassing empire (such as Achaea's Seleucar or the real world's Rome) ruled the game area, enforcing or introducing a universal language. While this empire may not be around by the time the gameplay begins, the language is still present and is a common language shared between cities, races, and guilds.
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Old 08-18-2003, 12:40 AM   #17
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I have played on many a mud, H&S all the way through to RPIs in more recent history and I must agree that differentiating between languages and dialects adds a whole new dimension to RP.

Have you ever had an hour long session pantomiming between yourself and another poor fellow who is from the other side of the world.

In fact I consider that one of the two best things about the RPI I am now at. If you remember Tolkien, funnily enough, a language proffesor, he developed significantly different languages for each race, even variations in dialect and ALSO in writing scripts.
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