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Shady Knight
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:35 pm

The character perception is irrelevant. As we know, there is a "universal translator" effect on Felarya. The way harpies speak is already translated in a language you understand. The way they would speak to another harpy would be perceived almost exactly the same way to another species. Therefore, regardless of what species you are, you will still hear the harpy punctuate insults, threats and such in her speech.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:27 pm

Could it be that different populations of Harpies use different dialects, leading to disjoint levels of cursing among individual groups?
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:57 am

Shady Knight wrote:
The character perception is irrelevant. As we know, there is a "universal translator" effect on Felarya. The way harpies speak is already translated in a language you understand. The way they would speak to another harpy would be perceived almost exactly the same way to another species. Therefore, regardless of what species you are, you will still hear the harpy punctuate insults, threats and such in her speech.

Actually, character perception is very important. Especially if you are trying to write effective characters. How they perceive the world is as important as what they say and do. "Universal translator" is a cheesy way out for not taking into account character perception. Ignoring your character's perception weakens the character.

If character A absolutely hates character B because of what B is, and this hatred goes straight to the core of A's being, then why would A be all of the sudden nice to B? Even if A is nice to B what is A's motive? A would not give up it's hatred that easily. Plus A's hatred of what B is, will color how A sees B. This same hatred will have some effect on A's actions whether with or against B. Also, A may or may not be completely conscious of this hatred or that it may be coloring's A's views on the character B. That's all about character perception. Everyone has some kind of perceptive bias whether they are aware of it or not. Our character's do too. A good well thought out character will have some kind of bias that colors their perception.

In Felarya the most common kind of bias among it's residents would be the view that all Harpies are vulgar and insulting. It doesn't help the harpies cause that they use insults in their language. So when a harpy meets a non-harpy there is going to be some inevitable bias against the harpy in that conversation. The non-harpy will at first view the harpy through the common viewpoint or perception.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:01 am

Heheheheh... The reason why your point is irrelevant is because this is a discussion to make harpies accessible to WRITERS. Interpretation between characters is meaningless in this discussion. As presented by the wiki, their speech pattern seem needlessly complicated, so the vast majority opt to tone it in their writing to simply be blunt or otherwise very impolite, including Karbo himself. In that light, the so called "harpy phrasebook" verges on never used, so the most pragmatic solution would be to modify their entry to say that they have a tendency to be crude and insulting, but this is actually a weird quirk of their species. That way, the core concept of the species is maintained, while the "harpy dialect" is toned down to more manageable levels.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:42 am

I think I see what Brothejr is saying.

the wiki wrote:
Harpies from many different worlds are known for their bad tempers and their sarcastic and mocking retorts, and Felaryan harpies are no different. They are prone to anger and often quarrel amongst themselves.

Combined with this portion of the entry, the way the wiki says harpies speak becomes very hard for a new person to grasp. I'm not so sure we should be using blanket statements like this to describe an entire "major race" anyway, not if they're a race of sentient beings at least. This strikes me more as a character or clan/flock trait, and it could even apply to a subspecies but it shouldn't be confused for a trait of an entire species. It certainly doesn't help the way other characters from other species interpret what the harpy says when they're not supposed to mean what they say according to the wiki. Perception plays a role there. When we say that they're a sarcastic race, tone becomes pointless as well.

That's a little more to consider. I hope people see what I mean.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:49 am

True, it is a fact that harpies are misinterpreted by other species. However, the quote you brought up sheds a brighter light on the problem. I quote: "[...] known for their bad tempers and sarcastic, mocking retorts."

Keeping this in mind, would you not say this is a simpler explanation of this alleged language? Why bring a phrasebook that seem to bring heavy restrictions, when it can be left as "rude and blunt", then leave it at the writer's discretion to come up with their own flavor of sarcastic, mocking retorts?
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:15 am

I think the phrase book can be a fun thing to have. It's a place where you can find some of the more colorful examples of sarcasm. If I'm understanding you correctly, I'll agree that it might be restrictive. The problem is that it gets confused for examples of how harpies always talk. Sure, I think there are conversations that go on that are heavy with this slang or dialect, but insults don't have to be the first and last words we expect to come out of a harpies mouth. ( And considering how much they get misunderstood, why would they use it so carelessly around people who they know wouldn't get it? )

Another problem is that only the most flagrant and vulgar quotes typically make it into the phrase book, and that paints an even uglier picture of harpies which when combined with the hot-headed temperaments they're said to have leads to more focus on being obscene and obnoxious when portraying them. That definitely won't make them seem very versatile or easy to work with for a new person considering giving a role to a harpy or two.

Shouldn't we add more subtle and witty examples of sarcasm to the phrase book? Why should they all be represented as a bunch of one dimensional, loud mouthed, vulgar, pissed off, unlearned, and disorganized wenches? No two people think and behave exactly alike, such should be the case with harpies. I think a little diversity in that phrase book would do some good, along with rewording that wiki entry on harpies altogether.

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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:53 pm

I hope this description will clear up some of the confusion surrounding harpies and the way they speak, making them more accessible for people who struggle with figuring them out. Proposed changes to the entry are in italics.



Harpies

Harpies are half-women half-bird creatures, with wings instead of arms and claws instead of feet. Many of them have feathers on various parts of their body as well, although this varies from one specimen to another. Felaryan harpies are usually giant, about 100 feet tall on average, but shorter races also exist. They are an all female species, mating with males from other races to reproduce. A harpy baby inherits a small amount of genetic material from her father, which goes into trait and features that donít alter her physiology as a member of her motherís species. Harpies are voracious and one of the top predators in the skies of Felarya. With their excellent vision and hearing, they can spot prey from extremely far away. They usually attack with a swift swoop, mouth wide open to snatch a prey on the ground. Being without hands, harpies are extremely agile with their mouth and tongue. They are known to play cruel games with their prey when hunting in groups, involving dropping and catching. Harpies from many different worlds are known for their sarcastic and mocking retorts, and Felaryan harpies are no different. As a race, theyíve had a long standing feud with the sphinxes, whom they see as little more than a bunch of full-of-themselves and self-righteous morons, and have fought several wars with them.

( Removed: They are prone to anger and often quarrel amongst themselves.
Why I think this part about anger and quarreling should be dropped: Well for one, itís not a trait that should be applied to an entire race of sentient creatures; itís more fitting for a bunch of primitive and unintelligent animals. Besides, harpy dialect is often used and itís supposed to be gestures of politeness, right? It contradicts the underlined portions of the entry that follows.)


Harpy dialect

Most harpies have the curious habit of punctuating their sentences with what would appear to be a threat or insult. They normally don't mean it at all though, it's just traditional for them to use insults and it would seem unusual if they didn't. That being said, not all harpies use this dialect to the same degree but for the most part the only time harpies will skip this custom is if they are in a hurry or if they have something very important to say and donít want their comment to be misinterpreted. Use of the peculiar dialect can range from often to rarely, blunt to subtle, and simple to complex. . For example, if a harpy wanted to say: "I wish to speak to your sister", she could add a threat, like: "Let me see your sister or face my wrath!" If the other harpy wanted to reply in a similar manner, she could say; "She's not here." then she might actually say: "Insolent fool! My sister has more important matters to deal with than speaking to the likes of you!"
Upon hearing that exchange, one might conclude that the two harpies are on the verge of killing each other, but that's not the case at all. The tone and construction of the sentence gives subtle information about its real meaning. Needless to say this habit contributes a lot to their reputation as being very rude in the eyes of other races. Aul Ne'kmu'm is a well know Harpiologist who dedicated years to decipher this dialect and its true meaning. Here are some of his observations.


(End of entry.
Removed: Some harpies are known to use extremely sophisticated insults with almost all the real information being in the tone of the insult rather than the actual words.

Why: Itís redundant.

I forgot, I also think the " it would seem odd or even impolite if they didn't" should be dropped.

Why: A harpy that doesn't use it as much shouldn't been viewed as impolite, just unusual.

Okay. Any thoughts? Itís not much but does this seem even the slightest bit better? Please feel free to correct my grammar or tell me Iím off my rocker. All feedback is appreciated.)


Last edited by Heavenless-star on Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:51 am

Just a thought, this discussion of harpy language as slang made me think of cockney rhyming slang. It is interesting to note that cockney rhyming slang can be very difficult if not impossible for people who aren't familiar with it to comprehend.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:52 am

I'm not sure how much that helps but thanks for the input. xD

And thanks for reminding me to update an old idea had totally let gather dust.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:05 am

I was thinking that it might give some ideas on how to create a formula on how the Harpy language (or Harpy slang if you prefer) works making it easier for writers to develop dialog.

Another thought that popped into my head. What if it was originally created as a way to bypass the translation effect during the Sphinx/Harpy wars preventing sphinxes and their allies from understanding what harpies were saying?
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:20 am

That thought had crossed my mind yesterday. My understanding of the translation spell is that it translates the speakers' intended message, and if the speakers intend to say the opposite of what they mean then it gets translated exactly the way it's said. It could've been used as a way of masking messages but I also see it possibly coming from a heavy use of abusive language during a time when harpies wanted to toughen up their flocks. Now the way of speaking is carried on out of habit and tradition, but I imagine it's used to varying degrees depending on the flocks and individuals.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:14 pm

Actually no. The translation spell is nothing but a device to justify creatures all speaking the same language. It's not going to translate the "rude language" of a harpy into nice English to any other species.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:55 pm

That's what I was trying to say. The words would be translated as they were intended to be said, but their meaning would remain hidden. Maybe I should've said it this way; a compliment disguised as an insult would be translated the way it was intended.

Edit: I'm interested in knowing if the people who were originally against this idea feel better about it now or if there are still problems with it. If so, what can b better? Who thinks the new wording is better?
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon May 07, 2012 8:46 am

Ok, once again I've received a comment about my characters not using the dialect much. Combined with the feedback I got from the journal on my DA account, I can safely say that the wiki entry needs to be rewritten to clear up the misconceptions about harpy dialect. The version I put forth is a good start I think but I can't tell if this is going to be taken seriously or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon May 07, 2012 11:30 am

I think the wording is done nicely, makes sense. Though personally I'd be interested to know just how harpy language originally sounds without the translation magic. Though I dunno, tone might need to be emphasized a little more, but that's just me. I think the tone is the key behind how one would speak the language in the first place, not just learning the sentence structuring Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon May 07, 2012 1:33 pm

We already discussed that.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon May 07, 2012 3:06 pm

Eh kind of. It was mentioned, but no one really responded to it.
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Shady Knight
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon May 07, 2012 4:06 pm

It probably would be gibberish.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Mon May 07, 2012 5:19 pm

Oh, I see what he meant now. How silly of me. Well, I imagine the harpy "language" would sound a lot like the French language. In fact, all harpies speak with French-esque accents after translation. Yes. Yes indeed.


Edit: ಠ_ಠ
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Tue May 08, 2012 5:29 pm

Shady Knight wrote:
It probably would be gibberish.

It's monkey jabber!

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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Thu May 10, 2012 2:22 am

Alright those seem sensible changes to me ^^
And yes that entry is a bit old and could definitely use some rephrasing in general.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Sun May 13, 2012 6:20 am

You hardly changed anything. I gave the reasons why leading people to think harpies should have bad tempers a bad idea, I don't know why you would leave that in. Perhaps it's a personal preference of yours but you shouldn't push that on the community, if we mean anything to you outside of a source of ideas. I waited nearly a month for some changes to happen and in the end I got practically nothing. That's not the way to nurture healthy morale in the community.

Edit: I'm also looking forward to your answer to a pm I sent a few days ago regarding other matters. I'm not trying to be pushy, please understand that this lack of communication can be frustrating.
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Sun May 13, 2012 4:53 pm

Heavenless-star wrote:
You hardly changed anything. I gave the reasons why leading people to think harpies should have bad tempers a bad idea, I don't know why you would leave that in. Perhaps it's a personal preference of yours but you shouldn't push that on the community, if we mean anything to you outside of a source of ideas. I waited nearly a month for some changes to happen and in the end I got practically nothing. That's not the way to nurture healthy morale in the community.

Edit: I'm also looking forward to your answer to a pm I sent a few days ago regarding other matters. I'm not trying to be pushy, please understand that this lack of communication can be frustrating.

You're aware it's ultimately up to him alone wether the change needs to be done or not.

And i still don't see why this is even needed, harpies being generally perceived unpleasant and throwing ever-elaborate insults fits with their classic mythologic depiction, and it saves them from being an otherwise unremarkable generic bird-woman species. You pretty much want Karbo to change the entire canon on harpies because you can't really pull it off. That's going a bit too far, sorry to say :/
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PostSubject: Re: Harpy wiki entry   Sun May 13, 2012 4:59 pm

Your response let's me know that you didn't read my reasons for asking for change. And then we wonder why people can't understand each others positions. I'm done with the matter. Leave the entry as it is then.
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