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Karbo
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PostSubject: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:49 am

One aspect of Felarya that I feel can cause quite a lot of issues is the†translation spell

For example how does it affects education ? How difficult is it to learn a language when you have this spell "helping" in the background ? What happens if you then leave Felarya ?

Those are only a few of the questions raised by that aspect. †We can use this thread to identify and discuss them here Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:12 am

I could only imagine that Native Felaryans could only learn a new lanauge if they learn outside of Felarya for that purpose.

Since it doesn't effect writen langauge, all Felaryans will all have their own text that is unique to their people. Perhaps people in Felarya can produce a 'translation book' that translate's people's speech onto the page into their native text. Then all they have to do was take the book to a new world, spend months or years using the book to communicate with the people there and eventualy get a hang of the langauge by reading the text, learn the meaning of the words and then remember the phrases.

Something like that perhaps?
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:15 am

Somehow, I knew something like that would come back to haunt us. †My take on it raises another question: is it possible to cancel the spell, even temporarily, for certain purposes, like teaching languages or having a private conversation? †If so, how could one do so and how difficult would it be?

I'm not very keen on Darkie's idea, because it's basically to travel abroad to learn a new language. The translating book would be a nice crutch, sure, but I don't see anyone learning languages with that alone, unless they're super smart. This also raise other issues such as how difficult it would be to make such books, how easily attainable they are, and most importantly, how much they would cost.
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:52 am

Shady Knight wrote:
Is it possible to cancel the spell, even temporarily, for certain purposes, like teaching languages or having a private conversation? †If so, how could one do so and how difficult would it be?
That could be possibe if you have a Mage or artfact that produces a small forcefield that cancels out all magical spells, would think something like that would be awfully rare though since it could easily be abused.
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:14 pm

Or you could cast the "opposite" spell, a la noise canceling headphones, or a code snippet that says, "if(myspell == cast){ don't run previous code;}"... depending on how you understand spells. Then whoever you cast it on would lose the effect from the existing language thingy until your spell expires. That work?
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:05 pm

I will try to sum the issue of the translation spell:

Let's take a group A who speak a language A, People belonging to the group A are not affected by the translation spell because the language A is the first language they were taught during their childhood. The foreigners are able to understand what the A people say with the help of translation spell even if it's not perfect play of words which is a manipulation of the pronunciation are not well translated.

If we add writings, the spell is useless because it translates only sound not text. From educational point of view A people can learn easier the written part of their native language than the foreigners. But it's not complicated to translate written languages and create a dictionary.

The issue is more the pronunciation not the understanding. A voice recognition system focus doesn't care about the word but how it sounds in the language it was programmed to admit.
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:20 pm

I personally think Shady's and Darkone's ideas of having a spell or artifact that cancels out the effect of the translation spell would be the most viable option thus far. Somehow in my mind, Dark, the opportunities to misuse such a thing would actually make it a lot more prevalent, pending whether their production and distribution don't fall under the regulation of the Magiocrats. And even if that does happen, that doesn't mean that bootlegs or imitations or even the real things stolen from or sold by turncoats inside the place(s) of production wouldn't end up on the black market and such.

Theoretically, something that is able to raise a field that prevents magic power ambient in the air or in objects from penetrating the area would work to nullify at least the translation spell, since that is what makes the spell work, correct? It even states that the translation magic is weaker in areas that are less saturated with magic. However, something like that, in my mind, would not be able to block out magic beyond a certain concentration, like actual spells cast from people within or from without. But then again, maybe more advanced versions of the artifact would allow the user to adjust what level of concentration of magic energies the field would block out. This would make it an effective tool in many ways, from being a simple language teaching tool to nullifying criminals' ability to cast spells to creating a weak-to-moderate spell-repelling shield to a protection from elementals or hell, even fairies!

All these possibilities alone would make them worth producing, and I'm sure there'd certainly be more than one person with the idea. I'm not sure what levels of business/crafstman/mage would have the resources to produce these artifacts, though, since I don't know specifically what would go into something like this. Obviously the more sophisticated/complicated the magic/technology is, the more it's going to cost in money, time, and materials, and depending how high on the ladder you have to be in order to have these resources, it could be very easy or very hard to regulate their production. And that's just inside Negav - there are at least several other known cities around Felarya, like Chioita on Shillapo Island. This idea could be huge business all over Felarya, and it's perfectly feasible (in my opinion)!
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:19 pm

Actually, that would be quite the contrary, Nyaha. See, it appears that the wiki already mentioned that it's possible to turn the spell off, which I forgot. However, it goes a little beyond that. Here's the quote I find relevant:

The wiki wrote:
There have been a few rare cases of individuals using magic to make their personal tongue indecipherable to others. This has been done almost exclusively by small bands of thieves and pirates, wishing to keep their information secret from those they plunder, as well as any telepathic individuals they might encounter. However, because of the level of magic required, it has the downside of being very hard to reverse, making any form of communication with outsiders impossible, beyond primitive gestures and sounds. Spells that jam or tamper the translation are highly illegal in Negav and can get you in big trouble if you are caught using them.
Yeah, such a tool or spell wouldn't get you a very successful business, unless you like making deals behind bars.

As a whole, I think translation problem is something that's been poorly thought out and needlessly complicated, but since this is a setting about what is essentially an inter-dimensional hubworld, you can't ignore the lack of language barrier either. I wish I could suggest something that could help fix the problem, but I got nothing.
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:32 pm

I think of the whole thing as akin to everyone being subtitled, though it's more like everyone being dubbed. Here's a couple thoughts, though, to get the gears going.

How about intelligibility? I have a high threshold of intelligibility; sometimes, I don't even understand Spanish, my native language, if the speaker is speaking too quickly or if there's too much background noise (and when I'm trying to use a cellphone, both at once. I hate it). Would the translation help me understand if I can't hear well enough?

What if I can't tell I'm being talked to in the first place? What if someone's gibbering, half-mouthing words? Would I half-understand the words, understand half the words, or understand the words being half-mouthed?

Does this effect mask accents? Would I be able to tell two people have different accents? How about lexicons, is it possible to tell two people are using different languages or different words to refer to the same thing?

How about visuals, could I read lips if I can't hear anything? Would the translation effect affect my perception of mouth positions? Of deaf-mute language? If I reconstructed a sentence from lip-reading, would I be able to discern the words being used even if I'm just mouthing what I perceive to be complete gibberish?

If I ask someone to make a play on words, could I know what kind of language they're speaking with a little knowledge of its vocabulary? If I ask someone to say "vocabulary" three times fast, removing one letter from the word each time, until they're spewing disjointed syllables, can I know what syllables they use to form the word?


Hoping that'll get your guvn'r gears go grind.

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:00 pm

I doubt it would effect accents of any kind, since The harpies seem to have their own dialect. If the translation spell worked 100% then noone will hear Harpies swearing and threatening each other and would just hear what they actually mean.

The problem with translating language is that it just isn't a case of different langauges, but the same langauge being used in a different way. You can say one thing and mean something competely different.

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:49 am

I think we're overthinking this one a bit. When you get down to it, the whole deal with the translation spell, which I think should have been a quirk of Felarya itself and not some dude casting a super duper powerful spell, is merely to justify why everyone speaks the same language in the written stories. I personally don't think it needs to be anymore complicated than that. Sure, there are some issues, like teaching other languages and all that, but I don't think it's necessary to answer any of that. At some point, you have to let things slide and let suspension of disbelief kick in. Maybe Negav only teaches written languages since spoken languages aren't really an issue. How do they do it? I don't think it's necessary to answer. Yes, I also know about the issue of what happens when you leave Felarya, especially a native Felaryan, but again, I think it's something that you should let slide, cause you're still going to write your story in the same language just so the people at home can read the words on the screen.
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:37 am

Or if you really want to simplify it, we could just say that natives of Felarya have been in Felarya for so long that the translation spell has altered their brains providing an permanent effect that works even when outside of Felarya.

convenient yes, but no more than the spell itself.
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:51 am

That could work too, like they have some better understanding of spoken languages. Maybe they don't know what the spoken words are saying exactly, but they seem to innately understand the meaning behind them. Usually. Though I still think it should be a quirk of the setting itself, cause making it a spell a guy cast long ago is a really lame explanation in my opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:57 am

Rereading the wiki article, I found some things that seem to answer questions raised here:

Quote :
It allows intelligent beings in Felarya to understand the speech of others as if they were speaking their own language. It's a strange impression: you hear your interlocutor talk to you in a different language but, somehow, those foreign words make perfect sense.
Essentially, you can pretty much tell if another person is actually talking your language or another one, since you hear them talking foreign words, even though you end up understanding them. I see it just the way I see English and Spanish in my case. When I read them, I know which language I'm reading and I understand it. However, if you were to ask me sometime later in which language was a certain thing I read, I wouldn't be able to answer, because I just kept the meaning and not the exact words.

On accents and such, I don't think the translation spell would do anything since, as I said, you just get the meaning. It doesn't matter if I read something in UK English or US English; as long as I understand what I'm reading, the differences are not important. You can tell the guy has accent, but the information you get is the same.

Well, you don't actually get the meaning, but the translation, the "information". What DarkOne said about Harpies has to do with the interpretation of a word. Translation is part interpretation, but some obscure meanings shouldn't be accessible to the spell, in my opinion. The word "chocolate" in Spanish (I don't know if it's the same in English) is a slang name for a drug (I think it's cannabis, but I'm not sure). So, if someone said "Do you want chocolate?", the spell would give you the impression he's asking if you want a sweet snack, and you would have to be the one to make the interpretation that he's offering you drugs. Probably from the situation or the body language. I think the same goes for Harpies, the translation spell would just provide you with the insults and you'd have to interpret them to get their true meaning.

What Stabs said about intelligibility, though, can have a few issues. If the speaker is talking too fast, then you'll just have a lot of information coming to you. It only depends on the amount of oral information your brain can process. A relevant example may be if I said "Lolthereisacatinthatwindow". The information is actually intelligible, but you'll take a bit of time to parse it because of how your brain works.

I think we can group the background noise and the gibbering of words, since you'd have to struggle to catch words. If you manage to catch one, you'd understand what it means, and you'd also take advantage of the slightly correcting effect of the translation spell so that even if you hear it a bit wrong, you'd get the right translation (refer to the next wiki quote). If you hear just a piece of a word or don't hear it at all, you won't get the information of it. But that's not very relevant, it happens often in real life that we don't know a word, and we don't make a whole deal out of it. I'll quote Kindle for an example:


Quote :
While not exactly a schadenfreude kind of person, Tarynn still let out an involuntary snigger when she twigged the strain in the stricken naga's trembling arms as she tried to descend the rope.
I don't know about you, but I didn't understand two words in that sentence, and still got the hang of what he wanted to say. Same would happen with the translation spell if you happen to not hear a word well.

About reading lips, I think the translation spell only works with sounds, so you wouldn't be able to read them. Just the same as it doesn't help you to read a book. Sign language is out of the spell's range as well, there's the Nukian sign language that takes advantage of this.

What I don't really know how to take on is wordplays. Perhaps leaving it to interpretation just as Harpy dialect? The translation wouldn't make much sense (just as when you read a wordplay for the first time in a foreign language, you end up thinking "WTH did I just read?") and you'd probably just ask the other party what was that. This makes me remember the first time I came upon the word "Playstation" in a text we had to translate. I ended up translating it as "Playing in the station" and my teacher laughed her ass off, then explained me what it was. Sad thing is, I had one, but had never seen the name written. Just so you get the feeling of what I think would happen with wordplays.


As for the OP questions, education would be quite an issue unless there is a standard "Negavian" (or "Felaryan", maybe) writing. After you learn such writing, people should be able to take advantage of the translation spell to obtain the information and write it down in Negavian. They'd also be able to read something in Negavian, but there's no need for them to learn to speak aloud in Negavian. As long as they can obtain the concepts from the text, they would be able to express them in their native language and let the translation spell work for them. Therefore, the issue with education is a common frame to materialize concepts into hand writing and the other way round; from hand writing into mental concepts. Their native language would probably be learned at home from their parents in case we're talking about kids.

About learning a language, you'd need a native teacher for sure. Someone that can distinguish when the translation spell is kicking in and point out what is wrong with your pronunciation with precision. I think that would be near-impossible for non-natives. The translation spell would still make difficult to learn a language, since it disguises errors, as said in the wiki.


Quote :
One should keep in mind that the spells doesn't speak for you though. If you make errors or poorly convey a notion, your interlocutor will hear it as such. Learning to properly speak a language while under the effects of this spell is also extra difficult, as it makes mistakes less obvious.
That goes even for the speaker, who would hear the right translation even if he messed up a letter, I'm guessing. This is what I called "the slight correcting effect" of the translation spell earlier.

Last thing, regarding natives that leave Felarya, I don't think it would be that big an issue. You know one language, and you go to another world that has a different language. Well, you just don't understand, I don't see the problem. You just manage as well as you can by pointing, signing and such, as one would do if he were to go to a foreign country. Or you hire a translator on advance. The language shock is gone after one or two days.

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:38 pm

Hasn't everyone here seen Star Wars?!?!

I mean that's what the language on Felarya is like (The way it sounds at least). Everyone is speaking their own language, and everyone understands.

It's like when Han Solo talks to Chewbacca, he speaks in english and Chewbacca speaks in Wookie, but they both know exactly what each other is saying. This is the way it works in Felarya,


The concept has also been used in Farscape. I mean that was a tv show!

http://farscape.wikia.com/wiki/Translator_microbe

I do, however feel it is worth discussing what the various languages actually sound like.

Are nagas hissing at you? Do nekos mew and purr in their language?

Squeaky squeak squeak squeakidy squeaky squeak!!?!?!
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:03 am

Spoiler:
 
What's that, Grave? Timmy's stuck in the well? O.o

(Sorry it's not a mouse instead of a squirrel but I don't think I would have found that.)
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:30 am

Does that mean Felaryans can talk to wild animals?

I bet Kensha beasts would sound like Insanity wolf

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:12 am

I think Grave has the best and simplest explanation thus far. †I gotta be honest, I never really thought of Star Wars, but it makes a lot of sense, although I expect some of you oh so hilarious jokesters out there are gonna make oh so clever jokes that it's like the spell is making subtitles appear before you. †Though I think just a simple clause should be added: only creatures of human-level intelligence are affected, beasts and the like are still incomprehensible. †I personally would also like to say that certain magical languages, like one someone is reciting an incantation, also isn't affected, cause you know, magical languages.


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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:21 am

Shady Knight wrote:
I think Grave has the best and simplest explanation thus far. †I gotta be honest, I never really thought of Star Wars, but it makes a lot of sense,
If you say so.
Grave wrote:
I mean that's what the language on Felarya is like (The way it sounds at least). Everyone is speaking their own language, and everyone understands.
Karbo in the wiki wrote:
It's a strange impression: you hear your interlocutor talk to you in a different language but, somehow, those foreign words make perfect sense.
That's what we already had, but well.

Shady Knight wrote:
Though I think just a simple clause should be added: only creatures of human-level intelligence are affected, beasts and the like are still incomprehensible.
So parrots are incomprehensible? What about dolphins? Some of them are smarter than humans!

No, really. I'm asking because if you're going to bring up any clauses, their consequences will be, literally, the ONLY proof there is that those clauses are actually true. Parrots don't develop a language by talking to people: they only mimic sounds, thus their speech would not be translated as it isn't speech.

If you're of the opinion that parrots actually seem to develop some level of language, given some parrots have been able to use 300 different words and decide on their own which is right by context, same deal with recordings: they're just mindless sounds, yet I don't think anyone wants to leave them impossible to understand.

Some whales, on the other hand, are capable of developing languages that are separate between schools of different geographical zones, but cannot vocalize in the way we do. They still aren't quite on our level, though.

Also, does the spell translate our speech for beasts? It affects listeners rather than speakers, after all.

Shady Knight wrote:
I personally would also like to say that certain magical languages, like one someone is reciting an incantation, also isn't affected, cause you know, magical languages.
Actually, I don't. Please enlighten me.

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:20 pm

What about babies? Or does undeveloped human level intelligence not count?

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:34 pm

There are some great questions here Smile

-well the spell only applies to sentient creatures indeed.

-I imagine it's not perfect. Play on words or obscure meanings are indeed lost in translation and give a strange meaning

-Now would you able to understand a mute person "talking" by signs or reading on their mouths. I think so actually. At least partly. As i see it it's not a question of communicating necessarily by sounds but rather on the intent.

If you don't know you are talked to, you wouldn't get anything. †If you are aware of your interlocutor but the room is noisy, you would get only a very basic †of what they are trying to tell you.

The spells also act on the moment. If you hear a recorded messages on a different language, you wouldn't understand anything.

What do you think ?
Lastly I think it should be possible to temporally disable the spell locally indeed. † For example the process could have been forbidden by law in Negav for fear that could create a cascade that would harm the spell in the end but since nothing happens to it, the law is rather moot and not enforced any more.

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:01 pm

Karbo wrote:
-I imagine it's not perfect. Play on words or obscure meanings are indeed lost in translation and give a strange meaning
Alright. I guess then that we can prod someone's reaction to wordplays in order to figure out what they're talking in.

I ask because... imagine a fairy impersonates someone. I figure they can't imitate lexicon and accent perfectly, so if they can fool you anyway, it should be magic- either magic to translate their accent to something you're expecting, or the background magic just makes you incapable of telling they're pod people.

If it was because the background magic conceals their accent, alters their voice and masks their lexicon, you could check if they're talking English or Irish by checking for potential rhymes: even if it sounded to you like they're just using synonims of words they'd used before, a certain knowledge of fairy lexicon would allow you to check if you're talking to one. It'd give you some breathing room, maybe even a few plot points.


Karbo wrote:
The spells also act on the moment. If you hear a recorded messages on a different language, you wouldn't understand anything.
I see. Jaykay birds could be special 'cause they can break this rule, then. RAWK! SUTEKI NO O SHIRI! RAWK!
Or maybe they really do understand what you're saying and they just pretend to be dumb birds.

======

As for learning a language... I figure if they understand everything, and everyone understands them as soon as they decide to open their mouth, there's not much of an incentive for them to develop a proper accentuation and lexicon. They'll just talk and be understood.

Forget learning two; I don't know if people born in Felarya should know even their own language. I treat it as that everyone in Felarya who learns from someone else will "mostly" sound like the person they're learning from, with the gaps filled in by Almikar Potentis' spell. So everyone sounds Sagolian to outside ears, given they learn more from the spell than from their parents. Sagolian would thus be the Felaryan language since 2005 BU, as I see it.

Other alternatives once offworld would be, like DO said, that they understand everyone anyway and everyone understands them too, or that they speak a Babelian gabbledegook that isn't the same for any two people. They could also be speaking whatever language they'd have learned without any meddling from Potentis' spell, and there would then be languages in Felarya, just without anyone to notice them.

Learning how to speak a different language would be nearly impossible for Felaryan-born people under this view of things, since they would never have needed concepts like accentuation, proper pronounciation, or even as much as choice of words. Outsiders would, if they actively resist the spell, concentrating as hard as possible on the words and inflexions (or work off a recording [or disable the spell]), be able to learn a different language.

Then again, the assumption I made (that the Felaryan main continent has developed into a specific language picked by Potentis) has a direct historical consequence- if everyone began sounding Sagolian, Potentis could've drawn a lot of ire for that. People like their customs and identity, and trivializing all languages in the continent to slowly replace them with his own would've been a dick move on his well-meaning part. Don't know if Guardian-worthy, but as close as you can get. Maybe it's not a good idea after all; food for thoughts at least.

======

Then again, it'd be a large change from what everyone assumes if recordings don't work. I'd say keep that change in mind for the next update, if you really want to keep it.

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:29 am

I just want to drop in and say that I noticed the word "sentient" keeps being used incorrectly. †Sentience is derived from from "senses", so in other words, a sentient creature is something that can feel things. †But that alone doesn't give it human-level intelligence. †I mean, a cat can feel pain and it can get angry at you, but it's not intelligent like a human. †What you mean is that the spell works on sapient creatures only. †After all, the scientific name of humans is "homo sapiens", denoting their ability to think on a higher level than animals can.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I like the idea that you would understand a mute person speaking in sign language, unless it's simple gestures, like if the person points in a certain direction, then you can get the idea it wants something to do something over there, but not what exactly, or if he puts his finger over his mouth, then you can figure that it wants you to be quiet. In that case, it's not really the spell doing anything, it's just the person using common sense to guess what the person is trying to get across. But if it's the person making a series of strange signs that aren't commonly seen, then I think the meaning behind it shouldn't be translated. Otherwise, why can the spell translate the meaning behind physical gestures, but not the meaning behind words written on a piece of paper?

As for idioms and play on words, I can only imagine it's like on Earth, you're not gonna understand what certain idioms or proverbs mean unless you're already familiar with them or someone told you their meaning.
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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:25 am

Ah you are right I misused the word. I always thought that sentient referred to sapient indeed.
Well the problem with physical gestures in the language goes all the way to many underwater races like Chlaenaes who would communicate through flashing colors for example. What is the limit between what is a language and what is not ? Difficult question.
Maybe the spell could work to varying degree. For example you would have a vague understanding of what a person wants to tell you in case of a gesture, versus a spoken line of language. †I'm trying to see if there is a way everything could fit.

Stabs wrote:


Karbo wrote:
The spells also act on the moment. If you hear a recorded messages on a different language, you wouldn't understand anything.
I see. Jaykay birds could be special 'cause they can break this rule, then. RAWK! SUTEKI NO O SHIRI! RAWK!
Or maybe they really do understand what you're saying and they just pretend to be dumb birds.
Ack you got a point here ^^;

As for learning †I'm really starting to think there should be a way to locally disable the spell that is reasonably accessible. †It just makes more sense. †The prohibition could date back from the moment where Mages were afraid disabling the spell could create chain reactions that would threaten it as a whole, but they progressively realized it wasn't the case.

Anyway the whole language explanation idea is still very much in development so nothing is written in stone yet ^^

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PostSubject: Re: Language discussion   Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:48 am

I think Stabs also had a good point, would a newborn baby making noise trying to mimic what its parents are saying also be understood, or would it be heard as gibberish until the toddler grows older? By the same token, what does the Chlaena language have that written language doesn't? You need to use your eyes to understand what they're "saying" rather than your ears, so you're not so much listening to them as you're reading the changes in their color pattern, which in my opinion, isn't so different from reading words on paper.

I think the general idea of the spell should go like this: "The spell allows sapient creatures like humans understand sound-based languages. Even though another person speak in a different language, you have the strange feeling you hear them talk in your native tongue. It doesn't affect written or sign-based languages, although simple gestures like a wave or a finger over the mouth are typically well understood. The spell isn't perfect, though. Proverbs, idioms and such are often translated literally, and so it's up to you to figure out the meaning behind them."

Do you think it works well?
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