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languages in Glorantha


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I'm not sure if it should be here or in the Glorantha section...

Has anyone make a list of all Gloranthan languages, where to find them and which languages are related? Because the language information is spread all over the book. And for a traveler, it could be interesting to see that they can understand what others say, even though they are foreigners.

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While there is no list, all the major Gloranthan languages should be mentioned in the Guide.

Degrees of relation may be unknown - especially for the multitude of Hsunchen languages which appear to be species-specific, although the three different types of Rathori bear people probably speak related dialects. Different subspecies of bats as Pujaleg totems probably have somewhat related but different dialects, too. Many other hsunchen appear to have rather monolithic languages, and Sofali from Teshnos or Maslo should have little difficulty understanding each other even though their material cultures vary a lot.

The ancestry of a language is a lot harder to determine than biological descent as mutual influences will have mutated the civilized (rather than racial memory-based) languages and molded them into one another. (Although bacteria and viduses are known to exchange sóme genetic material across species borders without sharing any ancestry - that would be similar to the effect of loaned words or even loaned grammar.)

Elemental languages as strong ancestry of human (and a few non-human) languages may make a very limited common ground even between say a Doraddi and a Dara Happan possible.

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There's also a neat "language tree" in the RuneQuest rulebook, showing the various main languages and how they relate to each other in one fancy (possibly too fancy) drawing. It's limited to the RuneQuest starting homelands though so there's no mention of languages outside of Central Genertela.

Edited by lordabdul
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29 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

There's also a neat "language tree" in the RuneQuest rulebook, showing the various main languages and how they relate to each other in one fancy (possibly too fancy) drawing. It's limited to the RuneQuest starting homelands though so there's no mention of languages outside of Central Genertela.

The problem with language tree of the rule book (like alas maybe the whole RQG presently), it is totally centered on Dragon Pass. And if you play somewhere else, there is few things (or needing a lot of digging). That is the reason why I ask if someone did already the job.

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20 minutes ago, Manu said:

The problem with language tree of the rule book (like alas maybe the whole RQG presently), it is totally centered on Dragon Pass. And if you play somewhere else, there is few things (or needing a lot of digging). That is the reason why I ask if someone did already the job.

I actually think it's a good thing and not a problem, but that's another debate. But yes, you're right, it's focused on Dragon Pass, Peloria, and Prax. I'm surprised to not be able to find any page listing all Gloranthan languages on the Glorantha wiki (you'd think this is the kind of thing that this wiki would be good for).

Like Joerg says, all languages are mentioned in the Guide, but scattered through each section. It's not too bad though: each major culture or Elder Race has a well identified "Language" section, and each geographical location also has a "Language" section.... so what I mean is: you're gonna be doing the job :) 

Edited by lordabdul
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Languages in Glorantha is a tough one, since it was never really designed around linguistics (unlike Middle-Earth or Tekumel), and so the textual cues are kinda useless (for example there isn't really a consistent phonology to most examples of Gloranthan languages, not to mention morphology or grammar). 

I've said before that I don't overly worry, since not all settings need to worry about that, but it does create some situations where you're left wondering. We recently had a thread that debated how similar "Heortlander" and Esrolian would be, but equally valid questions are Heortlander and Sartarite, or Tarshite, or Doblian, or Sairdite, Caladralander, etc. You can even extrapolate this to the entire "Barbarian belt" of the Orlanthi around the western Rockwoods.

There's also the questions of the myriad of (potentially distantly related) languages of the Pelorian Basin, and how they relate to Dara Happan proper (if such a language exists) and New Pelorian as a kind of lingua franca and administrative language overlaid across them. 

Western language relatedness more or less remains a mystery too. 

This is all complicated by the existence of several major empires intersecting at various points in time, that may or may not have created some trend towards mutual normalization (I'll avoid "homogenization" since that was possibly misinterpreted last time) within their territories. 

Moreover, there is the "elemental" heritage that creates bizarre cases without RW equivalencies, such as Fire people having similar vocabulary or even grammatical functions even though they may never even have met historically (same applies for other elements, of course). This can be explained magically/cultically, but also through the deep history of the God Time that features migrations and events we simply aren't privy too, or indeed events that kind of defy explanation. 

I mean, as pretty and inventine as Tolkien's languages are, he DID only limit himself to properly developing a few, and mentioned only a dozen or so in total. That's significantly less than Glorantha's at least hundreds or thousands of languages.

At some point, for gaming purposes, you kinda have to leave out all the crinkles and wrinkles and create something that is legible for players. "All right, these dudes all pretty much understand each other, so for the purposes of gaming, it's the same language", and then go "well, these are a bunch of languages, but for the purposes of play none of you know any of them, so just disregard it." At least that's my take on.

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3 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

At some point, for gaming purposes, you kinda have to leave out all the crinkles and wrinkles and create something that is legible for players.

I think that's a key thing here. And that's why Tradetalk is a thing (like any other "common" language in 95% of all fictional settings). That is, unless you want to play in an Arrival-like or Captain-Blood-like (the old video game, not the book/film) campaign (which would be awesome).

However, it's probably interesting to have a map that tells you which languages are related to which others in the entirety of Glorantha, so you can give appropriate bonuses to learning languages not referenced in RQG. I imagine this is one of the basic things to prepare if you run a long-distance Issaries trader game, for instance.

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43 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

it's probably interesting to have a map that tells you which languages are related to which others in the entirety of Glorantha

I'd start with the elemental languages (Darktongue, Seaspeech, Earthtongue, Firespeech, Stormspeech) and figure those are the primary foundations (not sure about the Artmali, but may derive from some mixture of Seaspeech and Firespeech).  Up through the early Golden Age, those are pretty well segmented, but in playing around with the Form runes, Beastspeech is derived and becomes ancestral to the Hsunchen tongues.  Then there is Draconic as a separate and independent bit.  

Firespeech -> begins to segment into the tongues of DH, Kralorela (with Draconic influence), and Vithela.

Earthtongue -> probably derivations in Pamaltela for Doraddi

Western? - seems to come out of the Black Camp of Introspection.  Originating out of Darktongue perhaps?  Or the Brithini have a more ancient/separate origin?

Stormspeech -> various barbarian tongues which go their own way. Overlaid later by Theyalan.

Seaspeech -> not sure if Waertagi becomes a division or is something of a merging of this with Brithini/Western?

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6 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Western? - seems to come out of the Black Camp of Introspection.  Originating out of Darktongue perhaps?  Or the Brithini have a more ancient/separate origin?

Might be distantly related to Mostali, given not only their shared history but also their similar sorcerous philosophies, caste system and idea of Law/Stasis. 

I'm not sure what the exact relation between Stormspeech and Theyalan is. I'm guessing Theyalan is a kind of mixture between Stormspeech and Earthtongue for the most part, with smaller parts of Seaspeech and various other absorbed minority languages rolled in (the Vingkotlings absorbed a bunch of previously unrelated groups, after all).

Praxian might also be mixed Storm- and Earthspeech, but derived in a different enough way that they probably don't overlap a whole lot. Just guessing here. Perhaps there some Beastspeech in there somewhere.

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11 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Languages in Glorantha is a tough one, since it was never really designed around linguistics

An RQG character ended up coming from Pavis from a very eventful past history, and I recall it took quite a bit of inference what languages they'd speak.  I think I decided on Heortling (with a strong Pavic accent) but a smattering of Old Pavic, Trade, Praxian.  Try fitting that on the space for languages on the standard character sheet (along with any cult language)!

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11 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Languages in Glorantha is a tough one, since it was never really designed around linguistics (unlike Middle-Earth or Tekumel), and so the textual cues are kinda useless (for example there isn't really a consistent phonology to most examples of Gloranthan languages, not to mention morphology or grammar). 

I've said before that I don't overly worry, since not all settings need to worry about that, but it does create some situations where you're left wondering. We recently had a thread that debated how similar "Heortlander" and Esrolian would be, but equally valid questions are Heortlander and Sartarite, or Tarshite, or Doblian, or Sairdite, Caladralander, etc. You can even extrapolate this to the entire "Barbarian belt" of the Orlanthi around the western Rockwoods.

Esrolian and Sartarite are mutually intelligible at 1/2 skill of the other. Let's call that the difference between Vulgate and Classical Latin, or between various German dialects.

Heortlander and Sartarite is the same language. There are likely some accents, but nothing more. 

Sartarite and Tarshite come from a common root (Dawn Age Theyalan), but were separated for hundreds of years, and Tarshite is heavily influenced by the Pelorian languages. Think the difference between Middle English and High German. 

 

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23 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

An RQG character ended up coming from Pavis from a very eventful past history, and I recall it took quite a bit of inference what languages they'd speak.  I think I decided on Heortling (with a strong Pavic accent) but a smattering of Old Pavic, Trade, Praxian.  Try fitting that on the space for languages on the standard character sheet (along with any cult language)!

In New Pavis, Sartarite is the main spoken language. However, Old Pavic, Praxian, and Trade are all pretty common.  

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The languages were in rq2 (classic) and also un AHs "gloranthan bestiary" -probably the best feature in the book-

I don't know how complete they are (for me the RQ2, same as everything else, is 100% complete and canon and theres nothing else out there #kiss)

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On 4/24/2020 at 3:12 PM, Runeblogger said:

Here's a list of human languages:
https://glorantha.fandom.com/wiki/Human_Languages

It seems to be missing the different Theyalan dialects though. For example Esrolian vs Heortling.

 

Edit: It was bothering me so I added Heortling, Esrolian, and Tarshite.

Edited by DerKrieger
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1 hour ago, DerKrieger said:

It seems to be missing the different Theyalan dialects though. For example Esrolian vs Heortling.

 

Edit: It was bothering me so I added Heortling, Esrolian, and Tarshite.

Did you see the Hillspeech entry? If you follow the link, it says among other things, that Hillspeech is know as Tarshite also ...

Edited by Oracle
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3 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Easily missed by an idiot in a rush.  I think Heortling is important enough to warrant an entry of it's own, rather than hanging off a link!

None of the languages have enough info to really require a page separate from the list. I could see each Language group getting a dedicated page that goes more into the history and detail, such as utilizing the language family trees that show where and when they branched. Also had no idea Tarshite was also known as Hillspeech, by which name do the Tarshites usually call it? I can edit it to show only one of them but I want to use the proper name.

Edited by DerKrieger
fixed grammar
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On 4/24/2020 at 10:08 AM, Manu said:

Has anyone make a list of all Gloranthan languages, where to find them and which languages are related?

Btw, if you want to explore this topic I further, you should get Wyrms Footnotes #6 which includes Greg's article "The Languages of Dragon Pass" (which is a bit of a misnomer).

It includes: The Divine Words; the Godtongue; the Lesser Magical Tongues (i.e. the elemental languages); Spiritspeech; Old Mantongue; and then discusses the main divisions of the Eastern, Central, and Western Languages.  The Eastern Languages are identified as being largely isolated.  Interestingly (though not surprisingly given speculation on Issaries' origin), Tradetalk is identified as descending from the Western Languages and developing as Seshnegi made contact with many tongues through the Middle Sea Empire.  Also interesting that Praxian is said to derive from Stormspeech, and incorporating much of the Old Mantongue.

 

 

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