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Dragon Pass and real-world languages: any correlation?


Nicochan

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In order to give a more pragmatical idea to players, is there a canonic equivalence in sounds, grammatical rules, lexicon, etc.. like:

Sartarite = ancient greek 

Lunar = Latin

Troll = an african click language

Tarshite = ancient french (d'oc)

Ofc these are totally random, as an example

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Not that i know of - though in my opinion, as most glorathan tongues are derivative of the runic/elemental tongues (firespeech for dara happan/new pelorian, windspeech for sartarite/tarshite/heortian you should apply whatever equivalence you pick for teh 'base' tongue and work up from there.

Edited by Manunancy
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Given that the written form(s) for the Theyalan languages are mutually comprehensible, even while the spoken forms aren't...

Theyalan (Esrolean/Heortling/Tarshite) is closer to Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) -- in which the spoken forms are also distinct but the written forms are the same (some stylistic differences)

 

 

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8 hours ago, Nicochan said:

In order to give a more pragmatical idea to players, is there a canonic equivalence in sounds, grammatical rules, lexicon, etc.

No, I don't believe there is.

8 hours ago, Nicochan said:

Troll = an african click language

I think of Darktongue as having humming as a major component, with some of the humming sounds being subsonic, so humans cannot hear them but might feel them in their bellies. Dark Trolls can hear them, except for those sounds that only Mistress Race Trolls can hear. I also play that Mistress Race Trolls can make a sound that it lethal to Trollkin.

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If I remember correctly, during a thread on labnguages a while back, @Jeff made a comment about not wanting the Orlanthi languages to just be based on Indo-European languages if they were ever actually developed as a conlang, which pretty heavily points to that, no, there isn't any specific RW basis for the languages in Glorantha. 

 

Now, with that being said, New Pelorian ends up being represented as Latin or Dog Latin a lot of the time, and Sartarite/Orlanthi names borrow quite a bit from Anglo-Saxon or Germanic (among other things, I must emphasize), and of course Kralorela just has a bunch of RW Chinese in it, I think. I think it's pretty clear that these are just "representations" though. Something akin to how Tolkien pretended that he merely translated the Big Red Book of Westmarch from the fictitious language of Westron. Presumably New Pelorian, in-universe is nothing like Latin, but adding "-us" to stuff gets across a certain vibe to us players so there it stays.

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18 hours ago, Nicochan said:

In order to give a more pragmatical idea to players, is there a canonic equivalence in sounds, grammatical rules, lexicon, etc.. like:

Sartarite = ancient greek 

If so, I'd consider Theyalan languages a versions of "greek" that was really really ancient. Probably based more on Minoan.

18 hours ago, Nicochan said:

Lunar = Latin

More a language from the Fertile Crescent... so more like Mesopotamian, or Assyrian

18 hours ago, Nicochan said:

Troll = an african click language

It might have some clicks and clacks, but I think its much more than that. Deep notes and vibrations from the back of the throat or gut. Notes that project out to somewhat fit in with Darksense, which seems to be a form of echolocation.

18 hours ago, Nicochan said:

Tarshite = ancient french (d'oc)

Tarshite is a Theyalan language, so see above.

Just my 4¢ (damned inflation)

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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n.b. Professors J.R.R.Tolkien & M.A.R.Barker designed their worlds with comprehensive linguistics (and distinct real-world antecedents).  They were professional linguists, among the best in their fields.  Other "conlang" projects exist, such as Klingon & Dothraki.  In some regards, many fans expect this to be the "norm" these days.

Where they were linguists, Greg Stafford was into mythology, anthropology, storytelling, &c; those were his Gloranthan fundamentals.  Consequently, Glorantha's mythological landscape is richer and deeper (with resonances and unplumbed depths) than Middle Earth's largely Christian-allegorical setting (I don't know Tekumel well enough to say; but suspect its Clarketech cosmology isn't terribly mythically-deep).

So far as I know, however, Greg was -- as a linguist -- on par with the average 1970s-era gamer nerd; which is to say, only a half-step better (if that) than the average citizen.

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On 3/19/2022 at 3:42 PM, Baron Wulfraed said:

Given that the written form(s) for the Theyalan languages are mutually comprehensible, even while the spoken forms aren't...

Theyalan (Esrolean/Heortling/Tarshite) is closer to Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) -- in which the spoken forms are also distinct but the written forms are the same (some stylistic differences)

 

 

IIRC, western language were the same: 1 common written form for each language.

15 hours ago, SDLeary said:

If so, I'd consider Theyalan languages a versions of "greek" that was really really ancient. Probably based more on Minoan.

Same for me.

On 3/19/2022 at 11:11 AM, Nicochan said:

Lunar = Latin

As during a time, lunar empire was seen as a mix between roman empire and USSR (perhaps because of the red color), it was quite correct, but not anymore.

On 3/19/2022 at 11:11 AM, Nicochan said:

Tarshite = ancient french (d'oc)

As SDleary explained, Tarshite is a Theyalan language, closer to Sartarite. With your analogies, it would be like Macedonian (close to Greek, but not quite the same language).

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2 hours ago, Kloster said:

IIRC, western language were the same: 1 common written form for each language.

Emphasis on "mutually comprehensible" (which is also why I think Chinese for Theyalan). It's not just shared letter forms -- ignoring a few letter forms, Old English and Latin tend to use the same letter forms, but being able to read the former won't let one read the latter. In Chinese, one may have a complicated glyph for "big house" which Cantonese might (forgive the simile using european terms) speak as "chataeu" while Mandarin might pronounce as "mansion". The Cantonese could write "chateau" (big house) and the Mandarin could read that as "mansion" (big house).

For Theyalan, even a moderate read/write might allow for clearer communication between Esrolian/Heortling/Tarshite than taking the half (or worse) penalties for attempting to speak.

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10 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Emphasis on "mutually comprehensible" (which is also why I think Chinese for Theyalan). It's not just shared letter forms -- ignoring a few letter forms, Old English and Latin tend to use the same letter forms, but being able to read the former won't let one read the latter. In Chinese, one may have a complicated glyph for "big house" which Cantonese might (forgive the simile using european terms) speak as "chataeu" while Mandarin might pronounce as "mansion". The Cantonese could write "chateau" (big house) and the Mandarin could read that as "mansion" (big house).

This is exactly what I meant for western languages. Sorry if I was not clear enough.

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46 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Latin tends to be God-Learnerite. That's where the Latin names of monsters come from, right?

The binominal names for monsters seem really immersion-breaking for me. The Lunar Empire has a bunch of characters with Latinate names, and Lunar/Dara Happan versions of names seem to approach more Latinate forms (eg. "Orlanth" vs. "Orlanatus"), so giving God Learners Latin as well just seems... weird. Especially since the Pelorian cultures and mythos were some of the things the God Learners never really managed to peer into properly due to geographical and geopolitical problems (ie. Rockwoods and the EWF). All that aside, binominalism just doesn't *feel* like the kind of a thing an Iron Age bestiary would contain, but that's more a personal take, I admit. 

 

That being said, I don't remember the God Learners having all that much Latin to them. The Seshnelan Francophone names get adjusted Jrustelan forms that are clearly non-RW-like, for example. 

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On 3/19/2022 at 6:11 AM, Nicochan said:

Troll = an african click language

In meeting trolls, I'd expect a memory of 'clicking' to come not from the trolls' speech as such, but the experience of them echolocating with their darksense.  When my players meet trolls I always emphasize the sensation of the trolls pulsing their darksense to fully perceive the scene, and for meetings with elder matrons and Mistress Race trolls I've drawn on accounts of free-diving with sperm whales, whose echolocation can be felt as much as heard.  

Edited by dumuzid
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7 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Latin tends to be God-Learnerite. That's where the Latin names of monsters come from, right?

The Latinate names of monsters are, I suspect, non-representational, and are meant to inform the reader that this is a "scientific" description of the creature, with the binomial name and sorting into a Linnaean taxonomy that that implies, rather than that tricksters in Slontos kept annoying the Archduke (or Archidux, or Archer Duck) by writing "Jrusteles eunt domus" on the walls of buildings. 

Edited by Eff
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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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6 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The binominal names for monsters seem really immersion-breaking for me.

We can actually have it both ways if in your Glorantha the Carmanian occupation brought new aristocratic naming conditions into the Pelorian bowl as well as their interpretation of Western zoology. The "romanoid" families today would be old and conservative, flaunting their antique lineages even though the actual lunar elite and true Dara Happan old money would both roll their eyes in different directions at the comic pretense of it. They're probably most prevalent in the working imperial services and so you find them in the officer corps, bureaucracy and so on. Not so much the Western Reaches where the elites had already moved past these trappings before the moon ever even rose. 

A slightly less flattering version of this story is that when the Carmanians came in, broken post-Kill lineages were assigned artificial sorcerous names just like newly discovered wild animals in need of a working genealogy. Pelorians being who they are, a surprising number of them liked it and still use the names today. 
 

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The binominal names come from Anaxial's Roster, don't they? Is that intended to have a God Learner narrator? Anaxial is a Dara Happan emperor, after all.
(I have not read it, only seen references and excerpts)

They're earlier, used in the RQ:3 Bestiaries. (Including the Gloranthan Bestiary)

I think Anaxial's Roster was the first source to say the names came from the God Learner Ocron Everseer (Page 7 and 9), although Ocron Everseer was mentioned in the Gloranthan Bestiary, as the cataloguer of the species within.

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I’ve found the binomial name useful for creatures based on real world animals but referred to by names I’ve never heard of and not illustrated. My go to example is the mudshark from RQ3, River of Cradles, I think, which I only fairly recently worked out is  some sort of temnospondyl. 

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