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Questions about bi-lingual characters


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I ran into an issue with my character in generation, which the rule book could not resolve, and I would like to ask for your help.

I want to create a jewish antiquarian.
Because of his heritage, he should be able speak both jiddish and english as own language, and latin as the secondary/learned language.

Is it possible, to have two own languages, or if not, how should I resolve this issue?
Since jiddish is a mix of german/hebrew, how would it affect scenarios in germany/middle east? Could I use hard success to be able to communicate with german people, and with jewish people in other countires (mostly middle-east scenarios), who are using a different, more traditional hebrew dialect?

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There is no problem to have multiple languages. I work with the players to discuss how they envision the character. I don't go into dialects of a language, as it gets too much detailed and we find it unnecessary, but we decide based on the backstory what kind of language points must be spend so the character looks appropriate.

For example, I had player that wanted to play french professor (lived his early twenties in France) that moved to USA. I asked him to use French as Language Own skill and because of the story and the way he wanted to play to put the necessary Skill points into Language - English. This makes a lot of sense as this is often what people must do when they are expats - learn the new language if different.

In your case because of the story, you should ask the player to invest personal or occupational skill points (if available) to the extra languages. In the rulebook there is table that shows what points you need to be flient, native and etc.

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Thank you! So, If I understood correctly, I can have two own language, a foreign language allowed by my profession, and other languages payed by interest points, like this:

OWN - Jiddis (education) - native
OWN - English (education) -native
latin (skill points) - profession other language
german (interests skill points) - hobby
hebrew (interest skill points) - hobby

Also there is the rule, which allows you to add +10 to similar languages, if a language of yours is above 50, and another 10 when it is above 90.
Does this play in case of own language? Technically, the rule is for language groups, but in my case, Jiddish is half german/hebrew, so it would be logical to both german and hebrew languages receive some bonus. But might it cause the investigator to become overpowered?

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Another option is to recognize that this particular character has two native languages. They didn't have to study in school to learn them. As such, I would base BOTH of those languages off of the character's EDU score and not require the player to spend any skill points on the second language.

It sounds like you want to follow the rules, and that is admirable. This is a case where the rules are setting someone at a disadvantage just because they want a bilingual character concept. Being bilingual in Jiddish and English isn't going to break the game system. If anything, we always should be encouraging to players for playing characters that are meaningful to them.

Talk to your Keeper. Let them know how important it is for you to play a Jewish character. Pitch my EDU suggestion. It makes everything so much simpler than nickel-and-diming skill points.

As to the other language connections, that would be up to the Keeper. I don't know Jiddish and don't know the extent to which someone could communicate in German/Hebrew. I don't know many people who can communicate effectively in root languages if they didn't study the root language directly.  [A quick internet search seems to confirm that German-speakers and Yiddish-speakers communicating with each other is not as easy as some let on.] French and German are root languages of English, for example, but that doesn't mean that anyone without training can communicate in French/German. That is stretching the intent of the rule. So, I would expect someone to put points in a root language to be able to speak it effectively.  It also depends upon what you are trying to accomplish. Have a conversation in a root language? That would require an Extreme success. A Hard success, in my eyes, would be using it to get a basic idea, perhaps in combination with hand gestures.  In light of all of the above, I'd probably say that once a character had invested 20 points or so in a very closely linked root language, they'd be able to speak it well enough to communicate basically (handful of words at a time, not grammatically correct sentences) and I would expect it to be role-played accordingly. 

Many players do choose to play linguists. The question here is just the extent to which the languages are inborn vs learned. 

Edited by klecser
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Yiddish is close enough to German that if someone spoke Yiddish, I could usually figure out what they were trying to get across.

I don't think Yiddish is as similar to Hebrew though. Yiddish is more of a dialect of German, used by the Jewish population among themselves as a first language.

Hebrew was supposed to be reserved for prayer. If one had no other language in common, I can see it being used for secular conversation. Unless your game is set post-WWII, in which case that issue goes away and Hebrew is opened up for daily use.

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As a gm i'm pretty relaxed when it comes to languages (my family are bilingual from birth) and im surrounded by people who speak multiple languages everyday. 

Because of this I feel the rules are unnecesarily tough on characters who want to speak multiple languages, so I allow, depending on backstory, several languages based on Edu. Folks want to have fun.

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