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Vasteye
16-11-2007, 15:27
Hey there

This is kinda aimed at a discussion rather then a concrete answer, so here goes.

How easy is it to learn a completely alien language?

I initally refer to the eldar learning gothic, thus being able to communicate with the Imperials. Even with the advanced level of eldar technology, could they really decipher an entirely alien language, knowing none of its rules of if they were even comparable?

And on that subject, how did they learn? Studying the heresy era humans? How do "young" eldar learn it now? Is gothic a class at eldar college? :D

Now, eldar and gothic is one fairly obvious example. How about other races? The tau seem to have learned gothic, but it seems Imperials have learnt neither Eldar or Tau. Do orks have a language you could learn and converse with? Daemonic? Dark Eldar? Necron? Nid?

I look forward to your replies :D

fengor
16-11-2007, 16:10
By being in your brains? ;)

but i think its possible to learn an alien language by observation and analysation. It just takes a very long time and very good analysation skills as well as hudnreds of language professors. but on the other hand: eldar embark fully on a path ;p

Burnthem
16-11-2007, 16:15
People these days can both read and write Egyptian Heiroglypics, which are about as far from English as its possible to get. They also learnt to do this with no modern reference whatsoever, they literally figured it out for themselves.

If we can do this now, the the Eldar would probably learn Imperial Gothic in less than a day!

Ivan Stupidor
16-11-2007, 16:17
Now, eldar and gothic is one fairly obvious example. How about other races? The tau seem to have learned gothic, but it seems Imperials have learnt neither Eldar or Tau. Do orks have a language you could learn and converse with? Daemonic? Dark Eldar? Necron? Nid?


Humans do know Eldar and Tau; it's just that, the Imperium being the Imperium, the knowledge is limited to specialists. For the average citizen, knowing alien languages is bordering on blasphemy. The Sisters Dialogus are often called upon to translate alien tongues, for instance, and there's at least one noble family mentioned who make their business acquiring and translating Eldar artifacts - the stone detailing the Eldar factions at the beginning of the 3rd edition Eldar codex is one of theirs. (I'd imagine it's similar for the Eldar and Tau - most of their population would have no idea what the humans are babbling about. It's just the ones that talk to the Imperium who speak Gothic.)

The Orks are usually shown as speaking pidgin Gothic - and a great deal of them do - but they also have their own language. (I believe Cain describes it as "mostly grunts and hitting each other", but there's still a language.)

Daemonic is a version of the Dark Tongue that pops up almost every time Chaos does something magical, so it's possible to learn but very dangerous, as the words are themselves magical.

Necrons presumably have a language (those symbols they cover their tombs and troops with are there for a reason, after all), but I don't know if the Imperium has translated it. Now that they're all robots linked via command networks, they probably don't use it any more.

Nids don't have one.

Kandarin
16-11-2007, 16:22
I don't think that most Eldar will ever learn Gothic in their lives. There's simply no application for it in their daily lives. On the other hand, any Eldar who walked the Path of the Outcast would practically have to learn it. It'd be difficult (which is why most Eldar don't bother) but it's entirely possible to learn it by observation, most likely with the help of some supplemental material assembled by ex-Outcasts who have come back.

Craftworld Eldar characters who speak Gothic can be explained by the simple assumption that the character has been a Ranger at some point in the past.

Burnthem
16-11-2007, 16:23
The new Gaunts Ghosts book 'Only In Death' has quite a bit of Blood Pact speech in it, the best way to describe it would be a slightly less harsh version of Klingon!

Finnith
16-11-2007, 17:18
People these days can both read and write Egyptian Heiroglypics, which are about as far from English as its possible to get. They also learnt to do this with no modern reference whatsoever, they literally figured it out for themselves.

If we can do this now, the the Eldar would probably learn Imperial Gothic in less than a day!

Errr my history is a little fuzzy but didnt finding the Rosetta stone help quite abit with deciphering the language. I know it had hieroglyphs and ancient Greek on which is pretty well known since my old housemate had to learn it for archeology.

Kinda like knowing russian then learning a Chinese by comparing a russian text with a chinese one. Not great i know but you get the idea.

High up eldars have enough time and the motivation to learn stuff like "Gerrof ma land" for your country bumpkin eldar to "We asked you to leave 400 years ago and were here to evict you and burn your cities to the ground".

Quite alot of dark eldar must be able to speak several languages since its no fun describing what your gonna do to someone if they dont understand whats gonna happen. Hehe Dark eldar scholars.

"/>%**)\'P" wont have the same effect as "and now im gonna cut of your.......".

Eldar language would be alot more subliminal and formal that most Gothic speaking societies. How something is said, body positioning, tone, speed etc could speak volume to an eldar whereas a human would just think the eldar was being an arrogant nonce.

LordXaras
16-11-2007, 17:44
I'm unsure how much fanon it is, but I am quite fond of the idea of the Eldannar Speak being virtually impossible for other races to learn because it involves a massive amount of Eldar body language - something which is far too subtle for other races to mimick.

For an Eldar to learn Gothic, though, would probably not be a great challenge. Most Eldar would most likely find the crude gruntings of the human race to be quite distasteful, but Outcasts, Pirates and Traders would come into contact with Human civilization so often that learning it would be of benefit.

TheBigBadWolf
16-11-2007, 18:12
I belive that humans can speak eldar they must have at one point before the imperium was created when man was united under different govenments and the eldar hadnt fallen, as in the HH art books it say that dozens of non agression pacts are signed with numerous races, so you cant expect them all to learn high or low gothic

A Very Strange Object
16-11-2007, 21:17
In the Cain novels Amburlly learns Tau so id say humans can at least learn tau and tau and eldar has the same large amount of body language and subtlety so id expect that learning eldar is possable but very hard. As for dark eldar id agree with finnnith that torture is more effective if they know what you are doing. Also on a bit of fluff on the main site it tells of a exchange between a dark eldar and a helpless victim telling why the dark eldar are torturing him. So id presume they speak gothic.

Chaos and Evil
16-11-2007, 22:12
Errr my history is a little fuzzy but didnt finding the Rosetta stone help quite abit with deciphering the language. I know it had hieroglyphs and ancient Greek on which is pretty well known since my old housemate had to learn it for archeology.

Kinda like knowing russian then learning a Chinese by comparing a russian text with a chinese one. Not great i know but you get the idea.



You're correct, that is exactly how the ancient Egyptian hieroglypics were translated in modern times.

swordwind
17-11-2007, 00:07
Do you have nine tongues?

LordXaras
17-11-2007, 00:14
I belive that humans can speak eldar they must have at one point before the imperium was created when man was united under different govenments and the eldar hadnt fallen, as in the HH art books it say that dozens of non agression pacts are signed with numerous races, so you cant expect them all to learn high or low gothic
Eldar can most likely learn Gothic faster than a human can learn Eldannar. Also, I can imagine that the Eldar would be very concerned of the aesthetics of their language, and would rather speak Gothic than have Mon-Keigh butcher Eldannar.

EDIT: Also, you are speaking of a time when the marvels of the Golden Age of Technology were still at peak performance, so it's not far-fetched to imagine that some babelfish-devices were attempted and perhaps even worked.

thearchiver
17-11-2007, 02:08
Tau and Eldar are less likely to be shot for being heretics for learning an alien language.

Your average Imperial will have this issues of.
Communicating with the enemy - gets you shot.
Owning aline artifacts - gets you shot.
Owning alien writings ie anti imperial proper gander - gets you shot.

Other than that, both eldar and tau speak using air moved thru a voice box so a human should be able to copy both languages.

Iracundus
18-11-2007, 09:58
The Eldar language from bits dropped here and there and in the 3rd edition Codex, apparently has a great deal of variation depending on the situation of use as well as use of body language. It is also described in the 3rd ed. Codex as having many terms embedded in it from Eldar history/mythology. A possible analogy might be the Chinese language(s) which similarly have many sayings derived from history. While a human might theoretically translate these terms, they would be meaningless or at the very least lacking all the subtle nuances. To actually get these references, one would probably need to grow up in the society or have a very in depth study of it, neither of which are possible for a human in the 40K universe.

kikkoman
18-11-2007, 10:07
2nd ed codex had a story, or journal entry by the Imperium's ambassador to Iyanden

he stayed on the craftworld. studied the language, part of it was a conversation he had with a guardian warrior. His family's occupation for generations has been studying the Eldar language, he seems to be able to speak it a little

the big difference though is knowing references. Eldar use a ton of metaphors and reference to history.

I think GW writers based it off on the study of ancient Asian poetry. First time I heard my friend talk about the Tale of Genji, on the use of metaphors, how one line one word references this event because you're suppose to know this and that...

Getting all of that cultural knowledge was the most difficult part.

Maharajah
18-11-2007, 10:40
You're correct, that is exactly how the ancient Egyptian hieroglypics were translated in modern times.

On the other hand, Mayan picture-writing has been 90% deciphered with no "Rosetta Stone" equivalent. Pure deduction. People are smarter than you might think.

Sojourner
18-11-2007, 11:18
Eldar can most likely learn Gothic faster than a human can learn Eldannar. Also, I can imagine that the Eldar would be very concerned of the aesthetics of their language, and would rather speak Gothic than have Mon-Keigh butcher Eldannar.

Definitely. There's a bit in a text passage where Eldrad conceals his annoyance at his name being grossly mispronounced by General Creed. Naturally, Creed being basically an analogue of Winston Churchill and General Patton, probably knows but doesn't give a toss.

There's almost certainly an element of physiology to most alien languages that makes it physically impossible for an alien to pronounce properly, and this will be largely mutual. Eldar will be rather good at it, though. I would imagine that most inter-species communication would be restricted to experts in unscrambling what is being said in a very difficult accent. Just try speaking or writing the modern interpretation of Pharonic era egyptian to someone from those times. They'd probably have a very hard time understanding you and vice versa.

[SD] Bob Plisskin
19-11-2007, 05:31
Just try speaking or writing the modern interpretation of Pharonic era egyptian to someone from those times. They'd probably have a very hard time understanding you and vice versa.

or try speaking modern English in Glasgow!

I think that languages apart from the more complex ones like Eldar would be as simple to learn, as say learning French, especially if through necessity, if you dropped a human off in Tau land then he'd learn 'hello' pretty quick then probably 'food' and so on. A few years and he'd be talking like a local.

Iracundus
19-11-2007, 06:43
Actually in the 3rd edition's Tau Codex, it says the Tau language has many words and meanings dependent on intonation, glottal emphasis, and posture. However at least there doesn't seem to be a mention of lots of historical references. Again, aside from those permitted to study such things, I don't see average humans really getting more than the absolute basics. The Water Caste presumably do most of the interaction with humans and they seem to be able to pick up Low Gothic easily enough.

Incidentally it is the 3rd edition Eldar Codex that has the bit about Eldar language from an Imperial diplomatic envoy to Alaitoc in M36 prior to the outreak of interminable hostilities between Alaitoc and the Imperium. In it, it is also noted that the Eldar written language is not an alphabetic language but that each Eldar written glyph is symbolic for a word or concept, and that there are numerous homophones but which differ in written form.

The language then is even more reminiscent of classical or literary Chinese in terms of parallels, though I have significant doubts as to whether the GW writers were consciously trying to draw a parallel or whether they were just trying to deliberately obfuscate and make the Eldar language as complicated as possible.

Grimbad
19-11-2007, 07:38
Do orks have a language you could learn and converse with?

Here's a helpful place to learn about the ork language.
http://www.the-waaagh.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=22115
Panzee naff, umie skab, stunti skull, orky orky!
(eldar are weedy, humans are unreliable, squats are dead, and orks are good!)

Iuris
19-11-2007, 13:34
Learning a completely alien language would be harder than one thinks.

As you grow up, you learn not only your own language, but also to hear the appropriate sounds. There are sounds you simply don't hear, that you can't reproduce or that you simply can't distinguish one from another.

Just take a look at the bushman language (nice examples in the movie "The gods must be crazy" - worth a look as a comedy), and tell me how you make that clicking noise? I once spent half an hour trying to reproduce the sound, and failed...

Now imagine an actual alien. Depending on their biology, the language might sound like washing metal dishes - you press more here and you get "wom wom wom", you ease the pressure there and you get "wim wim wim". And if you do learn to understand the language, you still need a set of tools to reproduce the language...

Never mind that not all species would communicate with sound...

Meriwether
19-11-2007, 14:09
Real life: The human brain is genetically predisposed to the learning and/or construction of language...

Applied to 40K: ...because the Old Ones made them that way... And as the Old Ones made the Eldar and the Krork, and probably had a hand in the creation of the Tau race, well, one might assume that they were made in the same manner.

Cheers,

Meri (who has a very rusty minor in linguistics)

malika
19-11-2007, 14:17
The way GW shows how the Orks talks is like mentioned earlier here to be "Pidgeon Gothic", its simply how they talk Gothic, or as how the Imperials would translate it. Brighter Ork figures such as Nazdreg or various Death Skull/Blood Axe figures would be able to speak Low Gothic more better, even sounding somewhat sofisticated. Orks amongst themselves have a totally different language though.

A human could learn Eldar languages, but they are very complex and the knowledge of telepatics/psychic powers would make things a lot easier since I dont believe Eldar communicate amongst themselves by just talking, it would be a big mix. For an Eldar learning Gothic would be quite easy since human languages are very simple compared to that of the Eldar. Compare it to an Englishman learning those African clicking languages, its almost impossible, while many Africans have an easier time learning English because its simpler and uses less different kinds of tones/notes/etc.

But humans, especially those in the Eastern Fringe, would/could definately learn alien languages, while illegal to have contact with Xenos it is still something that happens!

Calistarius
19-11-2007, 14:39
I think the writers were just alluding to the Eldar language being like the Eldar themselves: complicated. If you want to know how easy it would be the learn a language you can go look up the modern literature on linguistics and extropolate (the sci-fi route) or just make up a just-so story to move the story along (the fantasy route).

Direhamster
19-11-2007, 14:58
First thing - dark eldar don't speak gothic - they use some sort of translation boxes as they are not going to produce such a disgusting sounds.... I am sure they understand, a lot or at least "oh nonononono, peeeealse.... please, nooooooo!" :evilgrin:

Having mixed communications psychic+verbal, wouldn't necessarily make the foreign "plain" language easier for you. Simply because the entire method of communication is different.

As to body language/intination etc. involved, I would say that eldar has much keener senses allowing them to actually pick up signals such as irony, anger, compasiion etc, normally not carried by the words you say. For example: "Excuse me" or even "I am sorry" may have entirely different meaning depending on pronounciation, stress and body language, however that's not the part of the language structure per se.


One funny thing about simple words such as "food" - for aliens, say orks, "food" may be something entirely different from what we consider food - such things happen even on international level, not only interplanetary one - for example I don't consider rotten cheese food, while many French people do. :)

about learning from observation, as long as you are able to detect a pattern, you should be able to grasp the basics. The only problem is whether you can detect a pattern.

I say Eldar watching men can learn Gothic.

Humans without teacher, would have great deal of problems learning Eldanar.

Cheers

Direhamster

Meriwether
19-11-2007, 16:14
Language can be very funny, and the Eldar being so myth-dependent on their meaning would make it very difficult to learn the language, even if you _could_ pick up on all the body language and whatnot.

For an example in Real Life (*gasp*), the American Deaf community typically uses the word 'hearing' with a wide variety of meanings other than as the verb, "to hear". The most basic is as a *noun*, meaning 'a person who can hear'. Ex: "There are a bunch of hearings over there." But it can also mean 'alien', or 'unlike us', 'not of our group', or sometimes even 'weird'. For example, when Deaf people play sports, the other team is always the 'hearing team', even if the other team is comprised of Deaf people.

Extrapolate this general idea to words like 'Eldanesh' and 'Khaine' and yadda yadda and suddenly you have a language that, even if it can be fully taken in and decoded, might be tremendously obtuse in its meaning.

So I would say that in general humans have the capability to learn any language that they can perceive, but there are many barriers to understanding that might make any given alien language easier/harder to understand and/or produce. In the specific case of Eldar, I think that there are psychic and 'body language' subtleties that might make it impossible for humans to learn properly.

Cheers,

Meri

de Selby
19-11-2007, 16:41
Interesting question. In 40k, it seems learning most alien languages is only a little more difficult than learning human languages.

If humans ever really have to try and decipher non-human languages, the problems might be more severe. "If a lion could speak, we would not understand him."

the hivemind
19-11-2007, 17:03
i do remember tau having some sort of translation thing i their helmets, so it wouldnt be that unthinkable for other races to have translation computers, crystals, etc.

Emperor's Grace
19-11-2007, 20:25
People these days can both read and write Egyptian Heiroglypics, which are about as far from English as its possible to get. They also learnt to do this with no modern reference whatsoever, they literally figured it out for themselves.

Um, didn't it take the Rosetta stones aid?

<edit>Shoot, beaten to it

Large samples, long exposure, finding common terms all help. Given long enough, any language can be learned.

Whether you can speak it or not depends on whether you can reproduce the sounds (or etc...) involved.

I know Spanish (4 years formal education) but I still can't trill R's properly (which makes me sound odd to native speakers).

stormblade
19-11-2007, 20:56
I know Spanish (4 years formal education) but I still can't trill R's properly (which makes me sound odd to native speakers).

- That's just because English is your native language and English, as a language, does not encourage the people who talk it to develop neither the ear nor the mouth(metaphorically speaking ) for various ways of phonetically expressing themselves.(Not that they can't learn though).

Anyway sorry for the rant- the bottom line is that alien languages could be understood at least to a theoretical extent by careful examination.

Iracundus
19-11-2007, 22:39
The languages in 40K are learnable but in practice due to the xenophobia and lack of open communication between the various races, it is unlikely to do more than scratch the surface.

We know the Imperium can at least translate some of the Eldar language, but as shown in the 3rd ed. Eldar Codex, a literal translation misses much of the point unless one knows about the relevant Eldar myths or history being referenced. The Eldar however are not in the practice of patiently teaching such aspects of their culture to outsiders, nor is the Imperium generally interested in learning such details.

Direhamster
20-11-2007, 10:13
I would wager that on the outskirts of the Imperium, the fringe planets, where different races may meet relatively freely, there would be some sort of "common tongue" developed.
Sort of galactic esperanto.

That way it would be easier to commnunicate without having to learn entirely foreign language.

Of course every language is learnable, at least on the understanding level - the dificulty begins when we want to make a step further...

Direhamster

codicium_aeternum
20-11-2007, 11:22
I'm unsure how much fanon it is, but I am quite fond of the idea of the Eldannar Speak being virtually impossible for other races to learn because it involves a massive amount of Eldar body language - something which is far too subtle for other races to mimick.


in dawn of war ascension (goto is canon god dammit!) there is a sister from the ordo hereticus who talks in eldar to an eldar she is jailed with... who simply yells at her because she smells foul to him

LordXaras
20-11-2007, 11:45
in dawn of war ascension (goto is canon god dammit!) there is a sister from the ordo hereticus who talks in eldar to an eldar she is jailed with... who simply yells at her because she smells foul to himIs there any indication that she makes herself understood to the Eldar?

I have no doubts that an Eldar could get what a human was trying to say in Eldannar, but it would be difficult to get anything more than "Stop raping my language you dirty ape" as a reply.

brettz123
20-11-2007, 13:02
On the other hand, Mayan picture-writing has been 90% deciphered with no "Rosetta Stone" equivalent. Pure deduction. People are smarter than you might think.

And Carthaginian hasnt. So sometimes you can and sometimes you cant.

Direhamster
20-11-2007, 13:26
Also we can try to decipher sign code of writing, but we have no idea of how certain signs were pronounced, providing that said signs are description of sounds - nor words. Rosetta stone was used mostly to decipher the sounds of hieroglyphs.

Cretean alphabeth - "linear B" - or how it is called in English, also hasn't been deciphered, but this is not the finest example as we speak of dead languages, without any spoken form preserved to the present day. In case of learning Eldanar - people of Imperium would be able to make contact with individuals actually using the language, which makes the thing simpler. However, speaking of translator computers or what not, they would work breaking certain messages into mathematical code - however that works in literal communicates such as "this is a sword", but they the very system fails to translate metaphores, by deciphering only its literal layer, not true meaning.
For instance the phrase "flacon has landed" in Eldanar may carry much deeper meaning than simple information that the certain tank has arrived...

Cheers

Direhamster

Burnthem
20-11-2007, 16:08
I expect a bolt round gets the message across just fine, no poncing around learning pointy-eared-Eldar rubbish ;)

Vasteye
20-11-2007, 23:15
wow, i'm impressed with how this has panned out. lots of interesting points

if anyone can think of any more, do add them!

Erkenbrand
21-11-2007, 11:30
I believe that Ravenor spent much time with the Eldar, hence his posession of Wraithbone amulets, which suggests he probably had some idea of how Eldannar worked. In this incidence, I suggest that he would have communicated largely psychically - after all, language is just a medium for transferring meanings and wordless concepts, and is by definition an imperfect representation of the concept (see Plato's 'forms' ideas). However, two MINDS meeting would be able to understand each other perfectly, as they are dealing in thoughts and concepts alone, which are devoid of the barrier of language.

I agree that Eldar would view butchery of their language with distaste - see how difficult it is for Japanese to pronounce the letters 'r' and 'l' as Westerners do - imagine how difficult it would be to produce the sounds of a different SPECIES accurately (I see somebody has already made that point. Oops!).

As to the topic of actual language, what languages do people think are spoken in the Imperium? I've identified:

High Gothic - Effectively Latin
Low Gothic - English
Old Gothic - Middle English

Given Dan Abnett's take on 'Old Gothic', I've been using my (admittedly rather scanty) knowledge of Old English and Old Icelandic to formulate a language for my saxon-themed Guard army, based on a planet long separated from the Imperium before it was reunited. Plus, you'll have regional AND planetary slang, accents and dialect - see how difficult it is for cockneys and weegies (Glaswegians) to understand each other? Factor light years of distance and thousands of years of separation, and you've got yourself a bucketload of local languages, some probably so deteriorated from Old Gothic that they'd be nigh unrecognisable!

Grindgodgrind
21-11-2007, 11:42
I don't think that most Eldar will ever learn Gothic in their lives. There's simply no application for it in their daily lives. On the other hand, any Eldar who walked the Path of the Outcast would practically have to learn it. It'd be difficult (which is why most Eldar don't bother) but it's entirely possible to learn it by observation, most likely with the help of some supplemental material assembled by ex-Outcasts who have come back.

Craftworld Eldar characters who speak Gothic can be explained by the simple assumption that the character has been a Ranger at some point in the past.


Eldrad Ulthruan was fluent in High gothic, asnd he was oh, only the most powerful Eldar Farseer ever?

if eldar didn't know the language of the Imperium, how would the be able to manipulate them face to face?

LordXaras
21-11-2007, 11:49
High Gothic - Effectively Latin
Low Gothic - English
Old Gothic - Middle English
These are only representations to allow the gamers to understand the background elements of the 40k Universe. In reality, neither English nor Latin would survive 20000 years of human development, the Age of Strife and then the Age of the Imperium. The background would be incomprehensible to us 21st century-humans if it was written in proper Gothic.

However, if we wish to analyze the languages of the Imperium...

High Gothic is represented by Latin... or at least a bastardized version thereof. To us, Latin is ancient and represents lost ages of mysticism and great empires - thus the true High Gothic possibly represents the same to the Imperium. Perhaps High Gothic is closer to real English than Low Gothic is. ;)

Low Gothic is most likely a derivative of the Language the Emperor chose to communicate in (which would have been the language of a Terran Tribe in the Age of Strife, quite far-removed from English), but it has had 10000 years to evolve in the Age of the Imperium so it has probably changed dramatically.

Old Gothic (first reference to it I encounter, bloody Abnett) as it is in your example is probably a good take on how language would evolve on a colony that left Earth during the Stellar Exodus (in the Dark/Golden Age of Technology, if I'm not mistaken), and thus influenced by the people that the colony fleet consisted of. Again, however, the text we are presented with is translated to make it comprehensible to us but still have the same "feel".

Erkenbrand
21-11-2007, 16:47
These are only representations to allow the gamers to understand the background elements of the 40k Universe. In reality, neither English nor Latin would survive 20000 years of human development, the Age of Strife and then the Age of the Imperium. The background would be incomprehensible to us 21st century-humans if it was written in proper Gothic.

Oh, I completely agree - obviously they are not the same languages, merely representations as you say. So keeping 'in line' with the representations, Old Old Gothic would be like Old English, whereas Abnett's 'Old Gothic' is more like Middle English.

It's just a little side-project of mine to keep me amused.

kikkoman
21-11-2007, 17:42
Low Gothic sounds like the way people in Singapore talk

Sojourner
21-11-2007, 17:54
Low Gothic sounds like the way people in Singapore talk

Erm...why?

Erkenbrand
21-11-2007, 18:01
I assume Singapore 'English' is a degenerate pidgin-type English, full of archaic and local words, mispronunciation and misuse of words.

RexTalon
21-11-2007, 18:55
I'm not sure if it's been mentioned or not but Commissar Yarrick speaks Ork.

vforvenator
21-11-2007, 20:10
I'm not sure if it's been mentioned or not but Commissar Yarrick speaks Ork.Beat me to it (you, I mean, not him) and I recall he learned it from an Ork captive during an Armegeddon conflict-situation, indicating it can't be that difficult to get ones' head around.
According to the Inquisition War series, Meh'lindi the Callidus assassin spoke Eldar courtesy of a 'hypno-casque' (casque being a fancy word for helmet). Not sure how canon the casques are, but surely if Callidus assassins are meant to pose as aliens for missions they would need to know the lingo somehow?

Grindgodgrind
22-11-2007, 11:52
I believe Yarrick learnt Ork whilst on Golgotha fighting for the Squats.

And don't forget, Gaunt and his merry band of men learnt a chaotic language whilst trapped on the planet of Gereon.

Easy E
24-11-2007, 12:31
In my 40K, Eldar and Dark Eldar use pyscho-tech to be able to understand and speak with just about any alien race with a warp potnetial.

Orks can learn to speak Gothic and Tau. Orks aren't stupid, but the physiology makes proper grammar and enunciation impossible. However, the motivation to learn a foreing tongue may not be present in 99% of orks.

Humans can learn Ork and Tau. Some language learning can be assisted with servitors and technology.

Tau can learn Ork and Human, plus they use technology to help them translate speech. It is not as effective as the Eldar, as it requires exposure to the host language for some time.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

The Warmaster
24-11-2007, 13:00
I'd imagine that something like learning a Mon-Keigh language would practically be an overnight job for the Eldar (or, as I like to call them, the "********* elitist pansies").

That reminds me... Quite off-topic, but did those of you who've read the Horus Heresy novels notice that the Imperium's ability to communicate with the inhabitants of all of the newly rediscovered human worlds was ridiculously easy (the inhabitants just happened to already know Imperial Gothic, despite the whole "several millennia without contact" factor)?

- N.

Flame Boy
25-11-2007, 01:28
I also think I remember references to the Kroot being naturally gifted at learning other race's languages. They don't just mimic other languages like parrots, they genuinely seem to learn them very quickly compared to other races. Does anyone have a recollection of this? I'm sure I read it somewhere.

Burnthem
25-11-2007, 11:22
That reminds me... Quite off-topic, but did those of you who've read the Horus Heresy novels notice that the Imperium's ability to communicate with the inhabitants all of the newly rediscovered human worlds was ridiculously easy (the inhabitants just happened to already know Imperial Gothic, despite the whole "several millennia without contact" factor)?

- N.

While i in no way pretend to be an expert on this sort of thing, i expect that a few thousand years isnt really that long for language to completely change. Sure, there would be alot of words/phrases/metaphors whatever that would be completely different, but on the whole i like to think that once a language has reached a sufficient level of sophistication it levels out and stays relatively stable for long periods of time.

I know a few of you reading this will think 'but english has changed radically in the last thousand years or so', but english as a language was still evolving and changing very rapidly right up to the present day, Shakespeare alone invented something like 300 odd words IIRC. What im saying is that a stable language base that has had time to become mature would have much more longevity than we might give it credit for.

Or maybe im speaking a load of cr*p, who knows? :D

Free Spirit
25-11-2007, 12:12
There are several tests done on this subject 'in real life' and personal experience of some people i know add to this. Let's say you put a normal 20 y/o guy who speaks english in japan, and don't talk english to him. Within a year he will pick up meanings. This is a long way from actually talking it and a long time from actually comprehensing the language, but it can be done because our brain just works like that. Add to this the very long lifespan of the eldar et voila. I also can imagine the eldar being quite stressed over their current situation and try to master as much knowledge as possible because they are so few in number.

When you have people in your country who are not native language speakers there is often a huge difference between people born in another country who speak the language fluently and who speak it very 'broken'. This is because the people who speak 'broken' language don't talk that language at home, they speak their native tongue. For example, my girlfriend is from another country, and she came to Holland 13 years ago, and speaks dutch fluently without any mistakes. She even got a university degree here. They only speak dutch at home and that has alot to do with it.

The Warmaster
25-11-2007, 12:26
While i in no way pretend to be an expert on this sort of thing, i expect that a few thousand years isnt really that long for language to completely change. Sure, there would be alot of words/phrases/metaphors whatever that would be completely different, but on the whole i like to think that once a language has reached a sufficient level of sophistication it levels out and stays relatively stable for long periods of time.

I know a few of you reading this will think 'but english has changed radically in the last thousand years or so', but english as a language was still evolving and changing very rapidly right up to the present day, Shakespeare alone invented something like 300 odd words IIRC. What im saying is that a stable language base that has had time to become mature would have much more longevity than we might give it credit for.

Or maybe im speaking a load of cr*p, who knows? :D

I think it might have been a bit more than simply a few thousand years. How long did the Age of Strife go for, exactly?

- N.

Ivan Stupidor
25-11-2007, 15:11
I think it might have been a bit more than simply a few thousand years. How long did the Age of Strife go for, exactly?

- N.

The Age of strife lasted 5-6000 years (sometime in M25-sometime in M30). I'd put the Crusade's ability to communicate with the locals down to four things:
(1) The Standard Template Construct. Everyone had at least some bits of one, and this would likely be the basis of a common language in the event of contact. Imperial Gothic likely descends from this, as well.
(2) Isolated cultures tend to stagnate; look at any of the Dark Ages we've had so far. This means almost everyone is speaking an altered form of the local DAoT dialect (which ties into the STC point above).
(3) Time inflation. GW stretches the timeline out by a factor of ten or so to make it more dramatic. We can still understand what people five hundred years ago were writing, so filter that through WH40k and we get the Imperium understanding people 5000 years before.
(4)Science Fiction convention. Everyone speaks English out there.

Burning Star IV
25-11-2007, 20:19
Wouldn't an eldar's innate psychic abilities give it an advantage in learning gothic? Also, I guess there is fluff which suggests humans can learn Tau (at least I think someone mentioned that) But if anyone remembers the little promo video GW had for when the Tau were redone in '06,(in which the "tau" were speaking) there were sounds that would probably be impossible to reproduce without the aid of some technology......unless you're that guy from the police academy movies...maybe then.

Meriwether
26-11-2007, 18:26
Or maybe im speaking a load of cr*p, who knows? :D

*raises his hand* I know. And you're speaking a load of cr*p. :D

All evidence that we have of all languages to date show a constant evolution. Sometimes it goes in fits and starts, but no language survives contact with people unscathed.

The other preposterous part of this is assuming that each world would essentially be unicultural at the time they are re-annexed into the Imperium. This is highly unlikely, especially on the worlds that turned more feral -- and where you find more cultures, you find even more languages!

Cheers,

Meri