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 Linguistics, the words you speak

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yanamari

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PostSubject: Linguistics, the words you speak   Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:57 pm

Old Realm Lessons
Old realm. The language of magic. The tongue of the gods. The signs of the first age of man. A symbolic system that wizards need to know in order to summon a demon, but also the one most scavengers had learn from the warnings on the walls of ruins. Those who don't know it guess it too complex to think there was a day when everyone spoke it, and those who do still wonder how it is that any mortal can learn how to talk with a spirit.

The truth is that Old Realm is as complex and impressive as the skill of those who write it. The books written in the second age by mortal savants have a clumsy and poor Old Realm, while the ones written by the solar exalted in the first age are rich in meaning and as beautiful as art pieces. Learning it is not so hard; mastering it takes discipline, skill and inspiration.

Lesson one: The true history of Old Realm
Several legends are told about the origin of the Old Realm language, some attributing its creation to Bridgit, some to the gods. None of them are true, but few know how the first language really came to be, as the story itself is an insult to the pride of the gods. Old Realm is actually much older than most people think. It is older than magic and even older than the exalted. It is just some years younger than humanity and it was created by the primordials.

During the early times of creation, the primordials had a language of their own, unfathomable for anyone but them; the animals did not need a language; the gods could easily pass their thoughts to each other without the need for words and the dragon kings as well as the mountain folk that existed before humanity developed charms that allowed them to share their ideas with one another trough the use of essence. But when humanity appeared on creation the need for words became obvious. The first humans could not understand the orders of the dragon kings, and while their devotion was high, they had no way of praying to the gods or to the primordials. Worst of all, they seemed unable to recognize the wonders of the world they lived in. Auchthon shrugged and claimed to have made them just as the other primordials wanted them. So they turned to stare at Aleph, who had first suggested creating humankind. And he sent his fetish soul, Tav the watcher, to fix the humans, and he stood in front of them, pointed at the sun above and screamed the noise that would became the first word. Then he pointed at the life on creation and the second word came to be. For ten years he wandered with the humans behind, pointing and screaming until they learned to recognize the world and make words of their own.

When humans returned to the dragon kings they were now full creatures, capable of communicating, of recognizing the world and of praying to the higher beings. And the gift of Aleph was such that for the first time ever the gods felt resentment towards the primordials for not giving them the gift. However, the humans offered it to the gods, temporary calming them.

For years this was enough, until one day an insignificant man was born deaf and mute, so he could not use the gift of humankind and could not serve the dragon kings nor praise the primordials. He tried to ask the gods for help, but they ignored him, for he had not the gift that made humans valuable. Crying he drew an image of Aleph on the ground and the primordial once again felt pity. So he sent Zahir, his second soul, and she drew an image of the sun on the dirt like he had done, and on his mind he knew humanity had just received a second great gift. He taught the other humans to write, and they taught the dragon kings. And once again the gods felt jealous and angry, even after humankind offered them this new gift.

Back then all humans were born with both gifts, and they all could talk and write in Old Realm. But after the gods and the exalts defeated Aleph, slew his souls and forced him into Malfeas, they made him take the gift away from humankind, so they would need to ask the exalts to teach them the language. Since then Old Realm became the tongue of the wise. Yet humankind knew how to make gifts of their own and those unfortunate who could not learn Old Realm made their own languages, diminished and lower version of the gift that was once theirs.

Lesson two: Meaningful talk
In Old Realm all syllables have a meaning and all words are formed by the combination of the meanings of its syllables. For example, the word blood is formed by the syllable lo, that means heart and the syllable xu, which means water. This way, once someone know all the syllables and its meanings, knowing the meaning of a word or creating a new one is just a matter of interpretation. While loxu is the most commonly used word for blood, it is also possible to say blood by saying 'red flow of life’, or 'that which comes out of a wounded body’.

Each syllable has a glyph, a small representation of its meaning. Again, while there is a set of glyphs commonly known and considered a standard, any glyph that represents a heart can be used for the ‘lo’ syllable.

This way, knowing Old Realm needs different degrees of knowledge. During the first age, most mortals agreed with a standard set of glyphs and words, while the exalts and the wise played with syllables and glyphs to produce words in the same way a writer plays with words to convey the same idea in different ways, or a painter represents the same image with different shapes. This meant the exalted could understand the common folk perfectly, while they sometimes saw the Old Realm of the wise as obscure and confusing.

During the second age most savants who know Old Realm, both mortal and exalted, know the simpler version of the common folk. Understanding the more complex uses of it require a good knowledge of the ways of the first age (therefore needing lore as well as linguistics in order to truly understand Old Realm).

((To see the rest, you will need the PDF file, tons of images.))
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PostSubject: Re: Linguistics, the words you speak   Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:46 am

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PostSubject: Re: Linguistics, the words you speak   Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:30 pm

Old Realm and Descendants
Old Realm — native language of all spirits.
High Realm — language of the ruling classes of the Scarlet Dynasty.
Autochthonic — common Autochthonian language.
Rocktongue — a Jadeborn language.
Luthan — a debased form of Old Realm spoken by pelagothropes in sunken Luthe.

Directional Languages
Low Realm, also known as Earthtongue — common Blessed Isle language, created by Creation-Defining Parlance Society.
Flametongue — common language of the South, created by Creation-Defining Parlance Society.
Forest-tongue — common language of the East, created by Creation-Defining Parlance Society.
Seatongue — common language of the West, created by Creation-Defining Parlance Society.
Skytongue — common language of the North, created by Creation-Defining Parlance Society.
Riverspeak — common language of the Scavenger Lands, originated as a patois of the other five directional languages.

Auxilliary Languages
Clawspeak — Lunar Exalted language for communicating in animal form.
Guild Cant — secret language of the Guild.
Coral Naval Codes — Mentioned in the entry for Admiral Tirak.
Southeastern Tribal Drum Code — Mentioned in Manual of Exalted Power: Lunars.

Other Languages
High Holy Speech, also known as Dragontongue — favored language of the Dragon Kings.
Pelagial — language spoken by the pelagials who live on the Western sea floor.
Bog Tongue — language of Mother Bog, which predates human language.
Forgotten Tongue — language of the Ereta'een (known also as the Forgotten Ones), the "strange gray beings that . . . Autochthon devoured[.]"
Body Language — mentioned in the entry for the First Age Solar Dancer in Light.
Machine — mentioned in the entry for golems in Manual of Exalted Power: Alchemicals.
Gremlinspeak — mentioned in the entry for the Palladium Wyrm in Manual of Exalted Power: Alchemicals.
Tribal Languages — the languages of various barbarian tribes.
Aalu — Language of the aalu demons, apparently what they weave their bureaucratic documents in.
Deep Sage — a skin color pattern language based on the Changing Coloration mutation, used by Deep Sages.
Shadow Swimmer — an Essence-based language based on the Shark Sight mutation, used by Shadow Swimmers.

First Age Codes and Ciphers
Naval Ciphers
Deliberative Army Code
Fallen Tears Crystalline Codex Cipher
Deceptive Verdant Bonsai Artisan's Cipher
Receding Horizon Cipher
Forbidding Manse of Ivy Cipher
Violet Bier of Sorrows Cipher
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