Author Topic: Elven and other dialects...  (Read 3124 times)

Tarnation!

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Elven and other dialects...
« on: January 16, 2019, 05:38:44 AM »
There's been some discussion in the Discord regarding elven dialects. That is, Sithican and Elven: supposedly, a speaker of one can speak or understand the other.
The language tags, however, are separate. So it's my understanding that if you don't have the right tag, you do not speak or understand the language. Similarly, someone's tried to claim they understood Xanalress because they spoke Elven, and the languages have similarities.

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Furthermore, there's the misunderstanding that, for example, a Darkonese-speaking person can understand Latin, implying they are the same language. A more prominent clarification about this (and the fact that PotM uses real-world placeholder languages) would be welcome.

Only looking for a DM ruling here, since it's been going back and forth.
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becat

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2019, 05:42:41 AM »

Nemesis 24

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2019, 05:46:20 AM »
This goes on a bit further.  The discussion postulated that Darkonese elven going under the tag of [Elf] such as elven from FR also allowed understanding.  More so, the statement was made that all elven languages are also compatible as well, regardless of tags used.

There was also further discussion regarding Gothic Earth languages being compatible with Ravenloft languages - gaelic to Tepestanic, Latin to Darkonian.  This has been ruled on before, but a voice of authority is unfortunately required.

emptyanima

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2019, 05:53:53 AM »
RL languages not being the same as Ravenloft languages that has been clarified since before the tags were introduced. So thatís less retconned and more corrected. Admittedly, this should be posted somewhere clearly, but itís not new.

Hereís an example of the team confirming this. This should probably be added to the Gothic Earth section of the rules.
https://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=23133.msg278671#msg278671

MAB77

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2019, 06:05:46 AM »
I confirm what emptyanima says. The official rules on language are as follow:

All speakers of any elven dialects can understand any other elven dialect if spoken slowly. So yes, a Dragonlance Silvanesti can understand a Forgotten Realm Drow and vice versa even if they have never seen one another previously.

While Ravenloft languages are represented using real world analogs, they are NOT the same languages. A romanian speaking Gothic Earth character would not understand Balok. A Tepestani or Forfarian would never understand Gaellic. French and English speaking characters would not understand High/Low Mordentish etc.
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Silas Rotleaf

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2019, 10:08:57 AM »
I’ve always treated it as you can kind of role play the character who speaks one dialect struggles to understand what the character who speaks another dialect is saying. There’s role play opportunity if you work with the lost in translation aspect such a scenario presents. Like maybe your Faerunian sun elf can pick out a few words of what a Sithican elf is saying but you know, overall both elves aren’t gonna get each other 100%. That’s a function of how similar the languages are.

Like how Gothic Earth French and High Mordentish might have similarities in structure but they aren’t identical.
This is kind of along the same lines as what MAB said about both characters speaking slowly and enunciating clearly.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2019, 10:13:12 AM by Silas Rotleaf »

Nemesis 24

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2019, 10:22:31 AM »
Actually Silas, there is NO similarity whatsoever between Mordentish and Gothic Earth French, regardless of the words used.  Its an odd one to wrap the head around, but despite the use of french in portraying Mordentish, no Gothic Earth language is supposed to have any connection at all to any language used in Ravenloft.  Its weird, but it is by ruling required to have a suspension of disbelief.

Arawn

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2019, 10:23:19 AM »
Iíve always treated it as you can kind of role play the character who speaks one dialect struggles to understand what the character who speaks another dialect is saying. Thereís role play opportunity if you work with the lost in translation aspect such a scenario presents. Like maybe your Faerunian sun elf can pick out a few words of what a Sithican elf is saying but you know, overall both elves arenít gonna get each other 100%. Thatís a function of how similar the languages are.

Like how Gothic Earth French and High Mordentish might have similarities in structure but they arenít identical.
This is kind of along the same lines as what MAB said about both characters speaking slowly and enunciating clearly.

No. Thatís cheesing, and is a rulebreak.
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Silas Rotleaf

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2019, 10:33:00 AM »
So youíd rather there be 0% overlap to be  on the safe side.
That makes sense too.

Main instance I can think of like that is how somebody who speaks modern English would have a hard struggle figuring out what a speaker of Middle English is saying and vice verse, kind of?

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2019, 10:46:06 AM »
So youíd rather there be 0% overlap to be  on the safe side.
That makes sense too.

Main instance I can think of like that is how somebody who speaks modern English would have a hard struggle figuring out what a speaker of Middle English is saying and vice verse, kind of?

No. They are not actually similar. Core languages are represented for our purposes by RL languages, but the RL languages in reality do not bear even a slight resemblance to the language they represent. I understand that this seems odd from an RP perspective, but thatís how it has to be.
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Silas Rotleaf

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 10:53:10 AM »
So when there’s a language prefix being used... would we be okay treating it as movie subtitles? OOC you as the audience get what is being said but IC the player characters as your actors who aren’t knowing whichever spoken language are going to register it as gibberish, yes?

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2019, 10:57:21 AM »
So when thereís a language prefix being used... would we be okay treating it as movie subtitles? OOC you as the audience get what is being said but IC the player characters as your actors who arenít knowing whichever spoken language are going to register it as gibberish, yes?

Thatís the point, yes.
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Lucadia

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2019, 11:23:58 AM »
I do not understand why this is being a allowed that if you choose one type of elven from any seting your suddenly a allowed access to understand and speak to any other elf in the multiverse. Sounds like standarized second common. They developed as different cultures. That be like playing on the same campaign who took one region language but needs to do 0 learning on another and can speak to any human  in any other region.  Vedui and E'roess sound nothing alike.

Id like to see this ruling in the books that all elven is the same and why its being made pointless for language slots to learn various dialects. Its fairly insulting and sounds disrespectul to rp nor leaving it unique As if picking a region language humans do. I rather pcs have take the effort to learn a dialect then saying yep I can speak any elf in the world.

Arawn

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2019, 11:37:44 AM »
I do not understand why this is being a allowed that if you choose one type of elven from any seting your suddenly a allowed access to understand and speak to any other elf in the multiverse. Sounds like standarized second common. They developed as different cultures. That be like playing on the same campaign who took one region language but needs to do 0 learning on another and can speak to any human  in any other region.  Vedui and E'roess sound nothing alike.

Id like to see this ruling in the books that all elven is the same and why its being made pointless for language slots to learn various dialects. Its fairly insulting and sounds disrespectul to rp nor leaving it unique As if picking a region language humans do. I rather pcs have take the effort to learn a dialect then saying yep I can speak any elf in the world.

Because they are the same language. Sithicans are descended from Krynnish Qualinesti, and since we know that Darkonese and Sithican elves can communicate, we know all dialects of Elvish spoken in the Demiplane are almost certainly the same language. Remember that most D&D settings (Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, etc) are considered to be part of the same "multiverse"; you have gods and heroes who actively cross from one to another (and, of course, the Demiplane there lurking). That all dialects of Elvish are related is no different than versions of Common being the same. Saying it's insulting or disrespectful is melodramatic and unhelpful.
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Lucadia

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2019, 11:57:36 AM »
They are regional dialects. Thats like saying balok is the same language as the next neighboring country and you should be fluent in it. Add in that Krynn likes separate its self even in cosmotolgy and its actively very hard to get a character in or off that setting without the use of a spelljammer since planewalking does not work. Though I consider you to be unhelpful in this debate as its basicly "dm said its same language" then why do we have half a dozen elven tags for language system if it does not matter which one you learn. Feels pretty cheesy that its just second common.

and Sithican elves are Silvanesti stock. who are descended from the elder wild elves before the clans broke apart. >>Even the Silvanesti and Qualanesti have a hard time understanding dialects without effort and words that do not match and all they did was move regions.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2019, 12:00:56 PM by Lucadia »

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2019, 12:08:24 PM »
Can we clarify this too? Not sure it was the clearest example.

Quote
So yes, a Dragonlance Silvanesti can understand a Forgotten Realm Drow and vice versa even if they have never seen one another previously.

That's just if they're both trying to speak Elven, right? I'm pretty sure Drow is its own separate language, and has distinct barriers.


Edit: Better luck next time.  8)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2019, 12:10:36 PM by TheGrinningHound »

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2019, 12:09:28 PM »
So just a quick clarification, does this mean that if you understand Elven you also understand Xanalress?  I haven't brushed up on my Forgotten Realms lore for some time so I don't know how linked the two languages are in that setting.

EDIT: Hound bamboozled me.

Destinysdesire

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2019, 12:11:53 PM »
Can we clarify this too? Not sure it was the clearest example.

Quote
So yes, a Dragonlance Silvanesti can understand a Forgotten Realm Drow and vice versa even if they have never seen one another previously.

That's just if they're both trying to speak Elven, right? I'm pretty sure Drow is its own separate language, and has distinct barriers.

Drow speak their own language that was made after they moved into the Underdark, the language is often referred to as Xanalress. Honestly no, it would be its own separate language that cannot be generally translated by elves without training in Xanalress as it was made by the first drow to stop followers of Shevarash and such from spying on them and finding out their plans, over the years it grew and moved to three different technical drow forms. More info here:

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Drow_language

Arawn

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2019, 12:14:47 PM »
Remember, there are drow in more settings than Forgotten Realms, although your source is accurate as far as it goes.
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Destinysdesire

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2019, 12:17:47 PM »
Remember, there are drow in more settings than Forgotten Realms, although your source is accurate as far as it goes.

Oh I agree Arawn, I just don't agree that Elven and Drow are interchangeable. Unlike all the elven dialects.

Arawn

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2019, 12:21:32 PM »
and Sithican elves are Silvanesti stock. who are descended from the elder wild elves before the clans broke apart.

You're right, by the way, that they're Silvanesti, not Qualinesti; that got updated with Domains of Dread. Either way, the point's the same--they're all closely related and mutually intelligible, and that's not something we intend to change.
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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2019, 12:31:28 PM »
Pretty niche but does this all apply to Athasian elves as well? Iíd assume yes for matters of convenience but theyíre not particularly similar/related to elves from other settings as far as I can tell so I canít see why theyíd speak the same elven in a domain thatís cut off from other planes.
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zDark Shadowz

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2019, 01:48:02 PM »
Origin divergence explains the understandable dialects easy enough if all elves originated from the Feywild in D&D in general.

As for Athas it looks like elves may've originated from outside of Athas, only source I can find is they sailed to Athas from 'across the sea.' They had an origin point that wasn't Athas and is otherwise unspecified?

If you can find if they came from the Feywild originally somewhere, then sure, they could understand other elven languages to a degree.

Otherwise, they will know a language that had its own origin that's not the 'Elf' language in Ravenloft and probably shouldn't take 'Elf' as a known language.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2019, 01:50:30 PM by zDark Shadowz »
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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2019, 02:32:00 PM »
Athas used to be a more green place, similar to the worlds of other settings. Likwewise the races used to be more like their counterparts from other setting. Dwarfs used to have hair and beards for instance. With this in mind it does not seems strange the athas elfs speak the same language as all other elves



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MAB77

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Re: Elven and other dialects...
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2019, 02:53:30 PM »
Beside managing all possible exceptions from every existing settings quickly becomes tedious. For the sake of simplicity a line needs to be drawn somewhere, and this line is that we use the Ravenloft setting's rules over all others. It is easier to manage when the rules are kept simple.

So it is what it is. Athasian elf, Qualinesti, Sithican, Drow, Tolkien Elves, etc. They can all slowly converse together.
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