Sunday, March 4, 2012

Say What?

"Thought is the blossom, language the bud, action the fruit behind it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm taking a short break from writing about the elements.  I wanted to write about something different while I collect my ideas.  And so, I'm writing this blog.

I spoke with my mom about my blog, and about the things that I'm writing/sharing and the ideas.  She suggested using these games and blog to promote other things.

So, today I want to talk about language.

The core DnD game has several languages.  Common, Goblin, Elven, etc.  The real world has several main languages.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Language is something that adds depth and character to the world around us.  I'm fascinated by language.  I spent some time studying German.  My grandfather can speak it, and I think it's cool to learn another language, as well as learning a part of my family history.  Many of my friends can speak other languages, or have dabbled in them.  I want to take this to the next level for DnD.

I could take different languages and apply them to the game.  Since my friends and I are all native English speakers, I could use English as Common.  I'm a huge fan of goblins, so I would probably want to speak in German when I'm speaking "Goblin".  My girlfriend plays an Eladrin, and knows a lot of French, so I think that would be appropriate for "Elven".

I have yet to apply this to my game.  There are too many languages, and I only really have an understanding of about 3.  For example, I don't really know any friends that have knowledge of Portuguese (a shame).  However, I could see some really cool things be done with it.

  • Role play an encounter with a player in a different tongue.  If that player is the only one who speaks Elven in game, and you both can speak Spanish, speak in Spanish with them.  Write notes if you have to, but really make the rest of the group clueless to the discussion.  Their reactions will be much more real.
  • Write letters/notes in different languages for certain characters to find/read.
  • Create your own language for the game.
Tolkien used different languages in his books, and I loved them because of it.  The man was a linguistic genius.  He spoke many languages and created his own.  His languages will probably be a lot more complex than what I (and probably you) will create, but it will add a lot to the game.

I started to create my own language back in the day.  It was pretty basic, but it was an interesting go.  At this point, I would rather just apply real world languages.  You can find level one language textbooks at college bookstores and start applying basic sentences such as "how far is that?" and "That costs 50 gold".  A dictionary between the two languages will also help.  One of the first words I looked up when I was in 9th grade was the German word for dragon (Drache).  I still remember it.


  1. That would be really cool. (: Yay languages! I know, I'm a nerd... :P

  2. Good read Karl! keep it up!