Author Topic: Language in the Imperium  (Read 7711 times)

Offline MarcoSkoll

  • Arch Data-Archivist
  • Administrator
  • Grand Lord Inquisitor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5020
  • Time for some thrilling heroics.
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2009, 01:10:26 PM »
Long story short... Orks would be unwilling to learn gothic because it makes them look weak and oomie-like to their peers.
As N01H3r3 says, as long as they can thump anyone who complains hard enough, then they can do what they like. Hence, most likely, you'd see it being a higher ranking Ork.

Anyway, don't mistake Orks for thick. Some Orks do demonstrate decent tactical intelligence, and would recognise the advantages of being able to threaten or psyche out their opponents.

Quote
Similarly, humans would be unwilling to learn how to speak ork because it would make them look suspicious in the eyes of the Imperial authorities.
Choosing to learn to speak Ork would be suspicious. Being ASKED to learn to speak Ork is another matter, and it certainly happens - there are plenty of reasons to want to understand your enemies' languages.

While a lowly guardsman deciding to learn to speak Ork is definitely suspicious, having someone who can around offers serious benefits.
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

GW's =I= articles

Offline Zephon

  • Initiate
  • *
  • Posts: 48
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2009, 05:58:03 PM »
Orkish is presumably genetically programmed into Orks along with all their teknical know-wots, so it doesn't present the same kind of problems as Gothic. An Ork from Charadon probably speaks and writes exactly the same as an Ork from Armageddon. It would actually make the Orks more effective warriors if their language was impossible to understand without being an Ork, but I suppose an innate language has its limits.

The same cannot be true of Low Gothic: the dialect of worlds near the Eastern Fringe would be very different to that closer to the centre of the galaxy. Also, there appears to be no Low Gothic standard, only a series of related dialects or languages. Would a message from one sector to another have to be translated into High Gothic to prevent misunderstandings? Would Imperial Guard commanders have to speak High Gothic to communicate with each other? Regiments from diverse locations have all been deployed together: notably with the Macharian Crusade, in which every regiment with its own figure range took part. Could such a force, gathered from across the whole Imperium, function without using High Gothic, at least at a command level?

Offline N01H3r3

  • Inquisitor
  • ***
  • Posts: 162
  • Long Ago and Far Away
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2009, 08:17:45 PM »
The same cannot be true of Low Gothic: the dialect of worlds near the Eastern Fringe would be very different to that closer to the centre of the galaxy. Also, there appears to be no Low Gothic standard, only a series of related dialects or languages. Would a message from one sector to another have to be translated into High Gothic to prevent misunderstandings? Would Imperial Guard commanders have to speak High Gothic to communicate with each other? Regiments from diverse locations have all been deployed together: notably with the Macharian Crusade, in which every regiment with its own figure range took part. Could such a force, gathered from across the whole Imperium, function without using High Gothic, at least at a command level?
This, really, is one of the purposes of the Sisters Dialogous - facilitating communication between servants of the Emperor.

While dis-unified in general, there is likely an effort to maintain some level of mutual comprehensibility with Low Gothic across wide areas of space. As the Imperium reclaims lost worlds and claims new ones, existing versions of the language spread, both through the conquering forces and through the Ministorum missionaries and preachers who accompany and follow behind those forces. There are likely entire departments of the Administratum devoted to the matter of linguistic uniformity (an impossible goal, but still a useful thing to aim for), further dividing matters into Low Gothic (which may simply be defined as being any variant language deemed sufficiently understandable by another speaker of Low Gothic from elsewhere in the Imperium) and local languages (any native human language essentially incomprehensible to a speaker of Low Gothic unfamiliar with the language). The line between the two will invariably be blurred and uncertain, of course, but there will be a distinction at some level.

High Gothic is maintained in its 'purity' by its necessity in reading standard texts - the Tactica Imperialis, the Codex Astartes, innumerable religious and legal texts, many of which are thousands of years old - and through the Schola Progenium, where High Gothic is taught to all Progena alongside their other studies (forming a widespread standard, presumably alongside their standardised dialect of Low Gothic; given the positions of authority Progena often end up in, this becomes another way of maintaining some level of standardisation).

I imagine that it's something that the Adeptus Terra is constantly struggling to deal with...
Contributing Writer for many Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay books, including Black Crusade

Professional Games Designer.

Xisor

  • Guest
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2009, 02:03:17 PM »
My latest approach to the lingua technis/binaric is basically this:
- Imagine something like Lojban, but advanced and basically super comprehensive and extensively modular, including all sorts of standardised scientific conventions
- Simplify its representation down into binary
- Transmit in binary, either aurally, visually etc.

This makes it exceedingly robust and very...mechanical. Very precise. And very far-reaching.

With High Gothic, one simply assume it's an highly evolved language, the sort of 'best' human language we knew. But that it some time, somewhere, died out, became less common out in the colonies. Presumably Dark Age of Technology, that spoken by folks who designed the STC, but that's not at all necessary.

With Low Gothic? I'm stumped by it. Sometimes I like the idea that it's one language with accents. Sometimes I don't. I like a fair few of the ideas folks are discussing here though. Intriguing.

Offline Zephon

  • Initiate
  • *
  • Posts: 48
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2009, 02:42:57 PM »
I suppose for most of the Imperium Low Gothic works along the lines of the pyramidal system everything else works on. As long as your peers, underlings and master understand you, everything is fine. It doesn't matter if a Hive factory drone is unintelligible to a Spire-dweller, or that the Departmento Munitorium in the Quinrox Sound have to translate everything into High Gothic to send a report to Terra, because they will always be communicating with intermediaries, who receive a message in a 'strange accent' and pass it on in their own. Problems arise with the few individuals (Inquisitors, Rogue Traders, etc) outside the system of the Imperium, who might find themselves on the other side of the galaxy from where they learned Low Gothic, and will have to use High Gothic instead.

Offline MarcoSkoll

  • Arch Data-Archivist
  • Administrator
  • Grand Lord Inquisitor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5020
  • Time for some thrilling heroics.
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2009, 03:11:19 PM »
As long as your peers, underlings and master understand you, everything is fine.
Actually, on that note, from the Imperium's perspective, it may be better if ONLY those people understand you...

After all, if you can use the limits of language to keep your peons under control (a bit of a Tower of Babel situation), then all the better.

Obviously, this wouldn't be too commonplace, but I could see it happening in some places - if Department A and Department B have no mutual language, then you can force all communication between the two to go through your translation, and so you can then weed out any information you don't want to get through.
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

GW's =I= articles

Offline precinctomega

  • Inquisitor-Missionary
  • Grand Lord Inquisitor
  • *****
  • Posts: 831
  • Fear me, for I bring PLASMA!
    • Support Precinct Omega on Patreon
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2009, 12:06:45 PM »
On Ork language, see below:
Quote
The Ork language is a distinct and ancient tongue in its own right. At least 50% physical, it relies enormously on tone, volume and quantity of spittle emitted by the speaker to convey subtleties of meaning and emphasis.

Orkish was programmed into the early Krork warriors of the Old Ones as a basic battle tongue, intended only for use in combat, as the creatures were intended to be held largely in stasis except when needed. However, with the demise of the Old One culture, the Krork were left to the tender mercies of evolution along with their society, technology and language. Not being blessed with a great capacity for original thought, it was the greater tendency for Krorks - now calling themselves "orks" - to adopt terminology and expressions from their enemies. It may be that this was a deliberate ability and part of their original design, allowing them to communicate in basic and threatening fashion towards their opponents. However, as their principle early opponents were Necrontyr constructs, this seems unlikely.

Nevertheless, the impact of the Imperium upon Orkish language has been immense and Orks have widely adopted a considerable vocabulary inspired and influenced by Low Gothic dialects. As a result, to the ear of the common citizen, Orkish sounds very much like a debased human tongue.

In reality, it is a sophisticated language in its own right that is, nevertheless, peppered with loan words from human and other languages.

The word "deff" in Orkish, for example, does not truly translate as "death" in Low Gothic. Rather, it conveys the sense of the annihilation of ones opponent. "Deff" is something that happens to the enemy, not to an Ork (unless it's an enemy ork!). A "kopta", meanwhile, is a word of uncertain origin that can be applied to a huge variety of ork vehicles, from the one-ork ornithopter weapons platforms to larger - and mercifully rarer - antigravity armoured tanks observed in the course of the Greilos Crusade.

A "gun" is a very subtle concept in the language of orks, meanwhile. Shootas and sluggas, for example, are categorically not "guns" in ork language. Scholars disagree, but it seems that a "gun" is specifically a weapon that makes use of technology cannibalized by meks from their enemies. Most orks look down on such weapons, and generally put their diminutive slaves to work on them. The scavenger clan of Death Skulls, however, thinks nothing of using their enemies weapons back on them - a fact that causes many fights and disagreements with allies from other clans.

[Most of the above is made up on the spot, but you might find it helpful.]

R.

Offline Vladimir

  • Interrogator
  • **
  • Posts: 93
  • Ave Machina
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2009, 06:15:46 PM »
High gothic is very similar to latin in the early middle ages- a language spoken by all members of the upper classes and fairly standard regardless of where the speaker is from. So a medieval noble/scholar/priest/merchant would (probably) know any nessesary local languages, to another  noble/scholar/priest/merchant they would speak latin, particularly if the other party was from a different geographical location. In a similar way High Gothic will be the language generally used for religious ritual and major works of scholarship (NOT science so much, however- that's more the Admech's domain).

Low gothic I understand as being a debased (but very much distinct) form of high gothic. Remember that in the background, guardsmen from different regiments are shown as being able to converse fairly easily in Low Gothic. Certainly there will be a lot of local variation in terms of slang word, figures of speech and accent, but the grammar and core vocabulary will probably be very consistant. Remember that in many cases (the guard and navy, trading vessals, and much of the Departmento Munitorum) there is a lot of contact across the Imperium, and in many cases Low Gothic will be the only language two livestock traders or navy crew will have. The imperium being what it is, I imagine most planets make an active effort to keep 'their' Low Gothic in line with the standard.

Many planets will have low gothic as their standard language, but many more will have another language specific to them as well. This probably happens as much on Death Worlds and frontier worlds as much as low-tech feral/feudal worlds. In many cases this will be based (losely) on low gothic, with significant changes in grammar, vocabulary and intonation. Similarly, some isolated worlds will have their language based on High Gothic, other minor dialects or possibly even Xenos languages, if you trace it back far enough. On many such planets there will be several distinct languages for different geographical regions, castes or even social situations.

All of ^that^ is my own oppinion, but certainly not cannon...

As for the orks, the above post has nailed it, IMHO.
But what if the Emperor could be granted a body that does not wither and die, that could be his vessel for all eternity to come? I believe that such a thing is possible, that the Emperor yet waits for his new body to be found or created. In essence, a new Emperor will be created to lead Mankind to i

Offline Heroka Vendile

  • Grand Lord Inquisitor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1012
  • Lord Procrastinator-General
    • Design Portfolio
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2009, 11:58:11 PM »
Much like films and comics routinely have people who would be speaking a foreign language speaking English (or whatever language) for the benefit of the viewers, it's very probable that what we see in Black Library books - or GW publications in general - is a similar "translation".

These characters almost certainly don't speak English, or anything that bears resemblance.

In the 3rd Ed 40k rulebook there is a bit towards the back which talks about things like the structure of the imperial dating system, culture and language, on which it generally concurs with the first few replies.
And I'm sure I read somewhere some years ago GW jokingly stating that there is no way in hell that English exists in the 41st millennium, it is just used as a stand in so we poor 2nd millennium folk can understand the background.
It's all fun and games until someone shoots their own guy with a Graviton gun instead of the MASSIVE SPIDER.
The Order of Krubal
Rewards Of The Enemy

Offline Gnaeus Conlitor

  • Interrogator
  • **
  • Posts: 62
Re: Language in the Imperium
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2009, 06:48:16 PM »
I imagine Gothic has around 30 different words for Heretic.
Inquisitor got me in to roleplaying which in turn kick started my writing career. I am eternally grateful.