Author Topic: Developing a Written Language?  (Read 2405 times)

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Developing a Written Language?
« on: April 18, 2003, 06:30:43 PM »
Okay, maybe there is an obvious thing Im missing here... maybe Zalanthan's are a notch below Earthlings, but Ill go ahead and ask anyways. Seems to me, that developing a written language... over time, could be done. And in such a way as to not appear as a written language to 'Authority' such as the templarate or other sources. Here is some of my backing that Ive thought about.

Of course it would start out as a form of symbolism, and probably as a form of nescessity, by those applicable. If I was a merchant dealing in lets say Lumber in the north. Over time I might make several contacts. Lets say like 3 noble houses, that each want alot of lumber. So Id get a team to do the work. Now to keep things organized I might jot down some marks. Like a circle for one house, a square for another, and a triangle for the third. Then a single talley mark to represent a pallete of lumber. Now that way things are organized. Ive heard this isnt considered reading and writing, just symbolism. -But- overtime, I might develop more symbols. And eventually -read- the circle as House whatever overtime. Eventually using it in a wider varity of places, maybe deciding to change it to a circle with a line through it, because I need to write it so often.

Now with a thriving lumbering business with several houses and a group of people, I work to maximize my production by figuring out seasons and locations of good wood and stuff. So I make a map of the region, with maybe an X shape marking agafari, a diamond marking Cylini, and a Y shape marking Jallal. For simplicities sake Ill just use another 0 as the season. So a paper might look something like:
Quote
0
|||X ||diamond ||||Y                                             []

Now to translate, thatd be like season 0, 3 agafari, 2, cylini, 4 jallal to house square.

Now that seems very simplistic, and drawing on a very few number of symbols, but overtime this might expand, weather out of nescessity or interest. Just from this symbol scenario, it might logical to come up with symbols for all the types of trees dealt with, all the seasons, all the houses I deal with. Maybe a symbol for each person that works with me. That brings up another point. In developing a recognizing symbol for the person, I might make a squiggly line for dark-haired people, a rough line for blondes.

This is in essence the creation of a written language. Associating a marking with a real thing, using it consistantly and having it being recognized consistantly with its association. So in just the very limited scenario I have there, that any a number of merchants might have, Ive laid out a system of countless symbols, that at a glance could appear as writting. Imagine a ledger with things like....
Quote
(Season symbol)
||||x |||y |||diamond     (house symbol)
|||||x |||||y |||||diamond     (house symbol)
|||x ||y |diamond     (house symbol)

(Season 2 symbol)
||||x |||y |||diamond     (house symbol)
|||||x |||||y |||||diamond     (house symbol)
|||x ||y |diamond     (house symbol)


You could easily fill a book with things like this.
And then the developmental process could transfrom the house symbol into something less generic, in essence a 'character' to represent that word. Maybe making similar 'character' for similarly named things. Like the Cylini and Cynipri might be just a slightly different symbol, as to avoid confusion.

I think you see where Im going with this. And then the question, that I still feel like im missing something on, is why this doesnt appear to happen more often? Is this considered writing by the templarate and thus illegal? Ive also noticed no real announcement in 'Laws' on the IC boards against wriiting, so people might not even know its discouraged.

Id think that after several years maybe even less if they are determined and wanting to, a language could be developed. If its merely a symbol-based code.

Feel free to help me figure this out.

LoD

  • Posts: 1363
It has developed.
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2003, 07:35:48 PM »
Reading and Writing has already been developed on Zalanthas.

Taken from the help files:

Quote
Please note that literacy is illegal or unknown for most people on the face of Zalanthas.  While nobles and templars are trained in the arts of
reading and writing and the Merchant Houses pass along a knowledge of how to write the trade-ciphers associated with Cavilish to their agents and
merchants, it is considered treason for common citizens to possess such
knowledge within the walls of Allanak.


Most characters will never encounter reading/writing unless they are part of the organizations/peoples listed above.  Those that do usually disappear without much warning and that keeps the common man exactly as the templarate wants them, dumb.

-LoD

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Developing a Written Language?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2003, 07:39:46 PM »
I know 'a' written language already exists, but is developing a non-conventional, symbol based form of communication, that probably wouldnt even be widly known or accepted be considered 'reading and writing' as per Allanaki law and outlawed?

-AND- the question also applies to the world. What about tribal lifestyles? Who would prohibit it there? Or in the north, are there similar laws?

LoD

  • Posts: 1363
Written Languages.
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2003, 08:01:50 PM »
Any form of written communication will allow for one very dangerous thing to happen: the recording and preservation of ideas.  The templarate doesn't want anyone except for the people serving THEIR city and people to think too hard about any one thing.

Let us say that you have Citizen A, who has a lot of new ideas about how to make the city better.  They talk and talk and talk about it and eventually the templars silence him.  There may be a few others that talk about his ideas, but they are going to be second and third hand accounts that are eventually lost amidst the populace.

Now you have Citzen A who records his ideas in a book.  Everyone can read them from this book over the years and this new idea keeps surfacing over and over and over and eventually the populace becomes more aware and problematic for the templarate to control.

It is because of these situations that I think -any- written form of communication would be frowned upon and lumped into the illegal 'literacy' category.

As for desert tribes.  Most written communication comes as a means of conveying ideas and thinking from one generation (or people) to the next.  This usually comes at the hands of a society having developed to the point where they are efficient enough in their government to have positions where people do absolutely nothing all day but think and write and speak.

In tribes, most people are worried about surviving, getting enough food, mating and having kids, defending the territory and such to worry about how to record grain prices three years ago.  They'd be much more likely to have a verbal 'loremaster' that is required to recount the tales of their tribe's heroes and such over the years as compared to any form of writing.

-LoD

naatok

  • Posts: 260
Possible exceptions
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2003, 10:47:57 AM »
I think LoD has pretty much covered this thread well for the world of Zalanthas, but I would like to mention a possible exception:
 
Although controlled and tolerated in the south and universally hated, feared and hunted in the north, it is possible that the RARE (in the extreme) group of mages will form, united to some common cause.
 
Would it not be likely that such a group seek some way to create artifacts which record their knowledge base on the occult?
 
Granted, I think it would be difficult for most mages/sorcerers to trust anyone enough to collaborate with them, but there would be cases where it was in their best interests to do so.
-Naatok the Naughty Monkey

My state of mind an inferno. This mind, which cannot comprehend. A torment to my conscience,
my objectives lost in frozen shades. Engraved, the scars of time, yet never healed.  But still, the spark of hope does never rest.

Savak

  • Posts: 817
Knowledge, ideas, communication, & writing
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2003, 08:14:42 AM »
In short, people in various and sundry groups are constantly trying to learn or forge ways of developing, learning, or maintaining a written language.  But they are also constantly being rooted out and executed.  Considering also that written language can be sketched in a short time, but takes generations to be both widely useful, standardized, and known, makes developing something "new" exceedingly unlikely.

There is, however, some use in learning pre-existing forms of written communication, as there is already a language associated with it, structure, understanding, and wide usefulness (i.e., you can tell stories, describe things, explain locations, AND record inventory with ease).  And if you know a pre-existing written language you can understand some older texts, useful in gaining knowledge from the past rather than sharing in the present or recording for the future.

Commoners have little need or desire to get whacked for trying to write something which MAY be of some use to SOMEONE long after they're ALREADY DEAD.  Sharing information in the here-and-now is readily done via the Way.  Texts are so rare that learning from the past via books/scrolls/etc. is virtually unheard of among commoners (and storytellers, lorekeepers are quite common).

That said, you're welcome to try; I'd almost encourage it.  Just keep in mind that most of the powers-that-be in the IC world are likely to squish you for it, and your gain is -likely- to be little to nothing.

-Savak
i]May the fleas of a thousand kanks nestle in your armpit.  -DustMight[/i]

Kalden

  • Posts: 867
Developing a Written Language?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2003, 02:35:10 PM »
I think the usefullness of a written knowledge would be minimal for everyone but defilers, merchants(perhaps a number system would be more useful to them), bard/loremasters and perhaps elementalists, who could write down spells.

One of the biggest uses for a written language was long-distance communication, and with the psionic contact, that makes written messages obselete.

That means it's only useful for recording history, and for the the tribals and commoners who struggle to get by, it's not worth it to laboriously teach everyone how to read and write. We struggle teaching kids to read and write in present day... who has time to teach writing in the desert world?

Even in the Dark Ages of Europe few people other than nobles and monks knew how to write, even though writing wasn't illegal.

Abascal

  • Posts: 54
Developing a Written Language?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2003, 11:34:10 PM »
You said,
Quote
Now to keep things organized I might jot down some marks. Like a circle for one house, a square for another, and a triangle for the third. Then a single talley mark to represent a pallete of lumber. Now that way things are organized. Ive heard this isnt considered reading and writing, just symbolism.


Reading and writing is Symbolism! for each symbol represents a sound.   What you thought up IS consider reading and writing. What you have thought up was the way how most writen languages on earth started. What you thought up is just a form of hieroglyphics, and one is capeable of reading, and writing hieroglyphics. Good job. For example Notes in music are basicly symbols and music can be written and read. Your example has even more variability between symbols then dose music so in no way consider what you thought up to not be reading and writing.

By the way, the only way music is really recorded, or remembered is throw a writen music language. So lets say I make some sheet music and one was to examine it... it would show :this is soe sheet music, it has markings of different parts of the carru like the : Eye, toe, hoof, mouth, snout, head, antler, leg etc...(see http://www.armageddon.org/general/music/music.html#theoryand then when you type <read music> it would tell you a very descriptive account on what the song sounds like. of corse it would have lyrics there, but they are OOC lyrics because the PC is soposed to know the lyrics if the reconize the song. Its just an idea.... and maybe they can make reading music as a skill and you can only understand the description the better you at the skill. I think its just a good idea to have to give to all the people of a group playing a musical event. It makes sure everyone is playing the right thing.
Tell me what you all think maybe..... Should I make this a Real post instead of a reply?
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