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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Language


Jonn

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I akways wondered why the entire known world (excepting Shara) only speaks one language. There are many accents and mixings of old tongue, but essentially the people all speak the same language. There are no real significant variations, not even like a diffrentiation of a mild nature like say for us....Portugese and Catalan Spanish...Or even Italian and Spanish. They're all Latin root languages but different enough to require translation.

 

There's next to none of that in The Wheel of Time.

 

Is there an explanation of this someowhere like in the White Book? I've never read it, just seen excerpts.

 

I'm pretty certain certain places in Seanchan speak different languages, and of course Shara, which is supposedly a large place. I just find it odd that societies so disparate and stratified like say, the Domani and the Aiel far to the East, speak the same language basically fully recognizeable to one another.

 

In our world countries are so nationalistic that they hold tight to a home language just to find a sense of identity. Look at Illian and Tear. It's almost seems like a given that they would develop separate variations of language being such bitter rivals. The Illianers are already half there with their strange accents. Still they speak a comon language. I would think that a base language like Old Tongue would spawn multiple variations of languages especially after so long and with so many catastrophic events. The Breaking alone should have ensured that there would bo a schism of sorts when it comes to language.

 

What do you think?

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i can see your point,

but i think in the case of randland anyway its a general or "common" language because of the large amount of trade and interaction between the nations so for ease i guess theres just one,

 

as for the aiel it may be a case of using whats easy too, i mean they trade with the peddlers and ogier so it might just be a carry over from where they come from.

 

other than that i cant think anything else.

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My theory has been that it's a been a correction of drift by conquest.

Lemme put it this way, the world was split into three continents, and and they all originally spoke the same language (like Latin after the fall of the Roman Empire)

Now in the main area where the action takes place, there has been constant trade, not to mention the Old Tongue only falling out of everyday use several thousand years after the Breaking (as I understand it). Whatever language drift may have occured would have been corrected under Hawkwing's Empire, since I'm sure that whatever variations had cropped up in his home nation would become the norm.

Lets look at Seanchan next, they would likely have developed a different 'New Tongue' the others, true, but the whole continent was conquered by people from the main region, who would also have made their own language/dialect the dominant. Now to use Latin again as an example, the whole region around the Mediterranean originally spoke completely different languages, then the Romans came and made Latin and Greek the prime languages. Over time, the regions began to drift again, evolving from Vulgar Latin and combining with the local dialects and suppressed languages to turn into the Romance languages. It's been proven that the Seanchan tend to use the Old Tonuge a lot more, as well as expressions which aren't common on the other side of the Aryth Ocean. So let's assume that the language has begun to drift in the thousand-odd years since the conquest. In another thousand they might be incomprehensible, but right now they still speak the same language.

The Land of Madmen has never been explored, so we don't know if they speak the same language, or one different language, or hundreds of different languages.

I always assumed the Aiel would have a very strong accent, since they were largely isolated. However they weren't completely isolated, especially in the past couple hundred years of trade with Cairhien. Not to mention that they, too, have foreign names for many things.

Finally Shara. We've never officially talked to a Sharan, but in..KoD I believe there is a conversation overheard with an odd looking, dark skinned fellow with a very strong, lilting accent who knew all about silk production. It's been shown that silk only comes from Shara, and the man spoke very hesitantly with a strong accent, much like someone who is not a fluent speaker of a second language. I'd assume from that that Shara has drifted to something new altogether, and that only traders know the 'main' language.

 

That's how I see it, anyways.

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In our world there are many mixes of language roots. The most common is the Aryan languages like Sanskrit and Latin; and in more modern times, Italian, English, French and the like, but we've had the influences of other language forms... i.e. Busk and so on.

 

In a world were only one base language exists, the growth of language would likely be stunted. RJ has remarked many times of the simplicity of the New Tongue especially in comparison to the complexity of the Old.

 

There is also, i believe, amongst the questions of the week, a response to how it is the seanchan speak the new tongue.

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In our world there are many mixes of language roots. The most common is the Aryan languages like Sanskrit and Latin; and in more modern times' date=' Italian, English, French and the like, but we've had the influences of other language forms... i.e. Busk and so on.

 

In a world were only one base language exists, the growth of language would likely be stunted. RJ has remarked many times of the simplicity of the New Tongue especially in comparison to the complexity of the Old.

 

There is also, i believe, amongst the questions of the week, a response to how it is the seanchan speak the new tongue.[/quote']

 

Are we entirely sure that in the Second Age that they all spoke the same exact language? The entire world spoke the same language...

 

Think about that.

 

Think of what it would take to get the entire planet to agree on one language. Say that happens through universal education... Are all of the other languages going to just disappear? That's impossible. Even of there were one language known by all ther are going to be others in existence simultaneously.

 

After a catostrophic, World event as the Breaking is described to be...how can it be that there is this transition berween the Old Tongue to the Common speech, with no variation?

It's one of the few details in the books that really bother me.

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Guest Winespring Brother

I understand exactly where you're coming from Jonn, but there is one thing I need to point out. The transition from old tongue to new did not happen during the breaking. If you consider Mat's memories, they date from the period just before the Trolloc Wars, until the time of Artur Hawkwing, and in all of them he speaks the old tongue as if it were his main language, not just a scholarly tongue.

 

But this is in itself weird. If the new tongue has only been in common use for the last thousand years, why the change? If the old tongue was still dominant in the time of Hawkwing, why do the Seanchan speak the new one? If the Aiel never left the waste in 3000 years until the Aiel War, why would they use a language of Wetlander's of the last 1000 years?

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RJ said something like how the Old Tongue had mutated and when Hawkwing brought things together he tried to settle it... Look up the questions of the week on his tor website... i think thats where it was.

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And dont forget that most (all?) of Mats memories are from people of influence and power. Such people would have some degree of education and might prefer the more "noble" old tungue.

 

Compare to Europe pre reformation when all priests and people in power (even in germanic language areas)would have known and used latin as primary language among themselves.

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Also language is often dictated by geography. What i mean is there will be sharper divides in languages (Like differences) if theres an Ocean, mountain range, etc involved. Which would mean there shouldve been many languages before Artur Hawkwing's empire that united the land and more than likely brought in a common toungue.

And now theres a diveloping difference in the languages due to region. Just like said above the Roman empire, and the now Romance languages.

 

Idk im out of it right now so if that makes any sense congrats :D

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Also language is often dictated by geography. What i mean is there will be sharper divides in languages (Like differences) if theres an Ocean, mountain range, etc involved. Which would mean there shouldve been many languages before Artur Hawkwing's empire that united the land and more than likely brought in a common toungue.

And now theres a diveloping difference in the languages due to region. Just like said above the Roman empire, and the now Romance languages.

 

Idk im out of it right now so if that makes any sense congrats :D

 

That doesn't answer the question of whether or not there was a single language in use before the Breaking and JUST THAT LANGUAGE.

 

Were there many, and just one unified language to tie them together?

 

I know that even in countries like India and the Philippines, there are hundreds of distinct dialects within just a few miles of one another. There are also dominant singular languages that unite a country. Still those "lesser" languages stay in use and live quite strongly. This is just in one country mind you...

It just seems really unlikely that one language would live on for thousands of years only to die out and be replaced by a single language. It doesn't really happen that way.

 

Latin died out, Aramaic died out...other languages died out that unified and splintered into several others. They didn't just morph into a single variation. That makes no sense.

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It's been at least implied that there was but one language prior to the Breaking, but besides which it can be supported by evidence from our own world. Right now, there's a big concern among some linguists that smaller languages are slowly dying out as there becomes less and less separation between regions. Languages can be broadcast in all forms right across the world, and languages are becoming closer related as technology advances and words become common across multiple languages. Take just about any language today, and you will find cognates with words in almost every other major language. And that's not mentioning movements like Esperanto for a unified, multi-cultural language. Theoretically, if every person on the planet were united behind a single government, and transport and communication between various areas were instantaneous (travelling) or near to it (the AoL equivalent of planes) the need for different languages would fade away and, for convenience, one language would become the standard. Latin splintered into different languages not so much due to natural drift but because of the gradual decline of the Empire itself. As Latin became less important and the Roman influence became less visible, other languages asserted themselves, and in the end merged with Vulgar Latin to become something new. I mean, take French, it started out as a Germanic language brought by the invading Frankish tribes! That's hardly something that could happen with a unified government.

And in terms of drift afterwards, see my previous post.

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What we know quite definitely about this subject is that the Old Tongue was spoken by the entire world in the Age of Legends. One language. Now, someone mentioned that modern nations in our world, which, in a fictitious timeline predates the WoT cycle, different nations stick to their languages due to mainly patriotic reasons. The same poster found it unlikely that the same would not be true in Jordan's world. As others have explained, the reason why this is not the case in TWoT is exactly that there was just one language that dominated the world in the millennia before the end of the Third Age.

That is, of course, not to say that there was only one variation of that language. There must have been limitless variation between various forms of the language that existed in the Second Age. That does not make them different languages.)While in our world the various languages families have produced languages that are unintelligible for speakers belonging to different families, the Third Age is a world where these different languages at some point merged to create one, or the predominant global language supplanted the others.

 

This situation is by no means of the word - at least in the field of fantasy - too big a stretch. Compare with the current global situation. Where Lation used to be the lingua franca - or common language - for the educated elite, English is growing to become a true lingua franca for huge parts of the world's population. If its conditions are optimal, sometime in the future the only language left might be English. "Might" because it is not realistic to assume that this world happen overnight or completely, but given optimal conditions and hundreds of years, it might happen. In any case, it is not a stretch of the imagination to see that this is what must have happened in Jordan's world somewhere between our age and the Second.

 

As to how the denizens of different parts of the world can understand each other with little or no difficulties in the Third Age, especially with reference to the Seanchan, the answer is obvious. As the language was spoken all over the world prior to the Breaking, Luthair's expedition did not bring the Old Tongue to Seanchan the way the British brought English to North America. The Old Tongue was already there. The Seanchan way of speaking was created between these native Seanchan - who did speak a language derived from the Old Tongue - and the settlers - who also did. The same is true for the Aiel, the Sharans et cetera.

 

This is not unrealistic in any meaningful way. Since the entire world spoke the Old Tongue, its people three thousand years later will all speak a language derived from the Old Tongue. People who speak different languages that are derived from the same language will have no problems understanding most of a normal conversation, especially when the complexities of the language got lost during the process, contrarily to the situation with Latin.

 

Take modern English for example. Brought to the Americas at a point when the British spoke Middle English, both variants have remained mutually intelligible. British English has evolved comparatively more than American English, eg losing the non-prevocalic r, realizing this sound as a dipththong instead and so on. Still, Americans and British have little difficulties in understanding each other. As is the case with English, the different languages in the Third Age should probably by right be considered no more than dialects of the same language.

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What we know quite definitely about this subject is that the Old Tongue was spoken by the entire world in the Age of Legends. One language. Now, someone mentioned that modern nations in our world, which, in a fictitious timeline predates the WoT cycle, different nations stick to their languages due to mainly patriotic reasons. The same poster found it unlikely that the same would not be true in Jordan's world. As others have explained, the reason why this is not the case in TWoT is exactly that there was just one language that dominated the world in the millennia before the end of the Third Age.

That is, of course, not to say that there was only one variation of that language. There must have been limitless variation between various forms of the language that existed in the Second Age. That does not make them different languages.)While in our world the various languages families have produced languages that are unintelligible for speakers belonging to different families, the Third Age is a world where these different languages at some point merged to create one, or the predominant global language supplanted the others.

 

This situation is by no means of the word - at least in the field of fantasy - too big a stretch. Compare with the current global situation. Where Lation used to be the lingua franca - or common language - for the educated elite, English is growing to become a true lingua franca for huge parts of the world's population. If its conditions are optimal, sometime in the future the only language left might be English. "Might" because it is not realistic to assume that this world happen overnight or completely, but given optimal conditions and hundreds of years, it might happen. In any case, it is not a stretch of the imagination to see that this is what must have happened in Jordan's world somewhere between our age and the Second.

 

As to how the denizens of different parts of the world can understand each other with little or no difficulties in the Third Age, especially with reference to the Seanchan, the answer is obvious. As the language was spoken all over the world prior to the Breaking, Luthair's expedition did not bring the Old Tongue to Seanchan the way the British brought English to North America. The Old Tongue was already there. The Seanchan way of speaking was created between these native Seanchan - who did speak a language derived from the Old Tongue - and the settlers - who also did. The same is true for the Aiel, the Sharans et cetera.

 

This is not unrealistic in any meaningful way. Since the entire world spoke the Old Tongue, its people three thousand years later will all speak a language derived from the Old Tongue. People who speak different languages that are derived from the same language will have no problems understanding most of a normal conversation, especially when the complexities of the language got lost during the process, contrarily to the situation with Latin.

 

Take modern English for example. Brought to the Americas at a point when the British spoke Middle English, both variants have remained mutually intelligible. British English has evolved comparatively more than American English, eg losing the non-prevocalic r, realizing this sound as a dipththong instead and so on. Still, Americans and British have little difficulties in understanding each other. As is the case with English, the different languages in the Third Age should probably by right be considered no more than dialects of the same language.

 

Never NEVER in human history or even storied pre-history has it been that one language presided over the entire globe without alternatives. We're talking thousands of years. The only reason large swathes of teh human population began speaking the same language was always through some form of conquest, either through war or trade. Even then, such conquests could not completely wipe out the indigenous languages shared by the supposedly conquered.

We are certainly able to translate each other's speech, but to adopt one form of speech and forget all others...that's unheard of. It's never happened, no matter how advanced communication and travel/trade is becomming. It's like a billion and a half people able to speak Chinese dialects, and another billion knowing English...and both sets of people deciding on one language between the two and banishing the other outright...

 

It's never happened and I doubt it ever will, and in an archaic world with limited means of communication over thousands of years...it's less than likely to hold that one language would represent all peoples on the globe.

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I don't think we'll be able to get a definitive answer to this question without more information, but I would like to contibute two points to the conversation.

 

#1 Randland seems quite small in comparison to our earth. I think Perrin said it would take two weeks to ride from Tear to Emond's Field (in TSR), which looks like a significant chunk of the length of Randland. I have no idea how far a horse can ride in a day, but if we assume 100 miles and ten days a week (aren't there ten days/week in Randland??), that's 2000 miles. Judging distances from the map, that would make Randland about 3000 miles across, which is pretty similar to the USA. I don't think that is big enough for the language to drastically change in Randland. That doesn't explain the Aiel or Seanchan though. For that it would be really nice to know when the common language developed.

 

#2 I lived in a Yupik Eskimo village in Alaska for two years and saw how easily and quickly a language can die out. In our village of about 500 people, the grandparent generation spoke almost exclusively in Yupik and did not know any English. There were a couple exceptions. Out of the parent generation, only about 20% were close to fluent in Yupik. Some of the adults didn't know enough to communicate with their parents at all. The children knew almost no Yupik at all. In fact, I think there were only two families in the village that were actively trying to teach their children Yupik. Lately there has been a huge push to save the native languages, but it isn't working very well because the children don't really want to learn it, for a variety of reasons that I won't go into here.

 

Why don't the parents know and speak Yupik? Because they were sent to schools that taught them English, and some of those schools punished them if they spoke Yupik. All it takes is one generation to almost completely destroy a language.

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I don't think we'll be able to get a definitive answer to this question without more information, but I would like to contibute two points to the conversation.

 

#1 Randland seems quite small in comparison to our earth. I think Perrin said it would take two weeks to ride from Tear to Emond's Field (in TSR), which looks like a significant chunk of the length of Randland. I have no idea how far a horse can ride in a day, but if we assume 100 miles and ten days a week (aren't there ten days/week in Randland??), that's 2000 miles. Judging distances from the map, that would make Randland about 3000 miles across, which is pretty similar to the USA. I don't think that is big enough for the language to drastically change in Randland. That doesn't explain the Aiel or Seanchan though. For that it would be really nice to know when the common language developed.

 

#2 I lived in a Yupik Eskimo village in Alaska for two years and saw how easily and quickly a language can die out. In our village of about 500 people, the grandparent generation spoke almost exclusively in Yupik and did not know any English. There were a couple exceptions. Out of the parent generation, only about 20% were close to fluent in Yupik. Some of the adults didn't know enough to communicate with their parents at all. The children knew almost no Yupik at all. In fact, I think there were only two families in the village that were actively trying to teach their children Yupik. Lately there has been a huge push to save the native languages, but it isn't working very well because the children don't really want to learn it, for a variety of reasons that I won't go into here.

 

Why don't the parents know and speak Yupik? Because they were sent to schools that taught them English, and some of those schools punished them if they spoke Yupik. All it takes is one generation to almost completely destroy a language.

 

Yet what kind of organization does it take to effect that change?

You mentioned a school that forces the children to learn one language. During the Breaking and the long years through the Compact of Ten Nations to the Trolloc Wars till Hawkwing...People were scattered, moved, mingled and changed. People moved and settled, bred and died out...all of this happened across the world.

 

What singular education bound these disparate peoples to one variation of the root language? It took a directive like mass education to help destroy the Yupik language in that Alaskan village and to promote another in its stead. What kind of directive took place that insured the same homogenization across the Wheel of Time continents?

 

The only body of power I can think of that was on a global scale was the White Tower. How could they have accomplished this feat though?

 

They would have needed much more coordination than what was even possible at any time save during the Age of Legends.

 

What's the explanation then?

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You make a good point. It does take a concerted effort to destroy a language. Mainly I just wanted to point out that it is possible and has happened. But like I prefaced my last post, we really need more information as to when the common tongue came into use in Randland. Certainly Arthur Hawkwing's empire could have subdued languages, as well as the AOL governments.

 

Maybe it was during the AOL that everyone was brought under one language--the old tongue, and, as someone else already pointed out, the common tongue just evolved from that everywhere together.

 

Or maybe there has always only been one language in RJ's world. Since the Creator of his world seems to be a bit more hands off, He wouldn't feel inspired to pull an anti-Tower of Babel language confusion. Or if you would prefer less of a biblical slant, maybe their world is small enough and has had good enough communication systems that seperate languages never developed.

 

Just throwing out ideas--we really need to know more about when the common tongue came into use. Maybe there is no explanation. A common language just makes the story far easier to wrtie.

 

Afterall, don't most of the major Sci-fi and fantasy stories make use of one universal langauge? I'm thinking of LOR, Hyperion, Song of Ice and Fire, etc. I was always a bid skeptical of how everyone in Star Wars seemed to speak a common language, as well as all the worlds of the Federation in Star Trek. Some of those do acknowledge different languages, but there is always one dominant language that everyone in the story speaks just fine no matter how far the characters travel--not like our world at all.

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John, even though no one language has never been officially approved all over the globe until now, does not mean that it can never happen. Especially not in a work of fantasy. It is absolutely not an unacceptable statement that in a world as utopic as the Age of Legends, the same language would be spoken all over the world. There must have been widespread linguistic death in the centuries prior to the ascent of the Old Tongue, whether it is an amalgamation of existing languages, which seems unlikely, or a lingua franca grown to the extent of it becoming a global native language.

 

Theorizing about how RJ's world might always have had one language is not useful here. We know that Randland is our world in the future, as well as our world in the past. That is the basic premise of the entire series. That means that at some point in time, the Old Tongue supplanted other languages in some way, and that at some point in time it will cease being a global language and likely die out. A turning of the Wheel might likely take millions and millions of years. In that perspective, these changes are not unlikely.

 

If we accept that RJ's world is this world in the future and the past, we must also accept that at some point in time, many years from now, the Old Tongue became the dominant language. Dominant to the degree that everyone in the world at least understood it, and could speak it sufficiently to be understood. Is it really so hard to accept that in a world where there is one unified government presiding over the entire world (which, also, has NEVER, NEVER happened in the history of the planet) there would also be a single, dominant language? It really is not so hard to imagine. Witness the explosive growth of English the last fifty years. Before globalization occurred, English was basically only spoken natively, in former colonies, at government level in non-native English countries, by traders who did business with English speakers, and in countries with close ties to English speakers, who also had tight connections with either Britian or the US. Now, the language is spoken extensively over great parts of the world as a lingua franca. Although Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more native speakers, that does not make Mandarin a bigger language. English has been given such a special role in numberless nations across the world, either as some sort of officially approved language, or a second language taught in schools, that Mandarin can not even compare. You will not get far in the trading world speaking only Mandarin. Increasingly, the language to know is English. Given this unprecedented linguistic advance, there is really no way of knowing what the outcome of the language struggle might become. That no single language has ever become global before is no argument, since the situation of English's advance has never happened before. It is a brand new scenario that a language is gaining such global foothold so rapidly.

 

In the fictitious world of the Wheel, it is apparent that this is what once happened, thousands of years ago. With the consolidation of world government which must have occurred before or during the Age of Legends, linguistic consolidation also happened. It is really very obvious. Given that one language was spoken globally in - to Rand - the mythic past, it is no stretch that the different variants derived from it across the world are mutually intelligible. It is also a mistake on John's part to state that all of these local variants are the same variant, as we have countless references to how the Seanchan's speak markedly differs from Randland's language. Still, the variants are mutually intelligible, which is exactly what would happen.

 

As an aside, I would interject that it does necessarily take concentrated effort to destroy a language. Linguistic death occurs daily all over the world, and is the natural consequence of the spread of a language. In many cases minorities have been supressed, causing linguistic death, but in other cases it is simply a natural consequence, occurring without governmental interference.

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Afterall, don't most of the major Sci-fi and fantasy stories make use of one universal langauge? I'm thinking of LOR, Hyperion, Song of Ice and Fire, etc. I was always a bid skeptical of how everyone in Star Wars seemed to speak a common language, as well as all the worlds of the Federation in Star Trek. Some of those do acknowledge different languages, but there is always one dominant language that everyone in the story speaks just fine no matter how far the characters travel--not like our world at all.

 

This is a bit off topic, sorry.

A lot of the space based SciFi/Fantasy series especially those on TV make use of little explained Universal Translators. Two examples can be seen in the various Star Trek series and Farscape. In Enterprise (I'll admit not the crowning glory of Star Trek) we often see them struggling to implement the translator with almost every new species that they met. In Farscape, it was explained even less, but they often had episodes where some alien language was being spoken. That being said the main crew did eventually learn a bit of English for their visit to earth.

 

Back to the more on topic stuff:

Using various languages does help add to realism, but not enough to be worth the effort for either the author or the reader. With the suspension of disbelief required for any sci-fi/fantasy, is it really that much harder to believe that they all speak one language.

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John, even though no one language has never been officially approved all over the globe until now, does not mean that it can never happen. Especially not in a work of fantasy. It is absolutely not an unacceptable statement that in a world as utopic as the Age of Legends, the same language would be spoken all over the world. There must have been widespread linguistic death in the centuries prior to the ascent of the Old Tongue, whether it is an amalgamation of existing languages, which seems unlikely, or a lingua franca grown to the extent of it becoming a global native language.

 

Theorizing about how RJ's world might always have had one language is not useful here. We know that Randland is our world in the future, as well as our world in the past. That is the basic premise of the entire series. That means that at some point in time, the Old Tongue supplanted other languages in some way, and that at some point in time it will cease being a global language and likely die out. A turning of the Wheel might likely take millions and millions of years. In that perspective, these changes are not unlikely.

 

If we accept that RJ's world is this world in the future and the past, we must also accept that at some point in time, many years from now, the Old Tongue became the dominant language. Dominant to the degree that everyone in the world at least understood it, and could speak it sufficiently to be understood. Is it really so hard to accept that in a world where there is one unified government presiding over the entire world (which, also, has NEVER, NEVER happened in the history of the planet) there would also be a single, dominant language? It really is not so hard to imagine. Witness the explosive growth of English the last fifty years. Before globalization occurred, English was basically only spoken natively, in former colonies, at government level in non-native English countries, by traders who did business with English speakers, and in countries with close ties to English speakers, who also had tight connections with either Britian or the US. Now, the language is spoken extensively over great parts of the world as a lingua franca. Although Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more native speakers, that does not make Mandarin a bigger language. English has been given such a special role in numberless nations across the world, either as some sort of officially approved language, or a second language taught in schools, that Mandarin can not even compare. You will not get far in the trading world speaking only Mandarin. Increasingly, the language to know is English. Given this unprecedented linguistic advance, there is really no way of knowing what the outcome of the language struggle might become. That no single language has ever become global before is no argument, since the situation of English's advance has never happened before. It is a brand new scenario that a language is gaining such global foothold so rapidly.

 

In the fictitious world of the Wheel, it is apparent that this is what once happened, thousands of years ago. With the consolidation of world government which must have occurred before or during the Age of Legends, linguistic consolidation also happened. It is really very obvious. Given that one language was spoken globally in - to Rand - the mythic past, it is no stretch that the different variants derived from it across the world are mutually intelligible. It is also a mistake on John's part to state that all of these local variants are the same variant, as we have countless references to how the Seanchan's speak markedly differs from Randland's language. Still, the variants are mutually intelligible, which is exactly what would happen.

 

As an aside, I would interject that it does necessarily take concentrated effort to destroy a language. Linguistic death occurs daily all over the world, and is the natural consequence of the spread of a language. In many cases minorities have been supressed, causing linguistic death, but in other cases it is simply a natural consequence, occurring without governmental interference.

 

These are accents we are talking about here in "Randland" (I dislike the term), not variations of the language. the Seanchan speak in a slow drawl, they don't use entirely different words. It's never described like that. You're just pulling that out of nothing.

 

As for a single language being used by all people exclusively...no it's simply not possible to have just the one language with no variations, offshoots or completely different tongues still intact.

 

Just look at the Forsaken. They can speak the common tongue just fine. Why? They must have had a version of it in use at the same time the Old Tongue was in use. Right there, that's two languages around at the same time. This is counter-intuitive though to the notion that there are no developments of other variations besides common and old tongue.

 

It's simply the most unrealistic detail in the books, and to cop out and say that it's just a fantasy novel isn't very useful.

 

Understandable as it is to have loyalty to the athor and the books themselves, it's a pity to try to suspend other's sense of logic for the purposes of defending a glaring weakness.

 

I'm fine with it. Nothing is perfect. I think it would have made the books waaay too complicated and unreadable to have to translate 5 or six differnt languages. It makes practical sense for the books' narrative, but it doesn't fly in a true sociological/anthropological sense. that's just not the way human behavior and language works. period.

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How ponderous would the series be if they were consantly having communication problems? There is already too much sniffing, skirt smoothing, and description of embroidery. I would die of boredom if there was description of translation errors and people fumbling over their words. There has to be a common language to keep a story flowing properly. That's why there is an ancient utopian society where everybody got along and everybody spoke the same language. Otherwise it doesn't make sense for everybody to speak the same language.

 

Isolation is the key to language development. What we don't know is how much intermingling there is. With Artut hawkwing's unification, the Hundred Years war, and the Trolloc war, the people have been mixed aound quite a few times in the last 3000 years. That is plenty to keep the communication lines open.

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These are accents we are talking about here in "Randland" (I dislike the term)' date=' not variations of the language. the Seanchan speak in a slow drawl, they don't use entirely different words. It's never described like that. You're just pulling that out of nothing.

 

As for a single language being used by all people [b']exclusively[/b]...no it's simply not possible to have just the one language with no variations, offshoots or completely different tongues still intact.

 

Just look at the Forsaken. They can speak the common tongue just fine. Why? They must have had a version of it in use at the same time the Old Tongue was in use. Right there, that's two languages around at the same time. This is counter-intuitive though to the notion that there are no developments of other variations besides common and old tongue.

 

It's simply the most unrealistic detail in the books, and to cop out and say that it's just a fantasy novel isn't very useful.

 

Understandable as it is to have loyalty to the athor and the books themselves, it's a pity to try to suspend other's sense of logic for the purposes of defending a glaring weakness.

 

I'm fine with it. Nothing is perfect. I think it would have made the books waaay too complicated and unreadable to have to translate 5 or six differnt languages. It makes practical sense for the books' narrative, but it doesn't fly in a true sociological/anthropological sense. that's just not the way human behavior and language works. period.

 

I am not at all pulling anything out of nothing. You need to get some terms straight. What you call "accents" is defined in linguistics as variations of a language. In addition, "accent" is not a very good word for the phenomenon you are referring to, as it refers to intonation and phonetics alone. And what are dialects if not variations of a language. To illustrate, American English and British English are two different variations of the same language. Even though intonation, phonetics, phonotactics, grammar and vocabulary differs, it remains the same language. The same is the case with the Old Tongue and the languages derived from it that developed in parallell all over the world. They are so alike that by all standards they should be considered variants of the same language. Which they indeed are.

 

I will give you another example. The Scandinavian languages all developed from Old Norse. While Norwegian, Danish and Swedish are defined as separate languages, they are so alike that communication between them is unproblematic. Here is exemplified three different languages that developed in parallell from a common source language, and remain mutually intelligible. The fact is that the languages are only considered separate because the people in the respective countries define them as such. Linguistically, the languages could easily be considered regional variants of the same language.

 

I am sure you have no problems seeing the link between the examples given and the new tongues derived from the Old Tongue.

 

Now, I am not about to ask you to give me your credentials, but you would have a hard time defending your statements in a linguistic setting. The reason why the Forsaken can speak the language spoken in the Third Age is that it is a far less complex language than the Old Tongue, which they knew intimately. It is likened to having an ancient Roman wake up today and being able to learn modern Italian, only modern Italian is more complex than Latin. The Forsaken, as highly intelligent individuals, had no problems learning the new language easily. This is the explanation given by Robert Jordan, and it makes sense.

 

To be honest with you, I find it offensive that you sit on your high horse and say that I cop out and take the side of the author when you clearly do not grasp what I am saying. You probably could call Seanchan and Arad Domani different languages, but the fact is that you could also call General American and Received Pronunciation different languages. Norwegian and Danish are called different languages only because the people living there do.

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It was mentioned that when Hawking's son first arrived in Seanchan all the differant peoples there spoke differant languages, it was the Seanchan conquest that gave them the common tongue.

 

I do not have any idea why the Aiel and possibly the Sharans speak the common tongue.

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These are accents we are talking about here in "Randland" (I dislike the term), not variations of the language. the Seanchan speak in a slow drawl, they don't use entirely different words. It's never described like that. You're just pulling that out of nothing.

 

As for a single language being used by all people exclusively...no it's simply not possible to have just the one language with no variations, offshoots or completely different tongues still intact.

 

Just look at the Forsaken. They can speak the common tongue just fine. Why? They must have had a version of it in use at the same time the Old Tongue was in use. Right there, that's two languages around at the same time. This is counter-intuitive though to the notion that there are no developments of other variations besides common and old tongue.

 

It's simply the most unrealistic detail in the books, and to cop out and say that it's just a fantasy novel isn't very useful.

 

Understandable as it is to have loyalty to the athor and the books themselves, it's a pity to try to suspend other's sense of logic for the purposes of defending a glaring weakness.

 

I'm fine with it. Nothing is perfect. I think it would have made the books waaay too complicated and unreadable to have to translate 5 or six differnt languages. It makes practical sense for the books' narrative, but it doesn't fly in a true sociological/anthropological sense. that's just not the way human behavior and language works. period."

 

I am not at all pulling anything out of nothing. You need to get some terms straight. What you call "accents" is defined in linguistics as variations of a language. In addition, "accent" is not a very good word for the phenomenon you are referring to, as it refers to intonation and phonetics alone. And what are dialects if not variations of a language. To illustrate, American English and British English are two different variations of the same language. Even though intonation, phonetics, phonotactics, grammar and vocabulary differs, it remains the same language. The same is the case with the Old Tongue and the languages derived from it that developed in parallell all over the world. They are so alike that by all standards they should be considered variants of the same language. Which they indeed are.

 

I will give you another example. The Scandinavian languages all developed from Old Norse. While Norwegian, Danish and Swedish are defined as separate languages, they are so alike that communication between them is unproblematic. Here is exemplified three different languages that developed in parallell from a common source language, and remain mutually intelligible. The fact is that the languages are only considered separate because the people in the respective countries define them as such. Linguistically, the languages could easily be considered regional variants of the same language.

 

I am sure you have no problems seeing the link between the examples given and the new tongues derived from the Old Tongue.

 

Now, I am not about to ask you to give me your credentials, but you would have a hard time defending your statements in a linguistic setting. The reason why the Forsaken can speak the language spoken in the Third Age is that it is a far less complex language than the Old Tongue, which they knew intimately. It is likened to having an ancient Roman wake up today and being able to learn modern Italian, only modern Italian is more complex than Latin. The Forsaken, as highly intelligent individuals, had no problems learning the new language easily. This is the explanation given by Robert Jordan, and it makes sense.

 

To be honest with you, I find it offensive that you sit on your high horse and say that I cop out and take the side of the author when you clearly do not grasp what I am saying. You probably could call Seanchan and Arad Domani different languages, but the fact is that you could also call General American and Received Pronunciation different languages. Norwegian and Danish are called different languages only because the people living there do.

 

Woah woah WOAH...Let's not get personal here friend.

 

I will say that I think you're splitting hairs here.

 

There is no proof that will disprove the fact that a single exclusive language system cannot apply in a REAL global setting.

Of course we can figure similaritites in languages out, that's what we do as humans. We try to communicate...often badly, but we do try.

 

That's not what is happening in the books though. We don't have characters sitting there trying to figure out variations of some sort of root language when they're talking to people from other regions. That is not in the books. The words accent and accents are used to describe the particular variations in the books. So, that is where I get my terminology. I don't need a stinking degree in languages to figure out what's instinctually correct, from what's given in RJ's books. I know what i read there and the variations he describes in common tongue are accents.

 

There is no figuring out of language besides the speed of the speech...drawls...certain grammatical or structural variants (i.e. the Illianers). Intonation, as you say, but never a mention beyond that. The words are the same. We never read about characters deciphering regional dialects or alternate vocabulary except when it comes to the Old Tongue and regional exclusivities for example Seanchan kaf and exotic animals.

 

You're trying to say that everyone is speaking the same basic breakdown of translatable words and they are all so similar it doesn't make much difference. I disagree with that simplification as applicable to the Wheel of time model.

 

You're trying to apply a real Scandanavian model to the entire globe that exists in fiction...you do know that's fairly ridiculous. You're trying to justify a fictional pandemic phenomenon, by zeroing in on the specifics mostly exclusive to a relatively smaller, unique region in our reality. It doesn't work in any reality it turns out.

 

Let's just lump everthing together, it's mostly the same? It's like saying Spanish is similar to Portugese, so you put a Mexican and a Brazilian in a room and they should be able to have a flawless conversation with no problem, so long as they decide to speak Latin..

 

Maybe you don't understand what I'm saying.

 

I'm saying that the idea of a global language replacing all other languages is impossible. To the degree that all other languages are forgotten, a single language becoming so dominant...Never happened, hasn't happened even now with the popular languages that exist and it won't happen even if humanity does achieve near utopia.

 

As we are taling about a fantasy series here I don't take the issue too much to heart. I'm sure there probably is a sound reasoning behind the confusion, but it'll have to come from RJ, since it is his work. I do have some speculation as to how it may be the way it is, but I can't prove it, so I don't really care to try just yet.

 

I do appreciate the ideas though. I do often get mistaken in my intentions because I often argue a point hard and people rather don't like my approach. People can give me flak about it. i can live with that. I apologize if I seem to be hurtful or snide.

It's not my wish to just provoke anger. I like to think about things incisively and off the cuff, so sometimes I may fail to finesse what I'm trying to say.

 

I do agree pretty much with Neisberg at this point. It probably is made much easier this way instead of having to read about characters translating each others words.

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A society that grew out of a singular post apocalyptic social setting would have one singular global language base. The evidence suggests some form of apocalyptic battle happen (that destroyed our cities before the Age of Legends) and in a society with channelers the spread of people would have taken place on a global scale at an incredible rate. So yes, in such a situation the likliehood of the development of one singular language base is incredibly likely.

 

So, that is where I get my terminology. I don't need a stinking degree in languages to figure out what's instinctually correct

 

No offence, but i'd say you do. Look up linguistics 101... nothing of what you are saying is even remotely 'instinctually correct'.

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