Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

When did the Old Tounge fade as an active language?


Tyzack
 Share

Recommended Posts

likely it faded much earlier and for a long time was spoken by the nobility sort of. you had the higher classes speaking at where the lower spoke the common tongue, kinda like with latin and italian back in the day. So even at the time of hawkwing it may have been mostly dead. Possibly long before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jordan was asked why there is only one tongue for the entire world, and he explained that it was caused by Hawking spreading it abroad. Basically, with one world government (for all the lands that we have seen), the new tongue was forced upon civilizations eliminating other derivations. But the old tongue was still active during the Trolloc Wars. So, somewhere between the Trolloc Wars and Hawking, the old tongue disappeared.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jordan was asked why there is only one tongue for the entire world, and he explained that it was caused by Hawking spreading it abroad. Basically, with one world government (for all the lands that we have seen), the new tongue was forced upon civilizations eliminating other derivations. But the old tongue was still active during the Trolloc Wars. So, somewhere between the Trolloc Wars and Hawking, the old tongue disappeared.

 

Do you have a link for this? MOstly, because it doesn't make sense for a few reasons:

 

1. in the Age of Legends, there was only one language, the Old Tongue (as its called now), because that was one way they established national peace. So there was "one" language already before Hawkwing

 

2. Hawkwing didn't make it/conquer every country. Hey only established his hold in Randland and, through relatives, Seanchan land. He was not successful elsewhere.

 

 

Personally, I think the Trolloc Wars had more to do with the Common tongue taking over the Old Tongue, since the strength of the Nobility and the hold of the Aes Sedai over the land was greatly lessened and therefore, their influence on the language of the common folk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally I don't understand wot language at all. why didn't the randlanders who invaded seanchan not pick up on their language when so much has else has been picked up [omens, probably the honour system, etc.]. How does so much of seanchan have a single accent. why don't the ogier have a separate language. they have a separate script in the ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally I don't understand wot language at all. why didn't the randlanders who invaded seanchan not pick up on their language when so much has else has been picked up [omens, probably the honour system, etc.]. How does so much of seanchan have a single accent. why don't the ogier have a separate language. they have a separate script in the ways.

They do, in the first book Loial mutters in the Ogier tongue a number of times

Edited by Shai-tan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The OT may have been a "link" or official language used/ spoken across cultures during AoL. That is, each culture had its own language but also used the OT in official communications so that it could be understood elsewhere. India, South Africa and the CIS have similar situations where respectively English, Afrikaans and Russian are used officially as well as many national languages, which are regionally predominant. That would sort of explain the situation and the gradual drifting apart of languages, and the usage of local dialects (CT) as trade and global govt. broke down.

 

The CT would have to be a simplified, dialect-influenced version of OT that gradually got more and more unlike OT in format. The Seanchan (and Aiel) speak forms of CT that are more OT-influenced - that shows the CT was already very much in common usage in Hawkwing's time and also used during the Breaking probably. The Finns speak a very archaic dialect of OT which shows that language wasn't static either, in earlier AoL eras.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The OT may have been a "link" or official language used/ spoken across cultures during AoL. That is, each culture had its own language but also used the OT in official communications so that it could be understood elsewhere. India, South Africa and the CIS have similar situations where respectively English, Afrikaans and Russian are used officially as well as many national languages, which are regionally predominant. That would sort of explain the situation and the gradual drifting apart of languages, and the usage of local dialects (CT) as trade and global govt. broke down.

 

The CT would have to be a simplified, dialect-influenced version of OT that gradually got more and more unlike OT in format. The Seanchan (and Aiel) speak forms of CT that are more OT-influenced - that shows the CT was already very much in common usage in Hawkwing's time and also used during the Breaking probably. The Finns speak a very archaic dialect of OT which shows that language wasn't static either, in earlier AoL eras.

 

The current variations in dialectical difference of CT do support that, under the umbrella of OT, there were also dialectical differences of it. However, there isn't any evidence in the current world of WOT that there were different Languages other than OT being spoken (before its degradation).

 

The only display we have of distinctly different languages than OT and CT are Ogier, as far as I can recall. Cultures that, as an anthropologist, I would assume WOULD have distinct languages, just show differences in dialect, or use of OT, or meaning of similarly spoken words.

 

In a way, RJ's presentation of the language environment of WOT doesn't fully match the natural change that language has over time. In over three thousands years, it would have made more sense for the Aeil, the Sea Folk, the Seanchan, and other isolated/separated cultures to have developed their own languages; even if a "common tongue" was used to communicate via trade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jordan was asked why there is only one tongue for the entire world, and he explained that it was caused by Hawking spreading it abroad. Basically, with one world government (for all the lands that we have seen), the new tongue was forced upon civilizations eliminating other derivations. But the old tongue was still active during the Trolloc Wars. So, somewhere between the Trolloc Wars and Hawking, the old tongue disappeared.

 

Do you have a link for this?

I remember reading about this several years ago. Unfortunately I don't have a link either. But RJ spoke at some lenght about language and how it developed considering geography and also how the printing press contributed to stabilizing spoken language. Very interesting stuff. I can't remember to which extent he mentioned the Old Tongue though. I will let you know if I find the source.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally I don't understand wot language at all. why didn't the randlanders who invaded seanchan not pick up on their language when so much has else has been picked up [omens, probably the honour system, etc.]. How does so much of seanchan have a single accent. why don't the ogier have a separate language. they have a separate script in the ways.

 

The Seanchan have different accents. I think only the Seanchan recognize the differences. I can't find the scene, but I remember two Seanchan talking, and one was reflecting on the other's accent, thinking about the place he was from. Randlanders don't seem to differentiate between Seanchan accents, possibly because they are all alien to them.

 

 

 

 

In a way, RJ's presentation of the language environment of WOT doesn't fully match the natural change that language has over time. In over three thousands years, it would have made more sense for the Aeil, the Sea Folk, the Seanchan, and other isolated/separated cultures to have developed their own languages; even if a "common tongue" was used to communicate via trade.

 

Yeah, you're probably right. Unless the AS or somebody did a lot of work at keeping everyone speaking the same language. Not sure that's possible.I guess it was just easier not to include a dozen languages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally I don't understand wot language at all. why didn't the randlanders who invaded seanchan not pick up on their language when so much has else has been picked up [omens, probably the honour system, etc.]. How does so much of seanchan have a single accent. why don't the ogier have a separate language. they have a separate script in the ways.

 

The Seanchan have different accents. I think only the Seanchan recognize the differences. I can't find the scene, but I remember two Seanchan talking, and one was reflecting on the other's accent, thinking about the place he was from. Randlanders don't seem to differentiate between Seanchan accents, possibly because they are all alien to them.

 

 

 

 

In a way, RJ's presentation of the language environment of WOT doesn't fully match the natural change that language has over time. In over three thousands years, it would have made more sense for the Aeil, the Sea Folk, the Seanchan, and other isolated/separated cultures to have developed their own languages; even if a "common tongue" was used to communicate via trade.

 

Yeah, you're probably right. Unless the AS or somebody did a lot of work at keeping everyone speaking the same language. Not sure that's possible.I guess it was just easier not to include a dozen languages.

 

Well ya know, pointing out the Aes Sedai does make me think that (convenient for RJ), the first thousand years after the Breaking, the fact that the Aes Sedai had more control, longer life span, and influence than the current Aes Sedai do might have contributed to the OT in general surviving as long as it did, and the CT being generally similar across Randland. The Aes Sedai would hold the heaviest influence over the Noble class, who then would hold the influence over the lesser. After the Trolloc Wars, things broke down and the OT control changed and degraded.

 

It's also possible, now that I think about it, that similar explanations could hold true for the other societies. The Wise Ones among the Aeil, for example, could have helped keep the language generally similar over time.

 

I suppose, the thing that just confuses me most, is how similar the Common tongue is across all the land. In reality, if a primary language breaks down over time and space (over time in a culture & through events, and then through geographic separation), there is going to be a lot more difference, and some more unique languages showing up. Despite the Wise Ones, I would have expected the Aeil to have a distinctly different language...not just the dialectical and meaning differences we see.

 

Then again, like I said before "that I can recall" or that we have seen....there COULD be different langauges. We haven't been shown ALL cultures, and those that we have, have not all been shown in intimate detail. I forget their full name, but the island people that followed the Water Way, for example, could have had a different language, we know very little about them (just one POV). We know nothing about anyone on the Isle of Madmen. So, we may just not have been shown everything related to languages. =]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found it:

 

http://www.wotdb.com...ws/question/621

 

The first part is about the Seanchan, the second part is the most relevant here:

 

Did [the pre-Consolidation Seanchan] speak the same language?

 

RJ: The people there did not. But the people there…this is like an acquisition. This is sort of like what the Han did: when the Han conquered China, there were many languages in China, as there still are. Because Mandarin is one language and Cantonese is another. They use the same ideograms, because the Han said: “You may speak any language you wish to use, but you will use our alphabet, our ideograms.” And it is as if the French said poisson, you say whatever you say for “fish” [note that the interview takes place in Budapest, Hungary], but all of you spelled it F-I-S-H, in English letters. The French spelled it F-I-S-H, in English letters and said poisson and that’s what they wrote when they said poisson And that’s what you wrote: you would say whatever the Hungarian word is for “fish” but if you wrote it, you would write F-I-S-H in the English letters. And with the Consolidation, culturally the people of that conquering army had been much more absorbed than they were. Culturally they have little left of the culture that they brought with them. But their language was imposed: they imposed the language they brought with them. I’ve thought about it a little bit and I think there was, because of that history, probably more languages than one. The languages would have had more time to drift and more incentive to split apart than they did on the [Randland] continent, as I postulated its history, but those languages were wiped out. Yes. Those languages [on the Seanchan continent] were wiped out and the language that remains is essentially the language that was spoken by Arthur Hawkwing. But, because, as I say, of the things that happened after Hawkwing’s death: the shifting around of populations, mixing and blending of populations from different parts of the continent, and a thousand years of growth, and no time for that language to change a great deal.

 

 

 

Also the one thing that has survived, which helped, I think: printing presses were one for the first things rediscovered, you might say, after the Breaking. People began printing books very shortly after the Breaking - I mean very shortly - as soon as people were setting up cities, there were people who had book presses going, and it’s an interesting thing:. I can read Shakespeare and understand 98, 99 percent of the words and language. If you went back the same length of time between me and Shakespeare to behind him, he could not have understood what those people were saying, he could not have read what they wrote. Because the English language had changed in pronunciation, in the way the spelling was, in the way the letters were written, everything. What happened simultaneously then: it wasn’t as I’ve heard postulated that Shakespeare was so beautiful and so wonderful that he froze the English language. What happened was: the printing press came into common use and suddenly the language stopped changing as rapidly. It still changed, but you would take me back to Elizabethan times and I would have a hard time understanding the accents, but eventually I would work into understanding what would sound to me like strangely accented English, but pretty recognizably English for most, at least for London and the south of England. So we’ve got printing presses, and so in relatively short periods of time, the language is largely unchanged, not completely but largely, in each thousand year segment. Although over the three thousand year segment it has diverged from the Old Tongue, which you must learn to be an educated man, to what people speak now, and most people do not speak the Old Tongue and can not understand the Old Tongue. A thousand years back, you’ve got Arthur Hawkwing, and that’s the language that the Seanchan speak. And these people can understand it, they only think “You’ve got a funny accent, you speak too fast, and you speak too slow, and it’s all slurred.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What?!! A man writing fictional book, based on a fantasy world he made up completely, didn't create a perfect and indisputable language system based completely on historical facts on how a language would spread over time?

 

 

HOW COME WE READ A SERIES THAT IS CLEARLY NOT THOUGHT COMPLETELY THROUGH? SHAME ON US! BURN THE BOOKS!

Edited by Ananta
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My understanding is that by Hawkwing's time the Old Tongue had become very much a language of formality and the Common Tongue was the common language. His Empire spread the tongue to Seanchan. His armies even spread toward Shara. We don't know what happened during those times, other than that it was a very costly war for the Sharans. We also don't know whether or not the Sharans have a separate language. They may. It makes sense that knowledge and use of the common tongue, at least in aspects of trade, would make it's way to Shara. As for the Sea Folk, you'd expect them to have their own language as well, but perhaps they simply adapted to the tongues of the people they traded with.

 

It does require a certain suspension of disbelief, to be sure. With that said, perhaps the most important factor in keeping a single, consistent tongue from fracturing into many after the Breaking was the early rediscovery of the printing press. Even if the languages had begun to diverge a little (perhaps the accents are a key to this), the rediscovery of the printing press and what I believe to be the quick re-establishment of trade routes and the building up of civilization after the chaos died down likely meant that regions twice as large as Europe were likely able to "restandardize" their languages with each other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found it:

 

http://www.wotdb.com...ws/question/621

 

The first part is about the Seanchan, the second part is the most relevant here:

 

<snipsnip>]

 

WONDERFUL!! Great quote !

 

I remember reading that now, but I couldn't quite recall it. It makes me feel a little better that RJ would have admitted and accounted for linguistic drift and change among Seanchan, and support what I feel pushed for Randland to maintain OT to CT language history.

 

Artur Hawkwing bringing a dominant language over to Seanchan makes a lot of sense. I'm going to assume that we can say that the other cultures surrounding randland maintained similar language structure simply through constant interaction with each other; despite some peculiarities in meaning and semantics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...