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 Post subject: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:28 pm 
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Hey guys, I have a Character a Vampire/Demon Hunter (the Father of the last guy, who didn't quite make it ;)) and one of his skills is Ancient Languages.

I thought this was pretty cool, as he could understand a 500 year old Vamp speak their native tongue or converse with a Demon in Ancient Hebrew or whatever, however I then realised that the Skill only allows for good understand of 1 Language or passing understanding of 2.

So my Question is what language, or laguages should I take? I want to get the most bang for my buck out of this seldom used skill as I think it has a cool feel to it... so I guess the question is, what Ancient Language do you think would be spoken the most by Vampires, Demons, Mages etc. etc.

The Languages my Character already speaks are:

English, Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Latin & German.

If you think one of these would be best replaced by Ancient Language and a different modern language replace it then please say so.

He also speaks a Secret Language and has the Linguist Gift so I guess you can say Languages is somewhat his forte. He is also a Grand Master (4+1) at Reading and Writing, and has Arcane Theroy, Symbol Drawing and Research, so yeah Knowledge is defintely his strong point.

Thanks in advance...
Cheers & God Bless!!

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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:03 pm 
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Latin should in my opinion be definitely be replaced by Ancient Language. I’m quite good at Latin myself and I know quite a few people who are excellent at it, among them my fiancé’s father, who is a university professor for Latin and has bee awarded an aditional honorary doctorate of the Sorbonne for his academic work in the field of this language, but even he can’t speak it with any degree of fluency. Latin just isn’t taught nowadays to be spoken, and it should definitely fall under the Ancient Language skill.

Aramaic is similiarly obscure, though it is still spoken today in a few scattered regions of rural Syria and Lebanon. Usually, I would also judge it not very useful – its one major historical application is as the lingua franca in the Levant between approximately 200 BC and 400 AD. As both modern and ancient language, Arabic should have a wider application.

It is also a prime choice to converse with vampires, demons, etc. Up until and including the 16th century Latin was the lingua franca of educated people – back then it was still taught to be spoken.

Ancient Greek is a close second behind Latin as useful Ancient Language. It was widely known in academic circles and Europe and the lingua franca in the Orient until at least the time of the Crusades, when it began to be replaced by Arabic.

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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:02 pm 
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Now how did I know it would be you who gave the first and most insightful answer ;)

After reading your post I am tempted to ask my GM to allow me to place Latin, Ancient Greek and Aramaic all under the Ancient Language Skill.

I would then need three replacement Languages for his normal Languages.

This is what I have so far:

Languages:
English
Hebrew
German

Ancient Languages:
Ancient Greek
Aramaic
Latin

Secret Language:
Hunt-Speak.


I'm thinking of perhaps adding Spanish and French, and then perhaps a common Slavic tongue (Just so I get a good coverage of Europe and most the rest of the world will be covered by English, German, French and Spanish).

Thoughts?

Cheers!

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"It was hard-fought, a desperate affair that could have gone badly; if God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal" (115) ~ Beowulf after defeating Grendle's Mother.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:06 pm 
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Probably Russian for the Slavic tongue, and maybe I'll drop French for Arabic?

Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:24 pm 
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Much will of course depend exactly where your game is going to be set...

But as for getting bang for your bucks:

Aramaic and Hebrew are rather closely related -- I wouldn't also take Arabic, which is also a Semitic language. Two Semitic languages should allow you to at least read every other Semitic language to some degree. A friend of mine's a Catholic priest who's studied several years in Lebanon, and he's told me that the three have close parallels.

For the occult shtick, Arabic isn't that important -- don't be mislead by the original Necronomicon being Arabic. For Europe, the importance of Arabic as a language of medieval science lies in many antique Ancient Greek treaties coming into Europe not via Byzantion, but strangely wandering from Byzantion into the Orient, there being translated into Arabic, wandering in translation into Muslim Spain and from there going on into western Europe, where the were tanslated into Latin.

And I would definitely judge all three of Ancient Greek, Aramaic and Latin ancient languages and don't quite see why your referee should do otherwise; two are dead languages and the third one's dying.

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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:25 pm 
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Crow Caller wrote:
Probably Russian for the Slavic tongue, and maybe I'll drop French for Arabic?
I was going to recommend Russian, but the other switch makes the whole thing even more interesting. :)

Edit: Of course, Michael has excellent reasoning for not going for that. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:40 pm 
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Hmm, so if I go with:

Languages:
English
Hebrew
German
French
Spanish
Russian

Ancient Languages:
Ancient Greek
Aramaic
Latin

Secret Language:
Hunt-Speak.

Then I should have most of Europe and the Middle East Covered as far as reading ancient scrolls and occultish texts, aswell as speaking with most people. I wonder, if my Character can speak both Aramaic and Hebrew how would he fair speaking with modern Middle Eastern people?

Cheers!

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"It was hard-fought, a desperate affair that could have gone badly; if God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal" (115) ~ Beowulf after defeating Grendle's Mother.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:07 pm 
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Crow Caller wrote:
I wonder, if my Character can speak both Aramaic and Hebrew how would he fair speaking with modern Middle Eastern people

Very, very poorly to not at all; it's mostly reading and a bit understanding, but next to no speaking himself, judging from my own experience with languages I know only via my knowledge of related ones.

But I definitely wouldn't take Latin, French and Spanish. Latin is the root language of the other two, and those two are related. I myself know Latin and French, and that enables me to read Spanish without problems, understand much of spoken Spanish and be able to make myself understood in it -- though don't ask me just how terribly wrong my Spanish must be... :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:42 am 
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I agree with Grettir, Latin is a must and it is the best example around of what happens when written grammar and spelling become formal. Up until the middle ages Latin was the written language, whilst everyone spoke the vulgar (common) descendants of Latin. French, Italian, Spanish, Portugese and Romanian. It was really quite late when it was recongnized as a seperate language. It was you learnt when you learnt to write before that...

Greek has a very stable history as a language and a considerable influence. All of the eastern Roman empire inlcuding Egypt etc spoke Greek in Roman times. It also gives you access to the great thinkers of the classical civilisation. (hence the new Testament is written in greek contrary to popular belief).

The Semitic languages are very closley related. The difference between Hebrew and Aramiac is negligible. Modern Hebrew has been resurrected from ancient Hebrew so consequently Aramaic (ancient) and Hebrew (modern are quite close)

I have always found that language differences are far less when written than spoken however.

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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:06 am 
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Thanks for the replies guys,

I have another question however...

What SR does your basic Language start at?

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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:12 pm 
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Crow Caller wrote:
Thanks for the replies guys,

I have another question however...

What SR does your basic Language start at?

I would have thought 6 for most characters. You can't easily be less than competent at speaking your own language. Certain backgrounds may make for a 5 or 4.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:26 pm 
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Crow Caller wrote:
What SR does your basic Language start at?

I like to view Mental Aptitude not only as a character's memory abilit and basic capacity for slow, methodocal logical thought, but in part also as a measure of his degree of general education. Therefore, I have characters start their native language at (10-MA) -- which of course puts me on about the same page as Certic... :)

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 Post subject: Re: Ancient Languages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:44 pm 
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Thanks for the answers guys. I agree most people should be Competent (6) at their native tongue.

I like your little rule of thumb there Grettir I think I'll pinch it for my home games.

Cheers!

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