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Language Skills [Mind]

Language Skills measures your facility with your native language, and your ability to learn other languages. People with high Language Skills are often poets, writers or professional scholars; the rating in your Language skill also indicates the quality of your penmanship, which is highly regarded in the Republic.

Sub-skills are specific foreign languages, and each needs to be learned separately.

Dwarvish (Dra'ka)
This is the guttural language of the dwarves, which predates the sundering of the warrens and is therefore common (with some linguistic drift) to all the dwarves in the geographic vicinity of the Republic. The Dwarvish written language is based on 12 runes, which are combined together to produce 144 symbols for phonemes and punctuation. Despite its apparent harshness, Dra'ka is an excellent language for chanting, and its technical specificity makes it the preferred written language for architects and engineers.

Elvish (Speirenthel)
Light, beautiful and haunting, Speirenthel is a pain to learn because it is not merely tonal but cadence related; the word for love means a burning passion if said quickly, steady if said at a normal pace, and a lost ache if drawn out; it is filial love if said in one tone, romantic love if said in another. Speirenthel is meant to be sung, and inexperienced speakers can mangle it something fierce. The written Speirenthel is symbol rather than character based, similar to Mandarin Chinese, and while beautiful to look at it can't be easily typeset.

Troll (Chak)
This is the language of the Trolls on the Great Hills, and thus the Troll language most common to the Republic. It is surprisingly simple, and the Trolls seldom use it these days. Chak is a dying language, and has been since the Trolls entered the Republic and embraced its language. Those who speak Chak now do so with a sort of stubborn doggedness, refusing to let this part of their racial heritage die. Good for describing hunting, weather conditions and other things once critical for the Troll's life, the current speakers refuse to adopt new words, and develop Chak terms for everything that the original language was too primitive to cover. It also has a written component, constructed by these same modern speakers, which is obstinately unlike any other written tongue, and bears no logical resemblance to spoken pronunciation.

Nomadic Language (Harran)
The language of the people of the north, this is a quick, sharp tongue, where meaning is based on vowel/consonant constructions, rather than the Republic's accepted method of prefixes and suffixes. Harran is a beautiful language for song and story, very evocative and pleasant to listen to; this is good, because it has no written component. All the knowledge of the nomads is passed down through storytelling, and their language evolved to support that. Most people assume that this is Orcish, but while it has a lot in common with the language of the Republic's Orcish community, a millennia of linguistic drift has made them very separate tongues.

Orkish (Hvass)
Like its distant linguistic cousin, Haraan, Hvass is based on vowel/consonant constructions, but it also includes prefixes and suffixes. As one may imagine, that makes is a very complete and complicated language; Hvass can get several sentences of content into a few words, though those words might be rather long. Unlike Harran, Hvass does have a written component, using characters borrowed from the Raelite religious tongue, with 7 characters added to include phonemes that the trade tongue doesn't use. This 'created' literary component is very logical, and Hvass is spelled exactly the way it's said. Its complexity makes Hvass a poor language for metered poetry, but its speakers have a Haiku-like poetic tradition which is very effective. Hvass is the official written language of the Republic's runners; its scarcity makes it difficult to translate lost messages, and its brevity makes for short documents and easy memorization.

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Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers