Linguistics

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Linguistics

Postby Ssezzkero on February 23rd, 2015, 2:46 am

Okay so, just a quick question on linguistics and what is takes to level them up. I think I understand the basics, but I guess I am looking for some more specific requirements, as there are not skill points that lay it out for me.

Okay, so I know that some people hold poor and basic languages for their entire PC's life, and never really bother or need to update them. But I currently have a character who lives in a city with a main language (and even a second language) that she doesn't speak very well (or at all). So there are ample opportunities for her to practice, learn and be taught this language. I make a point to use my poor language in just about every thread, although I know there is more to learning a language than simply using the words you know. Learning to read and write as well as getting corrected by those who are fluent in the language are important.

So say you speak what you know pretty consistently, then every once in a while you make it the main point of a thread. Say, you treat it like seasonal xp threads, where that is what you focus on in the thread. Like seasonal xp, do you do about 2-4 per season to show your PC is actively trying to learn this language? If so, how many seasons would it then take to bump up a level? Is it much harder to go from basic to fluent than from poor to basic, or easier?

I really don't know how to learn a language other than from a textbook and the occasional visiting of family (who will just speak English to me anyway). So, to all those more experienced in this than me, how do I do this? What is it going to take and how long?
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Linguistics

Postby Ayviss on February 23rd, 2015, 1:19 pm

Look, I can't really tell you specifically how you would go about that in Mizahar (probably the ST in your city will be a better person to discuss it), but I can certainly tell you about my RL experience with it.

The amount of seasons (or months, or years) taken to learn a language varies a lot. There is no set time, not even for people who speak the same language and try to learn the same other language. If a certain language is harder than other for your character (or for the race of your character), then I'd say it would take a lot of time. If it's easy, it wouldn't take long (perhaps a year, or so. If the language is just a variation of your own, a single season or even a lot less can teach you the basics).

For example, I speak Portuguese as my native language, a language with Latin roots. However, I find EXTREMELY difficult to learn other languages with the same roots as mine. On the other hand, I learned English and can learn similar languages very, very easily. So it also all depends on your character, what interests her, and what she finds easy and hard to learn.

Grammatically speaking, generally the more rules and variations a language has, the harder it's to learn.

Now, I'd say that it's easier to go from "nothing" to poor. Harder to go from poor to basic. And
to go from basic to fluent, falls in the middle.

The reason for that is that learning a few phrases and not really needing to speak them right (well, right enough for them to be phrases, but still) is relatively easy. It's simply an exercise of memorization: you listen, you repeat. Going from poor to basic requires learning how to communicate in that language, which means learning how to join words together to make a sentence that can be understood and is mostly correct. You have to learn the right (or almost right) pronunciation of words. From here on, you're not only repeating, but learning how to communicating on your own. Finally, from basic to fluent. Well, it's not really the easiest, but I don't consider it the hardest, either. When you know the basics, you can self-teach a lot of things, and improve considerably faster than when you knew nothing. So it takes time, of course, but it's not extremely hard.

As for how to teach, for me I found that textbooks combined with practice and someone (a teacher, a friend that's fluent in that language, even people on the streets) correcting your mistakes. Listening to other people talk is a tremendous help. And reading. Not reading textbooks, but literature books in the foreign language. Just like reading books help you to improve you native language, it also helps you improve foreign languages.

That's, however, based on my experience, and the experience of my friends and people close to me. It won't be the same for everyone, and maybe it won't work quite like that in Mizahar. But still, it's a good starting place.

Hope that helps. :)
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Linguistics

Postby Zhol on February 23rd, 2015, 4:38 pm

Adding onto the whole "that is what it's like for me in real life thing" -

When I was in high school, I would say that my Spanish was around basic. I wasn't hyper fluent in it, but I could hold a conversation relatively well, maybe with the odd word mistake here and there (I always used to get the French and Spanish words for "also" the wrong way around, and odd little quirks like that). The way that it's described in the UK education system, the objective is to "be able to hold a conversation with a sympathetic native speaker". That's my benchmark for what basic is; I throw in the odd word mistake here and there, I have my character forget certain words (especially if they're stressed/flustered), and so on.

High school was ten years ago though, and I've neglected my Spanish. I would now classify my ability to speak Spanish as poor - I can remember a few phrases, and I can string together a few clunky sentences, but no where near as easily as I used to. BUT, when it comes to reading or hearing Spanish, I can still pick up the gist of what is going on, I can work out words I don't recognise from the context, and so on. When I went to Paris on business a few years ago, I was able to navigate around by reading the Spanish on signs and listening to the Spanish announcements (at least, until I realised that I was being an idiot and there was English on the signs too) fairly comfortably.

I guess my point in all that is, if your language skill is poor, your character may well start off being able to understand the language better / more easily than they are able to speak it. Immersion in the language especially will help that come easier - trying to think "What is the Nari word for apple?" so you can string it into a sentence might be tricky, but that reflex "Oh, that word means apple!" will probably come a bit more readily.


I would definitely be interested to know if there's any sort of structured way for improving your language abilities in terms of Miz rules, though. I'm in exactly the same boat: Poor in Nari, but living in Wind Reach so that I am constantly surrounded by it. If there's a guideline / framework / suggested way of doing it floating out there, that'd be very useful to know!
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Linguistics

Postby Khida on February 23rd, 2015, 5:27 pm

From Gossamer in this Q&A:

...if you want your langauges advanced, talk to a Storyteller and have a list of threads where you are practicing, studying, and immersed to present to said storyteller as evidence and they can and will advance your language if they think it is deserved.

I've done this once with Khida to go from no to Poor fluency in Pavi. Still working on Basic.
Spring threads: 2/5 .. | .. Season Goals .. | .. GradersMaxed skill: Observation.
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Linguistics

Postby Ssezzkero on February 23rd, 2015, 5:49 pm

Thank you guys for the help! It's a big help :)
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