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Old Jul 2 2007, 08:23 PM   #1
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Default The Pernese Language

What do we actually know about it? Presumably it's fairly conservative since Lessa's generation and the Oldtimers seem to be able to communicate and so long as they're physically legible even the most ancient hides can be read and understood. But what kind of language is it? Does it have a complex system of endings like Latin? Does it form combinations easily like German? Is it tonal like Chinese? Does the written form have an alphabet, a syllabary, or ideographs?
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Old Jul 2 2007, 09:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Well apparently Aivas only had to adjust for vowel shifts, but other than that... it's whatever you decide it is!
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Old Jul 2 2007, 09:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

As far as I'm concerned it's English...
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Old Jul 2 2007, 10:28 PM   #4
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It's English in all my books
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Old Jul 2 2007, 11:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

I agree on it being mainly English but I wouldn't be surprised if a few other linguial (sp?) crept in there somewhere. I'm pretty sure that the colonists were fairly diverse in their cultures (Connels and Hanrahans were Irish, Kitti Ping was Asian, Andiyar I believe was Middle-Eastern) so I daresay some of their lingo/tonal influences could have crept into the language somewhere, especially where they may have settled.

Didn't we also have another discussion on different accents on Pern once? If the above is true, then I wouldn't be surprised if some accents crept in.

Who knows, Ruathans could actually sound faintly like Irish people. Or the Bendenites might even have some, say, Scottish or Australian accent for example? It's an interesting thought.

Wish Anne had incorporated some of that, it would have been fun to read, having different characters comment on accents.
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Old Jul 3 2007, 05:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

It's never said what language the people on Pern speak (despite the books being in English)

But yes, I too, think that by the time the colonists leave for Pern a form of English has become the lingua franca of Earth. Chinese might be spoken by more people, English is a lot easier to learn to read and write!

As accents are concerned, they, and the lingual shift will have evolved in the 2.5 milennia the Pernese inhabit their planet. In comparison you might look at the various forms (and respective idiom) of varieties of English all over our world (about which there currently is a thread in the Café) and maybe even a few of the 'broader' (?) or heavier accents, like the Yorkshire one for instance.

Throw in the thousands of words the Pernese had to come up with/make up for things new to them and indigenous to Pern and the apparent shift to some of the old Terran names and voila.
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Old Jul 3 2007, 01:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

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Originally Posted by Greenrider Tresa View Post
Well apparently Aivas only had to adjust for vowel shifts, but other than that... it's whatever you decide it is!

The dolphins also had to adjust their "human" language slightly to account for the shift in human dialects.

I'd say that someone from 9th pass wouldn't immediately understand everything someone from the 1st pass was saying, but after a day or two of listening, you could understand enough to communicate fairly easily.

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Old Jul 3 2007, 04:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

I remember that it was distinctly unique for Tarvi Andiyar to keep his obscure ancestral language alive. There were people of Asian descent in the colony, but Tarvi Andiyar is the only person described to use another language; everyone else seems to use only the common language. Certainly there is no mention made of communication problems due to language.
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Old Jul 3 2007, 05:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Sure they might have used the common language in private, but there's no reason they couldn't have used a different language in private. <G> I like to think they did.
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Old Jul 3 2007, 05:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

By the time Pern was settled, I don't think many people thought much in the way of "national identity" but rather Planet of Origin. The few individuals who did revere their ancient ancestral heritage (like Tarvi and Sean) were pointed out. There was so much general determination to stop thinking in terms of what they once were and only consider themselves Pernese I suspect that whatever residual "ethnic" issues existed were soon submerged.

As for regional dialects, we all know they occur every few miles all over the world but on Pern a great deal of effort was put forward to prevent them, at least among the educated. "Keeping the Language Pure" was always a major issue among the Harpers who were the educators of the entire world.
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Old Jul 3 2007, 10:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

I always thought Tarvi Andiyar was east Indian. But maybe that was just me.
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Old Jul 4 2007, 04:12 AM   #12
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Tarvi was "of Indic ancestry".
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Old Jul 4 2007, 08:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

They may have tried to prevent regional dialects, but we know they exist on Pern. Remember when Sebell and Piemur were going undercover at slipped into backwoods herder dialect? And Merelan's kin in MHoP were hard for Petiron to understand at first, as well.
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Old Jul 4 2007, 05:07 PM   #14
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

I seem to remember a scene in Dragon's Dawn; a campfire scene which specifically mentions 'Home on the Range' being performed. So there's at least an element of English language.
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Old Jul 4 2007, 08:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

I think for some reason English becomes standard in most si-fi books. It makes no since to me because the English launguge makes no since, & can be extremaly difficult to learn to spell.
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Old Jul 5 2007, 09:40 AM   #16
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Maw, I think that's simply because most Science Fiction (and Fantasy) author ARE English speakers
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Old Jul 5 2007, 09:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Could be, but, then agian I don't read the ones in other languages. LOL
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Old Jul 6 2007, 09:54 AM   #18
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

it is amusing trying to read harry potter in german and latin, because you know it in english so well it means you can partly translate the other language... probably a good way to learn another language..?
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Old Jul 6 2007, 04:54 PM   #19
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Reading it in German is OK.

Learning it in latin is what is amusing...
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Old Jul 6 2007, 05:00 PM   #20
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my German isn't very good so i suppose for me it is helpful... I agree, 'Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis' (i think i got that spelling right) is very amusing
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Old Jul 6 2007, 05:32 PM   #21
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I did not relize that it came in latin.Kibbie wants to learn Chinise maybe I should get her a Chinise copy. She would love that.
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Old Jul 6 2007, 07:54 PM   #22
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

well chienese writing is very different to speaking as it is symbols... best way would to make friends with chienese people, I have 5 or so chienese friends and i have learnt quite a bit off them... maybe not all polite words
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Old Jul 6 2007, 08:19 PM   #23
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

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Originally Posted by Dragongirl View Post
I agree on it being mainly English but I wouldn't be surprised if a few other linguial (sp?) crept in there somewhere. I'm pretty sure that the colonists were fairly diverse in their cultures (Connels and Hanrahans were Irish, Kitti Ping was Asian, Andiyar I believe was Middle-Eastern) so I daresay some of their lingo/tonal influences could have crept into the language somewhere, especially where they may have settled.

Didn't we also have another discussion on different accents on Pern once? If the above is true, then I wouldn't be surprised if some accents crept in.

Who knows, Ruathans could actually sound faintly like Irish people. Or the Bendenites might even have some, say, Scottish or Australian accent for example? It's an interesting thought.

Wish Anne had incorporated some of that, it would have been fun to read, having different characters comment on accents.
Please, no. Well - if you like that kind of thing, but I hate it when an author writes in 'dialect'. So hard to read! And yet, I totally understand your point.

One of my RP clubs (the 'zine Weyr) has a rider from Telgar, who's writer decided that in Telgar they all speak with a Russian accent. (Probably because she's Russian!)

It's pretty funny, actually. Especially since in our Pern, Telgar is famous for their wodka.
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Old Jul 7 2007, 10:14 AM   #24
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It's pretty funny, actually. Especially since in our Pern, Telgar is famous for their wodka.
that is funny
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Old Jul 7 2007, 06:38 PM   #25
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

By the way Winnie the pooh has been available in Latin for quite a time:

Winnie ille Pu

&

Domus ad Angularis Pui
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Old Jul 7 2007, 08:12 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by mawofone View Post
I think for some reason English becomes standard in most si-fi books. It makes no since to me because the English launguge makes no since, & can be extremaly difficult to learn to spell.

Which is why it was a delight to me to find that Poul Anderson used a LOT of Spanish in some of his books rather than having everyone speak English all the time. Even Ben Bova used some Spanish, in MARS.
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Old Jul 7 2007, 08:19 PM   #27
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

In the book I am writting I am trying to use some Latin work in spells & naming things. I have not thought about making people seak a diffrent language
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Old Jul 7 2007, 08:23 PM   #28
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

I should probably clarify that both Anderson and Bova were writing Spanish characters as well. Though Anderson definitely gave the impression that Spanish was the linguafranca, if I recall right. Then there was the invention of Selenite names. Originally they were moon colonists.
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Old Jul 8 2007, 12:26 AM   #29
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Well, as someone who has to cope with using a foreign language (Bahasa Indonesia) in daily life, and is also finding learing Mandarin a real challenge [hair pulling emoticon], I am acutely aware of language issues. The idea that everyone speaks English and that one would automatically be able to understand people who lived 400 years ago or what they'd written maybe 2000 years ago needs explaining rather than just being assumed. Any book where someone learns a language and speaks it perfectly after a week or month is likely to be hurled across the room with great force
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Old Jul 8 2007, 10:59 AM   #30
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Well, as someone who has to cope with using a foreign language (Bahasa Indonesia) in daily life, and is also finding learing Mandarin a real challenge [hair pulling emoticon], I am acutely aware of language issues. The idea that everyone speaks English and that one would automatically be able to understand people who lived 400 years ago or what they'd written maybe 2000 years ago needs explaining rather than just being assumed. Any book where someone learns a language and speaks it perfectly after a week or month is likely to be hurled across the room with great force
However, that is called "writer's privilege". Sometimes, in writing, the timing is necessary for people to be speaking a language, or derivative of one, in a certain amount of time.

Now, you mention "400 years". I'm assuming that you are talking about Lessa being able to speak with Mardra and T'ton when she goes back.

There can be other factors involved in this 'instantaneous knowledge' that you are speaking of.

1. Lessa was ill for an unspecified amount of time when she arrived. Fevered, semi-conscious, rambling. I took that to be that she was not comatose, but was just barely awake enough to take in nourishment. Otherwise, she would have died - the Pernese didn't have IV's for coma sufferers. Therefore, subconciously she was aware, and she could hear people around her. If there was a language shift, it's possible her brain was able to associate the 400-Turn old dialect to her own.

2. In DF, the only people Lessa spoke with were other dragonriders. Because dragons are totally mental animals, it is very possible that the understanding between herself and the Oldtimers was enhanced by their dragons.

3. Dragonriders, and even candidates, are more empathic than the rest of the population. This, again, can explain the underlying understanding of rider to rider. On some level, their brainwaves are communicating with each other while they are speaking with each other. A form of passive telepathy.

4. The 9th Passers were studying old Hides. Up to and including the ones from 400+ Turns ago. If the language had shifted that much, then they wouldn't have been able to read those hides. Also, some of the terminology would have seeped into her subconcious.

5. While #4 wouldn't take into account a dialect shift, #4 combined with #3 would help.

6. No matter how much any of us hate the deux es machina AIVAS, it did state that there was very little language shift.

Also, while many of us state that the Pernese speak "English", their English is not our English. They speak Pernese. We read their language in English, or Dutch, or Spanish. The books have been translated so we can understand them.

If these books were written in the actual Pernese language, then "Weyr Search" would never have been expanded into Dragonflight, there would have been no sequels, and these forums would not exist!
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Old Jul 8 2007, 05:58 PM   #31
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Excellent last points, Shalyn.
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Old Jul 8 2007, 09:09 PM   #32
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@ Shalyn
OK, if the riders' empathy/telepathy that makes them Impressible helps them understand each other that would be OK. Otherwise, I'd have been happier with a comment just to the effect that the riders from different time periods had to concentrate a bit harder to understand each other, the way one does when meeting somebody with a very different English accent.

How far back did the texts on the hides go?If they were copies of copies of copies, well how many of us can read say Chaucer without any help from glossaries and so on and that's only 600 years ago?

I realise that what we're reading is an English representation of Pernese, but that's why I started this thread. I was wondering whether there was any information about Pernese available, the same way we know quite a bit about the languages in Tolkein's world and Klingon in Star Trek.
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Old Jul 8 2007, 10:04 PM   #33
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

No, there isn't, except for maybe the odd word here or there like klah. Anne didn't develope a different language for Pernese, probably because she was envisioning the language to be English. *shrugs* Just another little detail she didn't think of.

Plus, as I mentioned in point #6, AIVAS said there was very little language shift in 2500 years. Therefore, in 400 years the language shift would be negligible.

Though - I do wonder if the slight difference in language contributed to the problems between the Oldtimers and their territories. Don't forget - there was a large rift between the five Lost Weyrs and their people. Benden was the only Weyr to get along with it's protectorate.

Most of the people we see talking to the Oldtimers are other dragonriders, or Craftmasters and Lords Holder. And since DQ on was seven years after Dragonflight ended, that would have given those characters plenty of time to adjust to the language differences.

We just don't see Joe Holder talking to B'ob Bluerider.
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Old Jul 8 2007, 11:20 PM   #34
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>>Though - I do wonder if the slight difference in language contributed to the problems between the Oldtimers and their territories. Don't forget - there was a large rift between the five Lost Weyrs and their people. Benden was the only Weyr to get along with it's protectorate. <<

Good point.
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Old Jul 9 2007, 10:21 AM   #35
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Anyway, thanks for raising this point and getting my brain running again.

I've been working on a fanfic from Mardra's POV, and this language thing really should be included. Since I haven't moved them from the 8th Pass to the 9th Pass yet, I still have time to make my changes.
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Old Jul 9 2007, 03:46 PM   #36
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

There is definitely a different sort of accent - read the account in Renegades of Jayge's first encounter with an oldtimer, and I think Thella also notices it at the Igen gather. But I don't think the language itself would have changed that much.

Also, I think it is significant that the Harpers are specifically dedicated to, among other things, preserve the language and keep it pure. Even when they started falling out of favor, that had to have made some difference, especially since they were teaching the young children.
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Old Jul 9 2007, 10:51 PM   #37
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

The Hill folk I think spoke with astrong accent. I think it was mentioned on Master harper & Renagades. (I can not rember the tile of the book about the master harper right, Was it master harper of Pern or something else. I'm not thinking real clear to day)
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Old Jul 10 2007, 04:05 AM   #38
Hans
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Correct Maw, the title is "The Masterharper of Pern" with Masterharper being one word, which is important to me.

For years now I'm trying to get "Masterharper" established as the name for the craftmaster while a "Master Harper" could be any person with a Master rank in the Harper Hall.
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Old Jul 10 2007, 09:26 AM   #39
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

Actually, Hans, that should go for any Craftmaster.

The one-word Master (Masterharper, Masterfarmer, Mastersmith) should go for the big guy, while the two word (Master Harper, Master Farmer, Master Smith) should go to anyone with a...well, Master's degree!
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Old Jul 10 2007, 09:43 AM   #40
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Default Re: The Pernese Language

True, but Anne and the books are not consistent, so I'm promoting this
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