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Non-English Words in Areas|U6

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Posted by LadyAce on 06/26

Hello all -- As the owner of two areas with non-English words in them, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. My philosophy with areas has been to sprinkle in non-English words as "flavoring" or to give a certain level of distinctiveness to items, i.e. even if it's a bit of chainmail, to make a distinction that this particular bit happens to be from Germany, or even if it's just a cloak, this one happens to be one from an Arabic-speaking country, and so forth. I think that my ideas about intermixing languages comes somewhat from the way I see languages mixed in the United States -- in particular, I listen to people float back and forth between Spanish and English, I hear people mix in a little French or Latin here or there, and so on. However, many of the bug/idea type reports I've been seeing don't reflect this type of floating back and forth, sprinkling approach. I have some comments where people say that, for example, if the noun is going to be in German, then the adjective that modifies it ought to be in German as well. Or, if someone is wearing an item with a description in German, then the other items they're wearing ought to be in German as well. My sense is that too much German would be hard to figure out if the person reading it didn't know German already -- a word sprinkled in here and there is easier to learn. I also have comments that if I use a word in German in one place and in English in another, they should be changed to become consistent. So, there's my philosophy about it all -- but I'm not stuck on it, or I wouldn't bring it up. What I want to do is hear from more voices -- do you want strict consistency? Do you want more use of non-English words? Less? Is the way Klein and Crusades set up troubling to you? I've had people advocate that non-English be pulled from the game, and I'm reluctant to do that -- again I suppose I'm working from the American perspective, but for me, the idea of being in a completely different place than I'm accustomed to includes seeing a fair number of things in non-English languages -- and by and large, use of non-English words in the US is limited to translations in fine print on shampoo bottles, the mixing of speech that I described above, and back pages of instruction manuals. So the implications of multi-lingualism are probably pretty darn different to an American (wow, strange, things aren't in English everywhere!) than they are to a European (yawn, every country on the border of mine speaks a different language, and I speak three languages myself). Anyway, what do people think? Can we come to some peaceable agreement about use of non-English languages that doesn't drive European players completely bonkers without losing the "sprinkling of flavor" I'm seeking, and without going overboard for folks who only speak English and some high school Spanish? :) Thanks for your thoughts! -LA |U6

From: Siachet Wednesday, June 16 2004, 02:00PM I think a mix of non-English nouns with English adjectives is ok. Nouns are generally easier to work out from the context which includes the relevant English adjectives. Keywords in english as well are helpful for handling or selling items once you have worked out what they are. Besides, the non-English words make great trivia questions! |U6

From: Varnel Wednesday, June 16 2004, 04:53PM I agree that there should be non-english words, because it would retract from the area if you didn't use their native language at least somewhat IE ritter/knight ... How many other areas have knights? How many areas have ritters? Anyways Ein Ritter gya gya! |U6

From: Jhakar Thursday, June 17 2004, 08:05AM it would be easy to satisfy BOTH groups, just add an NPC to the area, Kleinstadt for example, that would allow you to "trade-in" the item with non-English text for an English text version, with the same exact stats and rent. |U6

From: Valya Thursday, June 17 2004, 08:03AM Being one of those having bugged/idead some of these changes, I figured it'd be a good idea elaborating on this. In my personal opinion, whatever you read here on Legend is whatever you'd see. now - let that sink in for a few..... and then consider this: "You see Ein Kind" ....... now - unless you understand German - that might come off as odd atleast the way I see it. anyone else would spot the little fellow as "A child" - but in this instance, you see the child, then look things up in a dictionary and go "AHA! it's a kid!" I would personally like to see more native languages when mobs interact - i.e. spoken, on "menu-cards" at taverns, etc. as for equipment, I'm in two minds, mainly because the specifics might require a `native' description - or definition. but imho, whenever you see it lying around, you see it as something you'd relate to in some way or another. - seeing as engrish seems to be whatever happends in people's minds here, it ought to be in that language. e.g. : You ask RandomGermanVender eine wurst danke RandomGermanVendor hands you a sausage with when lying about: A huge sausage has been left on the floor here - it looked yummy untill someone stept on it. now, I wouldn't balk about them speaking english either, I -like- the fact that there's diversity, but really - if I go to China (and I don't speak chinese), I don't need a dictionary to recognize a child. |U6

From: Kae Thursday, June 17 2004, 09:32PM I'm with what Valya wrote, with an addition, really. When something in a sentence is not in English, it needs to be, well, not in English, not a bizarre mix. For example, the Schwerts from Kleinstadt: I'm good with the word 'Schwert' -- it's a sword, it's probably a local German type of sword that isn't the same as a sword in Sherwood (actually, it would be a different type because of Celtic vs Germanic tradition, yada yada, note everyone reads medieval weaponry history for fun like me, so...). What bothers me is 'a n iron Schwert' -- I know it's cosmetic, it's a minor detail, it's really really tiny -- but it should be eine eisen-Schwert or eisener Schwert, please don't kill me for not looking up the exact grammar right now. So -- that's why I avoid the foreign words in the short descriptions in my areas except where it's really really really really obvious. I'd rather sprinkle foreign words in speech -- hey, how do you, kif inti? -- Oh, I'm fine -- tajjeb hafna! It may still take people a while to figure out what it means, and it does add that taste of foreign country, but it doesn't actually disturb any game play. Does that make sense? |U6

From: LadyAce Thursday, June 17 2004, 10:48PM Hrm....here's a thought... Maybe the reason I just don't "get it" is that there's no gendering of noun-adjective pairs in English. It really doesn't strike me as strange to say an iron Schwert any more than it seems strange to say 'a delicious slice of filet mignon' or 'a black hijaab' -- to essentially treat the words as if they were cognates. I'm not trying to be stubborn -- it just doesn't register with me, the needle doesn't even flicker ... and I'm trying to figure out why reasonable folks seem to come to such different conclusions. Feel free to whap me if I'm grasping for something concrete in a puddle of soup... -LA |U6

From: Purgatory Friday, June 18 2004, 12:36AM Things are fine the way they are. I like the non-English words sprinkled throughout the areas because they really do add to the feeling that you are truly in a foreign country. But actually changing all the modifiers around these items and names is going overboard. It's one thing to add flavor, it's another to make me feel like I'm no longer playing an English language mud. Besides, we mix languages all the time in RL: I make things out of paper mache, not papier mache, and when I eat sushi I say I'm eating "a plate of sushi," not "sushiwhateverthehellthejapanesewordforplateis". Why expend energy fixing something that isn't broken? |U6

From: Shemyaza Friday, June 18 2004, 12:53AM I agree with Purgatory, I understand substituting the foreign word if there is no exact English meaning for the word. (E.g., sifu, sensei - words that are actually foreign words, but see a lot of use because really - 'master' is a poor, almost non-translation of the word. Forestalling flames, yes, I speak the language the first word is from.) I do not, personally, see the point of changing the modifiers unless the mobs are going to start speaking entire sentences in the foreign language, or a phonetic approximation thereof. Which would make it offputting, at least to me. |U6

From: Sandra Friday, June 18 2004, 08:33AM I'm in agreement with keeping things how they are. I like the room titles in the native languages, and the items how they are. Builders can make use of the extra description on items, and the room descriptions to describe what the room/item is. |U6

From: Kaige Friday, June 18 2004, 10:53AM I like the sprinkling of foreign words, but I think Valya has a point with when you "see" something you think of it in your own terms, which to me translates mostly to the long descriptions. I don't know how many other people feel, but I think I did a good job with Aztecs where the language is so different, but it doesn't seem intrusive or jarring... at least not in the way that "ein iron schwert" is or even "la pretty femme" would be, especially to those familiar with those languages would find it. Now, that said.... "an iron schwert" doesn't bother me in the same way, but I don't think "a pretty femme" would work the same way. Perhaps femme is just the wrong word to be trying it with. So I think a lot of the problem comes from trying to force english adjectives between the foreign article/noun constructs moreso than just using foreign words in the first place. I also don't see a problem with logging a note in the typo files when you come across something that just doesn't work for you... I know when I'm building, I may not always see the problem or typo first thing. -Kaige |U6

From: Kae Friday, June 18 2004, 01:20PM I think the pronomen part is a big part of the issue, yes. We can probably clean up Kleinstadt quite a bit by making things be 'an iron Schwert' instead of 'einer iron Schwert'. That way, the mix of two languages doesn't jump into the eyes quite as horribly. |U6

From: LadyAce Friday, June 18 2004, 03:44PM Err, do you mean that the other way 'round? I.e. you think einer iron Schwert is better than an iron Schwert? Because they're already 'an iron Schwert' and 'a whatever Degen' and so on -- leading pronouns in English. -LA |U6

From: Kae Friday, June 18 2004, 09:20PM Er, I'm for 'an iron Schwert' as opposed to 'einer iron Schwert'. It's been a few weeks since I last was in Kleinstadt, if you fixed this issue in the meantime I am a much happier camper :) |U6

From: LadyAce Friday, June 18 2004, 10:20PM Actually it's never been einer iron Schwert... -LA |U6

From: Kaige Saturday, June 19 2004, 11:54AM There have been things like 'Ein green-eyed Kind' tho, so where the schwert thing may have been just an example, there are definitely things out there that do this. -Kaige |U6

From: Pop Sunday, June 20 2004, 11:31AM my 2 cents --- my 2 cents --- I find questing and understanding of the area to be quite difficult when there are non-English words as items and mobs -- the help files don't have other languages in them nor should the areas unless it is an add-on to an item such as, "An Iron Sword -- the locals call it a 'Schwert'. ert.' To me it is a sign that the builder has gone overboard in trying to develop the feel of an area -- it becomes foreign to the player. |U6

From: Azazel Monday, June 21 2004, 07:35PM Call it whatever you want, but when I look at it, I see a sword, no matter what the language is, or the local terminology. The only reason I know a schwert is a sword is that the words are fairly simple and chars of mine have used them. Personally I like plain old English. |U6

From: Corrado Wednesday, June 23 2004, 11:04AM I think that Non-English language use was one of the key reasons I originally found Legend so interesting when I first started playing. This may sound a bit odd, but I quite honestly, because of areas such as Klein have gotten better grades on multiple college language exams... The use of non-English language gives Legend an interesting aspect that all the other mud's I tried do not have. |U6

From: Skull Wednesday, June 23 2004, 01:50PM I have to agree with most of the appends here. I think the use of non-English words that apply with certain areas gives a better atmosphere to the game. It makes sense and is more intelligent from a design perspective. |U6

From: Rufus Saturday, June 26 2004, 08:40AM At least for me, there was a certain necessity to use some in India... there are words they use, common words, that take a few sentences, even a paragraph, to translate into english. Summarizing it down to an english noun would not suffice, so I pretty much went with 'what would normally be transliterated and used in english' as a guide to what make a foreign word. Ruf |U6


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