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
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!
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
Besides, the non-English words make great trivia questions!
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!
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.
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.
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
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?
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...
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,"
Why expend energy fixing something that isn't broken?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
Friday, June 18 2004, 10:20PM
Actually it's never been einer iron Schwert...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.