Scripts for Wesnoth

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kitty
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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by kitty » July 20th, 2009, 10:35 am

melinath wrote:It could add an interesting level if they had a language built like whale song and a way to transcribe it that is completely foreign to us. Or even an alphabet, but referencing tone and length instead of consonants and vowels.
That certainly sounds like an interesting idea - if you (or somebody else) came up with an usable system and a detailed list of sounds and required diacritics for length etc. I'd love to make the fitting glyphs. But that had to happen rather quickly since I want to use the script on some of the merman portraits I'll start working on the next couple of days. If nobody produces such a system I'll use the alphabet as it is now with thespaceinvader's explanation why vowels are no real letters but only diacritic marks.

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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by thespaceinvader » July 20th, 2009, 10:59 am

I quite like the idea of a very clicky, consonanty language for the mermen - it works well as sounding liek dolphins, and would make for them sounding interesting in conversation with normal humans.

Kitty, I really like the work you're doing on these scripts. i'd love people to use these in various portraits and story images. I'll certainly be putting some drakish into the higher level portraits (maybe into the Burner and Fighter too, though not the glider, there's nowhere to really put it there).
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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by melinath » July 20th, 2009, 11:05 pm

kitty wrote:
melinath wrote:It could add an interesting level if they had a language built like whale song and a way to transcribe it that is completely foreign to us. Or even an alphabet, but referencing tone and length instead of consonants and vowels.
That certainly sounds like an interesting idea - if you (or somebody else) came up with an usable system and a detailed list of sounds and required diacritics for length etc. I'd love to make the fitting glyphs. But that had to happen rather quickly since I want to use the script on some of the merman portraits I'll start working on the next couple of days. If nobody produces such a system I'll use the alphabet as it is now with thespaceinvader's explanation why vowels are no real letters but only diacritic marks.
I can give it a shot tomorrow afternoon, perhaps.

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kitty
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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by kitty » July 21st, 2009, 9:19 am

melinath wrote:I can give it a shot tomorrow afternoon, perhaps.
Yay! Can't wait to seeing what you'll come up with!

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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by Simons Mith » July 21st, 2009, 11:24 am

What about nagas? I suppose the stereotype for nagas might well give them a hissy language. Perhaps it be a better idea to assign the new proposed clicky language to the nagas, and do something else for the merpeople? Something based on whalesong, peerhaps?
 

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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by thespaceinvader » July 21st, 2009, 12:44 pm

Clicking and hissing are nothing alike... For myself, I don't see the nagas as much more advanced than cave-painting/pictographs level.
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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by Simons Mith » July 21st, 2009, 12:51 pm

thespaceinvader wrote:Clicking and hissing are nothing alike... For myself, I don't see the nagas as much more advanced than cave-painting/pictographs level.
That was kinda my point; instead of following the snake stereotype and having nagas hiss, make 'em click instead.
 

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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by thespaceinvader » July 21st, 2009, 1:11 pm

Except that they already hiss in every appearance in mainline ;)
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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by Simons Mith » July 21st, 2009, 1:22 pm

But the merpeople don't click - yet - because the idea has only just come up, so if/when this change is implemented it will be an equally radical change to apply to the merfolk. Still, there's no reason we couldn't have different naga and/or merpeople populations with different languages anyway, so I'm not too fussed. This is not going to matter until some distant future point, obviously, but I did want to make sure the point had been raised early in the language design process.

Edit (late thought): Actually, it might be worth giving more attention to this matter. There are two major races which are often in danger of getting lumbered with 'snake stereotypes', namely nagas and saurians, and several other lizardy races which might sometimes get caught - things like drakes, dragons, hydras, sea serpents etc. The 'stereotype' is already quite well-entrenched. Making nagas clicky would help dilute it significantly. I would like to think that using the word 'stereotype' is putting things a bit strong, but even so, I have a feeling that taking active steps to weaken its hold might be a foresighted thing to do.

tsi wrote:They [meaning merfolk] don't when they're talking Human, naturally.
So why do nagas hiss or lisp when they speak Human? Thiss isss blatant ssnakeisssm, it isss, yesss, my preciousss.
Last edited by Simons Mith on July 21st, 2009, 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 

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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by thespaceinvader » July 21st, 2009, 1:25 pm

They don't when they're talking Human, naturally ;)
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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by melinath » July 21st, 2009, 3:02 pm

There isn't really any particular reason that naga should or shouldn't hiss. You (Simons Mith) should talk to esr about it, probably, if it's something you care about.

Here's my proposal for merman language:
They can't use consonants and vowels underwater. Underwater communication, similar to dolphins and whales, happens without the expulsion of air.
The language is composed of "syllables". Each syllable has three properties:
1. sound quality: whistle, growl, chirp, brr
2. pitch pattern: rising, falling, level, warbling
tone levels.gif
tone levels.gif (1.87 KiB) Viewed 2167 times
3. sound lengths: think musical notation. — is a half note, x is a quarter note, ^ is an eighth note.

This gives a total possible 48 syllables. The sound quality is seen as central, so it forms the basis of the glyph. This is then modified by a diacritic, which would really be almost as complicated as another glyph, if you want, that combines the information pitch pattern and length. For example, there would be a diacritic that would mean falling half note, one for level eighth note, etc. This would make a total of 12 diacritics

Note that since there are two chirps in an eighth note, you wouldn't ever see chirp/warbling-eighth as a syllable marker.

EDIT::

A couple additions:
If you take the "syllable" system I proposed, you may notice it has one major flaw: there's no way to distinguish two eighth-length syllables of level clicks from one quarter-length syllable of level clicks. The same is true for other level sounds.
The merfolk solve this by setting consecutive syllables at different pitches.
tone transcription.gif
tone transcription.gif (1.48 KiB) Viewed 2167 times
Dialect expresses itself primarily in different sound quality. In other words, all whistles are continuous sounds, but some are more squeaky and some are more moany.

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kitty
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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by kitty » July 21st, 2009, 9:24 pm

Those are a lot of quite interesting thoughts!

I'll need to get into that in more detail tomorrow, thus only a few quick comments for now.
  • The basic system of sound quality/pitch/length sounds sensible as well as easy to use.
  • I'm not sure why you use a half note as the longest length - why not a full one, a half one and a quarter?
  • Have you checked your proposal against the random merfolk names (those seem rather vowel-heavy to me)? They should work with our new system or we should make a list of new ones.
  • My biggest problem with this proposal is that it is, in contrast to all the other new scripts I'm developing at the moment, not translatable into english at all. It is not only a script/alphabet system but a whole new language. If we wanted to produce anything useable out of it we needed grammatic, vocabulary lists etc as well. That is not necessarily bad, but a whole lot of work. And I'm not sure if we are capable of accomplishing that atm. Probably we would only produce glyphs and associated sounds but we would have no meaning behind them at all - and that wouldn't be worth the effort, at least for me. So I would like to see if we could come up with a underwater sound based system that had still a connection to our languages and would thus be still translatable and useable.

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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by thespaceinvader » July 21st, 2009, 9:40 pm

Perhaps they have a script for rendering human language, the one kitty has described, which is influenced by their own speech patterns in having consonants as diacritic marks, and another for rendering their own, which melinath gave us.
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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by kitty » July 21st, 2009, 9:47 pm

I can't see a reason why they should have developed their own language to communicate with humans - why not simply learn the human language and script?

And to avoid misunderstandings - I'm quite fond of melinath's basic concept! I'm just doubtful of the usability for us at the moment and would like to find a way to keep its scientific and special flavour while making it easier to apply.

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Re: Scripts for Wesnoth

Post by thespaceinvader » July 21st, 2009, 9:52 pm

Mm, this is true... I personally prefer something which essentially is a different font - it's more fun, even if it's less accurate.
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