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supernal

Oldspeak

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Language. Historically defined as a dynamic set of visual, auditory, or tactile symbols of communications and the elements used to manipulate them. It is without bounds. Millions of letters attributed to thousands of alphabets that comprise the literally infinite lines of subtext, of syntax, and of dialect that allows one living organism to communicate with another. Language ranges from the guttural sounds and palette clicks of the hyenas to the sharp, shrill whistles of the cockatrice, but all of it stems from a system.

Language is a set of agreed-upon symbols, comprising the features of a single language; all languages must define the structural relationships between these symbols in a system of grammar. Grammar allows a finite set of symbols to be manipulated to create a potentially infinite number of utterances in an already infinite system.

Another property of language is that its symbols are arbitrary. Any concept or grammatical rule can be mapped onto any symbol. Languages make use of sound, but the combinations of sounds used do not have an intrinsic meaning – they are merely an agreed-upon convention that is used to represent certain things by users of that language. For instance, there is nothing about the word nothing itself that forces a speaker to convey the idea of “nothing”. Another set of sounds could be equally used to represent the exact same concept, but speakers have acquired or learned to correlate this meaning for this particular sound pattern. In another language the sound pattern of “nothing” could mean “hope”.

Without a system, there is no method to the madness, and language is little more than an indecipherable jumble of letters, diacritics, and syllables that mean absolutely nothing. If there is no order, then there is no message.

Oldspeak, the most ancient form of communication, can be considered modern language’s exact inverse. It has no system. It has no letters or words, no syllables or sentences. No rules of grammar or usage. No method of representation on a visual, auditory, or tactile scale. Oldspeak is the process of communicating raw emotion and inherent meaning.

It is the ability to, not simply say sorrow, but express sorrow. When one "speaks" sorrow in Oldspeak, sorrow is profoundly felt by those within customary hearing range (30 feet). When one "speaks" joy in Oldspeak, joy impacts the heart of those within hearing range. When one "speaks" nothing, a very pervasive nothing is felt by all of those within range.

Oldspeak has no language barriers, as one is not using standard language to communicate. One who is fluent in Oldspeak can, feasibly, talk to any sort of living creature, as long as it has some sense of sentience and is capable of deciphering what is being conveyed on some level.

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Song Sprite - 

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The type of Oldspeak used by Nate and Florica isn't really the traditional one. It's more like they used Nate's talent for Oldspeak as a stepping stone to cobbling together their own private telepathic communication system. One obvious difference is that when they speak it to each other, the whole world can't hear. Another difference is that they make use of features of language such as idiomatic speech, which I imagine are foreign concepts to traditional Oldspeak.

I have imagined Oldspeak as a mana based ability. Like other such abilities in Terrenus, some few are born with a knack for it, but many others can learn it as a skill, if they possess the level of mental discipline to do so.

Now, as to roleplaying in that language, I would imagine that utterances in that language would be short, to the point, and without ornamentation such as titles, metaphors and other idiomatic language. You don't need those sorts of things to express yourself, due to the nature of the language.

I would also think that speaking the name of the thing in Oldspeak is to speak its true name, in the old, powerful sense of it. To speak a thing's true name is to possess a level of power over it. Thus, it could be considered very rude to attempt to speak your friend's name in Oldspeak, and borderline insane to speak a dragon's name, or that of Odin Haze. Likewise, those who know the true names of fire and wind could speak commands to those elements, as an ancient form of pyromancy and hydromancy, respectively.

Oldspeak would also be a very difficult language in which to practice deception. Every utterance involves "speaking from the soul", as it were, and so to speak an untruth would be the mark of a soul that is corrupted, and a mind that has the discipline to engage in doublethink. 

If Oldspeak is to be the primary language of your order, you might consider augmenting it with something else, such as Terric (the lingua franca of Terrenus) or with a sign language, to allow for such things as idle chatter, and the polite communication of the names of one's superiors.

 

 

Edited by supernal

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