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Minor Character use Skills to learn Languages - each individual Language is a seperate Skill. Speaking and Reading/Writing are two separate skills.
- • - Rudamentary competance, can only compose or understand basic sentences.
- •• - Basic competance. Roughly that of a twelve year old.
- ••• - Basic fluency, may be able to recognize some words.
- •••• - Fluency, can read and write the language.
Minor Characters will posess their Intelligence+1 in dots in their native language. For people in Creation, this is almost always Low Realm or some variant, while those of Autocthonia speak one of the Autocthonian tongues. For Demons, this is the First Circle Tongue, while for Elementals it is their specific Terrestrial tongue. Small and Least gods know Celestial.
Root Languages and Old Realm
Known Root Languages are those from which all other known languages are derived. The prime ones are:
- Ancient Realm - Between the defeat of the first Primordial and their collective surrender, this language had been forged between the Exalted out of a need for a common, but simple tongue for basic coordination. This is a single language, known only to scholars.
- Autocthonian - The language of the Machine God's processes was a far greater influence to the languages of the eight nations than the nascent tongue of Old Realm ever was. In addition, the original settlers spoke their own languages, rather than Old Realm, though Autocthon had it and other languages archived. It consists of nine languages, one for each of the eight nations and the 'Core Speech' of Autocthon's own processes, which is actually quite familiar to the Sidereals.
- Celestial - The original language of the Gods. It's a complex and fractured language, with a main core and countless dialects and additions specific to certain entities. The core and the dialects are two separate languages.
- Ebon Speech - A tongue spoken by the Ebon Dragon, his souls and their servants, both inside and outside Creation. This is a single language.
- Guild Cant - A language actually constructed by slaves, or rather, the children of slaves growing together in isolation from contact by their parents or influence by any other tongue. Over time, it has grown more and more developed, and no longer by the slaves themselves - those that spoke it have long since expired. This is a single language.
- High Holy Speech, consisting of four separate dialects. Anklok, Mosok, Pterok, and Raptok all know their own dialect at Essence 2, and the others at Essence 3. It shares some structure with Celestial, for obvious reasons. This is a single language, the dialects aren't too difficult for a savant to learn and understand (speaking is a different matter).
- Kimberic - The language Kimbery taught to her followers. It was known only in the most ancient and lost of libraries for a millenia until Dukantha began to teach it to the Lintha once again. This is a single language.
- Malfeaic - The black speech of Malfeas. Like Old Realm, it is stratified into First, Second, and Third Circle Tongues, and knowledge of a given Tongue is required to make a proper summoning. Knowledge of the First Circle Tongue is frighteningly common. The Tongues are each their own language.
- Mountain Speech / Rocktongue - The tongues of the Mountain Folk. It is actually two languages. The low speech (Rocktongue) consists almost entirely of clicks and other nonvocalized sounds that resemble many natural or other non-sentient sounds, with some primative yells and other loud grunts that basically amount to "I'm going to die" and in what manner. The high speech (Mountain Speech) is a completely different language, and shares some small parts with Autocthonic. Most unEnlightened are completely incapable of speaking or understanding anything but Rocktongue, though they know most of it from 'birth'. It is still a true language, however, and evolves slowly.
- Retic - A language only speculated of by the scholars of the Solar Deliberative. Its original speakers were clearly not human, but beyond that little is known. Portions of it are clearly shared in some manner with Autocthonian. It is a single language, though no human has ever spoken the tongue.
- Rhakshic - The language of the Rhaksha. It is a twisted, archaic language, but has some relations to the tongues of Creation.
- Terrestrial - The language of the Elementals. There are actually five such languages, a separate one for every element. They are not really usable for typical human conversation - though knowing all five (as every Elemental Dragon does) might do.
Old Realm actually consists of three separate tongues:
- Common Realm - evolving out of Ancient Realm and the most extant of the remaining human languages after the Primordial War, it has remained largely intact for some five thousand years. The Empire and Lookshy are keen on promoting its continued use, now called Low Realm. Many consider Common and Low Realm to be two separate languages at this point, though they are clearly related.
- Terrestrial Realm - the language of the Dragon-Blooded and Half Caste, it evolved primarily out of Ancient Realm, the Terrestrial languages of the Elementals, and other, more scholarly human tongues. While some unExalted humans do manage to learn the tongue (now called High Realm), it requires decades of study for one not touched by the Elements to master. High Realm and Terrestrial Realm are nearly the same language, with a few losses and additions between the two.
- Celestial Realm - not actually derived from Celestial, it is a vast, all-encompassing language. No more than five hundred beings were fluent in this tongue at any given time, and only the Incarna, the Deathlords, and those Sidereals and Lunars who recall the Usurpation currently speak it with any degree of ease. If one does not posess a celestial shard and the ancient memories to draw on, it takes centuries to learn and millenia to perfect.
Most languages in the Age of Sorrows derive primarily from Common Realm. While some portions of other original tongues survived, these are few and far between. They deviate primarily due to the linguistic influence of gods, lunars, demons, elementals, and the twisting of the Wyld (which itself is merely a reconstruction of what is already within Creation). Some of this was greatly intentional on the part of various spirits, in order to bring conflict to humanity. As such, neighboring tongues like Haltan and Linowan tend to have more in common with Low Realm than they do with eachother.
These languages have not even had eight centuries to diverge, while still under the influence of powerful, long-lived beings with an interest in social preservation. The result is that learning a native language in Creation is comparitively trivial for anyone who speaks Low or Common Realm, though accents will vary widely. This is not true for Autocthonians, however. Over four millenia of divergence and the complete lack of long-lived entities to mitigate the problem left mortal, fallible institutions to maintain the languages. As such, they are all completely separate.
Since Major Characters don't purchase skills, they don't actually spend experience learning languages. They do, however, have to spend time learning radically different languages (any of the thirty mentioned above). Lore grants different people different languages.
- Autocthonians: Alchemicals and most members of the Tripartate (any of them with Lore 1 or higher) are familiar with all of Claslan, Estasian, Gulik, Jarish, Kamakan, Nuradic, Sovan, and Yugashan. While these languages are all truly separate, they are similar enough in important terms and grammatical structure that basic communication is almost always possible. Alchemicals themselves also innately know Autocthon's Core speech, and a few Autocthonians have managed the strange task (Lore 3). Common, Ancient and Terrestrial Realm are all both known to the archives of the Eight Nations, however in extremely primative forms. As their holy books are written in this Common, many among the Tripartate know it (Lore 2), while others in Yugash have studied Ancient and Terrestrial to further foster communications (Lore 4). There are also some records of High Holy Speech and Retic, but only a handful know that the two were made by separate cultures, much less posess any real knowledge in either (Lore 6).
- Creation Born: This is almost always Low Realm, though most with any real knowledge of history (Lore 2) have a good grasp of Common Realm as well. The Lintha actively teach their young Kimberic, and the Ebon Speech is popular amongst other Yozi cultists. Guild Cant is taught to important Guild Members, though this requires several years of study.
- Demons: The residents of Malfeas each know at least two languages, one for communicating with others of their 'kin' - a language known primarily by a Yozi's component souls, and one or more of the Malfeaic Circle Tongues. Half-demons are often taught only the First Circle tongue, though the Lintha also learn Kimberic and the Ebon Dragon spreads his speech far and wide across Creation.
- Dragon-Blooded: Both Blooded and Touched can grasp their version of Terrestrial extremely quickly, which is a great asset to learning High Realm. Most also learn both Low and Common Realm, though some few don't bother teaching it to their children, and a few of those don't bother learning it on their own. Dragon-Blooded who go to the Heptagram can expect tutalege in many languages.
- Dragon Kings: Dragon Kings automatically comprehend and can speak their own dialect upon achieving Essence 2, and that of all other dialects upon achieving Essence 3. They will recall Celestial at Intelligence 3 and Essence 4, and all Terrestrial tongues at Essence and Intelligence 5. Learning Common, Low, and Ancient Realm can be easily grasped at Essence 3, and Terrestrial Realm after the normal tongues are learned.
- Elementals: Elementals and their children (elemental-blooded) all know their version of Terrestrial, though 'god-blooded' might not always realize it even when conversing in it. Many higher ranking elementals learn other Terrestrial tongues, Low Realm, High Realm, and Celestial.
- Mountain Folk: The unEnlightened are generally incapable of learning anything but Rocktongue, though they know it innately. Enlightened know both the Low and High Speeches, and are very likely know both Low and High Realm. They too have some scant records of Retic, but they consider it an oddity of little use, and there isn't enough to decipher the language with anyway.
- Raksha: Most Raksha speak Common Realm, though they've twisted and warped it as they do with all things. They can certainly make themselves understood, and understand, though some enjoy playing at not. They all understand Rhakshic, of course, though Unshaped may not.
Learning Other Languages
Celestial Shards hold memories of thousands of languages and decades, if not centuries, of linguistic studies. As such, Celestial Exalted pick up on languages and even dialects extremely rapidly. Most languages can be picked up on in minutes. A few - the eight national Autocthonian tongues, the Third Circle Malfeaic Tongue, Guild Cant and the languages of the Primordials (such as Kimberic and the Ebon Speech) require at least Lore 1 and hours of study and contemplation equal to 10 divided by the character's Lore Ability.
Only languages that are both truly alien and unknown, such as Retic, are beyond this purview. Some few Yozis have managed to avoid revealing their specific tongue to the Exalted, and thus must also be learned normally.
For those not so lucky as to have extensive, high-quality past memories, languages must be learned normally. The length of time required depends on just how foreign the language is - most Creation dwellers can pick up Low Realm with a few weeks of good study, and can be fluent within a year. Guild Cant, being a very intuitive language, can also be picked up in a year, though this requires a good amount of linguistic knowledge and total immersion, and will be heavily tainted by accent - but every member of the Guild has such. Learning another human, or human related language (Such as Autocthonic or Mountain Speech) can take several years for fluency. More complicated languages, such as High Holy Speech, the Terrestrial tongues, Terrestrial/High Realm, and similar likes can take decades for mortal scholars.