Ikselam's Theory of Related Languages
| ||High Realm||Low Realm||Wave-tongue||Flame-tongue||Forest-tongue||Sky-tongue||River-speak||Old Realm||High Holy Speech|
|High Holy Speech||5||5||5||5||5||5||5||2||0|
This table describes the degree of linguistic separation between different languages spoken in Exalted. If language A is your native tongue, the number in row A, column B (or row B, column A) will tell you a couple things.
- The difficulty of deciphering language B if you are not already fluent in it. The roll is Wits + Linguistics for spoken word, Intelligence + Linguistics for written. It's also the difficulty of the Linguistics roll (Attribute not yet determined) to make yourself understood by a speaker of language B.
- The Linguistics score you need to have in order to learn language B.
- I have not yet determined how learning languages should work. You might gain them as usual, with a cap -- probably Linguistics, or Int + Linguistics.
- Or you could pay a small xp fee -- possibly equal to the degree of separation from your native language.
- You might also just be able to automatically speak any language whose separation is less than your Linguistics.
- But maybe your Presence, Performance, Socialize, whatever in that language is capped by your Linguistics score (as with combat abilities and Ride).
The assumptions I made about languages in Creation are as follows:
- Old Realm and Rathess High Holy Speech are not closely related to any modern human language.
- Riverspeak is closely related to all modern languages.
- Directional languages are separation 2 if 90 degrees apart, 3 if 180. Realm dialects are separation 3 from all Threshold languages except Riverspeak.
Observations and suggestions:
- Riverspeak is the magic bullet. If it's your native language, learning anything else but Old Realm a breeze.
- This theory doesn't really cover Guild Cant or other pseudo-languages/ cyphers.
- I suggest that unusual dialects of a language increase its degree of separation by 1.
- Barbarian tribal languages should probably be glossed as dialects of the appropriate directional language.
- I'm tempted to make Low Realm a dialect of High Realm, or vice versa.
- Since this system places a lot of importance on your native language, it would be reasonable to introduce a "Bilingual" or "Polyglot" Merit -- or else give Old Realm an alternate prereq (possibly Lore or Occult), since it seems harsh to make people get Linguistics 4 just to talk to gods -- or to talk to anyone else, if Old Realm happens to be their native tongue.