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Kevin
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Mallet wrote:
The worldwide desire for peace in these troubled times can be a much greater motivator than war will ever be.

Since Duolingo added Esperanto in 2014, more then one million people have signed up to learn that Language.

The Wikipedia page has about a quarter of a million articles written in that language.

More information can be found on this BBC reportage that came out this year:

"The invented language that found a new life online".

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180110-the-invented-langua...


I think Esperanto has two possible paths to wider adoption. Neither of them are super-likely IMO, but they are likelier than forceful imposition by an evil Esperantist:

1 Adoption as part of an educational curriculum. There is evidence that students learn languages better if they learn Esperanto first:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperant...

I.e., if you have an A and B group, and A studies Esperanto for a year and then French for three years, whereas B studies French for all four years, then at the end of the four years, the students in group A will have greater proficiency with French than the students in group B.

The theory is that the simple structure and grammar of Esperanto primes the brain for language acquisition, and makes it easier to recognize grammatical elements of other languages.

2 Adoption by a trans-national body. There was a proposal at the formation of the League of Nations after WWI to adopt it so that no one nation would be advantaged in international communication; it was vetoed by the French delegate -- as French was, at the time, the language of diplomacy and international affairs, and France did not want to lose that privileged status.

There was a similar proposal at the formation of EU that was not successful either. Currently the EU spends an ungodly amount of Euros annually on translation services. Adopting a common language would cut this almost to zero. One estimate puts the projected cost savings at 25 billion Euros annually. A budget crunch could cause the EU to look more seriously at alternatives.
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Most of the humanoids and a few sentient creatures will pick up differing amounts of Common words and phrases. The farther away they are from the main traffic & commerce routes, the less likely they'll be able to completely understand what's being said. Simple concepts will be have a higher chance of being conveyed accurately but, as requests for information or instructions become more detailed, their verbal comprehension is going to drop off. Losing the thread of conversation could result in either a negative or comical outcome. The players may eventually have to resort to visual cues or a third party to translate.

[edit]And don't neglect the chance for the 'barbarians' to play dumb simply for their own amusement. i.e. the time I had the snot-nosed Paladin clucking like a chicken trying to explain what he wanted to eat[/edit]
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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It really depends on the focus of the game. I like how Call of Cthulhu (2nd - 6th Edition) has different languages, because having the correct one to read a book becomes important - or finding someone who can translate a specific text. It also draws out the horror of what the text says.

Other games work fine with having just one language, or having all the characters know what the others are saying. Sometimes you don't want that added barrier in a game.

Honestly, I don't really care one way or another. I've played characters who didn't speak a common language so that was a barrier the entire game (but it was fun with my Wookie), and I've also played characters who made a point to study as many languages as possible (Tindomiel, librarian and aspiring wizard).
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Roger
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having a common language gives ease of communication. Having multiple languages adds detail/exotic spice. (Boy Joe he is speaking Southern). However the gm can lock details behind the language wall. Which can lead to a pass/fail scene. Of fun with translations, (Yaw is tech language of pilots, Y'all (sounds like yaw) is southern for you).
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So Roger, are you going to start learning Esperanto?
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I'm sanguine about it. Even if a setting makes a big deal and has every species or race speak a different language, one still generally has the highly unrealistic situation of every member of that race speaking the same language. So, I'm happy to pitch realism entirely.

Recently, I've decided to try to put add some minor inconveniences to my games so that the players will make use of options intended to deal with minor inconveniences, and branch out a little. Having NPCs and monsters speak another language is one way to do this. I generally don't see much upside in hiding things from players; it's more work for me as GM, and more frustration (however minor and temporary) for the players (and therefore for me as well). I want the players to know what's going on, so they can spend their time doing meaningful things in the game.
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Mallet wrote:
aramis wrote:


In the years about 100 BCE to 400 CE, Latin was almost universal around the Mediterranean...Even the Saxon cultures usually has a few who spoke it... Along the borders, at least.

In the late 19th to present, English became the "international language"...



And, probably the most likely candidate for international and interstellar common language in the XXII and following Centuries would be Mandarin. arrrh


But, who knows, maybe Esperanto will eventually catch on ? Apparently, it is a language that is very easy to learn, both from the point of view of grammar and vocabulary.


The world's dominant language will stay English unless/until we enter a new dark age. The reason being that it is the most widely adopted language. Not just for diplomacy, but commerce, and education. It isn't just the wealthy, but the low and middle classes. Even if China manages to become the dominant power, it will stay English because the rest of the world is using English (including the Chinese).

Interesting fact about Esperanto is that a Japanese scientist prior to World War II discovered the jet streams and published a paper on it in Esperanto. He wanted it to be widely read. Needless to say, people did not read Esperanto and it was not read. This had an impact on events leading up to and during World War II.
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dysjunct wrote:
So Roger, are you going to start learning Esperanto?
whistle


Actually,

I have already started.

I have also joined Esperanto-USA, Esperanto-France, Esperanto-Canada, and Esperanto-Quebec.



Bonan vesperon !
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dysjunct wrote:
So Roger, are you going to start learning Esperanto?
whistle

No! EYE is going to take over the world. Yaw will have to learned Southerndevil
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Mallet wrote:
dysjunct wrote:
So Roger, are you going to start learning Esperanto?
whistle


Actually,

I have already started.

I have also joined Esperanto-USA, Esperanto-France, Esperanto-Canada, and Esperanto-Quebec.



Bonan vesperon !


Mirinde! Bonvolu demandi se vi havas demandojn.
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dysjunct wrote:


Mirinde! Bonvolu pregunti se vi havas demandojn.


Mi volas, dankon!
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The discussion lies in the details. What do you mean by "Common" language? Lots of responses assume we're talking about some type of universal language that can handle any topic in any depth. This is the type of Common envisioned in early D&D.

The first booklet in the original box set said: 'The “common tongue” spoken throughout the “continent” is known by most humans. All other creatures and monsters which can speak have their own language, although some (20%) also know the common one.'

In other words, you could call Common "Human" and be more precise. I've seen some folks argue that D&D's Common is based on Tolkien's Westron, though the idea of a Common tongue being spoken is hardly innovative.

If this is what we mean by Common, then it's been the (ahem) common experience throughout all of history - everybody, everywhere, speaks to their neighbors in the Common tongue. It does vary by geographic region, of course, but in the pseudo-medieval world almost nobody travels far enough to move out of their region's Common.

However, other responses assume we're talking about some type of trade language, or pidgin, with limited vocabulary - just enough to "get by" in the basics of dividing up treasure. This is a pervasive idea in gaming though not really borne out by the rules. Or by most play experience.

A few other responses assume Common is a sort of bridge language - a widely distributed language that lots of people speak (but not natively), like Greek or Latin or Esperanto. While this is a logical conclusion, it's not really what the rules seen to present.

A couple spurious but amusing observations -

RuneQuest (1st & 2nd Editions) - Glorantha - had a robust regional distribution of languages, logically presented as language groups, etc. In play, the groups I played with never made use of that except as occasional window dressing.

Barbar Rollespillet is an entire amusing game based around the concept of not knowing the language. Any language. Recommended.

F.A.T.A.L. presents 12 languages, though one of them is Ephesia Grammata, or the "magic" tongue used by spellcasters.

HYBRID presents only 2 languages. Characters can speak only HTML or science. Startlingly, fluency in science allows characters to control the very fabric of existence. If they know the right vocabulary (which most don't). HTML appears to be plain old, actual HTML. But spoken. As a native tongue.

Racial Holy War has (hugely humorously) only English. Yes, even the non-white, non-English, non-player characters have no choice but to speak good old Amerikkkan English. Surely a horrific design oversight that will be corrected in the next edition.
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brumcg wrote:
Time travel is not permitted in the QotD.


Gauntlet thrown down.
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RPGs as an exercise are largely performed by players communicating with each other and their GM. While it offers an occasional challenge to interrupt the free flow of information, it adds an annoying burden if constant. "You can't understand that guy" is fine in measure, but if no one can talk to anyone the game crawls.
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Peter Robben
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It completely "unrealistic" yet highly convenient, so we use it a lot.
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dragoner3 wrote:
Chinese...can be very complex.

It is interesting to note, however, that complexity does not equate to unusable (or usable). Based on internet search results...

Among the "ten most common" languages in the world, three are considered to be among the "most complex" or "most difficult" to learn (for non-native speakers): Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese.

Among the "ten most common" languages in the world, three are considered to be among the "least complex" or "easiest" to learn (for non-native speakers): Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi.

The remainder of the "ten most common" are English, Bengali, Russian, and Punjabi.

It seems there is no meaningful correlation between a language's global dominance and its perceived complexity. This probably is conflated with the difficulty of speaking/understanding and the difficulty of reading/writing in languages that do not use glyphs (letters/symbols) familiar to the non-native speaker - while Hindi is considered "easy to learn" probably it is not considered "easy to learn to write" - for non-natives.

Also of interest - among the "top 10", only two are on the decline - English and Russian; the other 8 are increasing in prevalence. If global trends have continued since ca. 2010, English already has been surpassed by Hindi and soon will drop below Arabic and Portuguese.
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And French will become in the mid-century one of the most frequently spoken languages in the world, mainly because of the African countries
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ctimmins wrote:


HYBRID presents only 2 languages. Characters can speak only HTML or science. Startlingly, fluency in science allows characters to control the very fabric of existence. If they know the right vocabulary (which most don't). HTML appears to be plain old, actual HTML. But spoken. As a native tongue.



Out of curiosity I have just spent some time on the internet reading about this.

As you say, it's more like a piece of Modern Art that someone like Marcel Duchamp would have created.



As we say in French : "C'est beau de loin, mais c'est loin d'être beau."

Roughly translated in English as:

"It's beautiful from afar, but it's far from beautiful."

EDIT: made the correction.
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Mallet wrote:
As you say, it's more like a piece of Modern Art that someone like Maurice Marcel Duchamp would have created.
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ctimmins wrote:


Barbar Rollespillet is an entire amusing game based around the concept of not knowing the language. Any language. Recommended.



Very amusing. Reminds me of what happens to the Poet in Dan Simmon's Hyperion.
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ctimmins wrote:
RuneQuest (1st & 2nd Editions) - Glorantha - had a robust regional distribution of languages, logically presented as language groups, etc. In play, the groups I played with never made use of that except as occasional window dressing.

It also includes Tradetalk, a quasi-magical pidgin language associated with Issaries, the god of merchants, which is widely known but only really usable for discussing matters of trade (prices, availability, etc.). In my games, this tended to turn into a more generally-usable Common tongue in order to simplify linguistic issues.
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Mallet wrote:
And French will become in the mid-century one of the most frequently spoken languages in the world, mainly because of the African countries

Per Wikipedia, French is spoken by about 1% of the world's population. It is quite wide-spread due to France's ruthless colonization and cultural colonization throughout Africa and parts of Southeast Asia during the 1800s (and North America during the 1700s). One of the countries that recently enjoyed rather ruthless cultural colonization under France is Vietnam, where in this one country currently more people speak Vietnamese than globally speak French.

As you comment, more people speak French in Africa than in France, though predominantly as a second language and in regional dialects. In any event, it's highly unlikely French will ever crack into the "top 10" - and fairly unlikely it will even remain in the "top 20" for more than a few more years. Like English, Russian, German, and Italian, it's on the decline.
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Pretty much all the major economical players of Europe were "ruthless colonizers" at one moment or the other of their history.

And the USA has been a "ruthless colonizer and neo-colonizer" since it gained it's independence from the British in the XVIII Century.
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The top five languages spoken in the world are:

1-Mandarin
2-English
3-Spanish
4-Arabic
5-French

And French is the 4th spoken language on the internet.

http://www.europe1.fr/societe/quelle-place-dans-le-monde-pou...

https://www.francophonie.org/lancement-rapport-langue-franca...

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Patrick Zoch
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Mallet wrote:

The top five languages spoken in the world are:

1-Mandarin
2-English
3-Spanish
4-Arabic
5-French

And French is the 4th spoken language on the internet.

http://www.europe1.fr/societe/quelle-place-dans-le-monde-pou...

https://www.francophonie.org/lancement-rapport-langue-franca...


I'm not sure those sources are unbiased. I would not be surprised that a French language website would list French high on the list. Other web sources clearly have different languages listed.
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