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Language Modifications?

bara magna bota magna language agori changes

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17 replies to this topic

#1 Offline fishers64

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Posted Oct 30 2013 - 07:50 PM

Over time, languages usually change. For example, in English, "thou" changed to "you", "nought" and "sought" fell out of use, and "shall" is mostly used in formal contexts these days, largely replaced by "will".
 
After 100,000 years of language isolation, shouldn't Bara and Bota Magna inhabitants have some marked language differences? Perhaps not enough to inhibit communication entirely, but enough that the characters would notice it?
 
Why didn't Gelu notice this in his conversation with Kabrua? 

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#2 Offline Torran

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Posted Oct 31 2013 - 12:21 AM

I'd argue that it was just for the sake of progressing the storyline. Otherwise we'd have to spend an arc having the characters learn new languages. Oh, but rather than circles or hexagons, maybe this one would be in triangles! :P
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#3 Offline northmarch

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Posted Oct 31 2013 - 12:53 AM

Or octagons :PBut here, a long time also means numerous generations. The Agori on Bota Magna would mostly be the same ones that were there before the shattering.
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#4 Offline NuvaTube

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Posted Oct 31 2013 - 05:08 AM

But here, a long time also means numerous generations. The Agori on Bota Magna would mostly be the same ones that were there before the shattering.

 

Jackpot!

 

I think the number of generations is really the key factor. New children won't learn things quite the same way as their parents, so generally there can be a notable linguistic difference between even two generations (lol). Seeing as Glatorian and Agori live so long, we can assume that not many children were born between the Shattering/Reformation; hence no really significant change in dialect.

 

Had there been several generations, I would agree with you fishers64.


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#5 Offline BioGio

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Posted Oct 31 2013 - 06:52 PM

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]Actually, it's not children who further linguistic evolution.  Evidence from modern languages across the world suggests that sound change (one of the major driving forces of linguistic evolution) is in fact driven by well-connected, social women from the upper working class.  Men, meanwhile, seem to pick up sound changes from their mothers.  (One might find it funny that fashion tends to evolve in much the same manner!)[/color][/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]Now, since BIONICLE lacks families for the most part, it is quite difficult to determine whether sound change and linguistic evolution would actually advance past the first stage of active middle-class women.  Perhaps the fact that Ga-Matoran were often schoolteachers could advance sound change on Metru Nui, but that doesn't explain how linguistic evolution could occur on Spherus Magna.[/color][/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]All of that said, I've actually proposed a few of my own ideas for sound change in the Bionicle Universe.  For instance, to explain the Mask of Gravity's name being "Garai" even though "Ba-" is the prefix for gravity, I posited that both "ga-" [ga] (as in "Garai") and "ba-" [ba] (as in "Ba-Matoran") come from an earlier form "gwa-" [gʷa] (giving early forms Gwarai [[/color][/font][color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:georgia, serif;]gʷarai[/color][color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:georgia, serif;]] and Gwa-Matoran [[/color][color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:georgia, serif;]gʷamatoran[/color][color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:georgia, serif;]]).  In most dialects, [gʷ] became [b], but in some dialects (perhaps Mahri Nui's), [gʷ] became [g].[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:georgia, serif;]By the way, fishers, a couple of your examples in the first post aren't quite correct.  I can't think of any dialect of English that does not retain "sought" as a preterite and past participle form of "seek."  Also, "thou" did not change to "you"; it was replaced by it.  Both "thou" and "you" were words in Early Modern English, but gradually "thou" fell out of favor, and "you" was used in its place.[/color]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]~ BioGio[/color][/font]


Edited by BioGio, Oct 31 2013 - 10:03 PM.

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dig


"You're a scientist? The proposal you make violates parsimony; it introduces extra unknowns without proof for them. One might as well say unicorns power it."


#6 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Oct 31 2013 - 09:27 PM

Agreed with the others (minus the gw thing, I don't know where you get that from, BG :P). It's also possible he did notice some differences but felt they were so easy to expect (most likely due to Kabrua being a Vorox, not so much a Bota Magnan) that they weren't worth mentioning out loud, or thinking about much, enough to be mentioned in the narration or whatever.

 

As you know, in my fanfics I love to play with languages, but Greg doesn't seem to enjoy that kind of stuff. I love Treespeak; he is annoyed by it. (Although even for me it's tricky to always remember to make sure the Le folks use it, or mention in the narration that they are choosing not to intentionally.) It's much easier to write a story if you assume everybody speaks "plain common speech" (translated into plain English) and make the story about what is said, why it's said, etc. rather than how it's said. So I think Greg intentionally tried to avoid putting such subtle differences in languages in, because then you have to always remember to keep those characters talking that way, and that gets complicated, adding to what is already a very complicated story.


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#7 Offline BioGio

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Posted Oct 31 2013 - 09:59 PM

(minus the gw thing, I don't know where you get that from, BG :P).

 [font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]You actually want to know?[/color][/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]There was a similar "Why don't Bionicle languages change?" thread a while back, and people were complaining about how the disparate roots in "Ba-Matoran" and "Garai" both seem to mean "gravity."  A few people said that maybe "Barai" should have been the word for the Mask of Gravity.  So, I suggested that it could have been in one dialect, while "Garai" could have been the word in another.  Naturally, there needs to be an explanation for such a strange hypothesis, so I suggested that maybe both came from an older root, a [/color][color=#000000;]labialized[/color][color=#000000;] [/color][color=#000000;]voiced velar stop[/color][color=#000000;].  [/color][color=#000000;]Now, real-world linguists generally agree that in the Celtic language family[/color][color=#000000;], one group of languages turned a labialized [/color][color=#000000;]voiceless velar stop[/color][color=#000000;] into a [/color][color=#000000;]voiceless bilabial stop[/color][color=#000000;], and another group of languages turned the same labialized voiceless velar stop into a voiceless velar stop. In shorter notation,[kʷ] > [p] (P-Celtic)[/color][/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;][kʷ] > [k] (Q-Celtic)[/color][/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]My proposed sound change was,[/color][/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;][gʷ] > [b] (Standard Matoran)[/color][/font]

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;][gʷ] > [g] (Mahri Nui Dialect)[/color][/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]Since [g] and [b] are just the [/color][color=#000000;]voiced[/color][color=#000000;] counterparts of [k] and [p], this is plenty reasonable from a linguistic standpoint.[/color][/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]So, I get that from comparative linguistics and a thread full of people complaining about supposed inconsistencies.[/color][/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]I think that one Danish member, darthme, was also in the thread; it was actually really productive, especially since he also knows a bit about linguistics.  We're both amateurs, though, haha.  (You and fishers were also probably there, too, now that I think about it.)[/color][/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]~ BioGio[/color][/font]

 

[font="georgia, serif;"][color=#000000;]EDIT:  Good news, the thread was not lost after all![/color][/font]


Edited by BioGio, Oct 31 2013 - 10:14 PM.

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dig


"You're a scientist? The proposal you make violates parsimony; it introduces extra unknowns without proof for them. One might as well say unicorns power it."


#8 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Nov 01 2013 - 02:13 AM

Oh yeah, I always love to hear such theories. (Sorry if it's too off-topic for fishers, though. :P) And yes, that makes sense. I seem to vaguely recall it, and that my alternative (or maybe I said this to someone else, don't have time to reread it now :P) is that Ba and Gar seem likely to be different words, since the Garai has a much more limited power than general elemental gravity control (it's kind of "weight control").

 

I must say, though, that even though it has happened, essentially, it's quite a change to go from g to b, so I would still consider it unlikely (g is the furthest back possible, along with k, and b/p are the furthest forward, so they're basically opposites). I understand you're saying it's the w more than that, but there's no direct story evidence for it. Still, that's very reasonable for a linguistic theory, so yeah.

 

I would add that there's been a general shift in consonants historically from back to forward, as back is simply harder, and accents tend to move things forward out of basically laziness (not that it's wrong though). So if it started G and moved to B, that would work, but Garai is more recent while Ba would be established by the GBs, so not really sure this works. That kind of implies it started forward and moved back. But the W thing throws this reasoning off so I dunno. I'm too tired to think it through properly, make of it what you will. :lol:


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#9 Offline fishers64

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Posted Nov 01 2013 - 03:20 PM

I'm not the forum leader. :P I'm just throwing this topic out there for fun and to try to get this forum back to where it was, so wherever you all want to take it is fine by me. :)

 

Although, considering that there are not-so-many generations in the MU, I would say that that is not a good explanation for lack of language change on SM. There was actual language change in there, hence why the Kanohi Rau. (Although the MU did have people getting killed off, but still.) In order for that theory to be true, there would have to be an explanation for the difference, and you all seem to be working on it, in the middle of linguistic theories of (g)s and (b)s that just went over my head.


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#10 Offline TheSkeletonMan939

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Posted Nov 05 2013 - 09:07 AM

Yep, words take on different meanings all the time. I can take the Latin word for 'two-wheeled carriage' and translate it as 'Ferrari'. Same basic meaning, but different in the details. No doubt new words have been created and old ones have taken on new meaning based on location.

 

And BioGio, I can't see how a Matoran could change accent. It's programming language. The written language changed (we saw a little of that with Voya Nui) but, aside from coming up with new phrases or shortening others ('hello' to 'hey' or 'all right' to 'alright') there can't be a change in the basic structure of the language.


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#11 Offline Exitium

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Posted Nov 09 2013 - 04:59 PM

To answer fishers's original question, I would imagine that there should have been some linguistic drift between the two societies due to isolation,  That drift was probably reduced by the small number of generations, but languages can still change dramatically over the course of a single generation.  As an example, in text-speak "lol" originally indicated laughter (as little as 5 or so years ago), but now it generally signals irony while its original usage has replaced by "haha" or something similar.  So I would imagine that Gelu and Kabrua should have actually had a rather difficult time communicating, but I think most of us are willing to overlook that lapse in favor of advancing the plot.  (What I'm far more curious about is how the inhabitants of the MU were able to communicate with the inhabitants of Spherus Magna, seeing as they speak completely different languages).

 

Regarding the Ba-/Ga- split, I find both BioGio's and bonesiii's theories equally possible.  Although Matoran is supposed to be a programming language, which would seem to discredit the linguistic theories, we know that linguistic drift definitely occurred in the MU since "zya" and "Valmai" are said to be archaic words, while we also observe Magaia > Mangai.  On the other hand, its also possible that Ba- and Garari have completely separate roots (as bonesiii suggests) with different nuances that could have been retained over time or their meanings could have merged.  Unfortunately we're not going to get direct story evidence in favor of one or the other, leaving both in the realm of merely possible.

 

It's quite likely that different accents developed since the Le-Matoran had chutespeak and different populations were probably isolated from each other inside the MU.  TheSkeletonMan's observation about the changes in written language (circles in Metru Nui, hexagons on the Southern Continent, triangles on Xia) is actually evidence in favor of the possibility of changes in the language, since if the written language changed, the spoken one could have as well.


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#12 Offline NuvaTube

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Posted Nov 10 2013 - 06:05 AM

  (What I'm far more curious about is how the inhabitants of the MU were able to communicate with the inhabitants of Spherus Magna, seeing as they speak completely different languages).

 

 

As I understand it Mata Nui basically fixed that plot hole with the Ignika. So know Spherus Magnans and Matoran speakers can talk, though I'm not sure which group Mata Nui made to learn which language :/


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#13 Offline Chro

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Posted Nov 10 2013 - 09:54 AM

As I understand it Mata Nui basically fixed that plot hole with the Ignika. So know Spherus Magnans and Matoran speakers can talk, though I'm not sure which group Mata Nui made to learn which language :/

I think it was probably a Babel Fish scenario. You speak your own language, and hear your own language regardless of what the other person is actually speaking.


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#14 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Nov 11 2013 - 04:21 AM

Mata Nui downloaded the language of Agori to the MU beings (not the other way around, though over time now MU beings could use that knowledge to fairly easily teach SM beings Matoran and such). Mentioned here:

 

http://biosector01.c...atoran_Universe


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#15 Offline fishers64

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Posted Nov 11 2013 - 03:47 PM

(circles in Metru Nui, hexagons on the Southern Continent, triangles on Xia)

Triangles on Xia? Where was that seen in story?


Edited by fishers64, Nov 11 2013 - 03:48 PM.

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#16 Offline Exitium

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Posted Nov 11 2013 - 04:11 PM

I could be remembering this incorrectly, but I'm pretty sure I saw a reference to triangles being used somewhere on BS01.  I just looked for it, but I couldn't find it.  It never appeared in story per se, so I'm guessing it came from a Greg comment (assuming it's not just a figment of my imagination).


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#17 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Nov 11 2013 - 04:32 PM

Xian triangles was from the S&T weapons contest; Wrinkledlion's entry image used them, and I asked him to get Greg's permission for it. He did, but later Greg decanonized the story-based aspects of the weapon entries, leaving only the functionality (which was the intent of the contest). I'm not actually 100% sure the triangles thing was included in that decanonization, but certainly nothing wrong with headcanoning it if you like it. That pic is here:

 

http://biosector01.c...ile:Labeled.jpg


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#18 Offline fishers64

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Posted Nov 11 2013 - 04:48 PM

Well, what the letters say isn't cannon, but the style of the letters isn't mentioned where I can find it. :shrugs:

 

Hi there Greg. Over on BS01, there’s been some debate over the canonization of the Toa Mangai Nihu and Motara. You gave your approval to the Nihu-Motara Energy Siphon Blade in a PM, and it recently won the Art: Handrawn category. In the description, it refered to a Toa Mangai of Water, Nihu, and a Toa Mangai of Stone, Motara. Now that it has won, are they officially canon? I wouldn’t ask, but it needs to be in the OGD for everybody to accept it.Thank you for your time. :)

No, they’re not. I told Electric Turahk when he PM’d me that I can approve the entry, but not the names. I don’t want to be constantly reusing 2001 location names, and two, if they named every geographic feature after a Mangai, why is nothing named Lhikan? Makes no sense.

 

I think I might have the contest topic in my files somewhere for some unknown reason. I'll look, but I doubt I'll find The Answer. :P

 

Edit: Found it. No luck.


Edited by fishers64, Nov 11 2013 - 05:02 PM.

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