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How Is Matoran Spoken?

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I just had an odd thought. You know how Matoran was technically meant to be a programming language for robots? And how before Mata Nui, the MU beings couldn't understand SM and BM beings? Is it perhaps because they "speak" Matoran in a different manner than we have been assuming this whole time?

 

In the storyline, Matoran was always written in English (or whatever language you received it in) so we humans could understand it. But could it be possible that various sounds from the English language have more mechanical counterparts, like clicks for "K," "C," and "X," hums for "M," and "N," and whirs for "R?" The vowels, having such a huge part of the Bionicle language, also should have some unique sound. Perhaps the structure of the symbols also have something to do with their pronunciation, like two dots could be a beep (B and W), "X" shapes could have airier sounds. (V, W, X), slashes could be sizzling sounds (S and Z), etc. Basically, how I'm picturing it, this language may sound something like a bird caught in your computer's cooling fan. :P

 

So, what do you think? Plausible at all? Completely ridiculous?

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Doesn't it sound like the robot sounds in MNOG? :P

 

Also, not sure how birds caught in computer cooling fans having anything to do with it, as wouldn't that produce screams/squawks from the bird from mortal pain and loud slamming noises involving...Let's just say I had a computer with a broken fan once. Not pretty. Something between a rocket taking off and clunking.

 

I have to agree that Matoran probably doesn't sound like English, though. On that grounds, the theory is possible.

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There's no need to go to such lengths; it's comparable to a speaker of modern English meeting a Celt (or Anglo-Saxon... or whatever the proper titles would be :P). Matoran is based on Agori but it isn't Agori.

 

We need to remember that Bionicle was fiction designed for humans, and there's no reason we have to see it as just a chosen-at-random thus "likely" collection of ways things are. It's perfectly plausible, given an infinite variety of alternate existences, that one of them would have all these things that are similar to real life (green plants, humanlike voices, etc.) all in one place. Just think of it as humans choosing to peer into this alternate reality precisely because we relate to it better than a totally alien one (as I mentioned in another post in S&T recently).

 

So, given that the canon portrays the voices as normal, and the letters even as "coincidentally" matching the (rather bizarre) set of English letters, it's best to presume that this is accurate.

 

That said, alternate Bionicle interpretations, "headcanon" etc. are free to imagine something more alien too. But it's clearly not the case in the canon, IMO.

Edited by bonesiii
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Actually, IIRC (and I have a pretty good memory for these things), Greg said at least once or twice that he pictured Matoran as being spoken like the clicking noises in the Bohrok animations.

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Considering Vahki "speech" is just the Matoran language sped up to a point that Matoran themselves don't understand it, and the Vahki are probably the most robotic things in the Matoran Universe (even moreso than the Bohrok), I think it's very plausible.

 

In fact, now I can't help imagining how strange the WAY the Matoran speak must sound to a Bara Magnan with actual vocal cords and ears an' whatnot, even if they apparently do speak the same tongue.


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If we go by the typical notion of robots in fiction, they likely speak a language very close to their creator's, but with slightly more stilted grammar due to stripping away unnecessary words (at least at first, before they developed into "true" living beings). I think I mentioned the Geth from Mass Effect last year sometime in a similar topic, as they have notable similarities to Matoran. They are artificial servants of sorts with a half-robot half synth-flesh makeup, and they speak "English" with a different way of thinking than us. When they speak to each other, they sound like clicking and thumping noises, due to the incredibly fast transfer rates.

 

Geth also designate every member of the Quarian species as "Creator [Name]", for example, because the Quarians created the Geth and their programming originally only distinguished between individual people as a way of modeling data. Would make sense for Matoran not to have given names at first, since they refer to many other things directly by title. "Kanohi Pakari" literally means "mask of strength", as far as I remember, meaning that unlike our way of using Pakari as a given name, Matoran use "Pakari" as a direct descriptor. This already implies a lack of connecting words, such as "of".

Edited by Katuko

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Actually, IIRC (and I have a pretty good memory for these things), Greg said at least once or twice that he pictured Matoran as being spoken like the clicking noises in the Bohrok animations.

Interesting. I have no memory of such a thing -- seeing a quote would be nice, but main question is, what clicking noises? Could you give a specific example?

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Actually, IIRC (and I have a pretty good memory for these things), Greg said at least once or twice that he pictured Matoran as being spoken like the clicking noises in the Bohrok animations.

 

I'd love to see a quote for this, because I really like the idea. I've always thought the idea of Toa and Matoran talking was a little weird, visually speaking.

 

Though we do know that Matoran are capable of "chattering and shrieking," according to 2001 media. So we can't really say, I guess.

Edited by Wrinkledlion X

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I have a feeling that, for people able to create AI's that can develop from the whatever partial sentience level is needed for general maintenance to full-on sapience, it wouldn't be that difficult for the GB's to give the MU inhabitants the ability to speak like the Agori. Note, the GB's spoke this "programming language" and gave things names in it (Mata Nui, for instance). In that sense, it seems like it isn't like programming languages we use (Java, C++, etc.), but rather more like spoken languages. The "programming" part of "programming language of the MU" I would think more refers to it being the language in which the source code was crafted (instead of using the Agori words and sybols to write "/getSource" or something like that, they used this other language and it's symbols). I could be wrong, there, but either way I don't see why it would be so very alien.

 

It seems to be a popular idea to say that "it's going to be different, it's a whole other universe," but that's discarding the fact that the ideas thus far have been heavily drawn from -this- universe and particularly from cultures with languages we are highly familiar with. As cool as Bionicle being super-different sounds, we can't forget that it is grounded in the Real World experience too. =/

Edited by Zox
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I have a feeling that, for people able to create AI's that can develop from the whatever partial sentience level is needed for general maintenance to full-on sapience, it wouldn't be that difficult for the GB's to give the MU inhabitants the ability to speak like the Agori. Note, the GB's spoke this "programming language" and gave things names in it (Mata Nui, for instance). In that sense, it seems like it isn't like programming languages we use (Java, C++, etc.), but rather more like spoken languages. The "programming" part of "programming language of the MU" I would think more refers to it being the language in which the source code was crafted (instead of using the Agori words and sybols to write "/getSource" or something like that, they used this other language and it's symbols). I could be wrong, there, but either way I don't see why it would be so very alien.

 

It seems to be a popular idea to say that "it's going to be different, it's a whole other universe," but that's discarding the fact that the ideas thus far have been heavily drawn from -this- universe and particularly from cultures with languages we are highly familiar with. As cool as Bionicle being super-different sounds, we can't forget that it is grounded in the Real World experience too. =/

I don't think that Matoran's having an AI means they literally would have to speak in programming speak. They could be programmed to invent their own languages, like we are in a way. I like the chattering and squeaking quotes, but them speaking English also works for me.

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If anything, we know that it's probably not clicks and whistles, since Nuju and Matoro were basically the only ones who spoke that language and that would just seem odd if that's the way everyone was speaking the whole time. The books and films always left me with the impression that they used a regular spoken language vocalized through voiceboxes or just a regular vocal organ, since they did rely on lungs so I figured they'd probably use the motion of air in their speech too.

In a world of biomechanical beings, I would think that all those mechanical noises from the servos and hydraulics and gears and such coming nonstop from every motion of every living being and every factory and Vahki and whatnot would sound too close to a language of clicks and hums. Imagine if our computers and limbs all whispered English words whenever they were operating or moving? That's how I imagine it would feel to them. "Did you just ask for the time?" "No, that was my elbow and that fellow's shoulder, sorry"

Edited by The Darkest Hunter
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If you wacth the 2005 animations of the Toa Hordika searching for the MoL and the 2010 stop motion video where Tahu and Takanuva arrive on Bara Magna you can hear the characters speaking in Matoran language.

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The Search for The Mask of Light animations are canon, but the Bionicle Battle Videos are semi-canon.

 

That being said, I'm not sure the makers of those animations had the intention of definitively saying what Matoran language sounds like, when they were creating them.

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Perhaps, as we've seen from Matoran words lacking connecting words like "of" and things like that, the way they speak is like the new 'language' from 1984, where you speak without thinking, using only the bare minimum of words, just what's needed? Over time, it developed into a much more complicated and complete language?

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If you wacth the 2005 animations of the Toa Hordika searching for the MoL and the 2010 stop motion video where Tahu and Takanuva arrive on Bara Magna you can hear the characters speaking in Matoran language.

Aren't both of those non-canon?

 

Yes they are canon, I recall GregF talking about this long ago but maybe I got confused and what he really said was probably that those videos contain the closest we have got to hearing actual Matoran language.

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That being said, I'm not sure the makers of those animations had the intention of definitively saying what Matoran language sounds like, when they were creating them.

BIONICLE: The Game did something like this as well, but with different sound bits. Vakama speaks English during the intro, but once the first level starts he (and everyone else, for that matter) is reduced to saying things like "hooo" and "haah!". :P Speaking "Simlish" is very common in games and animations that don't have full voice acting. The creators just stick in some noises meant to convey the general tone of voice, and that's it. Some series - like Half-Life and The Legend of Zelda - throw in a few jokes about it (such as Midna asking Link if he's been rendered speechless, when we never get any dialogue from him anyways), but in general a character saying "mumble-mumble" is not an indicator that that is meant to be their real language. If that was the case Midna herself would be saying gibberish despite her English text. Unlike fictional languages that get translated directly to English with no words seen, we've got actual words from Matoran speech, which I'd assume not to be pronounced "click-whistle-pop" if it's written "Mahri". ;)

 

 

Perhaps, as we've seen from Matoran words lacking connecting words like "of" and things like that, the way they speak is like the new 'language' from 1984, where you speak without thinking, using only the bare minimum of words, just what's needed? Over time, it developed into a much more complicated and complete language?

I agree, this is the impression I have gotten as well.
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If you wacth the 2005 animations of the Toa Hordika searching for the MoL and the 2010 stop motion video where Tahu and Takanuva arrive on Bara Magna you can hear the characters speaking in Matoran language.

No, you can hear sounds being played that aren't intelligible as English. Don't assume that that "is Matoran." LEGO had done games with gibberish sound effects during captioned speech before. At the time that's how it was taken -- simply a way of telling the viewer "we didn't have budget for real voice acting, but we want you to understand that they're talking. If you want to know what they're saying you'll have to read."

 

And given that those things are done due to low budget, it's highly unlikely they would take the time to build a fictional language for it anyways or if they did, that they wouldn't have made public a guide to it somewhere. Pretty sure most of it is just the same sound effect looping over and over again, but it might be randomly generated or the like, unsure. In fact, that kind of indistinct gibberish generally means the exact opposite of "this is meant to be their actual language." I believe the intent was "they speak a fictional language but we don't want to imply that it sounds like this, so we make it really quiet, rushed, slurred, and indistinguishable so nobody will LOST-super-fan out on us and try to pick apart every sound on the audio file."

 

(I'm referring mainly to the 2005 Hordika animations here. I don't consciously recall what the 2010 animation sounded like but I'll take your word for it. But does it sound identical to the 2005 one? If not, myth would have to be busted anyways, right?)

 

*has sudden urge to re-watch the 2005 animations*

 

*lacks urge to re-watch 2010 animation even though he realizes he probably should*

 

(It's the music... :P)

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No, you can hear sounds being played that aren't intelligible as English. Don't assume that that "is Matoran." LEGO had done games with gibberish sound effects during captioned speech before. At the time that's how it was taken -- simply a way of telling the viewer "we didn't have budget for real voice acting, but we want you to understand that they're talking. If you want to know what they're saying you'll have to read."

I'm looking at you, LEGO Racers 2. "Crummy crummy soda."

No one seems to have mentioned the Summer 2007 animations. Those used spoken English, albeit with voices that sounded like they were being spoken over intercoms (which was probably the intention, given that they took place underwater.)


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I'm looking at you, LEGO Racers 2. "Crummy crummy soda."

No one seems to have mentioned the Summer 2007 animations. Those used spoken English, albeit with voices that sounded like they were being spoken over intercoms (which was probably the intention, given that they took place underwater.)

I recently watched those videos and it just sounded like the same dude was voicing everybody with an overlaid a staticy radio com effect, not to mention that much of that dialogue was a bit silly, and that it was a commercial and all. I don't think that should really be considered anything close to canon :P

Edited by Pomegranate

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(I'm referring mainly to the 2005 Hordika animations here. I don't consciously recall what the 2010 animation sounded like but I'll take your word for it. But does it sound identical to the 2005 one? If not, myth would have to be busted anyways, right?)

Tahu or Takanuva make some kind of mad Wookie sound. No, really, it sounds like an angry Wookie. Nothing like the 2005 animations to my ear.

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Perhaps, as we've seen from Matoran words lacking connecting words like "of" and things like that, the way they speak is like the new 'language' from 1984, where you speak without thinking, using only the bare minimum of words, just what's needed? Over time, it developed into a much more complicated and complete language?

Are you talking about the Orwell book 1984? I've always wanted to read it but never had, please can you elaborate on what the "new launguage" is?

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Perhaps, as we've seen from Matoran words lacking connecting words like "of" and things like that, the way they speak is like the new 'language' from 1984, where you speak without thinking, using only the bare minimum of words, just what's needed? Over time, it developed into a much more complicated and complete language?

Are you talking about the Orwell book 1984? I've always wanted to read it but never had, please can you elaborate on what the "new launguage" is?

 

It's called "doublespeak", and the point of it is to basically slowly remove more and more vocabulary from it until it is impossible for the citizens who speak it to even form the idea of rebellion or discontent into words, pretty much ensuring that the government can do anything and the people wouldn't even be able to communicate that something is not to their liking even if they wanted to, if they could even understand it anymore. All words are watered down to their most basic ideas, and all forms of exaggeration are removed and everything is instead replaced with words that just mean "very" that act like prefixes more or less. For example, instead of "amazing" and "extraordinary", people would use "plusgood" and "doubleplusgood". Also words or phrases that mean one thing would be replaced by other words that may or may not mean the same thing, but sounded better or were shorter, and instead of complete sentences as we know them it sounds more like stringing together a couple words that forma complete idea together. In the world of the book, a new dictionary would be released every year or so, with each edition containing less and less words, so connecting words like "of" for example would get thrown out and the language would be simplified more and more. What Phovos is saying, I believe, is that he thinks maybe the Matoran language started out like Doublespeak, as it would be a very efficient "programming language" and then evolved from there to become more complicated and versatile as the Matoran culture did.

Edited by Pomegranate

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Perhaps, as we've seen from Matoran words lacking connecting words like "of" and things like that, the way they speak is like the new 'language' from 1984, where you speak without thinking, using only the bare minimum of words, just what's needed? Over time, it developed into a much more complicated and complete language?

Are you talking about the Orwell book 1984? I've always wanted to read it but never had, please can you elaborate on what the "new launguage" is?

 

Yeah, I read 1984 and never heard of this...[Edit: Reads post above, has "Oh yeah that." moment.]

 

Anyway, I checked it: Hordika Animations, 2010 Battle Videos. My unerudite ears tell me that they are nothing alike. The 2010 sounds don't seem to imply speech as much as robot-operation noises, whereas the 2005 one obviously does.

 

Also that music. 2005: +400 mega-bonus points for awesome (even though this version doesn't have as much of the creepy-cool opening theme), 2010: -700 mega-bonus points for reusing already-lame TLR score.

Edited by fishers64
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I don't know about their words and ordinary speech, but I have always assumed they still scream, yell, laugh and cry in similar ways as humans. But if they don't, how would it sound?


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