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humans speaking sperethial

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« on: (20:09:58/01-05-11) »
we have been havin a rather heated discussion within my shadowrun group revolving around humans speaking sperethial. Some of the team believe that humans are not to far off elves. Im leaving it up to you lot, what do you all think?

Fizzygoo

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« Reply #1 on: (20:33:02/01-05-11) »
I'm not sure what you mean by "not to far off elves." If you mean, can humans (or other metahumans) learn Sperethial...yes. It may be difficult finding a teacher, or the linguasoft might be expensive or hard to come by, depending on how xenophobic you want the elves in your campaign to be. But regardless any metahuman can learn the language. You could rule that elven larynx's, tongues, etc. are better able to pronounce certain phonemes which would give all other metahumans a specific "non-elvish" accent that would be impossible to mask (without augmentation or magic of some kind). But even if you take that to an extreme then non-elves could learn Sperethial, but not speak it (to use an example, take Chewbacca speaking Wookie and humans able to understand it [Han] while Chewbacca understands human languages but can't vocalize them). But that's an extreme that I don't agree with. Sperethial is a metahuman language, all metahumans are able to learn it and speak it to some ability, is my my ruling as a GM (unless there's some RAW that I'm not aware of).
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« Reply #2 on: (20:44:14/01-05-11) »
that sounds like a good explantion i just want to know what other players and gm's think. XxswitchxX

Nomad Zophiel

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« Reply #3 on: (20:53:04/01-05-11) »
Its certainly no stranger than an elf who speaks Or'zet. Both languages are media friendly because both of their native races fill certain stereotypes in popular entertainment. In terms of difficulty, its probably no more difficult to learn than a native English speaker learning Mandarin or Japanese. Once upon a time (first edition, second?) it was said to be similar to no other language on earth except Basque.

It may be rarer than most languages both in terms of use and finding a teacher. Sperethiel is largely a language without a nation. Elves learn it out of a pride in their heritage but most elves that you will run into in Seattle, Hong Kong etc are native speakers of their local language. Unlike Latin, Greek or Hebrew there are no major religious writings in Sperethiel that might encourage students to learn so they can study the original texts. Remember that the very first elves of the Sixth Age are 61 years old, not even middle age for an elf. So even if the few Immortal Elves "seeded" the language among the new crop, they haven't had more than a couple of generations of speakers to spread it. On the other hand, I don't think its a secret, per se. Its just that few non-Elves are motivated to learn it.

FastJack

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« Reply #4 on: (21:10:06/01-05-11) »
Too true. Sperethiel may be the elven language, but it can be learned by anyone. Elves may have less of an accent when speaking it, but there's nothing that restricts the rest of metahumanity from learning it except rascist elves trying to prevent them.

Critias

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« Reply #5 on: (22:02:31/01-05-11) »
There's never been anything in the fluff to support the idea that humans can't speak/understand Sperethiel.  It's just a language, bought like any other language.  If a GM wants to limit it to only elves (to make it more elfy), I suppose he could do so by making it hard for non-elven speakers to find a tutor or something...but, especially given the relative openness of the Tir in recent years (for instance), a linguasoft should still do the job just fine.

The closest they've ever come to any sort of ruling (or notion) like that was with Or'zet, the orkish language (similar to Sperethiel in that it was an ED holdover) -- but even then, there was no issue with humans being able to understand it (if they bought the language skill like normal), only that pronunciation was sloppy because certain Or'zet sounds required tusks and that sort of thing to say right. 

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« Reply #6 on: (03:39:51/01-06-11) »
Trolls and Orks might have some Trouble, but thats mainly because of their Teeth/Jaws
Just like Elves or Human might have Trouble speaking Or'zet properly

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Nomad Zophiel

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« Reply #7 on: (04:37:31/01-06-11) »
(similar to Sperethiel in that it was an ED holdover)

Just for the record, Sperethiel went from SR to Earthdawn. Or'zet went from ED to a later edition of Shadowrun. Sperethiel has always been around in the SR core book.

raggedhalo

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« Reply #8 on: (05:03:50/01-06-11) »
Sperethiel's just a language, same as any other.  Why wouldn't humans be able to learn/speak it?
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Frostriese

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« Reply #9 on: (05:39:34/01-06-11) »
I would go even farther than Fizzygoo. There is nothing to indicate Elven articulation organs are any different to the ones humans have. I think we have at least not read anything of that kind in any metahuman description text so far whatsoever. Therefore, it should be exactly as easy or difficult to speak for a Human than it is for an Elf. Or'zet has that problem - it is a language for speakers having tusks. But Sperethiel does not. As such there should not even be a "non-elven accent". At most there should be a non-native accent, but those would also apply to Elves who learn Sperethiel as foreign language, or in adult life. As for Orcs and Trolls, well, they seem to do just fine speaking normal human languages so even with different jaws and with tusks etc. they should also do just fine speaking Sperethiel.

The only problem should really be to find a tutor or a linguasoft, as has been said. This is really 100% a cultural, not a racial issue. And even that should not be too difficult. It is the official-ceremonial language of Tir Tairngire after all - even though most of its inhabitants cannot speak it, so there must be linguasofts for it. And if it can be slotted into an Elven brain, it can also be slotted into a Human/Dwarven/Orcish/Trollish brain. And there are enough exiles from the Tir, especially in Seattle, that Sperethiel knowledge circulation outside the Tir should be warranted, and that one could find a mentor. Probably does not even need to be a Tir native. Hell, any player character speaking the language can try to teach it to other player characters! It is not really exactly a top secret language...


raben-aas

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« Reply #10 on: (05:56:50/01-06-11) »
What was the canonical explanation for new languages turning up just because humans went mutant, again?
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Nomad Zophiel

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« Reply #11 on: (06:06:57/01-06-11) »
For Sperethiel, at least in the old days, it was claimed to be an ancient language rediscovered but was mostly just of mysterious origin. The similarity to Basque did imply that it was a naturally developed language rather than something like Klingon where someone just sat down and made it up.

Or'zet claims to be from an ancient book with pages made of metal but a lot of people think it was a constructed language (they're wrong).

Notice that the assumption that elves have an ancient high tongue and that orks don't says more about the perception of elves and orks in society than it does the actual languages.

Frostriese

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« Reply #12 on: (06:11:38/01-06-11) »
What was the canonical explanation for new languages turning up just because humans went mutant, again?

Well, humans did not just go mutant. Elves and Orcs have been around before after all, back in the 4th World. Sperethiel and Or'zet are 4th World languages, even if that is just hinted at in-universe. Sperethiel was carried over due to the Immortal Elves who were around all the time even in the 5th World, while Or'zet was basically carried over by Dunkelzahn - and dragons after all also always had been around, hibernating in the 5th World.

In-universe I think the majority of people actually think both Sperethiel and Or'zet are constructed, and that they only serve some silly reasons of identity creation. But as Nomad has said, they're wrong.

Lansdren

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« Reply #13 on: (06:33:32/01-06-11) »
Some humans might even be required to speak sperethial from a business perspective the same way as some westeners are expected to be able to speak Japanese or Chinese when dealing with natives as a matter of respect.

You could have some fun with it though and have a older orc in a nice suit speaking fluent sperethial when ordering his elven wine then dropping into a more gutteral Or'zet when speaking to his minons.
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Frostriese

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« Reply #14 on: (06:38:55/01-06-11) »
Some humans might even be required to speak sperethial from a business perspective the same way as some westeners are expected to be able to speak Japanese or Chinese when dealing with natives as a matter of respect.
Now that I don't think. Thing is, the Japanese in Shadowrun are all for Japanese cultural imperialism, so yes, they want people to speak Japanese. The Tir Tairngire Elves, though, or other Elves who follow TT culture, see Sperethiel in a more elitarist way - it is an Elven language, exclusively for Elves. So they might even get offended if a non-Elf speaks it. Even in pre-revolution Tir Tairngire the non-Elven princes had simultanous translators for Sperethiel, and were exempt from the rule that the council language is Sperethiel.

That is also why "originally" it was so difficult for a non-Elf to get a Sperethiel mentor - those Elves who bothered learning the language would be those actually believing the elitarist drek, and thus would not teach it to non-Elves. However, in 2072 the language should have enough circulation that this is no longer a problem.