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[CLOSED] A Common DIalogue About Sol Common Not Being In Common With Common [Common Poll]

Guest Marlon Phoenix

<t>What Should Be Done With Common?</t>  

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

Discussions concerning the Sol Common rework found in: https://forums.aurorastation.org/viewtopic.php?f=78&t=7514 came to a stalemate, so a general opinion poll on the matter is being presented. The general options are listed below, and feel free to PM me or Muncorn if you have questions, or provide feedback/responses below.


[it] would be reasonable to deduce that a singular standard language across the Sol Alliance would be difficult to form, especially in it's earlier years, so what would happen? I reckoned that three major dialects would pop up over the first few hundred years of outer-planetary colonisation, each with their own unique cultural and linguistic differences and roots, so lets discuss them. Also, the names are placeholders for now, I'll come up with some fancy name unless people agree they're good names for the languages. Also, anybody that asks me to properly timeline this, fuck you. Unless there's a glaring problem I'll leave it slightly vague, I'll timeline it when I add it to the forums in the hopeful event of this passing.


Common into distinct languages would not be ideal. We already have four existing human languages - Basic, Common, Freespeak, and Tradeband.

Each languages has a narrative purpose that we need to consider.

The unathi have two languages, one is the language of the empire and the second is spoken by those who never fell under the sway of the empire.

The Skrell have worked for centuries to strain out non-conforming cultures to establish a single mono-culture and enforced ONE language for ONE federation.

The Tajara were divided by ethnicity and class for centuries, creating two distinct language groups.

Humanity now has four disctinct major language groups (Common also can't be spoken by non-humans) - that is more than any alien race we have.

The human languages identify the culture of the speaker and have clear stereotypes.

A person speaking Tradeband is associated with upper class snobbery.

Freespeak is the language of gunslinging martians and frontiersmen.

Basic is the Esperanto of an optimistic, inclusive Tau Ceti.

Common is the result of the Alliance being a cultural Juggernaut and attempting to culturally assimilate its many colonies and star systems.

Speaking Common identifies you as an Alliance character and gives you a subtle, immediate characteristic.

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Regarding the points raised about different dialects of SC, I'd compare it with the situation in China. First of we have different Chinese languages, such as Mandarin and Cantonese. These however have sub-dialects. Mandarin speakers of different regions have difficulty understanding one another with their dialects. It's not just the sounds but choice of words and expressions as well.

However, there exists a sort of "state Mandarin" dialect. It seems to be most similar with the Dongbei and Beijing dialects from my experiences. It is what's mostly used on CCTV and similar state outlets. Most people understand this. Regarding people from different provinces who move to a new province, they quickly adapt to the differences and it is less of an issue. People in nationwide fields of business and similar also learn to understand one another and speak in a way that they all understand better. Hence there are regional dialects but they can with some effort harmonize enough to communicate well.

This is also similar to how us Swedes understand Norwegians. When they speak regular Norwegian it can be a bit hard to understand some things due to different choices of words and sounds. Norwegians who live in Sweden for a while learn to use words that we understand however, as well as slightly change their pronunciation on certain sounds. They are rather minor changes, but after that we can now communicate perfectly with each other (easier than some particularly thick Swedish dialects >.<).

With the possible exception of some of the jobs in supply, all the characters on the Aurora have a certain assumption of being some degree of well traveled/used to multicultural settings/used to international settings. I would then assume that the minor kinks within different SC dialects then harmonize themselves out enough that we can indeed use the one language from a gameplay perspective. After all, why would NT hire people who can't even speak with their coworkers?

Lastly, regarding a language with different language group sources, I would point to Singlish. Singaporean (if that is the correct word even) which already has a touch of Chinese influence which then heavily takes vocabulary and expressions from English. To have SC evolve from one language structure but incorporate minor elements and primarily vocabulary from other languages isn't that crazy.

As an example, the SC word for rice could be mifan, derived from the Chinese 米饭 (Mi3Fan4).

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I have long behaved as if Sol Common is the amalgamation of most all Indo-European languages, principally English (which is convenient for an English-speaking playerbase). English is currently the lingua franca of humanity due to its roots as a melting-pot of European languages through England's Roman, German, and French conquerors, Latin and Greek liturgy, global reach through colonization, and hell; we're speaking it now. Anyone who wishes to take a serious look at English can readily see a German, French or Latin root for nearly every word. I is Ich, it is es, is ist ist, am ist am, me ist mir, du ist you. My take has always been that if a character can understand Sol Common, they can watch an English-language movie with the same degree of difficulty you can watch Shakespeare's plays. It also strikes me that an understanding of Sol Common gives you an inroad to any specific Indo-European language you want your character to know, such as German or Spanish, which you can then speak in Sol Common. Other Sol-Common speakers can tell you're using one of the "dialects", and those who don't speak Sol Common are entirely out of the loop. And, between India, Europe, the Americas and Australia, there is no reason to think the entirely incompatible Mandarin will muscle in and overtake the Indo-European languages any time soon.

However, by this thread, it sounds as if I was thinking more of Tradeband, the sophisticated language of the arts and the old guard.

Now, as for what happened to Mandarin, I have no idea. Mandarin is, at its core, an artificial language of an empire. Each symbol means an idea. A pictograph of a house in Spain means the same as the same pictograph in Russia, and so Mandarin follows. Mass media has brought the Chinese people closer to a unified language, perhaps, but pronunciation is not dictated by the character as in English. That is also why English is such an incredible pain in the ass to learn.

This sounds a hell of a lot like Sol Common, a forced language trying to spread across all humanity.

Were there to be a shakeup, I recommend this; a Mandarin-style language is taken as the official Sol Alliance language to unite all of humanity, an Indo-European language of unified English remains the Latin spoken by the rich, the educated, or those born to a specific ethno-national colony (oh yeah, Banard's Star got settled by a bunch of French in 2230, thats why I have a French name and speak French and smoke cigarettes and complain about the government), and Freespeak is whatever godawful abomination a population could develop in four hundred years.

Which means Manfred is going to start speaking Tradeband, although if aliens could speak future English... why make Ceti Basic?

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

A great response, Nikov! It will definitely inform our discussion on this.

The results of the poll and the player feedback have given me a lot more insight and we'll be working on this.

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