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Pen & Paper Roleplaying Central => Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion => Topic started by: Kyle Aaron on July 28, 2017, 09:22:55 PM

Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Kyle Aaron on July 28, 2017, 09:22:55 PM
From 20th century Britain, Polari, the language of homosexual men (http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170726-the-secret-language-that-broke-taboos).

   "One of the things that makes Polari so powerful is that it is simultaneously about disguise and identification," the artist Jez Dolan tells BBC Culture. "You would be hiding what you were talking about from people who didn't know it, but also if you were in a bar and you liked the look of somebody, you'd pop it into conversation and they'd either go 'ah' or they'd look blank and you'd be on your way."

[...] Baker believes Polari is a form of 'anti-language' – a term coined by the linguist Michael Halliday in 1978 that Baker defines as "a language used by people who are on the 'outside' of mainstream society". "It has its own vocabulary for elements that mainstream society is not interested in," he says. "Words relating to gay sex or evaluating male bodies – but it also demonstrates an alternative value system."

This "hiding in plain sight" and variations on the local language aspect would, I think, be key to how an alignment language would work. I don't see how it'd work separate from a system of deities, though. The church of Christ teaches Latin, or Greek; the Temple of Grolka the Mad would teach Chaotic Evil's cant. So you'd need 3 dieties in B/X, and 9 in AD&D1e.

The article's pretty interesting. Thoughts?
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Headless on July 28, 2017, 09:27:17 PM
Flash in early New York.  Or cochneny ryming slang in london.  Both examples of thieves kant.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: WillInNewHaven on July 28, 2017, 11:41:14 PM
Quote from: Headless;979171
Flash in early New York.  Or cochneny ryming slang in london.  Both examples of thieves kant.

That's how Cockney seems to have started. However, everybody's friends and relatives picked it up and pretty soon it became simply the dialect of one part of a big city. Then the criminals that had originated it probably created another obscure and arcane spinoff to use as a secret language.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Skarg on July 29, 2017, 12:15:32 AM
Are any of them full languages, though? Seems like none of them are class-limited, or alignment limited.

Shall we have a new RPG where alignment or class is code for gender identification or sexual orientation? I'm hoping not.

You can do the same thing with hobby jargon, e.g. D&D.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: CRKrueger on July 29, 2017, 01:20:59 AM
Quote from: Skarg;979193
Are any of them full languages, though? Seems like none of them are class-limited, or alignment limited.

Shall we have a new RPG where alignment or class is code for gender identification or sexual orientation? I'm hoping not.

You can do the same thing with hobby jargon, e.g. D&D.

Are all languages full languages?  Would you be able to describe snow and ice flows in one of the Bedouin tongues sufficient to survive, or what about the different types and densities of sand or sand storms in an Inuit language?  Most languages AREN'T complete or full, hence the need for loan words and the creation of patois, slang and jargon.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: soltakss on July 29, 2017, 08:47:09 AM
I get that all the above are languages that are used by certain groups of people and that is fine.

However, the idea of a language that is spoken by everyone who if Chaotic Evil, for example, makes no sense to me at all.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Bren on July 29, 2017, 11:31:00 AM
Quote from: soltakss;979287
I get that all the above are languages that are used by certain groups of people and that is fine.

However, the idea of a language that is spoken by everyone who if Chatoic Evil, for example, makes no sense to me at all.
The language is magically learned when they put on the proper alignment T-shirt. [spoiler](http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/112/023/d3d.png)[/spoiler]
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: soltakss on July 29, 2017, 11:48:47 AM
Quote from: Bren;979303
The language is magically learned when they put on the proper alignment T-shirt.

Ah, that makses sense, then, thanks.

I fit at least three of those T-Shirts ...
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Trond on July 29, 2017, 11:53:01 AM
Sounds similar to people looking for drugs or, maybe, hookers. They develop their own lingo in order to go under the police (or nosy bystander) "radar", while hopefully be understood by the people they're looking for.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Dumarest on July 29, 2017, 12:28:23 PM
Forget it, Jake, it's D&D...

You either roll with it or you don't...I've  never played in a game that used alignment languages. It's easy to strip out, along with alignment en toto.

What I want to know is when you learn an alignment language? Do parents teach their children "Chaotic Evil"? Or do you wait to see what alignment a child is turning into and then teach them accordingly? If you're Lawful Good but your son is Neutral Good, how do you find a teacher? :confused:
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Headless on July 29, 2017, 02:11:28 PM
It's natural.  Kids start listening to certian music, play video games, role playing games, or knitting, and there are subliminal messages which distort their thinking and start to color their speach.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Skarg on July 29, 2017, 02:47:07 PM
Quote from: CRKrueger;979209
Are all languages full languages?  Would you be able to describe snow and ice flows in one of the Bedouin tongues sufficient to survive, or what about the different types and densities of sand or sand storms in an Inuit language?  Most languages AREN'T complete or full, hence the need for loan words and the creation of patois, slang and jargon.


Not having a term for ice floes or other things you've never seen, is quite a different standard from what can be communicated in "are you my kind of gay? code" or CB radio slang.

If I pretend I think D&D alignments make any sense themselves, I might be able to convince myself languages for them made some sense IF by "language" I merely meant slang and getting the meaning due to sharing similar values or ways of thinking. Kind of like how there are currently so many degenerate non-communicating conversation on the Interwebs about politics, where there's a thinking breakdown that includes having very different meanings and associations for the same words.

But even so, I wouldn't call those languages.

"hey mon do you speaka my language?"

"excuse me, stewardess, I speak jive..."
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Gunslinger on July 29, 2017, 02:57:58 PM
Quote from: Dumarest;979316
What I want to know is when you learn an alignment language? Do parents teach their children "Chaotic Evil"? Or do you wait to see what alignment a child is turning into and then teach them accordingly? If you're Lawful Good but your son is Neutral Good, how do you find a teacher? :confused:


I would say largely cultural.  Similar to growing up in rural or urban environments with similar values.  So an alignment tongue may not actually be a reflection of an individual alignment but one easily identified with.  So the individual may speak the lingo and can relate with some of the experiences but would be exposed by their actions whether they kept those values.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Dumarest on July 29, 2017, 03:08:55 PM
Quote from: Gunslinger;979346
I would say largely cultural.  Similar to growing up in rural or urban environments with similar values.  So an alignment tongue may not actually be a reflection of an individual alignment but one easily identified with.  So the individual may speak the lingo and can relate with some of the experiences but would be exposed by their actions whether they kept those values.

I get you.

Eh, I just take D&D at face value...if I'm going to play it I'm not going to question whether alignment languages make sense, or worry about the ecology of the troll...otherwise I'll play something else. I say just go with the quirks of D&D and don't spend too much time trying to make it all make sense.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Kyle Aaron on July 29, 2017, 04:18:08 PM
Quote from: soltakss;979287
However, the idea of a language that is spoken by everyone who if Chaotic Evil, for example, makes no sense to me at all.
It makes more sense in the context of OD&D, where essentially "Law" was civilisation, like the Romans, and "Chaos" was the barbarians, like the Celts. It makes less sense with 9 alignments, for which as I said you need associated dieties or cults, then it'll make sense. Historically, ideas of what was proper and right behaviour came from association with a diety and its religion and rituals, they weren't some entirely abstract thing.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Elfdart on July 30, 2017, 03:43:08 PM
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;979168
From 20th century Britain, Polari, the language of homosexual men (http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170726-the-secret-language-that-broke-taboos).

   "One of the things that makes Polari so powerful is that it is simultaneously about disguise and identification," the artist Jez Dolan tells BBC Culture. "You would be hiding what you were talking about from people who didn't know it, but also if you were in a bar and you liked the look of somebody, you'd pop it into conversation and they'd either go 'ah' or they'd look blank and you'd be on your way."

[...] Baker believes Polari is a form of 'anti-language' – a term coined by the linguist Michael Halliday in 1978 that Baker defines as "a language used by people who are on the 'outside' of mainstream society". "It has its own vocabulary for elements that mainstream society is not interested in," he says. "Words relating to gay sex or evaluating male bodies – but it also demonstrates an alternative value system."

This "hiding in plain sight" and variations on the local language aspect would, I think, be key to how an alignment language would work. I don't see how it'd work separate from a system of deities, though. The church of Christ teaches Latin, or Greek; the Temple of Grolka the Mad would teach Chaotic Evil's cant. So you'd need 3 dieties in B/X, and 9 in AD&D1e.

The article's pretty interesting. Thoughts?


Why would gay men need a secret language in Britain of all places? That's like Hispanics needing a secret language in San Antonio.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Dumarest on July 30, 2017, 06:26:57 PM
Quote from: Elfdart;979614
Why would gay men need a secret language in Britain of all places? That's like Hispanics needing a secret language in San Antonio.


You think the UK has a history of acceptance of homosexual men?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_LGBT_history_in_the_United_Kingdom
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Voros on July 30, 2017, 07:19:15 PM
No he's making a joke. Homosexuality in the past was often referred to as 'the English vice' because of its prevalence in English boarding schools (cf. Orwell and pretty much every English writer ever).
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Opaopajr on July 30, 2017, 08:54:42 PM
I've heard it called Parlarey, namely in Boy George's autobiography. "Varda the dish, girl. But nada in the larder." (His given example.) But now I realized my bible collection was not complete without the Polari Bible translation. Yoink!

"In the name of Gloria, Josephine, and the Fantabulosa Fairy. A-men!" she cackled.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Willie the Duck on July 31, 2017, 08:37:46 AM
Quote from: soltakss;979287
I get that all the above are languages that are used by certain groups of people and that is fine.

However, the idea of a language that is spoken by everyone who if Chaotic Evil, for example, makes no sense to me at all.

Quote from: Dumarest;979316
Forget it, Jake, it's D&D...

You either roll with it or you don't...I've  never played in a game that used alignment languages. It's easy to strip out, along with alignment en toto.

What I want to know is when you learn an alignment language? Do parents teach their children "Chaotic Evil"? Or do you wait to see what alignment a child is turning into and then teach them accordingly? If you're Lawful Good but your son is Neutral Good, how do you find a teacher? :confused:

Let's not forget that the term is "Alignment" and not "Ethics" or "Morals." The original D&D/Chainmail alignment system (and the alignment languages that came with) was based on people being on Team Lawful or Team Chaotic more than any specific personal codes or beliefs. The idea that, for example, all the bad guys 'aligned' against the PCs could communicate with each other is a ridiculous conceit. But not, however, and more ridiculous than the idea that they could all see in the dark and open locked doors, but only up until they started working for the PCs.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Voros on August 01, 2017, 02:04:52 AM
The OP seems like a better example of thieves cant rather than alignment languages.
Title: An alignment language example
Post by: Dumarest on August 01, 2017, 11:35:37 AM
Quote from: Voros;979876
The OP seems like a better example of thieves cant rather than alignment languages.

True.