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  • Old Realm language

    So! I'm trying to get a handle on what Old Realm is supposed to sound like.

    I was trying in another thread to get a list of names of people from back when Old Realm was the only human language, and compare them with god and elemental names, but it isn't really working. I'm running into a wall. The names of characters and locations include quite a lot of names taken from the real world or based on real world languages, and literary and mythic references, and names that don't seem to be those appear to be a grab-bag of random sounds that don't give me a coherent phonetic picture.

    Dreams of the First Age had an Old Realm writing system, right? Does it give much insight into the sounds of Old Realm? Is there enough info anywhere to get an idea what words and names in Old Realm (or any specific language in Exalted, really) sound like?
    Last edited by Erinys; 08-03-2015, 12:12 PM.


    I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
    Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors

  • #2
    I'm gonna go with Sumerian, on account of it being one of the oldest known languages and also having a pictographic script. This has an attempt to recreate the sound of Sumerian speech as a reference point, and one could look at Werewolf: the Forsaken if one wanted some insight into coming up with some words.


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    • #3
      In a word: no.

      The Old Realm syllabary is like the High Realm one – its actual purpose is to write ciphered English, creating the appearance of a different language.

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      • #4
        Aw.

        Well I suppose I could hack an sort of approximation by taking all the names of gods, elementals, and early 1st Age Exalted and place-names, regardless of actual etymology, and just sort of cutting out the names that are least like the others until what's left looks like semi-coherent phonology.


        Does the Old Realm syllabary have the exact same syllables as the High Realm one?


        I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
        Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors

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        • #5
          I don't know that Old Realm "sounds" like anything. It seems like the writers of Exalted made Old Realm to fit into the mythical feel of the setting. In that sense, Old Realm is a parallel with the "original language" that exists in our world's myths. Think of it as the common language all humanity spoke before the Tower of Babel; think of it as Enochian or Atlantean in the occult sense. Even writing the language as glyphs obscures seeing Old Realm as a "parallel" to a specific Earth language. In the practical sense, this allows the writers to use all human languages as a grab-bag for their writing, since you can logically say that Old Realm is something of an Ursprache for all languages as we know them.

          If you're planning on using it in your stories, I'd suggest coming up with a little grammar and vocabulary based off of languages that sound suitably historical and majestic to your ear? Blend a little Latin and Old Chinese together, or put Hebrew words in Sanskrit grammar.

          Here's some examples, just for fun:

          Imperatri Feihongia -- The Scarlet Empress, playing with Latin and Chinese
          Shamash Al-Akranta -- The Unconquered Sun, with Hebrew and Sanskrit
          Sólherjar -- The Solar Exalted, riffing off the old Norse word "einherjar", the "once-fighters", who were the chosen of Odin.
          Last edited by Kallipolis; 08-03-2015, 12:47 PM.

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          • #6
            It sounds like whatever you want it to sound like - an ancient Semitic language, something Bantu, something Sino-Tibetan, Toltec (whatever that was like), Gaelic, or even modern English are valid. interpretations.

            For me personally, I'd go with a language that primarily used pictographic symbols in its writing. Isator's suggestion of Sumerian fits the bill, as does Nsibidi, Dongba, and various Mesoamerican languages.


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            • #7
              My views of Riverspeak varies between Japanese (which I blame Lookshy for that, since it makes no sense) or English (since Riverspeak is the Exalted Language that follows other languages down dark alleys, beats them up, and searches though their pockets for loose grammar.)


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Erinys View Post
                Does the Old Realm syllabary have the exact same syllables as the High Realm one?
                Yep.

                Originally posted by Kallipolis View Post
                Even writing the language as glyphs obscures seeing Old Realm as a "parallel" to a specific Earth language.
                I'm pretty sure it's actually supposed to look like Mayan writing.

                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                This has an attempt to recreate the sound of Sumerian speech as a reference point[...]
                Oh, that's cool.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by The MG View Post
                  I'm pretty sure it's actually supposed to look like Mayan writing.
                  What I meant was that instead of using letters or characters, which would be immediately readable, the authors chose a writing system (glyphs) that would be unrecognizable by any players. So instead of creating a made-up language written in systems used today, they used a system that locked the language behind indecipherability and the "magical" quality of glyphs.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The MG View Post
                    Yep.
                    To add, the High Realm script is just the Old Relam Script traced-over with brushstrokes. They're about the same shape and pattern, just the "blocks" are simplified into the faux-hiragana look.

                    Originally posted by The MG View Post
                    I'm pretty sure it's actually supposed to look like Mayan writing....
                    According to the "Making of Exalted" video, this is exactly the case, along with the High Realm syllable script. They're all just meant to be English-to-funky-letter ciphers, more or less and can be spelled IC however you want them. For a lot of times when I use them in drawings i just use English.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Erinys View Post
                      Aw.

                      Well I suppose I could hack an sort of approximation by taking all the names of gods, elementals, and early 1st Age Exalted and place-names, regardless of actual etymology, and just sort of cutting out the names that are least like the others until what's left looks like semi-coherent phonology.
                      If you can point me in the direction of that sort of stuff, I could help work on that

                      Based on what we know, they would likely have five, idealized vowel (Elements, Dragons, Maidens etc, five is a common number, both in Exalted and in vowels) and have a very strict (optional) Consonant Vowel syllable structure like Japanese (based on how realm script is broken up)
                      Last edited by nitai; 08-03-2015, 03:07 PM.

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                      • #12
                        So far I haven't made the consonant rules quite as strict as Japanese, but more strict than English. It's all post-hoc so I feel justified in interpreting pronunciation however I please!

                        Since you're offering, the biggest help would be a list of gods and elementals named in Glories of the Most High and/or Compass: Yu-Shan. If that's possible (I realize it's a very large request).
                        Last edited by Erinys; 08-06-2015, 03:09 PM.


                        I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                        Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors

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                        • #13
                          Before I get too far into it, do you know the origins of Old Realm? Was it created for humanity or was it a derivative of a pre-existing language like Celestian of whatever the Dragon Kings spoke?

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                          • #14
                            I'm pretty sure it was what the Primordials invented to talk to each other.


                            I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                            Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors

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                            • #15
                              Excellent, that lets it be more "perfect" with a much higher sound/letter correspondence.

                              After writing this I have realized that I really need school to start back up....

                              Based on that and the letters that we have, there are five problem sounds: "H", "F". "X", "Ch" and "Z"

                              "H" is problematic as it is the only sound made in the throat and as such is much farther back than the next backest sounds, meaning either that "K" and "G" should be farther back (we don't have these sounds in standard forms of English, but Arabic does) or "H" should be moved forward. If "H" became the "proper English 'wh'", things would be more balanced.

                              "F" Is problematic as there is no voiced partner "V" which should be there is it was, in fact, an "F", as voiced sounds almost universally show up before the voiceless version. These means that either "V" is the sound it makes, which given that "F" is the sole sound produced using teeth is unlikely, or it is a sound that English doesn't have that later moved towards the teeth. Options are "sh/zh" which would take two steps (first to "th" then to "v/f") or a bilabial "V", the voiced partner to the new value of "H"

                              "CH" is odd as it is the only affricate or fricative that uses the tongue (the JUdge sound (voiced "CH"), "sh" and its voiced "treaSUre" sound are notably absent), so I suspect that it has a different value. One option is that "CH" is actually just "affricate", unmarked for place or voice (so it is also the missing sounds listed) but takes on the place and voice of the preceding consonant, but more options will be brought up when I get to...

                              "X" is unlikely "KS" as "KS" isn't really a discrete thing in any language that I am aware of (even in English linguists don't treat is as anything but "k" and "s" shoved unhappily together). As "KS" is affricate like, it is possible that is something like the Japanese "TS", or perhaps coronal fricative ("SH" of "ZH") leaving "CH" just taking up the dorsal affricates ("CH" and "JUdge"), but there is another option depending on what we want to do with...

                              "Z". As I mentioned earlier, it is super rare for a voiceless but not a voiced sound to show up.... This is especially true of "Z", as "S" and "Z" are as close to a universal human sound as you can get. Getting around the lack of "Z" needs a lot of explaining. I think that it actually makes most sense to revalue "X", whose presence doesn't make sense, to "z", though "s" and "z" could share the same value and change based on what sounds are around it.


                              TL : DR
                              (Assuming that normal linguistic rules apply)

                              I think "F" and "H" are probably a pair of sounds we don't have in most of modern English made by blowing through your lips
                              OR
                              "F" is made on the lips and "K" and "G" are made further back

                              AND

                              "CH" is probably four sounds, depending on the context and "X" is likely "Z"
                              OR
                              "CH" is "CH/DJ" and "X" is "SH/ZH"

                              BUT

                              The second options are mutually exclusive


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