Elcenia discussion

Plain old discussion of Alicorn stories.

Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby jalapeno_dude » Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:03 pm

*observes Rithka being amazing in sandbox*

*misses Elcenia*
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Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby DanielH » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:45 pm

Fortunately, for the moment, Alicorn is in the middle of fewer non-Elcenia novels.
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Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby DanielH » Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:10 pm

How much “vocabulary exploration” can dragons do? For example, I assume that Elcenia doesn’t have the game of chess. If I said “chess” to a dragonish, what would they learn? If I said “chess, pawn, rook, bishop, knight, queen, king, check, checkmate, promotion, castling, en passant”, would that cover most or all of the rules of chess, or would they actually need more explanation?

We know that some is possible, because from just hearing the word “minute” Ehail was able to know to ask for a clock that showed seconds in order to compare time. Similarly, it isn’t perfect, because she didn’t already know how long the time units were in terms she was used to.
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Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby Alicorn » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:33 pm

Chess is a game. The piece names are chess pieces; "pawn" has other connotations from metaphorical use indicating that it's a weak piece; depending on my mood at time of writing I might also allow them to know that the queen is the strongest piece and the king is what you have to protect. Check is a state of almost losing chess; checkmate is actually losing. Promotion has a lot of meanings and doesn't inform about chess rules in particular. Castling is a chess maneuver involving the castles which are synonymous with rooks. En passant is a special-case chess rule.

A minute is sixty seconds, in a definitional way that I feel is qualitatively different from a rook being the chess piece that moves forward, backward, left, and right.
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Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby DanielH » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:58 pm

That makes sense, especially given that there are variants of chess with other rules for how pieces move (or other pieces, or other starting positions, etc).

I am surprised that the specific meaning in question isn’t more available. I’d expect that the minimal context would highlight the meaning of “a chess maneuver where you turn a pawn into a stronger piece” even if the details were opaque.

I agree that minutes being sixty seconds is a lot more part of the language than the chess examples. How much etymology does Draconic give access to? Regardless of the answer, would it make clear that the relation between minutes and seconds of time (a 60th of an hour and a 60th of a minute, respectively), and that between minutes and seconds of arc (a 60th of a degree and a 60th of a minute, respectively), was not coincidental at all?

On a different note, I get the feeling that a dragonish would not be able to tell that “[t]he second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom [at 0 Kelvin].” (the official definition of a second), and they certainly wouldn’t know what that meant in practical terms. Would I be correct in that, or would they have this definition but be able to recognize that it is rarely of practical value? Would the answer change if they were talking to a physicist who had to actually deal with this definition regularly?
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Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby Alicorn » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:43 am

Etymology is non-automatic, but if a dragon wants to stand there thinking about it for a while they can backtrack through previous editions of a language and if they know what other languages the one in question has contacted they can confidently identify loanwords.

I'm going to say no on the arc thing without thinking it all the way through though.

Dragons do not care what the official definition of a second is. Dragons care what people are talking about when they say "second". Even physicists mostly aren't talking about that, although if they managed to find a physicist with a really irritating idiolect they might be able to pry some of that definition out of it.
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Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby DanielH » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:03 pm

I was thinking a physicist in the middle of some sort of clock calibration procedure where they were actively using the official definition. In that kind of state you often forget that the thing you’re measuring is the same thing that your watch shows.
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Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby rockeye_stonetoe » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:40 pm

Dragons probably get sufficiently defined conlangs, but do they get any vocabulary beyond what is defined for it? Would they get reasonable extensions like tenses and intensifications even if they've not necessarily been defined that way? (has-> had, big-> bigger, biggest)

Do dragons get slang? Would one know that 'ggwp' stands for 'good game, well played'?
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Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby Kappa » Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:54 am

I believe the answer on slang is a solid yes, but I'm not fully versed in the details.
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Re: Elcenia discussion

Postby Alicorn » Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:27 am

Dragons do not get undefined vocabulary. If the conlang doesn't have a way to do tense (or explicitly not do tense) or comparatives and superlatives it's probably not defined enough for dragons to get it at all. Slang yes, acronyms usually not unless they're really entrenched ("scuba", possibly "USA", probably not "ggwp").
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