April 20th, 2007


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Discussion (10)¬

  1. Star says:

    She can’t read the *wombat* alphabet, or just the one that may be representing the wombat language in this text? I’m assuming the latter . . .

  2. Theogrin says:

    Hee. Having read through Gearworld just a day or two ago, I can imagine the consternation that could result from one of the writers’ ‘studies’ picking up a copy of those books.

  3. EgregiousCharles says:

    We can assume Digger can read the alphabet used to write Wombat in her home warren, but that’s not necessarily *THE* womat alphabet.

    An alphabet is really just a set of symbols for writing sounds, and it used to be that people would apply whatever alphabet they knew to whatever language they wanted to write down. Medieval inscriptions in Scandanavia were sometimes in the Latin language spelled out with Norse runes, for example. Kind of like how in the Lord of the Rings, the inscription on the One Ring was in Elvish letters but the language of Mordor. So it’s no surprise that someone might look at an inscription and not know what language it was in, even if it was in their own language and they could read their language in *some* alphabet. There have been many countries where more than one writing system was used for the same language in the same country, as well; the Rosetta Stone has Egyptian-language inscriptions in both Hieroglypic and Demotic writing, to increase the chance an Egyptian could read it. (It also has Greek language and alphabet, to increase the chance anyone else could read it, Greek being very popular at the time like English is now.)

    Since the invention of computers, this issue is coming up again; with most of the defining early computer development having happened in America, computer technology is Roman-alphabet centric. So everyone’s trying to use the Roman alphabet for their own languages. Someone who can read Mandarin in ideograms may not be able to read it spelled out in the Romanized Pinyin alpahbet. The Japanese use FOUR writing systems including the Romanized Romaji; it used to be that they were somewhat gender specific – women used hiragana letters and men used katakana letters for the same language, which I think is really bizarre.


  4. Tindi says:

    EgregiousCharles: Bizarre but fascinating.
    Also, from a Tolkien fangirl: Excellent example of what you’re explaining!

  5. BoardEntity says:

    who isn’t a tolkien fangirl/boy that reads any fantasy based anything?

  6. BunnyRock says:


  7. Ellemerr says:

    That this book is actually written in papyrus has always… odded me. It looks kind of neat, but… I dunno. Doesn’t mix 100% with the rest of the image? Good enough, though.

    And that Monsterus Something-something is sooo cute! ^_^

  8. Matthias says:

    Even if Wombat itself doesn’t have more than one alphabet, that doesn’t stop someone from writing it in another – after all, people have been known to write English with Greek characters. It’s less a separate language and more a cipher.

  9. BunnyRock says:

    @Matthias. see above. Unfortunatly my little comment didn’t post as I had wanted. As i recal it went someting like this:

    Ридицулоус: И’д хаве тхоугх тхат анёне щитх а бит оф сенсе анд усе оф басиц црыптограпхы цоулд рецогнисе тхеир ощн лангуаге щхен дисгуисед бы алпхабет субститутион, регардлесс оф тхе алпхабет ин щхич ит’с щриттен. Лоок, И меан И’ве евен делиберателы паддед тхис статемент то маке ит лог еноугх фор ёу то плаы “хунт тхе вощелс.” Со лонг ас ёу ремембер тхат тхе мост цоммон леттер ин Енглиш ис “е” анд тхе мост цоммон тхрее леттер щорд ис “Тхе” ит алл фаллс инто плаце. Ин фацт И’м цонстантлы амазед тхат анытхинг шорт оф оне тиме пад сеемс то гиве пеопле троубле. Тхен агаин мост пеопле аре яуите лазы, поссиблы тоо лазы евен то цопы анд пасте ехамплес оф тхеир ощн лангуаге ин ан унусуал алпхабет инто щорд анд чанге ит бацк бы симплы чангинг тхе фонт. Суч ис лифе.

    Its english, I swear. have fun!

  10. TekServer says:

    Okay, BR, my OCD got the best of me on this pass, and I forced the one semester of Russian I took almost 20 years ago to cough up what little I could remember of the Cyrillic alphabet from the dank recesses of my brain. Amazingly, it was enough to puzzle out the letters I couldn’t remember, so that eventually I was able to transliterate that paragraph in my head.

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t think “simply changing the font in Word” will work to reverse whatever process you used to transliterate that. At least I couldn’t figure out how to do that.