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    Re: Literature in the Flanaess: An Introduction (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Mon, February 14, 2005
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    Thank you Sam.

    With respect to alphabets, I think a common ancestor is certainly possible and would fit nicely with the idea of a “common” tongue. As there is no Greyhawk Tower of Babel myth, “common” could make more sense than it does at first blush, perhaps. Given that, a common written ancestor would also make sense.

    In the introduction, I did not specifically go into root sources but picked up the cultural specifics in medias rea, about the time of the migrations and thereafter, with reference to prior history but without looking all the way back to root linguistic stocks. Root stocks are particularly interesting, I think, if you accept the College of Wizardry as “canon.” The “language primaeval” is discussed therein and has potential as a common root of all languages, spoken and written, along the lines you mention and in keeping with the note about “common” above. Magic, in such case, may become the driving force for alphabets and as magical traditions diverge, so do magical scripts and thus alphabets. Language itself may be magical, at least in its purest form.

    Picking up the story much further along in history, as the ancient Baklunish and Suel came to be identifiable as such, their differences, physically and culturally, suggest to me a sufficient differencing that I think such would also be reflected in the development of functionally distinct alphabets, as much as languages. The influences at work on each culture, or not, also played a role in my thinking. The Suel I do not see as accepting of outside influences, believing themselves possessed of the finest expression of humanity. The Baklunish, with their emphasis on trade, seem more likely open to outside influences. Thus, I see major divergences from any root stock language and alphabet. The largest influence for me was, however, cultural and meta-game. I see the Baklunish script as flowing in the Arabic style while the Suel script is more runic. The alphabets are different in equal proportion.

    Accepting a difference between Suel and Baklunish alphabets on the above terms, the Flan are entirely unrelated to either and thus distinct in terms of sheer propinquity. Culturally, both in the game and meta-game, we also see a difference that would, I think, see different alphabets developed. The proximity to demi-human cultures also influenced my thinking.

    The Oeridians are the real puzzle. They would have been exposed variously to Suel, Baklunish, Flan, demi-human and humanoid traditions, but themselves were relatively more primitive for all that until relatively late in recorded history. My thought was that an alphabet was almost a affectation for the Oeridians that happened to prove useful. In purposefully setting out to have various alphabets, I was thinking of Seqouyah creating the Cherokee alphabet, except many times over, again as almost an affectation in the case of the various Oeridian peoples.

    If we were to look back to linguistic and alphabetic root stocks, I think we would need to look at all of Oerik, not just the Flanaess. Things obviously get fuzzy because we don’t know much about greater Oerik and what we do know conflicts in Chainmail and the Dragon Annual map. The College of Wizardry and its “language primaeval” provides a way “out” and I personally favor it as the best, and also most interesting, of the immediately available options. I am a good ways away from writing up my thoughts on the implications of the College of Wizardry as “canon.” The tie-in in Return to the Tomb of Horrors to the College of Wizardry, I think, resolves the “canon” question, if there was a doubt, but the implications are, to me, yet unclear. I am certainly more than open to your idea of a single root language and alphabet and, made to consider it, find it has a great deal of appeal to me. I like your thought, if not presently, then historically.

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