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Old 07-23-2017, 03:59 AM   #1
jacobmuller
 
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I don't know why I'm bothering with languages, my preferred settings are SF and universal translators:/
But OCD and maybe it'll be useful to others?
Pyramid #3/44, Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Wordlessly by Roger Burton West, got me thinking (yes, I only read this week - SF, universal...)
It was over my head but I like the Script Perk. I don’t like Language being 3 levels but I don’t want to add extra costs just for language. So, full language plus Script for [6]?
I remembered seeing something about time to learn languages eg simple 200, complex 800 hours. Then I find this article (US foreign service?) rating languages by complexity and language ability as 5 levels; basic level 480-720 hours study. Fits so nicely; real world translation into GURPS model easily; generic fiction modelling simplified. Use CGISW for RL guidelines script Perk.
Except it works perfectly for the “Easy” languages; the more complex languages can take up to 50% longer.

• Easy: English(?), French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swahili
• Average: Bulgarian, Burmese, Greek, Hindi, Persian, Urdu
• Hard: Amharic, Cambodian, Czech, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Lao, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese
• VHard: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean

Table [as usual, I've forgot how to make it pretty:/]
Lang Ability Easy Average Hard VHard
Broken 1 1 1 2
Basic Fluency 2 2 3 3
Accented 3 3 4 4
Prof. Fluency 4 5 5 6
Native 5 6 7 8

5 levels of proficiency:
1. Elementary proficiency. The person is able to satisfy routine travel needs and minimum courtesy requirements.
2. Limited working proficiency. The person is able to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements.
3. Minimum professional proficiency. The person can speak the language with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations on practical, social, and professional topics.
4. Full professional proficiency. The person uses the language fluently and accurately on all levels normally pertinent to professional needs.
5. Native or bilingual proficiency. The person has speaking proficiency equivalent to that of an educated native speaker.

Comprehension Levels?
Penalty to language dependent/ artistic skills
Broken -3/-6
BasFlu -2/-4
Accented -1/-2
ProFlu 0/-1
Native...
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Old 07-23-2017, 09:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Language

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobmuller View Post
Then I find this article (US foreign service?) rating languages by complexity...
It's worth keeping in mind that such ratings deal with relative difficulty for speakers of a specific native language, and aren't a rating of some absolute level of difficulty. US Foreign Service language difficulty ratings, for example, refer to only time requirements for a native English speaker.

Which doesn't mean you need to change what you're working with, I believe. You can go ahead and set things up from the native-English perspective, then change things around for native speakers of other languages: native speakers of Polish and Russian would find each other's languages Easy; likewise with Korean and Japanese, etc.

Anyway, a separate question: If other human languages can be as difficult as Very Hard, how about an alien language that's really different? Any way to squeeze that into the concept?
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Old 07-23-2017, 09:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Language

It's been a long time since I've flirted with that particular article, since, like you, I generally use language barriers as plot devices, if at all. I don't recall if it makes this suggestion, but I would consider giving language skills a built-in No Nuisance Rolls and Rules Exemption (Even when failure is harmful). You could separate these out into their constituent perks to further discretize the language learning process, too.

The purpose, of course, is to cut down on the number of rolls made in situations where rolling would get in the way of fun. The +5 for no stress in most situations makes it trivial to hit the 16+ mark with an easy or average language at IQ+1, and if you know so well you can manage 16+ without that +5,, you probably dank enough points into something somewhere to cover that benefit.
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Old 07-23-2017, 02:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Language

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
It's worth keeping in mind that such ratings deal with relative difficulty.
Anyway, a separate question: If other human languages can be as difficult as Very Hard, how about an alien language that's really different? Any way to squeeze that into the concept?
As you say, as is, it's from the perspective of English speakers.
I'd be tempted to leave out levels of difficulty and just keep it GURPS simple.
But, sure it'll work for aliens, just decide how alien; can you even make their noises? But if we're going SF, you're back to machines translating.
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Old 07-23-2017, 08:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: Language

Kind of on topic and wonderfully coincidental is the Scishow episode Youtube just alerted me to.

Terpenes: The Most Common Language in the World
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PlhcI8O1NY
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