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KingAlanI

Is Common Tongue really English?

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Argument is a couple of days old, but I agree with Penguin king (something that very rarely happens).

StannisandDaeny, I had written a good paragraph proving you wrong, but the answer is actually very simple. Take the word "martial." I cannot give you a page reference, but I am certain that this word has appeared in the books at some point. This word come from Mars, the Roman god of war. I ask you, how can this word exist in the Common Tongue, considering that there has been no Roman religion worshipped in Westeros?

/thread

ETA: quoted you to get your attention.

<snip>

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Because Westeros is a fictional creation which is not subject to the same rules of our world, as I've already sufficiently explained. Just like Westeros is not denied to have English because it happens to exist in our world, it cannot be denied to have magic because it happens to not exist in our world. Whether it makes sense to you, from your skewed earthly perspective, or not, is irrelevant. What you're saying now is that if Martin steps up and says it's English, you would try to deny him that right, while it's not your call to make.

You can remove that '/thread'.

Or maybe you can keep it. I'm in a much too good mood to continue this discussion, and the OP was happy with my answer to his question, which is all I was aiming at.

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Because Westeros is a fictional creation which is not subject to the same rules of our world, as I've already sufficiently explained. Just like Westeros is not denied to have English because it happens to exist in our world, it cannot be denied to have magic because it happens to not exist in our world. Whether it makes sense to you, from your skewed earthly perspective, or not, is irrelevant. What you're saying now is that if Martin steps up and says it's English, you would try to deny him that right, while it's not your call to make.

You can remove that '/thread'.

Or maybe you can keep it. I'm in a much too good mood to continue this discussion, and the OP was happy with my answer to his question, which is all I was aiming at.

I don't understand why you refuse to believe that it is a different language. You cannot compare magic to language. Magic occurs because it is magical (duh), languages are not magical, they don't just appear.

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Even though dothraki was translated for us in the books it always read like a translation.

Common always feels organic. It is English by another name because there's no England.

It's the author's native language and he's no linguist, just ask him.

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Even though dothraki was translated for us in the books it always read like a translation.

Common always feels organic. It is English by another name because there's no England.

It's the author's native language and he's no linguist, just ask him.

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For me the Common language could be any language existing or not existing, that would have been common among the people of this imaginary world.

Then you have to think something else. That If the Common language was indeed English, this for historic accuracy would had to be Old English, because the story is taking place in Medieval times. But then nobody would be able to understand what the actors say on the show.. and nobody would be able to read the books.

So for practical reasons, as the author is English speaking, we read the dialogues in the books in ( modern) English ( or in any other translation in other languages) and for practical reasons as well, we watch an English speaking show which is addressed to English speaking people.

And for those who insist that for reasons of accuracy the Common language should have been written or spoken as it perhaps was, ( existing Old English, or not existing made up language) I have to ask. Would you bother to read the story of 300 ( movie) if it was written in Ancient Greek and watch the movie in the same language? ( without subtitles LOL )

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nothing is certain until GRRM says so. he could say for magical reasons they are actually speaking english, however improbable. same way the seasons last years, however scientifically impossible that is. he could say they speak another language and the very natural sounding english in the books is just for the readers. for the show, if they arent going to fully go down the "they speak another language" road, then it makes no sense to bother coming up with characters for them to use in writing anyway, and in the end, its a tv show. things are going to be simplified for it. its just a fact of film production. so until GRRM actually comes out and specifies one way or the other, we cannot know. either is technically possible.

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Several house names come from English words. House Glover - has a mailed (or gloved) fist. I think that's where "Glover" comes from. There are some other houses - Blackfyre, Blackwood, etc. that have an English color in their name. If he intended it to be a different language than English, it must be similar to English because of the house names, unless he translated those also.

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I agree, there are just too many similarities for the Common Tongue to be anything else but English. I also think that the Andals are meant to be equivalent to the Angles/Anglo-Saxons.

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In the books I've read, the residence of house Tully for example is called Flodvattnet. For a place to be called that it is obvious that the common language can be nothing but Swedish. Case closed!

And as all books I own translated to swedish are full of swedish names for people and places, it seems to be a popular language in fantasy worlds.

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Yeah, I reckon so. The rhymes and puns present a problem for me, but granted that this is given in English for the purposes of the reader, it's unlikely they wouldn't read fluidly because Martin wants his books to be well-written. It's the Dr Who aliens-translated-for-the-travellers-by-the-TARDIS-scenario without the need for mediation. Characters speaking in non-Westerosi sound more stilted in order to highlight their deviations from the novels' lingua franca, and thus add a different cultural feel when characters from different backgrounds meet together in the same place. The same quality would exist even where 'foreign' characters were talking in the Common Tongue to Westerosi. The fact that the non-Common languages that exist appear to be completely unlike English supports the theory that anything resembling modern English would not have been organically created through an admixture of other languages, especially not in a medieval style world.

For all we know, the Common tongue word for Winter is 'troggod', and the word 'fleep' means 'fell'. So 'Troggodfleep' would be automatically translated by Martin as Winterfell. The word 'martial' can hence have no relation to Mars, because it's simply the most approximate word.The question of names is much trickier, and something that I'm struggling with. Robb means 'son of Robert', Theon is Greek for 'godly'. These are other-language derived names, and others are derived from names on our own planet. I'm inclined to think this is coincidence, if they aren't translated also but kept as a bone in their novel forms, for readers who wish to look up the reasons why Martin chose to use those names. Coincidence, for the most part: I'm happy enough to credit that, except in cases like 'Greyjoy', based on two English words, where the Common-language version may even sound so similar while having the same connotations that it doesn't lose anything through the author's implicit mediation. That's all I have to say on this, I think, for now.

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3,4 - How did English get there?

How did english get to Britain? How french to France?

Seriously... asking such questions just makes no sense at all :P

It's a fantasy book, they speak english there, get over it...

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Several house names come from English words. House Glover - has a mailed (or gloved) fist. I think that's where "Glover" comes from. There are some other houses - Blackfyre, Blackwood, etc. that have an English color in their name. If he intended it to be a different language than English, it must be similar to English because of the house names, unless he translated those also.

I don't know much about the series but language also implies in the novels.

Names are hard to be interpreted as examples 'cause the book was wrote, and the actors speak, in English but you can't see this as an evidence to "Common Tongue is English", the words can be shown in English but if he -GRRM- states that the name for the Common Tongue is "Marshmellonish" it will be Marshmellonish and all the english text was just a translation. Think about it as a fictional language that can be perfect translated to english. The names are made to not sound totally weird to the english speaker reader like "Handschuhmacher", "Schwarzesfeuer" and "Holzschwarze" in German or "Luveiro", "Fogonegro" and "Madeiranegro" in Portuguese or even "Bwhrha", "Kigwnrhy" or "Tpxnrhy" to a fictional improvised Marshmellonish that, exception to Marshmellonish that was created for me, fit in their banners.

What I am trying to say is: Just because you read it in English and it was wrote in English this doesn't means that GRRM made the Common Tongue another name English, however you can even use any real world language name, it just means that he wouldn't create a new language and write a book to just him understand. If Common Tongue was named with an another name less doubtful than "Common Tongue", as "Marshmellonish", almost 20 years ago this Topic wouldn't never be started. To be fair: This do not denies that "Common Tongue" can actually be English.

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To me, it's the same as in the Dune books. The characters use a multi-language derived non-English called Galach, but it reads as English when people speak or think, and some of the placenames and even titles of characters might be translated. The Common Tongue is most likely the same.

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I know this is an old discussion but I find it quite interesting...

I'm not sure why you are trying to argue for the extremely statistically unlikely fact that the one language in Westeros, which in turn exists in another dimension, or world, would be so similar to modern day English. Noone with a half rational mind would claim that.

The problem with this argument is that would seem to apply to *everything* in the world, not just language. It's statistically unlikely that there would be human beings that look and act essentially the same as in our world. Same thing for horses, dogs, cats, trees, mountains, rivers, oceans, etc. Similarly for cultural stuff -- music, religion, sex, food, warfare, etc.

I suppose you could argue that these are all "translations" too, that these characters aren't really human, but instead are green insect-like creatures, and GRRM has simply "translated" them as humans for the convenience of the audience.

Rather than go down that rabbit hole, I think it makes more sense to simply take the work at face value. Humans are humans, horses are horses, and Common is English, unless GRRM says otherwise.

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I know this is an old discussion but I find it quite interesting...

The problem with this argument is that would seem to apply to *everything* in the world, not just language. It's statistically unlikely that there would be human beings that look and act essentially the same as in our world. Same thing for horses, dogs, cats, trees, mountains, rivers, oceans, etc. Similarly for cultural stuff -- music, religion, sex, food, warfare, etc.

I suppose you could argue that these are all "translations" too, that these characters aren't really human, but instead are green insect-like creatures, and GRRM has simply "translated" them as humans for the convenience of the audience.

Rather than go down that rabbit hole, I think it makes more sense to simply take the work at face value. Humans are humans, horses are horses, and Common is English, unless GRRM says otherwise.

In one point you're right, and you're wrong. Common is German. Common is Spanish. Common is French. Common is Portuguese. Common is Korean. Common is Japanese. Common is Dutch... Common is English. See?

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Exactly. Languages are created in the context usually of other existing languages. A human-populated world that's fairly similar to our own would not be similar in terms of language, unless you take it at face value that it's natural aliens can speak English in Flash Gordon, for example (the series and movie), or in'50s sci-fi films.

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I don't know much about the series but language also implies in the novels.

Names are hard to be interpreted as examples 'cause the book was wrote, and the actors speak, in English but you can't see this as an evidence to "Common Tongue is English", the words can be shown in English but if he -GRRM- states that the name for the Common Tongue is "Marshmellonish" it will be Marshmellonish and all the english text was just a translation. Think about it as a fictional language that can be perfect translated to english. The names are made to not sound totally weird to the english speaker reader like "Handschuhmacher", "Schwarzesfeuer" and "Holzschwarze" in German or "Luveiro", "Fogonegro" and "Madeiranegro" in Portuguese or even "Bwhrha", "Kigwnrhy" or "Tpxnrhy" to a fictional improvised Marshmellonish that, exception to Marshmellonish that was created for me, fit in their banners.

What I am trying to say is: Just because you read it in English and it was wrote in English this doesn't means that GRRM made the Common Tongue another name English, however you can even use any real world language name, it just means that he wouldn't create a new language and write a book to just him understand. If Common Tongue was named with an another name less doubtful than "Common Tongue", as "Marshmellonish", almost 20 years ago this Topic wouldn't never be started. To be fair: This do not denies that "Common Tongue" can actually be English.

I think this is a very good point.

However much you want to look at individual words or names that might or might not derive from English or any other language, the fact remains that you can't just apply that logic, because the languages we have nowadays won't resemble the language that is spoken in a place like Westeros (and that not even includes the fantastical elements).

English as spoken in a time in which a world of Westeros might be part of, sounds nothing like the English we have today. And that is true for most languages. Common language in the books is English we have today. True, GRRM doesn't use all the modern words we have today and the dialogue might sound 'older', but that doesn't mean the language doesn't carry all the changes and variations that happened over the last few hundred years. So Common is today's English. In the English books. Just like it is German in the German books. Otherwise the translators wouldn't go through so much pains and translate the names and places to make it sounds natural in that specific language.

(on that note, the new translations in German have taken it a bit far with the exact translations. But reading a discussion like this, I can actually see why that is important and a good thing. It's believable and although you read it as all made up and foreign, the language is so familiar that you ultimately wonder if it is or is not the actual real language they speak in that world)

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I've read that thread a few weeks ago, before i even started posting on this forum, and forgot about it. I just remembered it, so i came here to tell you this:

StannisandDeany, wtf is wrong with you? It's just so incredibly obvious that you're wrong, it makes me crazy how you react to the arguments of other people.

I normally don't react that strongly in a discussion, much less online on a forum, but there REALLY is no point in arguing with you, it's like talking to a rock...

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Why does it have to be automatically English because it's comprehensibly written in the language of the author and the first people who'll read the novels? It's a somewhat solipsistic viewpoint. I've read novels in translation where the language was so beautiful it didn't matter they were translations. And the Common Tongue comes across as natural English because it's by an English speaking author. I already stated that the characters in Ivanhoe, for instance, are actually speaking in Norman and Anglo-Saxon, but it doesn't deviate in any sense from the natural English quality of the characters' lines. You might as well say that Shakespeare was inferring the Romans were speaking historically in English in his Roman plays, merely because it was the language they were written in because he happened to be English? The argument makes no sense.

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