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KingAlanI

Is Common Tongue really English?

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O.K this is one question that I have never seen answered.



Why does the " Black Gate " accept a vow in " Common Tongue ".



If it is as " old " as we think it is then the " vow " would have needed to be in the " Old Tongue ". If it has never been in use by anybody else or been hidden for countless eon's, then why is the vow now said in the " Common Tongue " that the Andals are said to have brought to Westeros when they crossed the Narrow Sea and killed all the Children south of the neck and burned the Trees and broke the pact.



Seems like if it was a " Stark/Northern " tradition then the " vow " would always remain Old and never Common.


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O.K this is one question that I have never seen answered.

Why does the " Black Gate " accept a vow in " Common Tongue ".

If it is as " old " as we think it is then the " vow " would have needed to be in the " Old Tongue ". If it has never been in use by anybody else or been hidden for countless eon's, then why is the vow now said in the " Common Tongue " that the Andals are said to have brought to Westeros when they crossed the Narrow Sea and killed all the Children south of the neck and burned the Trees and broke the pact.

Seems like if it was a " Stark/Northern " tradition then the " vow " would always remain Old and never Common.

It's an oversight. Since it's supposedly 'magic', you can wave it away by saying it 'looks into the speaker's heart' or 'hears the meaning of the words'.

That said, eh, after 8000 years, any actual mechanism would be broken and there'd be as little in common between Ygritte's Old Tongue and Brandon's as there would be between the original oath and its translation into Common. (Cf. classical Egyptian v. Coptic.) On any accounting, the fort was occupied for thousands of years after the arrival of the Andals: you can just assume that they replaced or 'reprogrammed' the original tree at some point during that time (by torturing a captive CotF if need be).

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And with Andal and First Men languages as bases, since we know Dothraki, for instance, and Valyrian, are completely alien to our own foreign languages, it's unlikely that English was created from non-existing Anglo-Saxon, Latin and Norman sources, or their analogues as it were.

GRRM did base his own Valyrian on Latin. That the linguist hired by the series considered that beneath him and mashed a bunch of random sounds together instead doesn't mean we know anything about how alien it is. (Of course, that may change if GRRM begins adopting more of the guy's translations into his own work.)

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For Realz this is what happened.



Earth got used up and became uninhabitable. England which has it's well known advanced space program managed to send out a last space flight to find a new planet to colonize. This planet was the world of Ice & Fire with all manner of alien creatures like the children and giants, white walkers and dragons. Their space ship crashed and they lost most of their supplies and technology. The Others killed most of them where they landed. The survivors had to go back to fashioning tools from bone because they forgot metal work and well just about everything. They colonized the world and all the while they managed to preserve the English language and also went on to name several places after English towns.



My thesis is based on incontrovertible evidence; Jon Snow "I think the first men came here to get away from something"



See!



See!



He's obviously referring to earth. This also solves the riddle of why they are speaking English as the common tongue



It is known.



Either that or the books are written in English and not some incomprehensible and alien dialect as otherwise nobody would have been able to read them. My advice don't over think it and just go with it. They are obviously not speaking English as English is specific to our planet our world and not some magical fantasy world. There is no way that English could have evolved the same way in a different place. The bazzilion other languages in our own world are testament to that.


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For Realz this is what happened.

Earth got used up and became uninhabitable. England which has it's well known advanced space program managed to send out a last space flight to find a new planet to colonize. This planet was the world of Ice & Fire with all manner of alien creatures like the children and giants, white walkers and dragons. Their space ship crashed and they lost most of their supplies and technology. The Others killed most of them where they landed. The survivors had to go back to fashioning tools from bone because they forgot metal work and well just about everything. They colonized the world and all the while they managed to preserve the English language and also went on to name several places after English towns.

My thesis is based on incontrovertible evidence; Jon Snow "I think the first men came here to get away from something"

See!

See!

He's obviously referring to earth. This also solves the riddle of why they are speaking English as the common tongue

Is it a coincidence that Andal sounds so much like Angle?

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GRRM did base his own Valyrian on Latin. That the linguist hired by the series considered that beneath him and mashed a bunch of random sounds together instead doesn't mean we know anything about how alien it is. (Of course, that may change if GRRM begins adopting more of the guy's translations into his own work.)

This is not at all true. In fact nothing in Valyrian is "Latin"... just take for example "valar morghulis"... if anything sounds like a mash-up of Elvish (the Valar were the Powers of the world and we all remember Minas Morgul the seat of the Witch-king) and plain invention on Martin's part (for example the names which, as he explained, follow a scheme of prefixes Ae-, Mae-, Dae-, Bae- and suffixes -rys, -nys, -gon, -lys, etc). He was just probably aiming at a stereotypical "fantasy language of lore", a common trope in fantasy.

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Groan. Martin is not a linguist, so in his attempt to produce a world with different languages which are not English, but are translatable via his prose as English, sometimes he logically cocked up. Stop being pedantic, people. This thread has been going on longer than a second season filler Monty Python sketch.


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This is kind of a strange conversation. Martin has never said that it was called anything other than the Common Tongue of Westeros. So it's not technically "English" in that it isn't from the country of England, but for all intensive purposes it is "English" in that it uses the same sounds and grammar. Saying Common Tongue=English isn't necessarily wrong, just not being precise.



Obviously not actually English but clearly an identical language. It's a fantasy; this concept isn't terribly hard to swallow.


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The movie "Amadeus" had a nice way of dealing with this issue. All of the music that was originally scored in Latin or Italian was sung in those languages. Everything that was originally scored in German was translated and sung in English, since German was the vernacular language of most of the characters.


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I've been wondering a lot about this too. Obviously there are external, practical reasons why English is the main language - it would be a pain in the arse for everyone involved to have an entire series in a fictitious language. But I still want an in-universe explanation.

For example, in Star Trek, aliens across the galaxy speak English. Why? The universal translator! They're not really speaking English, they're speaking their own language and there's a device which is automatically translating it into English for the Star Trek crew (you just need to ignore the fact that their lips are perfectly in sync with the English).

On this planet, I am so far aware of three languages:

Dothraki - the language of the Dothraki

Valyrian - the language of the Valyrians (plus some others?)

Common - the language of everyone (English)

Now, this is confusing. Why is it that there are all these different ethnic groups, but only two of them have their own language? Did "Common" come from Westeros and spread to Essos, or vice versa? If "Common" spread to Westeros, what was the language of Westeros before Common?

And what language is called "Common" anyway? On our planet, English might be quite "Common", but it's still called English. And it originated around 1500 years ago in what's now England, and was first spoken by the English/Anglo-Saxons. So there's still a specific ethnic origin.

It actually kind of annoys me seeing English referred to simply as "Common" like it's this deracinated universal language with no roots or specific historical and ethnic context. English is a language bourne from a particular ethnic group like every other language. Other people can learn it, but it's still English, from England, from the English people.

If you look at a map, Westeros and Essos is obviously modelled on Britain and mainland Europe. So if we take, for example, the Westerossi, what is their native language? Common? Okay, what is the native language of the non-Dothraki non-Valyrian people of Essos, is that Common too? Doesn't make sense.

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On this planet, I am so far aware of three languages:

Dothraki - the language of the Dothraki

Valyrian - the language of the Valyrians (plus some others?)

Common - the language of everyone (English).

------

You are missing some.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Languages

http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Languages

It actually kind of annoys me seeing English referred to simply as "Common" like it's this deracinated universal language with no roots or specific historical and ethnic context. English is a language bourne from a particular ethnic group like every other language. Other people can learn it, but it's still English, from England, from the English people.

----

It is a simplification which makes the storytelling easier. I think in almost every language the actual word for the own language/people meant people, nation, human or something similar. Common makes sense in this context. You could also call it Andal or Weterosi if you like. If you read the books in English it is English. If you read them in an other language it is Francais, Deutsch, Suomi, Castilian or whatever

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That is beginning to make more sense, I didn't realise the Common Tongue was Andal, now I have a specific people to pin its origins on.



I still don't see why it's called "Common" as opposed to "Andal". In what sense is Andal "Common"? Does it mean common throughout the Seven Kingdoms, or common throughout the known world? Because even people in Essos refers to it as Common. Wouldn't Low Valyrian be The Common Tongue in Essos?


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No. There are MANY languages in the world, GRRM just automatically translates to English.


1. Westeros


Old Tongue-First Men. Read ASOS, it mentions how Thenns from beyond the Wall speak only the Old Tongue.


Common-Andal.


Rhoynar-Dornish have strange accents, so probably existed.


2. Essos


High Valyrian-Throughout ADWD, Dany always speaks in High Valyrian, not Common, with the Meereenese, but to the reader it's always English. This is because making the majority of the dialogue in Valyrian doesn't make sense.


Bastard Valyrian-Spoken throughout the Free Cities. Tyrion knows a bunch of Bastard Valyrian dialects, and speaks in them a lot in ADWD but again, always English. Same with Arya speaking Braavosi.


Ghiscari Valyrian-Every single Meereenese speaks this, but again comes out as English.


Dothraki-Dany's handmaids speak dothraki but again, always English.


Asshai'i-Mel prays in Asshai'i in ACOK so it exists.


Trade Tongue-Probably coined from the Lingua Franca language of the Middle Ages.


There are more, I just can't remember them,


So whenever characters speak English it's not always Common, the language just changes to English to make readers easier. We are told, or can infer from context, the language- When arya speaks in ADWD we can guess it's Braavosi, when Dany speaks to Meereenese we're told it's High Valyrian.... So Common is only the language of the Seven Kingdoms, not the world.


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Is it? Sorry but I don't speak the Old Tongue or Valyrian. I couldn't say how the denominate the Common Tongue.


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It obviously isn't going to be called English, nor is it going to have developed the same way English did in our world, but it is for all intents and purposes the exact language that is being used in the English language books.


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That is beginning to make more sense, I didn't realise the Common Tongue was Andal, now I have a specific people to pin its origins on.

I still don't see why it's called "Common" as opposed to "Andal". In what sense is Andal "Common"? Does it mean common throughout the Seven Kingdoms, or common throughout the known world? Because even people in Essos refers to it as Common. Wouldn't Low Valyrian be The Common Tongue in Essos?

It is the common tongue in Westeros, because it is the primary language of Westeros, whether one is primarily Andal, First Man, Rhoynish, or whatever.

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That is beginning to make more sense, I didn't realise the Common Tongue was Andal, now I have a specific people to pin its origins on.

I still don't see why it's called "Common" as opposed to "Andal". In what sense is Andal "Common"? Does it mean common throughout the Seven Kingdoms, or common throughout the known world? Because even people in Essos refers to it as Common. Wouldn't Low Valyrian be The Common Tongue in Essos?

That is weird, Essosi should call it 'Andalish' or 'Westerosi', not 'Common', which would be Valyrian.

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A lot of confusion here. The Common Tongue is probably not "Andal" in the sense that that is one of its sources, not the whole thing. Just think about English for comparison. You have Saxon, then a lot of French via the Normans and some Norse grammar too because of the Danes and such. So it ends up being a mixture. The English of post-conquest England is nothing like the Anglisc of pre-conquest England. Probably the Andals also borrowed from the First Men and so on.



It is Common because that's how they call it in Westeros. That's not a weird name at all, just think of how we still say "koiné Greek" and "koiné" means exactly that "common". Even if a Meereenese says "Common Tongue" he's probably saying "common" in the language of Westeros, as we do with "koiné" in Greek.



Of course I don't think GRRM thought all this through at all, I don't think he had an idea like Tolkien of this sort of things. Tolkien did have concerns on the names being translated and so forth, but it's not like GRRM would be too, he's said he's no Tolkien or linguist quite a number of times.


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It's actually Rigellian, but by an astounding coincidence, it sounds exactly like English (Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror).


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