History Main / LanguageEqualsThought

22nd Sep '16 8:18:02 PM nombretomado
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* In ''Ben10UltimateAlien'', Galapagus repeats many times in his premier episode that his people do not have words for "prison", "war", etc, to show that they not engage in violent acts. It makes a great drinking game because of everytime he talks about how his people are peaceful.

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* In ''Ben10UltimateAlien'', ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien'', Galapagus repeats many times in his premier episode that his people do not have words for "prison", "war", etc, to show that they not engage in violent acts. It makes a great drinking game because of everytime he talks about how his people are peaceful.
10th Sep '16 6:19:17 AM Xtifr
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* ''Babel-17'' by Creator/SamuelRDelany is built wholly around this trope. The smallest (and least spoilish) example is a race of aliens whose language is based almost entirely around temperature gradients but have no word for "house" -- because of this, they build incomprehensible starships that look like a mass of strung-together boiled eggs. And of course, the titular language [[spoiler: enables extremely fast thinking and enhanced spatial awareness]]. More relevant to this trope, that language has no words for [[spoiler: "I" or "you"]] and thus twists the outlooks of those who speak it.

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* ''Babel-17'' ''Literature/Babel17'' by Creator/SamuelRDelany is built wholly around this trope. The smallest (and least spoilish) example is a race of aliens whose language is based almost entirely around temperature gradients but have no word for "house" -- because of this, they build incomprehensible starships that look like a mass of strung-together boiled eggs. And of course, the titular language [[spoiler: enables extremely fast thinking and enhanced spatial awareness]]. More relevant to this trope, that language has no words for [[spoiler: "I" or "you"]] and thus twists the outlooks of those who speak it.
15th Aug '16 4:26:14 PM ImpudentInfidel
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*** There's also mention of a Borogravian folk song called "Plogviehze", which means [[TranslationYes "The Sun Has Risen, Let's Make War!"]] Vimes notes that it takes a very special history to get that into one word.

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*** There's also mention of a Borogravian folk song called "Plogviehze", which means [[TranslationYes "The Sun Has Risen, Let's Make War!"]] Vimes notes that it takes a very special history to get that into one word. The song also includes a phrase that roughly translates to "glowing opportunity" but more literally means "a great big fish"; this is what clues Vimes in that the country is not just backwards, but ''completely insane''.
6th Aug '16 8:02:45 AM thatmadork
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** The Dark Eldar of Commorragh speak their own distinct dialect of the wider Eldar language, [[BlackSpeech which is known for emphasising harsh consonants and using comparatively aggressive inflections of common concepts]]. They have several ways of describing pain which are considered unnecessarily specific by most other Eldar.
24th Jul '16 5:08:58 PM StarSword
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* The Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' series has a bioengineered creature used by the Yuuzhan Vong invaders that seems to be a ShoutOut to ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''--the tizoworm, a little wriggly thing one places in one's ear that translates for one. However, bred as it was by Yuuzhan Vong, it doesn't really have a word for "peace".

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* The Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' ''Franchise/StarWarsLegends'':
** ''The Literature/NewJediOrder''
series has a bioengineered creature used by the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Yuuzhan Vong invaders invaders]] that seems to be a ShoutOut to ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''--the tizoworm, a little wriggly thing one places in one's ear that translates for one. However, bred as it was by Yuuzhan Vong, it doesn't really have a word for "peace".



** A ''Star Wars Magazine'' article on Mandalorians claims they have no word for "hero" -- not because they have no concept of heroism, but because they take it for granted. The closest they come is the insult "hut'uun", which means "one who is not a hero". The article does claim "hero" means "prepared to die for your family and friends, or what you hold dear," which has [[CreatorProvincialism historically been most cultures]]' idea of [[HumansAreWarriors "dignified behavior"]], not "hero" (which tends to involve, as mentioned in the formula of many military honors, "above and beyond").
** ''Mando'a'' also does not have gendered pronouns or make any difference between "friend" and "sibling." If you've seen enough battles with a Mando, you might as well be his brother. The culture also has a proverb that translates to "family is more than blood"

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** A ''Star Wars Magazine'' article on Mandalorians claims they have no word for "hero" -- not because they have no concept of heroism, but because they take it for granted. The closest they come is the insult "hut'uun", which means "one who is not a hero". The article does claim "hero" means "prepared to die for your family and friends, or what you hold dear," which has [[CreatorProvincialism historically been most cultures]]' idea of [[HumansAreWarriors "dignified behavior"]], not "hero" (which tends to involve, as mentioned in the formula of many military honors, "above and beyond"). \n** ''Mando'a'' as set down by Creator/KarenTraviss' ''Literature/RepublicCommandoSeries'' also does not have gendered pronouns or make any difference between "friend" and "sibling." If you've seen enough battles with a Mando, you might as well be his brother. The culture also has a proverb that translates to "family is more than blood"



* In the penultimate episode of ''[[Series/BabylonFive Babylon 5]]'', Delenn describes how when she was learning English, she had difficulty with the word "goodbye"[[note]]For values of "goodbye" more equal to "goodbye forever," or perhaps the most exacting form of "sayonara"[[/note]] because there is no corresponding word in any Minbari language:

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* In the penultimate episode of ''[[Series/BabylonFive Babylon 5]]'', ''Series/BabylonFive'', Delenn describes how when she was learning English, she had difficulty with the word "goodbye"[[note]]For values of "goodbye" more equal to "goodbye forever," or perhaps the most exacting form of "sayonara"[[/note]] because there is no corresponding word in any Minbari language:



** In Creator/HarlanEllison's original teleplay for "The City on the Edge of Forever", the Guardians of Forever had some difficulty explaining the danger posed by a renegade Enterprise crewman:
--->'''Guardian:''' The man Beckwith... he is a serious impediment in the Time-flow. He is scar-tissue. A clot in the bloodstream. Do you know the concept "evil"?
--->'''Kirk:''' ''(tensely)'' We do.

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** In Creator/HarlanEllison's original teleplay for "The City on the Edge of Forever", the Guardians of Forever had some difficulty explaining the danger posed by a renegade Enterprise ''Enterprise'' crewman:
--->'''Guardian:''' The man Beckwith... he is a serious impediment in the Time-flow. He is scar-tissue. A clot in the bloodstream. Do you know the concept "evil"?
--->'''Kirk:'''
"evil"?\\
'''Kirk:'''
''(tensely)'' We do.



** Quark states during "Let He Who Is Without Sin" that Ferenginar's awful climate has led to the Ferengi language having 178 different words for rain.

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** Quark states during "Let He Who Is Without Sin" that Ferenginar's awful climate has led to the Ferengi language having 178 different words for rain. Moments later he points out that there's no word for "crisp" on Ferenginar.



** Moments later he points out that there's no word for "crisp" on Ferenginar.
* In ''Series/{{Blackadder}} Goes Forth'', Blackadder claims that the Germans have no word for "fluffy" as an evidence of Teutonic brutality.[[note]]Germans ''do'' have a word for "fluffy". Actually more than six. They're ''flaumig'', ''flauschig'', ''fluffig'', ''plüschig'', ''puschelig'', ''kuschelweich'' and depending on context ''schaumig'' or ''flockig''. Eh, RuleOfFunny.[[/note]]

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** Moments later he points out that there's no word for "crisp" on Ferenginar.
* In ''Series/{{Blackadder}} Goes Forth'', Blackadder claims that the Germans have no word for "fluffy" as an evidence of Teutonic brutality.[[note]]Germans ''do'' This is probably RuleOfFunny: Germans actually have a word for "fluffy". Actually more than six.six words for "fluffy". They're ''flaumig'', ''flauschig'', ''fluffig'', ''plüschig'', ''puschelig'', ''kuschelweich'' and depending on context ''schaumig'' or ''flockig''. Eh, RuleOfFunny.[[/note]]



* The Dragons in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' make no distinction between "debating" and "fighting"--two dragons breathing fire at each other are just having a particularly [[{{Pun}} heated]] argument. Furthermore, dragons' thoughts when voiced are able to [[RealityWarper alter reality]], so when they [[MakeMeWannaShout Shout]] they are not merely casting a spell, but willing fire into existence with a word. Language Equals Thought Equals Being, in other words.
** This is eventually exploited and weaponized. Dragons have words for the concepts of "mortal," "finite," and "temporary," but as immortal Aedric beings they will never truly grasp them like they do the words for fire, ice and so forth. The "Dragonrend" Shout uses those words to [[BrownNote briefly force dragons to experience concepts utterly antithetical to their very nature]], leaving them temporarily unable to Shout or fly.

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* The Dragons in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' make no distinction between "debating" and "fighting"--two dragons breathing fire at each other are just having a particularly [[{{Pun}} heated]] argument. Furthermore, dragons' thoughts when voiced are able to [[RealityWarper alter reality]], so when they [[MakeMeWannaShout Shout]] they are not merely casting a spell, but willing fire into existence with a word. Language Equals Thought Equals Being, in other words.
** This is eventually exploited and weaponized. Dragons have words for the concepts of "mortal," "finite," and "temporary," but as immortal Aedric beings they will never truly grasp them like they do the words for fire, ice and so forth. The "Dragonrend" Shout uses those words to [[BrownNote briefly force dragons to experience concepts utterly antithetical to their very nature]], leaving them temporarily unable to Shout or fly.
''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':


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** The Dragons in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' make no distinction between "debating" and "fighting"--two dragons breathing fire at each other are just having a particularly [[{{Pun}} heated]] argument. Furthermore, dragons' thoughts when voiced are able to [[RealityWarper alter reality]], so when they [[MakeMeWannaShout Shout]] they are not merely casting a spell, but willing fire into existence with a word. Language equals Thought Equals Being, in other words. This is {{exploited}} with the "Dragonrend" ''thu'um'': Dragons have words for the concepts of "mortal," "finite," and "temporary," but as immortal Aedric beings they will never truly grasp them like they do the words for fire, ice and so forth. "Dragonrend" uses those words to [[BrownNote briefly force dragons to experience concepts utterly antithetical to their very nature]], leaving them temporarily unable to Shout or fly.
24th Jul '16 4:59:46 PM StarSword
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* ''Fanfic/AGoodCompromise'' has Captain Kanril Eleya of the Federation Starship ''Bajor'' introduce herself in Bajoran as "'''Colonel''' Kanril Eleya of the Federation '''Spacecraft''' ''Bajor''". The Bajoran she's talking to also addresses her as Colonel Kanril.

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* ''Fanfic/AGoodCompromise'' ''Fanfic/AChangedWorld'' has Captain Kanril Eleya of the Federation Starship ''Bajor'' introduce herself in Bajoran as "'''Colonel''' Kanril Eleya of the Federation '''Spacecraft''' ''Bajor''". The Bajoran she's talking to also addresses her as Colonel Kanril.
24th Jul '16 4:59:10 PM StarSword
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[[folder:Fan Fiction]]

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[[folder:Fan Fiction]]Works]]


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* ''Fanfic/AGoodCompromise'' has Captain Kanril Eleya of the Federation Starship ''Bajor'' introduce herself in Bajoran as "'''Colonel''' Kanril Eleya of the Federation '''Spacecraft''' ''Bajor''". The Bajoran she's talking to also addresses her as Colonel Kanril.
16th Jul '16 3:02:50 PM VVK
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* In ''WebComic/SluggyFreelance'', the inhabitants of [[SugarBowl the Dimension of Lame]] normally have extremely wonderful days but sometimes have to tolerate a rather nice day to appreciate how wonderful the other days are. As a result, "rather nice" is about the worst descriptor they can apply to a state of affairs, even when they are invaded by the LegionsOfHell. After a while, one of them does come to the realisation that "This isn't even hardly nice!"
1st Jul '16 8:45:59 AM MCanter89
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The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity Sapir–Whorf hypothesis]] states that a person's language, through its vocabulary and structure, shapes the way that person perceives reality, thinks, and behaves. In RealLife, this theory is very controversial; it comes in a semi-infinite variety of interpretations, some of which are trivially false ("if you don't have a word for it, you can't think about it"), some trivially true ("it's a lot easier to speak intelligibly about things you've got words for"), and many untested, possibly untestable.[[note]]Hypotheses in science are defined as being testable and falsifiable. That means none of these things count as hypotheses until you've come up with an experiment to test them with. People go right on saying "hypothesis" when they mean "conjecture;" linguists get really mad, nobody learns anything, and [[YouKeepUsingThatWord We Keep Using That Word]] anyway.[[/note]] Regardless, this makes for an interesting device in fiction, particularly for characterizing a PlanetOfHats through their vocabulary (grammatical structures can also indicate a certain way of thought, but vocabulary is easier to write about without a comprehensive background in linguistics). For instance, one can characterize a [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy very warlike race]] by saying that they have no words for "peace" or "surrender"; conversely, the inhabitants of a pacifist MarySuetopia may lack a word for "war" or "hate".[[note]]In RealLife, of course, you get [[RealityIsUnrealistic inconvenient facts]] like that the Apache—whose 19th-century economy was ''40%'' goods taken in armed raids—have no words for "war" or "raiding", they just call them, respectively, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "killing strangers" and "robbing strangers"]].[[/note]]

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The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity Sapir–Whorf hypothesis]] states that a person's language, through its vocabulary and structure, shapes the way that person perceives reality, thinks, and behaves. In RealLife, this theory is very controversial; it comes in a semi-infinite variety of interpretations, some of which are trivially false ("if you don't have a word for it, you can't think about it"), some trivially true ("it's a lot easier to speak intelligibly about things you've got words for"), and many untested, possibly untestable.[[note]]Hypotheses in science are defined as being testable and falsifiable. That means none of these things count as hypotheses until you've come up with an experiment to test them with. People go right on saying "hypothesis" when they mean "conjecture;" linguists get really mad, nobody learns anything, and [[YouKeepUsingThatWord We Keep Using That Word]] anyway.[[/note]] Regardless, this makes for an interesting device in fiction, particularly for characterizing a PlanetOfHats through their vocabulary (grammatical structures can also indicate a certain way of thought, but vocabulary is easier to write about without a comprehensive background in linguistics). For instance, one can characterize a [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy very warlike race]] by saying that they have no words for "peace" or "surrender"; conversely, the inhabitants of a pacifist MarySuetopia may lack a word for "war" or "hate".[[note]]In RealLife, of course, you get [[RealityIsUnrealistic inconvenient facts]] like that the Apache—whose 19th-century economy was ''40%'' goods taken in armed raids—have no words for "war" or "raiding", "raiding"; they just call them, respectively, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "killing strangers" and "robbing strangers"]].[[/note]]
30th Jun '16 10:33:40 PM PaulA
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* In Creator/DavidEddings' ''Literature/TheElenium'' setting, this pops up with the Troll language in the later trilogy, when the knights have a working alliance with the Trolls. Turns out the Trolls don't have a word for 'I'm sorry', 'I apologize', or even anything close to it, since a troll never does anything he's sorry for. In this case, it's not supposed to show them as particularly virtuous, but rather as childlike -- or even animal-like -- innocents.

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* In Creator/DavidEddings' ''Literature/TheElenium'' setting, ''Literature/TheTamuli'', this pops up with the Troll language in the later trilogy, when the knights have a working alliance with the Trolls. Turns out the Trolls don't have a word for 'I'm sorry', 'I apologize', or even anything close to it, since a troll never does anything he's sorry for. In this case, it's not supposed to show them as particularly virtuous, but rather as childlike -- or even animal-like -- innocents.
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