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Dec 12th 2017 at 4:25:00 PM •••

Is it a recurring trope in anime where an alien/other worldly language is just English with a strange font? At least that what I've got from "Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?" and "In Another World with My Smartphone". In both works, the main written language is English - which makes me wonder how they could use English as the writing system when speaking Japanese.

Aug 17th 2013 at 9:52:39 AM •••

Moved from Live Action TV.

  • This trope is justified with the Daleks in the Dalek Book 1964. Here it is claimed in a Dalek Dome is a voice machine and translator unit which turns thoughts into speech and is sensitive to whatever language is necessary. It calls this process 'Noise Telepathy'.

I know the Dalek annuals are a mixture of prose and comics. Does anyone know what sort of story this instance of the translator is from?

May 3rd 2012 at 5:07:07 PM •••

Deleted the following Natter in the Live-Action TV Star Trek example.

  • A "brilliant" subversion, until one realizes such a language could never be learned even by its own speakers.
    • Not really. English has quite a few metaphorical phrases that have worked their way into everyday language. One that comes to mine immediately is "balls out" meaning "with all possible effort." A culture which never utilized centripetal-based governors on engines wouldn't have any idea what that means. Which is the Fridge Logic point that episode actually inspires. Even if you could understand the words, the core of the language would still incorporate concepts from their native culture, which the Federation didn't even know enough about to know the language was metaphoric to begin with. It's possible that they were intentionally sticking with "interstellar" references, it's pretty unlikely that they would have enough of a common pool of references to communicate. Even on Earth, imagine an American trying to get someone from Africa to understand he's picking up a bar tab by saying "Gates, his Master Card out."
  • Non-OP here: No, we know those references because we can say "oh, well Bill Gates...yadda yadda yadda." The language in the episode is said to use metaphors ONLY. How can they say "Darmok and Jilad, at Tanagra" if everyone word in that sentence literally has no meaning outside being in the metaphor? It doesn't make sense in any line of thinking. It would be like saying an English speaker "Tiffy wippla shak clammer" and everyone knowing what that means. It just doesn't work in linguistics.
  • Well strictly the language could have evolved from a prior language, having words be replaced by metaphors until no original words are left. But in this case the words effectively cease to be metaphors as they are the only words used to describe ideas. The concept of a language of nothing but metaphors is self-defeating as when only metaphor exists in a language the words cease to be metaphors, they merely have their origins in metaphor.
  • Exactly. I forget who it was, some poet, once said that language is fossilized poetry. Every language is full of words and phrases that were originally metaphors. Also, another problem with it: they figured it out by checking the computer's data banks for legends ... but how would they have ever had information about that culture's legends if they'd never managed to communicate with them? How did they know who Darmok and Jilad were and what they did at Tanagra unless the aliens had told someone that story? And how could the aliens have relayed that story if their language had remained undeciphered?

Mar 17th 2011 at 7:46:51 AM •••

Where would Bizet's Carmen go? It's a French opera set in Spain, with the characters speaking...well, French. Weird. New folder?

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