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  1. #1
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    Orcish as a real learnable language?

    (Side Note: I thought this would be the appropriate forum for my thread. If not, my apologies!)

    Dear everyone,

    I'm an aspiring linguist from the Netherlands, currently residing in the Czech Republic.
    Warcraft has been one of the things I've started to love really much over the past 8 years.
    I've been searching for a project to work on related to my aspiring profession, and last week I had this really interesting idea: What if Orcish was an intelligible language people would actually be able to learn?

    So, I've been doing some reading and thinking, and managed to come up with some ideas of how their language system could work. I made some notes and a list of rough translations of what seemed to be correct to me.
    My sources were mainly wowwiki.com, Warcraft 3, and some other websites I stumbled upon via Google.
    Sadly, the part of the Orcish language deemed to be canonical material is very minimal, and so this would require some imagination and modification.

    There is one thing that I want to clarify, namely why I chose the Orcish language over everything else.
    Well, Orcish seems to be the most abundant 'alien' language throughout all of Warcraft's history, and so the impression we have of what the language sounds like is way greater than any of the others.
    The mutually intelligible Alliance language, Common, seems to be a mix of mainly English and Latin, and not intended to be a a loose not already existing language. Or at least Blizzard doesn't seem to be very continuous with the flow of the Common language. That's why I think Orcish would be more convenient to address.
    My personal favorite Warcraft languages are Taurahe and Darnassian, and maybe they do require some more future attention.

    However, if you are interested in this and would like to give it some insights or criticism. Please let me hear of you!

    Link: http://draconequus.com/languages/orcish/index.pdf

    __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________

    Guys, since I want to involve you all as much as possible in this project. Why not brainstorm a little together?
    There are so many words the language still needs, it would be great to receive as much shared community input as possible.
    The document has been updated with an alphabet of all the letters found in already existing Orcish words.
    Submit any ideas and suggestions you have and I'll implement them in the document as long as they sound Orcish enough.
    Be sure to submit not already existing words, and pay attention to the usage of (already existing) root words.
    Last edited by mmoc6b3c9b7e51; 2014-12-17 at 02:02 PM.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    I don't believe so, sadly. The words an Alliance player sees when a Horde character talks and vice-versa was figured out to be an algorithm made up of mostly gibberish (A=Z, R=X, etc. or something like that). Then again I'm remembering this from a forum post in Vanilla, so not sure if anything's changed or been revealed since then.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by zozobra View Post
    zug zug...
    I think this is interesting but one of the main things that one hold people back from wanting to learn this is that it isn't "official". It would be a fake version of a fake language and who really wants to spend time learning that?

  5. #5
    Immortal Stormspark's Avatar
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    Right now, it's like Klingon when Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out. Sounds suggestive of a language, and a few specific defined phrases, but not actually a full language. But then later on a professional linguist came into the picture and actually developed it into a full language.

    Orcish is the same thing. It's not a real language right now, but it could become one just like Klingon did if some linguists decided they wanted it to be one.
    Last edited by Stormspark; 2014-12-15 at 05:05 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by dippinsawse View Post
    I think this is interesting but one of the main things that one hold people back from wanting to learn this is that it isn't "official". It would be a fake version of a fake language and who really wants to spend time learning that?
    Klingon and Sindarin speakers would like to have a nerdy word with you. While I would personally get more enjoyment out of learning real languages, I can see why someone would be interested in decoding WoW's. However, the problem is that WoW's languages are made up of word filters and do not have the depth of either of the aforementioned fictional languages. There's just almost nothing to base it on.

  7. #7
    Deleted
    Oh, Brno, let's go have a beer

  8. #8
    Immortal Stormspark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fumu View Post
    Klingon and Sindarin speakers would like to have a nerdy word with you. While I would personally get more enjoyment out of learning real languages, I can see why someone would be interested in decoding WoW's. However, the problem is that WoW's languages are made up of word filters and do not have the depth of either of the aforementioned fictional languages. There's just almost nothing to base it on.
    Actually, WOW languages *in-game* are only made up of word filters. In lore, they are full languages. And if you look at the wowpedia page for say Orcish, there are a LOT of phrases listed that the word filters in game don't do. Lok'tar ogar for example. But you are correct, right now the language IRL only consists of those few known phrases. There is no grammar or syntax because none was ever developed.

    But like I said before, that's how Klingon started too. And then a professional linguist decided to develop it into a full language, and now it's a full language with its own grammar, syntax, vocabulary, etc. The same thing could happen with Orcish, but someone would have to actually develop all the missing pieces. And Blizzard wouldn't be able to do this, it would need linguists to do it.

    Klingon started out as basically random sounds that James "Scotty" Doohan thought up. It was really just grunts and a few other sounds suggestive of a language, that sounded really "alien". But then Marc Okrand decided to take that and develop it into a real language, and he succeeded.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Okrand
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klingon_language

  9. #9
    Deleted
    I support this 100%
    as a way of being full on horde/orc fan I would so much like to learn a few or more phrases of orcish.
    If a massive word guide will be made. it proberly wont be canon from blizz
    But it will in my heart
    DO you need any kind of help!?

  10. #10
    If someone makes this, please make free 'Rosetta Stone' style video tutorial clips so we can all learn. Cheers!
    Last edited by Cheerbleeder; 2014-12-15 at 05:57 PM.

  11. #11
    Mechagnome Nah's Avatar
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    I am super excited to see this thread. I'm not much of a linguist, but I had started to tackle Draconic. Later I decided I didn't like how 90% of the existing words sounded, so I went about working on a language that makes more sense for such fangly creatures to feasibly speak instead. It hasn't really gone anywhere in a while. Perhaps I could give common a go.


  12. #12
    I am Murloc! Azutael's Avatar
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    There are some phrases and words in various Warcraft languages that have had their meaning "confirmed", but as a whole there's not a lot to go on.
    Blizzard probably have more information that's not available to the public, of course.

  13. #13
    The Insane Revi's Avatar
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    Sounds like a cool project Best of luck!

    If you really want to make it a full language, Blizzard might be able to give you some additional stuff to go on.. No idea if they'd want to help, but worth a shot.

  14. #14
    Deleted
    Hello again,
    Thank you all for your replies, I'm very happy to see it sparked up some interest

    I would just like to clarify one thing: The Orcish filter algorithm used in-game indeed doesn't give us what we would want from an official language, because it's just made-up jibberish designed to look like Orcish.
    But you should know that Blizzard did confirm a couple of translations, and can therefore be deemed official/canonical.
    You can find more information about that here: http://www.wowwiki.com/Orcish
    A lot of the words I have translated so far were mostly stripped from words on the page I just linked in a way that seemed to make sense.
    We can probably expect more official Orcish from the official WoW movie, whenever that releases. And maybe there are things that I missed from the latest WoD content.

    It's true, if this project continues, it will likely mean that most of the language will be fan-created content. But that doesn't mean that it cannot become the official language.
    And who knows, maybe if it gains enough popularity we could expect some input from Blizzard?
    I did send them an email last week, requesting their thoughts on the subject. So far no response.
    But if the Star Trek and Avatar communities can achieve something like this, then why can't we?

    @Mrglanex:
    Thank you a lot for your offer. The project could most likely use more people, but I'm not yet sure how to organize such a thing.

    @Nah:
    I would highly encourage you to continue
    Developing a language for your own is such a great brain exercise because it requires a lot of deep thinking and analyzing of information you know from already existing language. And unlike drawing or something it doesn't require any visual output, which shouldn't make it that hard.
    Maybe we could indeed use a counterpart of Orcish, because we also need to keep the Alliance side happy.
    A few days ago I developed a language as quickly and easily as possible, maybe it can give you some inspiration: Link

    @MartenusPrince:
    Another person from Brno? Awesome!
    I would definitely say yes, but unfortunately I have to stay off the alcohol for a while due to some medical stuff.
    Last edited by mmoc6b3c9b7e51; 2014-12-15 at 08:19 PM.

  15. #15
    Pandaren Monk Throren's Avatar
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    You'd be better off learning/developing orcish/black speech from tolkien's work as they are derived from his eleven languages which are fully fleshed out and able to be learnt and spoken fluently.

    One met a guy who could carry on a 30+min conversation in elven. Crazy stuff.

  16. #16
    Deleted
    @Azutael:
    True that. For now we have to work with what we have. Maybe we'll get to know more about the language as the time passes.

    @Revi:
    Thank ya, I hope it will work out. And we'll see I guess.
    Gotta start out small.

    @Throren:
    Shh, don't say that!
    But yeah, I've heard of the Elven language, sounds pretty awesome.

  17. #17
    Mechagnome Nah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murkrow View Post
    @Nah:
    I would highly encourage you to continue
    Developing a language for your own is such a great brain exercise because it requires a lot of deep thinking and analyzing of information you know from already existing language. And unlike drawing or something it doesn't require any visual output, which shouldn't make it that hard.
    Maybe we could indeed use a counterpart of Orcish, because we also need to keep the Alliance side happy.
    A few days ago I developed a language as quickly and easily as possible, maybe it can give you some inspiration: Link
    I have an extremely simple English-based language I made some time ago called N'sek. At its base is a simple letter replacement formula, much like FF10's Al Bhed. I just tweaked individual spelling and conjugation rules from there, but my alterations aren't well documented so I tend to mostly use the simplified version. Not that I'm actually using it for anything. Pad lo sun myiboug un raydo ayd roumenupiki jhok! (But I can speak and write it reasonably well!)


  18. #18
    Deleted
    I'd rather see Thalassian first.

  19. #19
    If I remember they said something about the Orcish language at blizzcon. They were getting someone in to flesh it out for the movie into something more than a few phrases.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Everything Nice View Post
    While an Alliance player saying "lol" will show as "Bur" to the horde, so will dozens of other three-letter arrangements.
    And lol going in the other direction is kek.

    The question is though, when playing an orc, people just use their own language, so where I am, orcish is in fact english. Sometimes spanish in certain raid groups.

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