"Shakespearean" dialogue.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by EtphTheElephant, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. EtphTheElephant

    EtphTheElephant Advanced Elephant Veteran

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    I just recently finished playing the remake of Final Fantasy Tactics and the dialogue, which was changed from plain english to a shakespearean english; really left an impact on me. I personally found it more understandable and overall gave more impact to the dialogue.

    So my question is, what do you guys think of it? Do players like this type of dialogue?
     
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  2. Silent Darkness

    Silent Darkness Robomage Veteran

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    Some people don't like deliberately complex vocabulary. I don't mind it, as long as it's tasteful.
     
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  3. UNphiltered_khaos

    UNphiltered_khaos Game Dev. Artist. Veteran

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    Phylomortis. It's apparently the game with THE most complex engilish known to man. I haven't done much with it, but it was a brainbuster from what I had seen.

    I don't really like Shakespearean/Old english. I don't mind a peppering of more complex words, but old english to me is a dead language. More so than Latin. 
     
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  4. Narcissus

    Narcissus Master of Matters Veteran

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    I don't mind it. I perfectly fine with reading complex dialogue as long it looks like the writer actually knows what they are saying. It can give a more dramatic affect when done properly, but looks silly if done otherwise. 
     
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  5. BadMinotaur

    BadMinotaur You can do it! Veteran

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    As others have said, it's not for every game. FFT:WotL handled it pretty well I thought -- they made sure that even if you didn't really know what words they were using, you could infer it from context. That's really important. Another really cool thing they did is they had the Lucavai use an even older form of English with different sentence structures and archaic uses of words (when Belias reveals himself, I remember the line "With me do now treat", which means essentially "Make a treaty with me"/"Make a pact with me" in a more modern tongue). And lowlifes and really low-class commoners also had a different way of speaking that was really highlighted thanks to the high-talk of the rest of the cast in the game (almost all of them nobles).
     
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  6. Ralpf

    Ralpf Veteran Veteran

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    FFT:WOTL definitely did a very good job, though a comparison to the original really isn't a good comparison, because the original English translation was horrible.

    I like "Shakespearean" style dialog in general, as long as it's well done.
     
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  7. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I have no problems with it in terms of comprehension. However, I am aware that if English is not your first language, it can make things difficult. As I want my games to reach as wide an audience as possible, I therefore tend to do dialogue with simpler sentence construction and vocabulary.
     
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  8. whitesphere

    whitesphere Veteran Veteran

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    It depends on how well I can comprehend the Shakespearean dialogue.  Also, it really must make sense in-universe.   When I remembered reading Shakespearean English in high school (and I'm a very avid reader), I would often get really strange meanings from the text, until I read the side notes that said "This is what they mean here"  So, dialogue like that could easily lead me on wild goose chases, which I'm not fond of.  In that version of English, a lot of colloquial constructions and phrases mean VERY different things than we think they do.

    The whole "Blood is thicker than water" for example?  We have it precisely backwards.  The intent of the original phrase was that shared water (as in brothers-in-arms in the military) means more than heritage --- which it absolutely DOES in the military.

    If I take the original Dragon Warrior had a faux Ye Olde English feel to it, which was kind of cute.   But at least I could understand what they were saying. If a game just had old fashioned dialogue and I couldn't understand the dialogue, I would stop playing the game. 

    The real key is that whatever the NPCs and players say must be understandable to the player.  It would be the same if, say, a Star Trek universe RPG had Klingons speaking (and writing) actual Klingon.  While it makes perfect sense, in universe, it would annoy players who weren't fluent in Klingon.  Another example would be me trying to play a JRPG still in its native Japanese.  Even a bad English translation is far more useful to me than great Japanese text, since I'm not fluent in Japanese.

    Now, a case in point is that J.R.R. Tolkien was so in love with languages, he created his in-universe languages and wrote the Lord of the Rings saga solely to use said languages.  And it certainly did NOT hurt the fame or wealth he received for the novels.  Of course, in his novels he could explain the language in detail in an appendix and make sure the word's meanings were obvious from context. 

    Clarity is important.  If you can do that with unique languages, that can really add a unique flavor to the speaker(s) using the language.  But if you don't make the meaning clear, it's more trouble than it's worth.
     
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  9. EtphTheElephant

    EtphTheElephant Advanced Elephant Veteran

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    Tis true.

     Interesting. Universe-wise I think it might work to a certain extent because my game is set on a medieval era. However, when I look at the portraits for my characters I think some of them may not be fit to speak in thees or thous. It somewhat of a contradiction.
     
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  10. whitesphere

    whitesphere Veteran Veteran

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    Interestingly, my mom wrote a historical novel set in the Mayflower era.  The hardest part for her was balancing the authenticity of the language with the understandability for the readers.  For her, it dwarfed the difficulty of making the actual plot.

    If you're aiming for a historically accurate period piece type Medieval era game, then it's good to research the exact language nuances used at the time and nation.  And, to add to the fun, as you pointed out, commoners would speak a radically different language than nobility. 

    For example, the Church was very focused on Latin, but I don't think the Mass was given in Latin until 1963 (Vatican Reformation).  And it was probably somewhat common for (well read) nobles in that era who dealt with other countries to speak those languages fluently, since they needed that fluency in their day to day work.

    That's also part of why I avoid using different languages in my games --- I don't like doing extensive research to make a game.  And, if my Medieval games are fantasy (as they all are), adding in powerful magic already totally changes the world anyways, so I don't try for historical accuracy.

    Now, if your RPG is trying for a "It was the normal Medieval world we know until Magic Returned when the Fae returned from their 2,000 Year Journey Across the Planes" then historical accuracy makes for a very interesting RPG.    And you get to explore how Magic would affect an already existing and functioning Medieval society.

    Sort of like how the 1632 novel series sort-of tries for historical accuracy which plays well into the series main theme.
     
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  11. Doobles

    Doobles That guy... Veteran

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    Shakespearean in its essence is very difficult for someone who only understands modern English to understand, as I've read a few of his plays and some of the dialogue is not as straightforward and easy as one would think.  While I think it is interesting, I think it can be unnecessary depending on your game setting.  If it is set in a fantasy world separate from our own completely, I see no real point in having it one way or the other, but in some historical games it would be cool for accuracy.  I would appreciate it sprinkled in, but full blown you'd lose me I guess is my opinion here.
     
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  12. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Doobles is right about it being more complex than we might initially think, and getting 'archaic' English wrong is both easy and jarring.  For example, an earlier post mentioned 'thee' and 'thou'.  I've seen games where those are dropped in, but alongside modern verbal forms. For example, I've seen "thou would" , "thou thinks" and "give to thee".  Nope, that should be "thou wouldst" and "thou thinketh", and in many instances "give unto thee".  It's safer, in my opinion, to stick to verbal forms that people are familiar with - there are enough examples of poor grammar in games without adding to the problem.
     
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  13. Kaelan

    Kaelan Veteran Veteran

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    I love the English used in FFT. It added a lot to the game, specifically because of how the game works (it wouldn't really work in any other Ivalice game). It's not really Shakespearean English though (if you've ever read Shakespeare, FFT is much clearer and easier to understand), and it's definitely not Old English

    That said, the translators are very good at what they do. I'm not sure I would trust some other RM developer to get it right, especially when it's so very very easy to get wrong.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2014
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  14. Heretic86

    Heretic86 Veteran Veteran

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    I like Shakespeare if it is genuine real Shakespeare, written by the man himself.  In games, it tends to blow chunks and bores me to death.  Imitation Shakespeare is not the same as genuine real Shakespeare, and I doubt any of us are up to his wordsmithy-ness as he was.
     
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  15. MyLordRobinson

    MyLordRobinson Emperor of Carnelia Veteran

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    I think Final Fantasy XII did a great job with using European accents in characters.
     
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  16. Kaelan

    Kaelan Veteran Veteran

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    What I meant by "it's not Shakespeare":




    I'm not a native speaker, and I don't see anything hard to understand there.
     
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  17. whitesphere

    whitesphere Veteran Veteran

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    I agree there is nothing hard to understand there. But if someone really uses authentic period speech it would be very difficult for most people to understand.

    I think stylized speech to convey an accent is great as long as it's easily understood. There is a fine line between the two.
     
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  18. Heretic86

    Heretic86 Veteran Veteran

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    Think Shakespeare is hard?  Try understanding Middle English, or English from around the year 1200 or so.  It is so different than the English we use today that communication is nearly impossible for most people.  Same thing with Shakespeare, but to a lesser degree.

    Dost thoust perchance offer sustinance for a pittance of schillings?

    Is that a good price for a burger?

    Big difference.  Many people get so distracted by the language that they miss the story.
     
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  19. whitesphere

    whitesphere Veteran Veteran

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    @Heretic86

    I remember that quite well when we read Canterbury Tales in English in High School.  They had one page showing the Old English the story was written in and the page next to it in current English.  I could very rarely make heads or tails of the Old English.

    Shakespeare, at the very least, I could understand to a degree.

    I think that's what's called "linguistic drift" --- language changes over time.  Shakespeare was 400 years ago, but the first written epic, Beowulf, was over 1000 years ago, if I remember right. 

    Assuming people are still writing on physical media in 1000 years, I wonder what the language will look like then.
     
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  20. cabfe

    cabfe Cool Cat Veteran

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    Funny that I understand that old English sentence rather well. Most probably because it has some French-originated words in it.

    As for old and modern English, the difference is the same degree in all other languages.

    Old French is so different that sometimes, even a word still in usage today had a different meaning back then.

    There's a popular comedy movie ("Les Visiteurs") which played on this. It featured middle-age characters sent to our modern era, but still spoke their old language.

    It was so non-understandable that they had to put subtitles (probably for a greater comical effect, but still).
     
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