Saturday, 19 May 2012

More Fun with Accountants in Space – the Space Corsair’s Return

Cover of GURPs: Far Trader - slightly altered
While retrieving files from my old computer, I came across the link to one of my favourite Traveller language generator sites - Space Corsair's Word Generator.

During the development of Classic Traveller, a lot of work was done developing unique phonologies for the languages of the various Major Races, and some of the Minor Races as well. Originally, the results were published in phonology tables where, by working out the vowel/consonant ratio of a syllable, a series of dice rolls would generate completed syllables. These could then be strung together to form words and sentences. If you could remember the pronunciation guide, you could even get a feel for how the language might sound.

This was fun as far as it went, but was also rather time consuming.

Then one day while pootling around on the internet, I stumbled across Space Corsair’s Word Generator.

Control Panel of Space Corsair's Word Generator
As you can see, this programme has a nice, clean and simple front page.

Language selection - 12 on offer
It allows you to select from any one of twelve languages; the Major Race Languages of Vilani and Zhodani, Gurvin (the Hive Federation Common Language), K’kree, Gvegh (one of the major Vargr languages), Trokh, and Oynprith (the Droyne language). The Minor Race languages of Ael Yael, Te-Zlodh (Darrian), Bwap, Ithklur, and Sword World Icelandic are also included, as these are, in all likelihood, the most commonly encountered Official Traveller Universe Minor Races.

Twenty separate two-syllable words generated
With a language selected, the programme allows you to generate multiple words of multiple syllables, or generate sentences of multiple words.

A six-word sentence is generated
The words so generated can be copied from the generator and pasted into a Word Document or Note Pad for later use. I keep a file of one, two and three syllable words which I can access when I need, say, a word in Trokh for a type of drink Aslan prefer, or a Gvegh name for a common household pet.

Unless I am working with existing root words or grammar, (and I have only really explored this in work I have done on Arrghoun – an ancient Vargr language that appears in Alien Module 3: Vargr and which I have adopted for the Vargr of the Hunt of Rronurl in Cabria Subsector) then I usually don’t concern myself with relationships between generated words and possessives or tenses or all those other bits of the structure of language that I really wished I had paid more attention to at school.

Being able to slip some authentic sounding words from another language into the course of your game, especially when your characters are in a multi-species situation, always adds to gaming experience, and it’s even more fun if your Galanglic-speaking Player Characters start picking up and using loan words from their non-human companions.