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Bilingualism for All
Promote cultural diversity!

I think everyone should start with an extra language.

The language system is very neat. Including English, there are eight languages in the Sindome universe, representing the cultural blend the world has undergone. Players are encouraged to make characters from foreign countries, and yet ridiculously few people put UE into learning any languages, even the ones from the places they're from. This is understandable, to an extent, as they're more focused on putting UE into things that will advance their characters and RP more than investing in a language system nobody uses (apart from the occasional character that speaks Japanese.)

What I've been running into that's becoming a massive pet peeve of mine is people get around not knowing the languages of the places they're from because they speak a language that, in the Sindome world, should not exist anymore. In recent memory I've witnessed examples of people claiming to speak French, some kind of Chinese, and even Farrokh. There are even people who CLAIM to speak a language, but when I switch to their supposedly native tongue they have no idea what I'm saying.

Playing characters from varying cultures adds flavor to RP and should be encouraged. Playing a character that starts with a language other than English, however, is a massive RP challenge because chances are, most people won't understand you (unless it's Japanese. SOME people will understand you then.) That is why I think there would be zero harm in giving everyone an additional language. It will do nothing but enhance RP and give people a reason to invest UE in languages, or even the cybernetic enhancements that let you understand them.

TL;DR Everyone should start with an extra language to reflect and promote cultural diversity and generate RP because nobody is using the system (understandably.)

You can already start with two languages out of chargen though, speaking them both fluently. Don't think this is necessary.
No please. It isn't THAT hard to learn a language and there are cybernetics that let you do it for free.
I do think languages are underrated and under utilized. As a new character there is not much incentive to learn a new language instead of working on stats and skills. Am interested to hear other takes. Maybe starting with some passable understanding of a second language?

This is just me brainstorming and does not reflect other staff views.

I would have to disagree with you that nobody is using the system. I see quite a few people speaking languages, maybe you just haven't run into them yet?

Taking the time to learn a language is an UE burden, especially early on, but it takes quite a while to become well versed in a language. I would suggest starting to put UE into a language in intervals, and RP with people who speak it. You can even ask for someone to give you lessons ICly, which will lead to RP and potential new friends.

I have personally seen more than a few characters come in and learn languages over time. It's fun to see them progress, and to be able to have more complex conversations with them as they do. In particular, I have very fond memories of one who couldn't speak english, and as they became a better english speaker, it was really fun to "teach" them english along the way.

Ohhh, that'd be amazing to have. We'd have more variety in languages.
People in withmore come from all over and all different backgrounds- But most of them are only fluent in English. The languages are way underused.
If you did things like drop a couple of business-minded gangers who don't speak english in the main gangs, they might serve as a nice little bonus opportunity for people who had spent the UE to be able to deal with them.
I believe (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that you can choose to abandon English and have another language as your primary during char gen. Is that how people do that? Probably with staff assistance?
I think it would be nice to introduce more relevance to languages.
This is something I was thinking about too. I think a way to balance this would be possibly giving at least a bonus to make it easier to learn your home language, just maybe not knowing it all from the beginning. It's definitely frustrating having to use so much ue just to learn a language that my character, by her backstory, should already be well versed in, but it would be unfair to just hand languages out easily.
I'd just make languages locked to a person's location. Yes, this might cause a problem at the very start but as more people join, the relevance for languages would increase. That's just me though.
Although, you can easily sink UE leftovers into languages, that's what I do. It takes a while though. Like... after spending a bunch of UE into a stats or a skill, you get '0.30123', you can simply funnel '0.30123' into a language you'd like to learn.
All the languages are supposed to be commonly spoken in their respective regions. It follows that characters from those places should start with them without being at a sizeable disadvantage in the early game just because they want to play a character that isn't from North America.
Still think that the ability to learn a second language in chargen to fluency defeats the need for what would basically be a free second language. Is the issue just that people aren't aware that they can do this because it's not clear enough? The instructions in chargen did confuse me until my third character, but maybe that was just me being slow.
It used to be you could talk to the GM's during Chargen and get your Ue tweeked so that you were bilingual, you just had some negative UE to make up for it.

Tying a language to a "nationality" isn't a bad idea.

Giving a freebie for another language for the sake of using languages I don't think is the right answer here. Would you then have to retrofit everyone from top down and offer them the opportunity?

Some of our characters are already bilingual (not just japanese) and while the language isn't used as much as the investment made in it would seem worth, it does get used. I think this would tie in nicely with my Idea post about writing in languages too.

Regarding, "According to my backstory I should already know language X."

In my opinion, you need to make your backstory match what your @stats says. If your @stats says you only know English then you need to adjust you back story to match this. In fact, I would even suggest that explaining what language(s) your character knows and why should be a required part of a history. There will be less misunderstanding for new players as GM would be making sure that things look right and can clear up any confusion before people get too far into the game.

Regarding, "Everyone should get a second language at some level of fluency."

I am not against this but I also would not be bothered if it didn't happen. If it did happen, however, I would hope that all existing characters would be allowed to pick an extra language as appropriate or be allowed to up an existing language by an appropriate amount.

At the same time, I wouldn't want characters that drop their INT to low levels (below Ordinary?) so they can pump that UE into other stats to start with much or anything. Maybe a simple adjusting of what you are granted at the various INT levels would work? Using the existing system?

Regarding, "The only other language used besides English is Japanese

Not my experience. Though Japanese is a front runner I can think of two others that you see used a lot in game.

My thoughts on non-coded languages

My thoughts regarding non-coded languages are nicely summed up here: (https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/open-discussion/anything-really/languages-and-countries-876/).

Biz makes the world go round. Communication needs to happen if biz is going to happen. I think it's why we have these new combo languages that span continents (or at least its a decent IC explanation for our situation).

It's also why it is not at all hard to create a history for a character that explains why they were born and raised in Russia but only speak English as English still seems to be the fallback language for most of the world (ever wonder what the official language used by a ViriiSoma office in Russia might be?).

I see little reason why small, niche languages would continue thrive in such an environment. In fact, as I see it, German and French are now simply dialects of Euro. If you want to speak German then speak Euro with a German accent!

As Johnny said, " If you want a French speaking character, make due with Euro so in game terms there is an actual chance that someone else will overhear wtf you said. Pepper their speech with commonly known words of french origin and lay on your accent!"

Regarding the IC selection of languages

While I see the reasoning behind not expanding languages from an OOC perspective, I honestly feel that there is a IC hole when it comes to the CAN. Pretty much everywhere else on the globe has one or more languages you can associate with it.

- North America? English or maybe Spanish or Euro-French dialect (thank you Canada :-P)

- LTC? Spanish.

- Europe? Euro or maybe Spanish.

- Japan? Japanese.

- The rest of Asia? Tagalog.

- Middle east? Farsi.

- Former Soviet Union countries? Russian.

- CAN? Uhhh...

I personally would either like to see a language created for the CAN or the lore be updated to say that the CAN adopted one of our other languages. Then be done with it. Those are our languages. Good day and thank you. :-)

Who would have guessed that if you spent your entire time around a certain group in a certain cultural area clearly depicted in the descriptions that your character would only run into Japanese speaking characters? I am so tired of this being brought up every month and new players assuming they know the game so well when they clearly contradict that with their ensuing idea post. You guys aee only discovering the tip of the iceberg. Please, if you want a free second language invest your UE in chargen into intelligence so you aren't 'ordinary', another way to refer to the unemployed and downtrodden. Oh, but your character grew up in X country and should be bilingual then. Well then have the intelligence to reflect it or neglect it and dump your chargen points into agility or whatever to compliment your combat skills so you can turn that PromisingJoe who made the decision to invest his chargen points into intelligence to support being bilingual into confetti. I'm sorry, but you can't have your cake and eat it. PromisingJoe is promising academically, but lacks everywhere else. Your character HamFist can kill PromisingJoe without much fight, those are the trade offs, but HamFist is also not bilingual, and guess what? PromisingJoe has to catch up in all other fields to be on par with HamFist physically, because he's smart but fragile, while HamFist expects this all for free because he looks at the game in the wrong way first of all, evidenced by his character path and attitude that it's unfair PromisingJoe gets to be bilingual at the cost of everything else. This isn't hack & slash. It's a roleplay game. Oh, you've been made aware of certain entities as a newer player/character? Affiliated characters problem for being so dumb and careless, and unrealistic. Oh, but Japanese puts you ahead of others who don't speak it right? It gets your foot in the door. Wrong. It will take months, just like everyone better than you had to invest their time to get better at everything, and Sindome rewards eventually ferling the payoff as you start being able to do bigger and better things as your character grows in @UE. Languages are fine as they are. Invest UE if you want to be bilingual. I don't see 'ordinary' as being bilingual. Sindome isn't an overnight game. Some characters will excel better than others in certain fields due to their paths and upbringing. HamFist will beat PromisingJoe in a direct fight, but PromisingJoe can outsmart HamFist provided the player can get creative and represent PromisingJoe's stats. Oh, but I want a cool language to speak to my ace koolz and look super badass and intimidating to anyone watching as they wonder what HamFist is saying to AceKoolJap. Well, guess what? PromisingJoe can understand you in a week of observing and tutorship, while HamFist might take months to learn the fundamentals. Still insist? Like I said, every character has their weaknesses and strengths, most can be ironed out in time with some patience from your side. I reiterate, languages are fine as is. If this is changed though to give others a shortcut and make the game easier at the cost of espionage, I'd like to see smarter characters be reimbursed across the board with an extra language of their choice that makes sense. Doesn't really make sense but fairness? Less fluent, but more comprehensive, while not being on par with a tourist. The other option is being given a second language for something minimal like -40UE that goes away as you earn UE daily until you're in the positives again. Please new players, you cannot win at Sindome. Things work as they are, you must want the easy way. What about characters who spent months investing daily UE into a second language to be bilingual, combat character or not? Is this fair to them, when you get a shortcut? Surely HamFist can do it, if the other players did? Lastly, if HamFist spends every waking hour in a certain cultural area - any - expect this problem. Stop putting emphasis on themely roleplay that presents a challenge to your character that you as the player get to explore. Go out more, make new ace koolz, get tgem to buy you the cyber or teach you. Just stop asking for freebies, please? Apologies for the lack of paragraphs and the wall of text. I haven't figured out how to fix it yet.
There's a lot of text there... My god my eyes. The points are right, Max Punchington simply shouldn't be learning a language as fast as BookWorm Joe without proper investment, especially where there's so many cutarounds for language, but god trynna decipher that was hard.
Max Punchington doesn't learn languages as fast as BookWorm unless he has equivalent UE spent into intelligence as BookWorm, because the UE cost per quantity of language mastery appears to be based on your intelligence. At least, this was the case when I rolled an intellect-primary character.

As far as I know, you are in fact, punished for learning languages at low int levels since the per-point expenditure required to raise them at is significantly higher than it is later on, at least from what I saw - except that you have said language earlier on in your char's lifespan without needing chyen to get it.

We discussed this in one of my old threads, where I suggested an ambient learning of language if people spoke it around you enough, which was supposed to be slow as hell and a lot of great points were raised.

It SHOULD be harder for a low int char to learn a language than a higher int char. Why? Because someone with a below ordinary intelligence is dumb as fuck. Ordinary isn't average intelligence of today, it's the average intelligence amidst 50-60 million people who don't have access to proper education, or have the right amount of defects to lower the IQ of the general populace. The movie idiocracy makes a lot of good points on that subject in general, but that's unrelated (I just fucking love that movie).

Are we even allowed to discuss this? Doesn't it technically breach into sharing OOC information about game mechanics?
3 UE per day, thirty days in a month. Ninety UE per month.

As a complete dumbfuck, you only get 2 point per UE, which is 6 language points if you sink them into a language. That'd be 540 points if you funnel them into a language for a month and you get your UE back a month later. Not a bad deal, really.

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/coded-writing-in-a-foreign-language-1523/

Not to jock my own idea but I feel it’s relevant but instead of giving away a free language how could you make investment into a language more appealing to the game as a whole without everyone becoming bilingual overnight?

I personally love the idea of being able to write in other languages codedly. I remember it being brought up before. I think they said the Grid was an issue here? And that it was not easy to implement? I'll have to find that other thread...
All refundable UE that doesn't count towards your UE total. The math might be off by 360 using those rates but it's close enough, Beepboop. You still walk away with a good progression rate per month as a complete dumbfuck. Now what's Max Punchintons excuse?
I really don't want smart characters to lose the one thing that makes them worthwhile in chargen. If players are given a free language, I'd like to argue PromisingJoe should get extra points to use in chargen for being so smart! Now I can come out of chargen with self defense skills and all I need to do is train my body. It's only fair.
I think a partial free language makes sense in terms of flavor. We are all immigrants which is going to bring a lot of diversity. Also it is a very globalized world where things like language are going to be more intermingled. The US is one of the only places where learning a foreign language isn't a requirement. In a world where the US is not what it used to be I think this would mean there would be a greater need to learn another tongue.
I don't think anyone's trying to make an excuse SmexyCucumber. It is just polite discussion at this point. I like to look at it as time. Investing UE into a language doesn't cost you UE in the long run because it doesn't count toward your cap. But it does take time. Time that you aren't increasing other skills.

There are a lot of situations where every UE spend counts and can mean a loss or a defeat. When presented by a choice like that (let myself fall a month behind my competitors so I can learn a language or spend that time to keep competitive), many will chose the more practical and utilitarian route. I am not saying it is right or wrong but it is the choice you have to make.

I think that's why you mostly see oldbies with nice language skills. They've managed to get to that point where they can afford to spend weeks and months on learning languages as they aren't really going to be improving much in the more utilitarian stats anyways.

Again, I am fine with this either way and don't feel like a change is urgently needed. But I can see why a lot of people chose NOT to invest in languages and I'm not going to judge them for making the choice they do.

To be honest SmexyCucumber, I'm not sure that makes sense. INT has more purpose in the game than just giving you progress towards a second language. In fact, if you ask me it's just a nice bonus for characters who like to dump their starting UE into INT and languages are just a small part of what INT does for your character

If I dumped all my starting UE into any other stat I wouldn't get a free hookup of some kind like you do for INT. Should I get a free baton for dumping all my stats into SRT? I personally feel it plays out pretty well but I can't agree with the claim that giving other characters who started the game with lower INT than you would suddenly make your investment in INT worthless.

Wrong. You're taking the smart characters edge away by watering it down. If this is the argument being used, my smart character should get more skill points in character creation to represent they're smart and better than the standard uneducated baka coming out the gates. You want combat characters to get it all while the smart characters are brushed aside. What happens to smart spy characters who relay conversations? What happens when these combat characters kill the smart characters off and learn all the languages eventually anyway, or use chyen on cyberware, because smart characters aren't needed anymore or have been killed off by the dumbass bilingual brute who got free shit? This change is only going to promote combat characters further, sorry to burst your bubble.
I'm not particularly with or against this idea, but I'm more concerned about the newer characters that chose to invest ue in languages and if this is implemented, how they might feel about wasting that time dropping ue in languages.

Also....At the same time, while one ue might make a difference in a loss/defeat as a newer char, you also don't have much rivals/competitors so it may not matter as much either.

I do see the point with the globalization and Withmore being a diverse city though. The first thing I remember I did was dump ue into the language my char was already supposed to know or else it'd make an awkward gap of... "You came from here, but you can't speak that?!" and then I'd have to come up with a lame excuse.

Don't get me started on how practically every int related skill requires places to work out of or LOTS of chyen for certain and almost all roles. Combat characters come out ready to get down to business, we see it all the time. New player attacks so and so. While the smarter characters take lots of time, investment and planning to get anywhere, let alone a job, or to feel a sense of progression. Intelligent characters need their edge somehow.
I would appreciate a less aggressive tone. I have said repeatedly that I have no strong urge to see this changed. I have also said that I feel such a change would ideally allow existing characters an appropriate boost (as if they had gotten the same bonus all along).

Please don't speak for me as if you know what I want or what I think. If I am saying something you disagree with, that's fine. Just state your opinion. If something I say is unclear, I am happy to try and reformulate it. If I'm lucky, something politely suggested by others will make me reconsider my views.

Adding half a language or another language wouldn't necessarily have a big effect intelligence characters. They would get to learn another language on top of what they already know and have more people to potentially overhear. If all security characters speak the same language there isn't much info to overhear.
What? I'm just trying to help people see smart characters need their 'edge'? This is going to affect the economy if it becomes a thing too.
Imagine a scenario, some positions require certain places to work out of. Those apply to smart characters. Now let's say PromisingJoe has somehow wounded up excluded from all places that require staff run commands to work out of etc. The only places they can actually work out of. Their main role, not to mention the incredible amount of UE sunk into the supporting skills and stats is all for none. See? But combat characters don't face this, and some int roles are more lenient this way, and some are just outright off the books because of chyen costs. But... Maybe PromisingJoe can resort to espionage and relaying convos. But if you saturate it by giving everyone a second skill then this drastically reduces the need or market for that, which would make me feel my established character has lost their edge or grind, regret their build and path etc. I'm just trying to paint the bigger picture here. If this happens then it happens, but then something needs to be changed. Learning rate with each incremental increase boosted, being more noticeable the smarter the character? I don't know. Hopefully someone can realize what I'm trying to say though. Like I said, this is really going to effect the market and change the dynamic of gameplay but I won't go too deep into it. I'll just linger in this thread and observe.
I just wanna make a comment after going through this entire thread, that one thing always bothered me, and that was the fact you need to have a certain level of intelligence so that you may start with a 'tourist' level in a second language.

A lot of people the world over speak more than two languages, I personally grew up in Sweden and speak English just about as fluently as Swedish. Intellect helps, but in the long run, you need to be subjected to the language as much and as often as possible to properly learn it. The fact you have no way to start with knowing two languages as a whole, seems a little unreal to me as someone who isn't born in a natively English-speaking country.

I'm aware this is a game based in the US, but being bilingual or knowing three languages isn't as uncommon and doesn't require as much of a 'genius' as people may think. This always put me off a bit, about the way languages work here. Especially since Withmore City is incredibly multicultural.

That's all I wanted to say on the matter, it's my input and I won't argue with anyone. I think most people here have a valid point on both ends, there are ups and downs to what such a change would cause. But in my view the system isn't really perfect as it is. Most countries the world over teach English as a secondary language, in the countries where it isn't the first.

If the argument is that languages are underutilized and underused, why would giving people more languages solve that? It won't solve anything, it'll just exacerbate the problem while also upsetting the balance of the game. Instead, just give languages more uses. One immediate one that I think has a thread somewhere is being able to write in a language.
I think Varolokkur has a point, actually. My original line of thinking was that those that invested into INT early on to be bilingual would be hurt by everyone suddenly getting another language. However, if those characters got a third language then that's really not a problem any longer, with them also being more effective since they can spy on more people.

There are a few issues with this idea too, but nothing is perfect. For one, it'd most likely end up causing already rarely used cyber to gather more dust. Not sure if everyone would agree that's a bad thing though.

I really liked Varolokkur's input as well, made me think a little different on the matter.
@Smexy, chill out a bit. I respect the passion, but we're just discussing things here, and we gotta do that with respect for each other.

@Evie I agree about growing up bi or trilingual but we also have to consider game balance and everyone starting with the same things. You roll your character before you write a history. Otherwise it's a barrier to entry for new players who just wanna check us out before deciding to devote an hour to an @history. That means your background will not define your languages, because that background might be completely changed in your @history. You can be Spanish but adopted, for instance.

@Everyone I think we have a pretty good history of compensating folks when we make changes. If we ever decided to move forward with an idea like this, we would of course make the to take care of the folks who spent time/ue on languages. Come on. Was that ever even a real worry?

NPCs using languages

Plenty of NPCs only speak MixMash already. As do some gangers, shopkeepers, and bartenders.

Same goes for Japanese and Russian and Spanish. You just gotta know where those places are and notice you aren't being spoken to in english.

The written in a different language stuff is interesting.

Rules Warning

Some of the stuff discussed above with regards to stats is borderline not OK. I don't want to here people throwing around numbers like that.

Saying that intelligence makes it easier to learn a language is fine, but throwing out how much it costs to learn something is not OK.

In case anyone was unaware, if you raise your INT past a certain amount in chargen, you already have the option of picking a second language to know partially. This has been the case for... a long time.

INT in general: If you think the only edge you are getting from INT is your language bonus you are being silly. INT plays a part in just about EVERYTHING. Including combat.

@Slither Always here to save the day! <3

I do understand, game balance is very important. I do however think it's a good thing to discuss to see what everyone has to say on the matter. If something could make the game more appealing to the majority and so forth. All depends on what can be done, of course. And what isn't heavily unbalancing.

I want to eventually make a dedicated post on this on Anything Really, but really want to leave a more direct comment here.

Please don't shove it into new players' faces so hard that they don't totally understand something. Of course they don't understand. They are not allowed to understand until they find out for themselves, maybe in their 2nd or 3rd character

Sindome staff has opened the floor to share ideas on how to improve the game. If you want new players to feel part of the community, then it's probably a good idea to open that opportunity to them as well.

I realize that you need to have a good amount of understanding in a subject to be able to effectively discuss it. But new players aren't allowed to know much of this, and that's already a huge barrier to be honest.

So please: Don't turn the forums into a place that appears unwelcome for new players to participate in discussion.

To quote another person from this board: "There's an idea given and yes, commenting is fine and so is criticism and why you think it's wrong slash false, but that attitude will simply push players away. "

Also,

"It used to be you could talk to the GM's during Chargen and get your Ue tweeked so that you were bilingual, you just had some negative UE to make up for it. "

May I ask why this is no longer an option, if it isn't?

Also, now that Slither has put to bed worries about balancing things out and compensating people in light of different changes: Is there coded support for providing a language after History has been approved? So everything in Chargen can remain the same, and then a partial language could be approved as long as the history justifies it?

Hey Armingo, dunno if I can answer your quote from my post with certainty. I haven’t been through chargen in quite some time.
Now this is very good discussion. I also agree, there is no need to scare away newer players.

I still feel quite 'green' as I've been here only since 2017, and sometimes an attitude can push you away or make you feel unwelcome.

I'd also like to know if this 'negative UE' for a partial language is a possibility, if anything to consider it for the future.