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Subject: How do dragons learn to speak our language? rss

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Atnier Rodriguez
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I started reading the Temeraire book series (no spoilers please, I'm barely one fourth of the book in), and something bothered me. The dragon hatched immediately knowing how to speak English.

I wonder if it was sentient and aware way before hatching or if it is one of its yet unexplained magical qualities such as instant wisdom.

That also lead to me wondering how do dragons in other works learn to speak any language. They don't read books nor do they order Rosetta Stone software.

Sure, you can say they learned it from wizards or similar figures that somehow dabbled in the Draconic dialect, but what about independent dragons that have never been enslaved or controlled?

Smaug talked too, right?

Well, if any of you can defend the before-hatching knowledge of Temeraire or explain how other dragons in other works learn our tongue, I'd appreciate it a bunch!

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I'm pretty sure that Smaug (and all other dragons in Tolkien's works) was raised by Morgoth/Melkor. Being taught to speak was probably part of the training.

Edit: I checked and am wrong. Smaug first appeared in around T.A. 2800, long after Morgoth was destroyed. He must have been raised by other dragons. Presumably they taught him to talk.
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Christopher Yaure
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I think the questions are 1) how did humans and other humanoids learn to speak the natural Dragon tongue and 2) is our debasing of the Dragon tongue the reason dragons so frequently are grumpy towards humanoids.
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Joe Gola
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A wizard did it.
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Maybe humans learned the natural Dragon language, because it's English.

You're speaking Dragon right now.

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Atnier Rodriguez
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dreadpirate wrote:
Maybe humans learned the natural Dragon language, because it's English.

You're speaking Dragon right now.



Right now, I'm eating some crackers. I guess the Dragon language sounds funny like that.
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okami31 wrote:
dreadpirate wrote:
Maybe humans learned the natural Dragon language, because it's English.

You're speaking Dragon right now.



Right now, I'm eating some crackers. I guess the Dragon language sounds funny like that.


Crunching of Knight's bones approximated by snap of Saltines. It's all just punctuation.
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Gola wrote:
A wizard did it.


Oh sure, blame the wizards. Racist.
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Atnier Rodriguez
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
okami31 wrote:
I wonder if it was sentient and aware way before hatching or if it is one of its yet unexplained magical qualities such as instant wisdom.


Yes, it was. And there's no instant wisdom either.


I like your sea-worthy name.
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okami31 wrote:
I started reading the Temeraire book series (no spoilers please, I'm barely one fourth of the book in), and something bothered me. The dragon hatched immediately knowing how to speak English.


The actual answer is that the dragons learn to speak while in the eggs. They naturally acquire languages at an accelerated rate, so a parent will speak multiple languages to the egg so they are fluent at birth.
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Geosphere wrote:
okami31 wrote:
I started reading the Temeraire book series (no spoilers please, I'm barely one fourth of the book in), and something bothered me. The dragon hatched immediately knowing how to speak English.


The actual answer is that the dragons learn to speak while in the eggs. They naturally acquire languages at an accelerated rate, so a parent will speak multiple languages to the egg so they are fluent at birth.


They do go into it in the books, so patience will be rewarded.
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Geosphere wrote:
okami31 wrote:
I started reading the Temeraire book series (no spoilers please, I'm barely one fourth of the book in), and something bothered me. The dragon hatched immediately knowing how to speak English.


The actual answer is that the dragons learn to speak while in the eggs. They naturally acquire languages at an accelerated rate, so a parent will speak multiple languages to the egg so they are fluent at birth.

Exactly this. You will learn more about this when they get to Africa (not sure which book that was).
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Atnier Rodriguez
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I shall exercise more patience hereforth!
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Eric "Shippy McShipperson" Mowrer
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When Elves can speak to trees, how Dragons learned to talk is kind of moot.
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Larry Haskell
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erak wrote:
Gola wrote:
A wizard did it.


Oh sure, blame the wizards. Racist.


Classist. Wizard is a class; dwarf is a race (unless this still 1st Ed.)

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okami31 wrote:
Right now, I'm eating some crackers. I guess the Dragon language sounds funny like that.


Reptiles and salty snacks are a dangerous combination....

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ejmowrer wrote:
When Elves can speak to trees, how Dragons learned to talk is kind of moot.


I speak to trees, but I am no Elf. I wonder if I can speak to elves? I don't want to learn if I can speak to Dragons, that just sounds like it will end badly.
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ejmowrer wrote:
When Elves can speak to trees, how Dragons learned to talk is kind of moot.

While at highschool I was forced to go on an Outward Bound hike in the snow. After a while, I started talking to trees. Shortly after, they started talking back. Apparently I had hypothermia. Not sure how this helps the OP, but maybe you are hallucinating the books?
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gamedog wrote:
erak wrote:
Gola wrote:
A wizard did it.


Oh sure, blame the wizards. Racist.


Classist. Wizard is a class; dwarf is a race (unless this still 1st Ed.)



Loss of geek experience points.

Istari...
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Michael Hopcroft
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It helps when they are able to shapeshift. I can see a young dragon spending a year or so in a human city, picking up the language and customs, before coming home and sharing what he has learned (like places to raid that have lots of gold).

Another question is whether the dragons in your world are social or solitary. A solitary dragon who keeps to himself and interacts with other dragons as little as possible (or virtually never) has less use for language. The only people he is likely to talk to are the many people who unwisely think raiding a dragon hoard is a quick way to get rich that they can take advantage of. That assumes he wants to give them any warning before the inevitably barbecue.

social dragons, of course, talk all the time with other dragons and whatever other creatures cross their paths.
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jeRm! wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
When Elves can speak to trees, how Dragons learned to talk is kind of moot.


I speak to trees, but I am no Elf. I wonder if I can speak to elves? I don't want to learn if I can speak to Dragons, that just sounds like it will end badly.

I have a "Knights of the Dinner Table" book somewhere in which Brian speaks Dragon in one panel; the other characters ask him to do it again, but he says he needs to wait, something about his trachea hurting too much.
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There is a more important question to ask here: Why couldn't the egg he hatched from speak human tongue?
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Atnier Rodriguez
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demondude777 wrote:
There is a more important question to ask here: Why couldn't the egg he hatched from speak human tongue?


Because the chicken was first...
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