Accents - HârnMakers views?

Fástred's picture

What are the views of HârnMakers on accents?

I personally think that *some* accents are useful - when they make a *real* difference to pronunciation (Shôrkýnè) springs to mind...

But there is clearly a group who dislike them quite a bit...

What do others think?


Jan's picture

I think that accents in the text itself (including headings) and on maps and such are somewhat distracting and make reading more difficult (which is never a good thing). I also believe that they have quite a negative impact on writing speed. However, I agree that guidelines on pronunciation are very useful.

I agree with Ken that we should leave accents off the actual text (and maps) of future products and instead add pronunciation guides to all products. Those would NOT ONLY feature accents but also phonetic spellings (like in HârnPlayer).

rbs's picture

I find the accents a major pain in the posterior when working on canon material.

It also bugs the heck out of me when I look at KP canon and find inconsistent accenting. For example, look at the Chel-Gelt A.K. map folio and check out the accenting on "Jarind". It's not the same throughout.

Although I am not doing much in the way of working on canon of late, I will note that in the one major project that I was working on late last year and early this year, I deliberately went in and wiped all the accents. It made my life a lot easier afterwards.

Fástred's picture

I think they not only look nice, they help ensure people know how to pronounce unusual words properly.

I actually have a different concern - the lack of use of English terms to describe features on maps. I think "mountains", "hills", "sea", etc should be used rather than "local" language(s). This problem will become more prevalent when we deal with multi-lingual areas...

At the very least we should provide both English and *local* labels.

A by-product of greater use of English descriptive labels is a reduced use of accents...

Fástred al Beréma,
Rówanti al Sávè-k’nôr

ken's picture

While I've already weighed in on the side of having less accented words in Harn products, I'd like to make something of an argument about why Robin MAYBE shouldn't listen to us.

The creation, development, description, and presentation of Harn is an expression of Robin's creativity. It's art. While the commercial value of this art is an important aspect of it, it's not the only aspect. Indeed, if it were, Harn wouldn't exist as we know and love it. Robin would have focused on appealing to the masses instead of his own sense of what HE wanted to see. We'd have some version of the Forgotten Realms instead of Harn. Accents and foreign language words are along these lines I think. They make it harder for me, as a game player and a person that likes to imagine myself (well an alter-ego at least) in these places. It makes the world a bit less accessible to me.

On the other hand, Kethira isn't just a game world and it isn't being designed for ME. It's a fictional, fantastical setting that can be used for all sorts of purposes and it's being designed as Robin's expression of creativity. There may be aspects of it that I don't like. I'm free to change them. Sometimes those changes take a bit of work on my part and having to make them makes the setting harder for me to use for my purposes.

Robin simply needs to guess (and that's all he can really do) on the financial impact of the decision to keep accents in Harn products, and then determine if that's worth compromising his artistic vision for. Maybe it is (I hope so). Maybe it isn't. Only he can really tell.



Neil's picture

Having been off-line for a while I'm back and playing catch up. I don't think I've seen this part of the forum before!

I don't like accents, and I never will.

There is no 'received pronunciation' in english and despite the best efforts ot the BBC there never has been. I'll freely admit that I ignore accents. I noticed at Harncon that while I was pronouncing Jedes as Jed-ess (with two 'hard' e's, Kerry was pronouncing it Jeeds.
Who is right?
I don't care!
I agree with most folk that the best solution would be to simply put a pronunciation guide at the start of any publication, and leave the accents out of the main body of the work. Frankly, I can't be bothered to re-edit text to stick the damn things in!

I certainly agree that using (for example) Oy instead of isle is also confusing. My players hate it and make fun of it.

One mans Muncibeddu is another mans Mongibello and if I was talking to my players I'd say Mount Etna anyway! Because then they'd know what I was talking about.

The tension here (IMO) is between a desire to create a living, breathing world with it's many languages and the requirement to make a world suitable for gaming. Clear labels (like calling a mountain a mountain) are essential IMO. English first, then local colour later.

- "Pardon me for living, I'm sure."

-- (Terry Pratchett, Mort)

Robin's picture

Greetings all.

I will shortly be publishing a document called Language & Pronunciation, which I hope will end the interminable debate about these matters. In the meantime I ask for your consideration.

Robin's picture

I have now published 'Language & Pronunciation' as promised. Hopefully, it will clear up what I perceive to be a great deal of confusion... of course, I see confusion in the world to such an extent that I begin to suspect that my brain may be a contributing factor.

'Language & Pronunciation' is presented as a Penny Arcane article and also with a pdf version attached thereto.

Robin's picture

I have to say I am surprised at the complete silence on this topic now that I have uploaded 'Language & Pronunciation'...

I had hoped that everyone would read the article and think to themselves "selves... hmmm... now it all makes perfect sense", but I never really expected that to happen.

How gratifying ;-)

ken's picture

Well, folks that agree with a position rarely find it necessary to speak up as you've already said what they believe. Folks that disagree, well, you've asked folks to respect your position and stop blathering on about it. :) Either way, you get silence. :)