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Kind of a random question, but I just found myself wondering this. I don't think when Warcraft I-III were being made that the concept of Racial Language barriers was ever at play, but in WoW now that every race is shown to have its own language, and more especially the fact that players across the factions cannot communicate, what Master language would the Heroes speak to each other in when they do-so in game?
From a story and lore perspective, it's obvious that as each race evolved separately across the time of Azeroth that they would have developed their own racial languages that we have access to (the exception being the Undead's Gutterspeak, which....is a whole other question in its own I guess). But despite this fact, the Heroes of all the different races are able to communicate with each other in the game. We know in WoW that the 2 major languages are Common and Orcish. From a logistical standpoint it seems clear that the reason for this is that from the very beginning - Warcraft I - it's always been Humans and Orcs, and everything we have now has built out from that. From a lore standpoint though, it still seems a little strange to me why some races would accept Common as the major language for the faction over their own, and the same being said for Orcish (this especially considering Orcish is a very rough language to listen to, and I imaging a nightmare to learn).
I guess before I start rambling and complicating this, I'll just cite examples:
Tyrande to Kael'thas in WCIII
The Blood Elves didn't technically exist at this point, but in WoW they are clearly separated by Thalassian and Darnassian dialects. Do they both share a common background of speaking the language of the High Elves (Thalassian?)? At what point did the Darnassian dialect develop while the Night Elves and High Elves shared society?
Jaina to Thrall
Here we're getting slightly more complicated...The Orcs grew up not only in a different land, but on a different PLANET from Azeroth. Did Thrall learn Common while the Orcs were in the internment camps? Would a person of as high of social status as Jaina been willing to learn Orcish? Would the Orcs even have been willing to teach it??
Jaina to Lor'themar on the Isle of Thunder
This incident is actually what spurred this question in me. While one can argue that some kind of language exchange transpired between elves and humans in Dalaran within the Kirin Tor, there's no reason that I can see that Lor'themar should have the ability to speak Common, or that Jaina would be able to speak in Thalassian without many years of study.
Alliance-PCs to Vol'jin in 5.3
This is now unrelated to even the epic Hero characters of the game, and getting close to absurd within the confines of the game. Literally the only way this could happen without conflicting game dynamics would be if Vol'jin was speaking in Common. So...when and why could Vol'jin have learned Common? Has Thrall been secretly speaking to him in Common for years prior to Garrosh's becoming Warchief??
So it seems to me that either a lot of hoops have to be jumped through in quite unlikely ways for many of the story Heroes to have dialogue with each other in the game, or that there is some "Master" race of Azeroth that a select few can speak. Which do you think it is?
I guess while I'm talking about this, related to this (although I realize this is clearly not a "suggestion board"), I've always wished basically since I started playing WoW in BC that there would be something added to the game - like a bunch of books you'd have to travel to all corners of the globe collecting - that if you did it you could learn additional languages in the game.
Suffice to say, I was quite upset when I learned a few weeks ago that this idea actually IS in the game now - but only Mages can do it via a minor glyph (limited to your faction)...
Jaina to ThrallThrall was raised by a human. He didn't learn Orcish until after he escaped and found Drek'Thar.
Jaina to Lor'themar on the Isle of ThunderBoth of them have excellent reasons to speak each others' languages. The high elves were friendly with humanity for a number of decades, and Jaina was a princess and likely tutored in a number of languages. Not to mention the fact that, given the elves' history of magic, many of the tomes in Dalaran are likely written in Thalassian, requiring at least a cursory knowledge of the language.
Most likely common. It's called common for a reason.
As for learning languages, draenei can learn languages through magic(common and furbolg). Obviously mages in game can learn other languages(minor glyph). So learning new languages isn't as time consuming as it is in real life, at least for some races/classes.
Both of them have excellent reasons to speak each others' languages. The high elves were friendly with humanity for a number of decades, and Jaina was a princess and likely tutored in a number of languages. Not to mention the fact that, given the elves' history of magic, many of the tomes in Dalaran are likely written in Thalassian, requiring at least a cursory knowledge of the language.
I hadn't realized that the High Elves had had a lot of contact with the humans beyond some major battles maybe prior to the Kirin Tor. The point about a lot of magic books being written in Thalassian is also a really interesting idea that I hadn't considered. So they get by on this.
However, I was trying to remember if she ever spoke directly to Garrosh too, either alongside Thrall or not. Given his attitude to the Humans (and anyone not pro-"For the Horde World Conquest!!"), I definitely do not think he would have ever bothered to learn Common. Moving into 5.3, I don't know if she ever speaks to Vol'jin directly, but unless he speaks Common or she speaks Orcish, that is a barrier. I know Jaina is brilliant, but that's intense that in addition to all of her magical studies, she would also have to find the time to become at least tri-lingual at this point in her young life.
The issue of Alliance-PCs being able to talk directly to Vol'jin is still very much at large here.
Well, Thrall's excuse was that his parents were killed by a human, then that human took him in. He didn't have contact with any of his kin till he was probably in his late teenage years or early twenties. This was already stated, however. Then like another said, Jaina most likely knows Thalassian from her wealthy background.
As for the rest of it, pretty much game mechanics. Don't even bother trying to rationalize it. They did it for the sake of a steady storyline without translators having to repeat everything the enemy says.
High Elves are the ones who taught humans about magic during the Troll Wars long before humanities 7 kingdoms.
You can assume that each racial leaders know Orcish and Common now.
As for the Alliance players to Horde leaders/npcs(and Horde players to Alliance leaders/npcs), its game mechanics.
Every Alliance race learns common, and every Horde race learns Orcish.
First contact with the other races is mostly game mechanics due to it being way more convenient than having translators or going through first contact situations.
Edited by Lorelaî on 4/19/2013 7:04 PM PDT
Its highly implied that common is a universal language, common to just about anything that can speak. The orcs spoke common as long as we can tell, the Night elves could communicate with every other races despite having been alone in Kalimdor for millenia. Every Pandaren understands what you say, despite having been away from the rest of the world for even longer than the Night elves. The titan constructs speak common as default, and just about every demon can speak in common as well. Some races have evidently developed their own languages rather than just speaking common, but I have yet to meet something that does not understands you if you speak common (save for the opposite faction, and everone knows that's game mechanics).
Virtually everyone - Alliance or Horde - knows how to speak Common.
The blood elves were allies of the humans for thousands of years, and the Forsaken have human memories, so it's easy to see why they'd know Common... but most orcs know Common too.
During the Second War, Orgrim Doomhammer spoke fluent Common when he met with Aiden Perenolde - much to Perenolde's surprise.
Thrall learned Common before Orcish, but most of his warriors seemed to know it as well. Humans and orcs were able to converse in WC3 missions like "Cry of the Warsong" (Grom Hellscream spoke with a human archmage) or "Enemies at the Gates" (a human footman spoke with an orc grunt).
Garrosh spent most of his life in Outland, and even he can speak perfect Common. He demonstrated that at Theramore (in the WoW comic), at the Violet Citadel (in the Ulduar trailer) and when he captured and intimidated an Alliance captain (The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm).
As Resileaf pointed out, even things like night elves, pandaren, demons and titan constructs can speak Common. So too can gnolls and kobolds (though not very well, as they're not very smart).
Common may be a universal language (possibly of titanic origins) that all intelligent creatures can understand... or it may just be a language that's very easy to learn.
Edited by Egrem on 4/20/2013 11:38 AM PDT
Draenei learned it through magic so they didn't innately know it.
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