The Adventure Game and Interactive Novel

The Adventure Game and Interactive Novel


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  • Eymerich’s Latin

     

    Did we already tell you that Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague will have Latin dialogues? Yes, I’m pretty sure we told you. And what about the Latin used is philologically flawless, and its pronunciation the most accurate as possible? Yes, we probably already told you this too.

     

    Alessandro Magrini - Latin localization

    It goes without saying that, due to the lack of tools for voice taping, the exact reconstruction of the pronunciation of a language of the past, with all its nuances, accents and tones, is not possible. Furthermore Latin is a language that has been written and spoken for more than 2000 years on a vast territory: it’s hard to establish then an accuracy criterion that is universally valid.

     

    But the pronunciation of a certain period and zone can be approximately reconstructed by using different kinds of information. There are authors describing the sounds of Latin, often in order to correct their coevals: but the pronunciation that is correct for a medieval author surely is not the one of a grammarian of the classical age. There is plenty of inscriptions and texts in which the engraver or his customer, instead of observing the grammar, for ignorance or inattention, let the Latin pronunciation of his age leak into the writing.

     

    We can obtain useful information also from word puns, onomatopoeic expressions, assonances and rhymes: in other words, every time that sound can prevail of spelling. Latin words’ transcriptions in other languages and alphabets are important too, and vice versa. Last, but not least, we can make a comparison with the languages that derived from Latin (the so-called Romanic languages: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French etc.) especially to recreate the Latin pronunciation of the most recent times, including the Middle Ages.

     

    Gian Paolo Castelli - Latin Localization

    The most used and known Latin pronunciations today are the “classical” and the “ecclesiastical”. The first is the reconstruction of the pronunciation of the first century B. C. (Cicero’s and Caesar’s Latin, to make things clear), but somewhat used also in the previous century and until the first-second century A. C.. The second is the pronunciation of the Roman Church, mostly dating back to the Early Middle Ages and handed down to us with little to no modifications.

     

    For Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague we chose the ecclesiastical pronunciation – but with some nuances by which differentiate the various the characters’ social ranks and origins – because it’s more chronologically adequate and appropriate to the context in which Nicolas Eymerich operates. His Directorium Inquisitorum proved very useful to us, not only to give our character a store of appropriate phrases and words, but also and especially to be true to the formularity of some expressions.

     

    Directorium Inquisitorum

     

    Sure, the game takes place in the fourteenth century, in an area where back then they spoke Occitan and the common language was the local vulgar. Nonetheless, especially in ecclesiastical circles, Latin was not only the language used for writing and rituals, but also the spoken language for cultured people. But this is not the point at issue. In every fiction work, characters usually speak the same language. What we call today western literature starts with Homer’s Iliad, in which Greeks and Trojans – against all logic – both speak Greek. Fiction is fiction. So, if all the game characters can speak Italian or English, why not Latin? Indeed, Occitan aside, Latin is surely the language that suits the most the environment and atmosphere of the game.

     

    As much as possible we also tried to lend the most humble characters’ lines a more colloquial tone, though staying onto the limits of an understandable Latin. The guideline was to use a Latin that was understandable to most people who have some familiarity with the language. We tried nonetheless to characterize this standard language, whenever possible, with medieval nuances, especially regarding the lexicon and – obviously – all the references to Christian culture.

     

     




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