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Thread: High Speech... what is it?

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    Default High Speech... what is it?

    Roland speaks our English very well.
    But he but can only make out parts of written English.
    A lot of his words (ka, khef, char, dan-tete, can-toi) have English meanings, so are they totally different languages?
    Growing up in Gilead, was the High Speech his first language?
    What does the High Speech sound/look like? And how different is it from English?
    And when he addresses someone in the High Speech, would we understand it?

    Lots of questions, I know.
    But I look forward to hearing your thoughts...


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    Wow, nice thread.


    I've often wondered these questions myself. The High Speech must be pretty similar to English, as it shares many of the same letters. That would lead me to believe that we probably would understand it if Roland were speaking it to us...with the exception of those words that don't exist in English (like the ones you mentioned). Maybe it sounds like English but with some sort of accent or inflection? Hmm.

    Those are the start of my ideas anyway.

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    I think it is our language with some of it's own words, personally.
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    Gunslinger Apprentice BillyxRansom is on a distinguished road

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    Well, seeing as I've gathered that gunslingers are kind of the equivalent to knights in usual fairy tales and whatnot, high class, things of that nature... I've gathered (only through partial examination) that the High Speech is a "higher" form of the English language. One that is way more sophisticated than the commoner, American English language. I believe that is actually even called the Low Speech.

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    Yeah, it's a damn good thread. IThese questions came to my mind as well.
    I think you can speak and learn High Speech if you are a noble. So I don't think that everyone spoke High Speech in Gilead.
    It must be very similar to English still different. If I remember well there were parts in the books where Roland spoke in High Speech and Eddie couldn't understand him.

    Roland would have understood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyxRansom View Post
    I've gathered (only through partial examination) that the High Speech is a "higher" form of the English language. One that is way more sophisticated than the commoner, American English language. I believe that is actually even called the Low Speech.
    Quote Originally Posted by Letti View Post
    I think you can speak and learn High Speech if you are a noble. So I don't think that everyone spoke High Speech in Gilead.
    It must be very similar to English still different. If I remember well there were parts in the books where Roland spoke in High Speech and Eddie couldn't understand him.

    So was it a class issue in Gilead?
    Gunslingers spoke the High Speech while "commoners" spoke a lower form of it - possibly our English?


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    I thought it might be like old English, the kind of English that Chaucer, for example, uses.

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    I don't think it is to much different than our English. I think it all depends on the accent or I should say the way you pronounce certain words.

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    Banned obscurejude is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkthoughts View Post
    I thought it might be like old English, the kind of English that Chaucer, for example, uses.
    These are my thoughts Lisa. An antiquated form of English.

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    Quote Originally Posted by obscurejude View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Darkthoughts View Post
    I thought it might be like old English, the kind of English that Chaucer, for example, uses.
    These are my thoughts Lisa. An antiquated form of English.
    I'm with you both on this one.

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    i'm with the antiquated english thing as well.
    i'm i remembering correctly that the speaking demon responded differently to roland when he used the high speech?
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    To me the High Speech is (like the alternate worlds) an alternate English. Its not old or new or anything like that, its just related to English being that its from a connected world aka All- World.
    "It's his eyes, Roland thought. They were wide and terrible, the eyes of a dragon in human form" - Roland seeing the Crimson King for the first time.

    "When the King comes and the Tower falls, sai, all such pretty things as yours will be broken. Then there will be darkness and nothing but the howl of Discordia and the cries of the can toi" - From Song of Susannah

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyxRansom View Post
    Well, seeing as I've gathered that gunslingers are kind of the equivalent to knights in usual fairy tales and whatnot, high class, things of that nature... I've gathered (only through partial examination) that the High Speech is a "higher" form of the English language. One that is way more sophisticated than the commoner, American English language. I believe that is actually even called the Low Speech.
    I agree with this. I think the High Speech may be sort of the equivalent of us speaking "perfect" English or grammatically correct English, and the "commoners" would use more slang, etc.

    I also think that the High Speech contains some elements of our English - Roland can understand some of our language, but it's just different enough that he has a hard time with it.



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    Quote Originally Posted by All_Hail_The_Crimson_King View Post
    To me the High Speech is (like the alternate worlds) an alternate English. Its not old or new or anything like that, its just related to English being that its from a connected world aka All- World.
    As in, kind of a different dialect?
    So then do the differences just disappear when hearing it verbally but stick around in written form?

    Or... This makes me think that when Roland is speaking the High Speech we might not understand all that he was saying but it would just make sense...
    Well, maybe not us, but for their purposes, the members of the Ka-Tet would...?


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    I kind of liken it to when I learned German in high school (many, MANY, years ago).

    We learned "Hoch Deutsch" or "High German" - grammatically correct, "perfect" German.

    In reality, people speak in dialects, slang, etc. and when they hear you speak Hoch Deutsch, they know you either learned it in school or you're of the really upper class.



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    "You needn't die happy when your day comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from beginning to end and ka is always served." ~ Roland Deschain

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    So I'm sitting here talking with a fellow DT nerd, and she had the idea -

    What if it's kind of like Latin is to us today?
    It was spoken in educated circles and among the upper class, and then it trickled down throughout all of the other languages, influencing them as it went.
    But this doesn't explain how all sorts of people, from Aunt Talitha in River Crossing, to Blaine the Mono, to the people of Megis, to folken of the Calla could understand it. And can they speak it back? I don't remember any instances where they did.

    Thoughts?


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    that is very close to what I think, too. Not as much Latin to us, but Latin as it was in the time of the latest stage of decline, and soon after the fall, of the Roman Empire.

    A similar, though mirrored, situation can be seen a few centuries later elsewhere. Walter Scott says (Ivanhoe):

    At court, and in the castles of the great nobles, where the pomp and state of a court was emulated, Norman-French was the only language employed; in courts of law, the pleadings and judgments were delivered in the same tongue. In short, French was the language of honour, of chivalry, and even of justice, while the far more manly and expressive Anglo-Saxon was abandoned to the use of rustics and hings, who knew no other.

    So, such words as bed or cow stem from Saxon (German Bett, Kah), while pleasure or beef – a cow eaten – from Norman (French plaisir, boeuf). This state of things, however, can’t last for long:

    … the necessary intercourse between the lords of the soil, and those oppressed inferior beings by whom that soil was cultivated, occasioned the gradual formation of a dialect, compounded betwixt the French and the Anglo-Saxon, in which they could render themselves mutually intelligible to each other; and from this necessity arose by degrees the structure of our present English language, in which the speech of the victors and the vanquished have been so happily blended together…

    Thus, the existence of two languages in a society is usually due to some external reasons, and doesn’t last long. How come there are two languages in the world we’re talking about? Was there a conquest? Who conquered whom? What allowed the two languages to coexist for so long without blending?

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    I always felt that High Speech was Latin. Just my thoughts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Storyslinger View Post
    Just my thoughts.
    What else would they be?
    "It's his eyes, Roland thought. They were wide and terrible, the eyes of a dragon in human form" - Roland seeing the Crimson King for the first time.

    "When the King comes and the Tower falls, sai, all such pretty things as yours will be broken. Then there will be darkness and nothing but the howl of Discordia and the cries of the can toi" - From Song of Susannah

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    Your thoughts, or even that talented artist Bob.

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    They wouldn't be my thoughts, because if you had my thoughts you would be in the luney bin, drooling and crying for your mommy.
    "It's his eyes, Roland thought. They were wide and terrible, the eyes of a dragon in human form" - Roland seeing the Crimson King for the first time.

    "When the King comes and the Tower falls, sai, all such pretty things as yours will be broken. Then there will be darkness and nothing but the howl of Discordia and the cries of the can toi" - From Song of Susannah

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    Banned obscurejude is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean View Post
    that is very close to what I think, too. Not as much Latin to us, but Latin as it was in the time of the latest stage of decline, and soon after the fall, of the Roman Empire.

    A similar, though mirrored, situation can be seen a few centuries later elsewhere. Walter Scott says (Ivanhoe):

    At court, and in the castles of the great nobles, where the pomp and state of a court was emulated, Norman-French was the only language employed; in courts of law, the pleadings and judgments were delivered in the same tongue. In short, French was the language of honour, of chivalry, and even of justice, while the far more manly and expressive Anglo-Saxon was abandoned to the use of rustics and hings, who knew no other.

    So, such words as bed or cow stem from Saxon (German Bett, Kah), while pleasure or beef – a cow eaten – from Norman (French plaisir, boeuf). This state of things, however, can’t last for long:

    … the necessary intercourse between the lords of the soil, and those oppressed inferior beings by whom that soil was cultivated, occasioned the gradual formation of a dialect, compounded betwixt the French and the Anglo-Saxon, in which they could render themselves mutually intelligible to each other; and from this necessity arose by degrees the structure of our present English language, in which the speech of the victors and the vanquished have been so happily blended together…

    Thus, the existence of two languages in a society is usually due to some external reasons, and doesn’t last long. How come there are two languages in the world we’re talking about? Was there a conquest? Who conquered whom? What allowed the two languages to coexist for so long without blending?
    That's interesting Jean and has crossed my mind a couple of times. Greek would be another example along these lines. Koine (common Greek) of the world during Alexander the Great vs. the classical Greek of the golden period of Greece (c.a. Plato and Aristotle).

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    This may have been said but I think it was simply the difference of using the formal and the unformal.

    For instance, the English we speak in America could be considered "low" compared to folks who speak English from the Kings dictionary.
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    I seem to recall a couple of times in the book where Roland spoke "High Speech" to supernatural creatures and they had to respond to him. I think that High Speech was something that had to do with Gan, kind of like when
    Spoiler:
    Callahan was speaking to the can-toi in the Dixie Pig and they had to obey his voice because it had authority.
    I think High Speech carried this same kind of weight.
    Last edited by Letti; 04-08-2008 at 09:32 PM. Reason: spo

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    DT7
    Spoiler:
    The can-toi had to obey Callahan because he had them mesmerized with power of the skolpadda.
    Last edited by Letti; 04-08-2008 at 09:32 PM. Reason: spoiler
    "It's his eyes, Roland thought. They were wide and terrible, the eyes of a dragon in human form" - Roland seeing the Crimson King for the first time.

    "When the King comes and the Tower falls, sai, all such pretty things as yours will be broken. Then there will be darkness and nothing but the howl of Discordia and the cries of the can toi" - From Song of Susannah

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