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HappyDaze
OK, reading over the Sasquatch from the Runners' Companion, I'm at a loss as to why they can't speak and understand spoken language. This doesn't make sense for the following reasons:

1) Through use of the Mimicry power, Sasquatch are certainly capable of reproducing sounds - including speech - that they have heard.
2) Sasquatch use those sounds as hunting calls demonstrating that they can associate specific sounds for specific uses.
3) Sasquatch can understand and use sign language, meaning that the concept of language is not unknown to them.
4) Sasquatch can use AR to translate those 'sounds' made by others and see the 'sign' for what they mean or they can make a sign and hear a sound produced from it.
5) Sasquatch are every bit as intelligent as humans (and moreso than orks and trolls) with a Logic of 1/6 (9).

So, with the above points in mind, what's to stop a Sasquatch from associating those 'sounds' with a particular concept, and having them learn the association after a time without the AR (in effect, learning the language)?

Sorry, but as written, it seems like an idiotic "it's magic - they just can't" situation. Without a handwave, is there any good reason why they can't use spoken languages?
Crusher Bob
There's probably some pretty good brain structure based arguments, tough given how plastic brain structures actually are and how useful language is, they probably don't apply; they are have enough brain power to have a fully human vocabulary, and have ears and vocal apparatus, so I'd think that a structuralist argument would be pretty difficult to sustain.
Oenone
It's not a question of intelligence, it's neurological wiring. If thier brains aren't built to handle the concept then no matter of education will work. Perhaps for a species which can make any noise it wants there wasn't much logic behind evolving the ability spoken language skills in any form like that of a human.

The way they use mimicry of spoken language doesn't mean they understand what they're producing. It's like a parrot saying the word crackers, it doesn't understand the context. As for using them in hunting they can learn which calls work best through trial and error, then teach others what worked and what didn't later on.

Edit

QUOTE (Crusher Bob @ Aug 31 2008, 03:45 AM) *
There's probably some pretty good brain structure based arguments, tough given how plastic brain structures actually are and how useful language is, they probably don't apply; they are have enough brain power to have a fully human vocabulary, and have ears and vocal apparatus, so I'd think that a structuralist argument would be pretty difficult to sustain.


Actually it's not that hard.

If you can produce the sound of a bird, you have no reason to ever come up with the concept of a word for that bird. Because you can make the noise of the bird, likewise for every other animal/sound/etc. The same doesn't apply for written language or hand gestures because they're innately limited. So the part of your brain which processes language will develop in a totally different way from a metahuman which has a very limited vocal range (as for a Sasquatch any sounds can be replicated and thus could potentially be used to express thoughts/feelings/emotions/etc).

If it helps I suppose you could say that metahuman languages are pretty much too simple for thier speech centers to handle.

hyzmarca
Why can't Sasquatches speak? Koko, chummer, Koko.

It's very similar to the reason why people can see you flying in your invisible plane.

Some things are just cool. Invisible vehicles that people can see you riding in are one of these things. Non-human primates using sign language is another. Also, there must be a plausible reason why Bigfoot didn't just walk up to one many of the amateur cryptozooligsts who searched for him during the late 20th century and say "Hey, fuckers, if I wanted company then I wouldn't live in the middle of the motherfucking woods. Now leave me the fuck alone."

Koko, by the way, is the first non-human to be sued for sexual harassment.
ludomastro
*waves hand*

Now they can speak and understand spoken language. biggrin.gif
Ancient History
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Aug 31 2008, 02:32 AM) *
Sorry, but as written, it seems like an idiotic "it's magic - they just can't" situation. Without a handwave, is there any good reason why they can't use spoken languages?

Consider it a particular form of dyslexia that's inherent to sasquatch.

[/edit]Let me expand on this a bit. One of the concepts that are trying to be hammered home since Emergence is the concept of intelligences other than human - be they AI, sapient critter, or anything else - and that those intelligences aren't just Star Trek aliens, i.e. humans in a bit of make-up. Sapient critters are different. The inability of a sasquatch to communicate using spoken language is a long-standing fact of Shadowrun - go read the description of it in first edition - which is what led to the consensus that sasquatch were for whatever reason incapable of learning verbal language for neurological or cultural reasons. That doesn't mean you can't get a sasquatch hooker who learns a couple cat-calls, but to them it's no different than imitating a bird-call to attract ducks; they don't associate the individual words and syllables with a given symbolic or specific meaning.
Muspellsheimr
I do not have access to my books at the moment, but:

Is there anything preventing them from learning & applying Mathmatics?

Is there anything preventing them from learning & applying Science?

If no, then there is no reason whatsoever that they cannot learn & apply languages, as that is exactly what they are.

If yes, then they should be unable to understand or use Sign Language, or learn most or all Technical skills. The only difference between Sign Language and Speech is that Sign Language uses symbolism & movements to convey meaning, where Speech uses auditory means (sound).

As they can interpret images & movements & associated meanings, as well as use them to convey meaning, and they do not have any hearing deficiencies, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever they cannot convey via spoken language. It is not a 'wiring' issue.
WearzManySkins
Again a "Gee Whiz" factor by those that have little or no comprehension of such.

If you are saying they have no larynx, then that is another matter. But the babble about their brains being wired different is the Shinola that is being put forward, now.

But language skills and ability to use same, are linked.

If you say they can not use spoken words due a brain abnormality then they will be unable to use a sign language.

Frankly it has been wrong since SR1, still does not make any more right in SR4. Weak lame Try AH.

WMS
Ancient History
There are people in the world today who can understand the symbolic sign on a bathroom but not read any alphabetic language. There are people who can learn to speak a language but have a severe learning ability when trying to learn how to read it. Just because metahumans are kinked to communicate a certain way, don't expect other sapient critters to be wired the same way.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
they don't associate the individual words and syllables with a given symbolic or specific meaning.

And that makes absolutely no sense for something with the same Logic capacity as a human and the obvious ability to use sign language.

How many times would it take of it making the sign for "No" and hearing the sound from it's Linguasoft before it associates the two? Even if it's quite a few, it's still got to be possible or the sasquatch becomes so learing disableds it's just silly.

QUOTE
The inability of a sasquatch to communicate using spoken language is a long-standing fact of Shadowrun - go read the description of it in first edition

I don't give two shits about the 1E version. It was dumb then, and it's dumber now with the easy access to AR to bypass it - and to enable learning.
Ancient History
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Aug 31 2008, 03:53 AM) *
And that makes absolutely no sense for something with the same Logic capacity as a human and the obvious ability to use sign language.

How many times would it take of it making the sign for "No" and hearing the sound from it's Linguasoft before it associates the two? Even if it's quite a few, it's still got to be possible or the sasquatch becomes so learing disableds it's just silly.

See, you're thinking like a human. A sasquatch isn't a big baby that you can talk to in gibberish until they grok the lingo, and a sasquatch is not a foreigner that just needs to listen long enough to get a working knowledge. Logic doesn't come into it.
HappyDaze
AH, I think that your answer is terribly stupid since non-verbal languages (including mathematics) give them no problems. Association has EVERYTHING to do with Logic.
WearzManySkins
It does not matter how well we disprove AH, he will keep insisting he is correct despite the validity of our discussion.

WMS
Ancient History
Okay, I'm trying to explain this without getting insulting or breaking into word-Nazi mode, and I'm a very critical person so bear with me for a moment as I attempt to get this right while still making my point.

Sasquatches cannot learn to speak verbally. This is what is how it is in Shadowrun, and I don't see that changing. There are a reasons this might be the case - cultural mores, physical make-up, and innate psychological blocks to name a few possibilites. If you don't like that, that's between you and your game, but there are some things I feel you still haven't grasped yet that I really want you to understand.

First off, sasquatches are alien to metahumanity. Phil Foglio does a much better job of getting this basic point across than I do, I feel.

There is much more to language than simple association of words and phrases with actions or items. Animals like dogs can learn to associate a given sound/word/phrase with certain things - the infamous Pavlov's dog experiment proved that. This does not constitute language, however, anymore than a bird parroting human speech is considered language usage. There is structure; languages have their own internal rules and arrangement that, combined with the vocabularly, informs how people (and, presumably, other language-using beings) think. Languages don't agree, either - while most are internally consistent (or at least workable), each language also has its own seperate internal logic.

So when I say that sapient critters are intelligent but differently intelligent, I mean that there are some extremely basic differences in how they perceive, conceive, and think. You like to suggest that logic would dictate that after a while sasquatches would arrive at the same conclusions that a human would, but that is a false argument based on the mistaken idea that what is logical to a sasquatch is logical to a human. Human beings are built to talk; human languages work for us in part because we're built to understand them and learn them. Look at Nicaraguan Sign Language; in the absence of language, humans tend to spontaneously generate languages. That's us, but that might not be sasquatch.

Even humans have troubles with language. Dyslexia, for example, is a severe disability in today's world. There are people today who are otherwise intelligent and normal but who have severe difficulty learning to communicate in certain modes. This is one possible explanation for why a sasquatch cannot speak, though not the only reason. I just mention it as a very prominent example in the modern consciousness of a communication disorder.

The Logic and Intuition attributes are not equivalent of Math and Verbal scores on the SAT, nor are they particularly indicative of "intelligence" per se - they represent particular aspects of intelligence. Logic, while fundamental to Western academic philosophy is not an absolute except in the mathematical sense. Just because a sasquatch has a Logic attribute doesn't mean that it thinks in the same fashion as a metahuman, and just because logic exists doesn't mean that all beings employ it equally. So just because it seems "logical" that at some point sasquatches would learn at least a handful of verbal words or phrases, that is not definitely the case.

Imagine what your life would be like if you not only had perfect pitch, and could perfectly remember and reproduce each pitch you'd ever heard - but your ability to analyze those pitches for similarities was limited, and your ability to synthesize new pitches you had never heard before was nonexistent. Imagine experiencing every word someone said to you as unique because they spoke it in a funny voice, or with an accent, or with a headcold. Fifty people could come up to you and say the same word and you would hear fifty unique words which you would not recognize as the same, because to you the differences in the sound are more important than the pattern of the word.

I'm not saying that's the explanation, but it is a possibility, one of many.
TonkaTuff
The primary thing is, because he helps write the material and you don't, AH will almost always be right on this and many other SR-related matters - at least until he no longer works for the company or someone placed higher than he says otherwise. And water is wet. It's really not something to get emotionally invested in.

In any event, his explanation is not that much of a stretch from reality. There's little physiological reason why the known great apes can't and don't speak (though because of the structure of their larynx, it would certainly sound weird). With much patience, they can be taught to read, sign, count, and do arithmetic (to a limited degree - roughly equivalent to a toddler). But they are apparently just incapable of making the conceptual leap to human-like verbal communication. Forgetting English (or Spanish or Hmong or whatever) for a moment, the other great apes don't even appear to speak their own languages. They vocalize, certainly, but it's no more complicated than most other animal communications (or, possibly, beyond our own conceptual limits - either way, it's not a human-like language). And no amount of training seems to make any difference. It's just how their brains work.
WearzManySkins
Hmm lets compare intelligent beings, not apes or parrots.

From RC some "Alien" to metahumanity beings.

Drake
Centaur
Naga
Shapeshifters
AI's
Free Spirits
Free Sprites.
Sasquatch

All of the above are alien to metahumanity in form and in brain layout if any.

But only the Sasquatch is declared unable to speak languages but can use AR tech to communicate.

A naga does not have what we would consider vocal cords but they have no inability to learn languages, or even speak them.

Same applies to AI's and such and they do not have brain to be wired wrong.

So to use the Handwavium of it is Alien is lame still.

As to what Feldercarb AH is spinning, well go back and reread it is nothing definitive but merely a scattering of possibilities in his words.

From his words, I gather he did not write the part on Sasquatches, so he is merely blowing smoke up our collective arses. grinbig.gif

WMS
Jackstand
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Aug 30 2008, 11:07 PM) *
AH, I think that your answer is terribly stupid since non-verbal languages (including mathematics) give them no problems.


Mathematics is not a language. You can perform calculations in your head through pure reason and abstract concepts, completely divorced from the symbols used to record those calculations.
Johnny Jacks
The way I figure it, the reason they can't understand metahuman speech is actually because their hearing is too good. They hear, and interpret even the tiniest of differences, which is why they're such good mimics, but it means that to them two people with different voices (or worse, accents) saying the same word, might as well be saying two different words. Even the same person, saying the same word in a different tone would sound completely different to them.
Riley37
AH's line of argument strikes me as both a) sincere (he's not trying to con us into believing something which he himself finds ridiculous) and b) plausible.

I took undergraduate-level classes in the 1980s on neuroanatomy, cognitive science and linguistics. I'd like to hear from others with more advanced or more recent study.

As AH says, since there are humans who have intelligence but cannot learn language (or who had language and then permanently lost it, mostly as a result of stroke) then it's pretty clear that language requires *specific* brain structures. If Auntie Jane loses a certain part of her brain, then she stops understanding language; if sasquatches happen not to grow that brain structure, at all, because it's not in their DNA, then they won't understand language either.

I'm open to the idea that sasquatches shouldn't be the only example, and that Shadowrun fluff should more often describe nonhuman intelligences as substantially different from metahumans. But that would require many writers to exercise profound creativity.
Crusher Bob
Yes, the only part of the structural argument that I find somewhat unbelievable is that the prohibition re: language is absolute. Brains are actually pretty plastic when it comes to structure, so I'd find an argument that goes something like:
'they lack the complex language centers usually found in the human brain; sasquatches that spend a large amount of time interacting with metahuman society are eventually able to develop a rudementary understanding of spoken language (think something like a 500-2000 word vocabulary) but will typically remain confused by many linguistic constructs. In general, most just learn sign langauge and make do.'
GreyBrother
Well... then what about the other metasapient Races in RC?

Drakes are easy. They are "designed" by the Dragons or just live their lifes as humans. So they could have "evolved" the ability for languages.

AIs? I wouldn't make a general statement here. It should depend on their origin. Born from an program which interacted with metahumans through language? No problem. Born from a program which processes audiovisual information from spysats? No sir.

Shapeshifters... can't find an explanation here.
MYST1C
QUOTE (Crusher Bob @ Aug 31 2008, 10:04 AM) *
think something like a 500-2000 word vocabulary

I can't find numbers for the English language but for German a vocabulary of 400-800 words (of a 75,000 total) is considered sufficient for common daily talk. For low-level yellow press publications like the (in)famous BILD a vocabulary of 400 words is sufficient - more intellectual newspapers will require several thousands of known words...

So I'd say your proposed vocabulary is too large. Let's keep it at very basic expressions like "yes", "no", "hello" and "help".
Riley37
I like Crusher Bob's idea that learning some spoken language is possible for sasquatches that spend enough time and effort. I'd suggest that in such cases, capacity for grammar is also very limited. A sentence with straightforward Subject Verb Object (pardon my English bias), YOU GIVE MONEY NOW, is a lot easier than "To be or not to be, that is the question; whether it is nobler in the mind to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..."

Do merrow think and speak just like metahumans?

Chrysalis
I am working from the original poster and looking through several responses.

What Sasquatches are according to their linguistic skill is could be a group who suffer from a form of developmental verbal dyspraxia, which is a type of ideational dyspraxia, causing linguistic or phonological impairment.

However, key symptoms of dyspraxia are difficulties controlling the speech organs, difficulties making speech sounds, difficulty sequencing sounds within a word or forming words into sentences, and difficulty controlling breathing and phonation. Dyspraxics may have other difficulties that are not due to dyspraxia itself but often co-exist with it. They may have characteristics of dyslexia (difficulty with reading and spelling), dyscalculia (difficulty with mathematics), expressive language disorder (difficulty with verbal expression), ADHD (poor attention span), or Asperger syndrome (poor social cognition and a literal understanding of language, making it hard to understand idioms or sarcasm). However, they are unlikely to have problems in all of these areas. The pattern of difficulty varies widely from person to person, and it is important to understand that a major weakness for one dyspraxic can be a strength or gift for another. For example, while some dyspraxics have difficulty with reading and spelling due to an overlap with dyslexia, or numeracy due to an overlap with dyscalculia, others may have brilliant reading and spelling or mathematical abilities. Similarly, some have autistic traits such as lacking an appreciation of irony or social cues, while others thrive on an ironic sense of humour as a bonding tool and a means of coping.

However, they would then not be adept at mimicry, and instead would be compensated by additional sensory stimuli. Dyspraxic people may have Sensory Integration Dysfunction, a condition that creates abnormal oversensitivity or undersensitivity to physical stimuli, such as touch, light, and sound[citation needed]. This may manifest itself as an inability to tolerate certain textures such as sandpaper or certain fabrics, or even being touched by another individual (in the case of touch oversensitivity) or may require the consistent use of sunglasses outdoors since sunlight may be intense enough to cause discomfort to a dyspraxic (in the case of light oversensitivity). An aversion to loud music and naturally loud environments (such as clubs and bars) is typical behavior of a dyspraxic individual who suffers from auditory oversensitivity, while only being comfortable in unusually warm or cold environments is typical of a dyspraxic with temperature oversensitivity. This typically occurs if the dyspraxia is comorbid to an autistic spectrum disorder (PDD) such as autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome.

However based on the information given by the original poster that while Sasquatches do shows signs of outward Dyspraxia they are not dyspraxic because they do not fall under the list of key dissabilities. In fact, quite the opposite with their mimicry ability of other sounds, they should actually have a greater possibility of understanding human language.

Instead, we may need to explore a case study from animal communication:

Alex (1976 - September 6, 2007) was an African Grey Parrot and the subject of a thirty-year (1977-2007) experiment by animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg, initially at the University of Arizona and later at Harvard and Brandeis University. Pepperberg bought Alex in a regular pet shop when he was about one year old. The name Alex is an acronym for Avian Learning EXperiment. His successor was Griffin.

Before Pepperberg's work with Alex, it was widely believed in the scientific community that birds were not intelligent and could only use words by mimicking, but Alex's accomplishments indicated that birds may be able to reason on a basic level and use words creatively. Pepperberg wrote that Alex's intelligence was on a par with that of dolphins and great apes. She also reported that Alex had the intelligence of a five-year-old human and had not even reached his full potential by the time he died. She said that the bird had the emotional level of a human two-year-old at the time of his death.

Pepperberg, listing Alex's accomplishments in 1999, said he could identify fifty different objects and recognize quantities up to six; that he could distinguish seven colors and five shapes, and understand the concepts of "bigger", "smaller", "same", and "different," and that he was learning "over" and "under". Alex had a vocabulary of about 150 words, but was exceptional in that he appeared to have understanding of what he said. For example, when Alex was shown an object and was asked about its shape, color, or material, he could label it correctly. If asked the difference between two objects, he also answered that, but if there was no difference between the objects, he said “none.? When he was tired of being tested, he would say “I’m gonna go away,? and if the researcher displayed annoyance, Alex tried to diffuse it with the phrase, “I’m sorry.? If he said “Wanna banana?, but was offered a nut instead, he stared in silence, asked for the banana again, or took the nut and threw it at the researcher. When asked questions in the context of research testing, he gave the correct answer approximately 80 percent of the time. Preliminary research also seems to indicate that Alex could carry over the concept of four blue balls of wool on a tray to four notes from a piano. Dr. Pepperberg was also training him to recognize the Arabic numeral “4? as “four.?

In July 2005, Pepperberg reported that Alex understood the concept of zero.

Dr. Pepperberg was training the bird to recognize English phonemes, in the hopes that he would conceptually relate an English written word with the spoken word. He could identify sounds made by two-letter combinations such as SH and OR.

The case study above is quite categorical indicator that animals are able to gain understanding of meaning of the expressions used and their implications. In situations where great apes who have been taught sign language we have seen cultural transmission with the offspring of many of the great apes who have been taught sign languages, the celebrated bonobos Kanzi and Panbanisha being examples.

Most primate researchers tend to show a bias toward a shared pre-linguistic ability between humans and chimpanzees, dating back to a common ancestor, while dolphin and parrot researchers stress the general cognitive principles underlying these abilities. More recent related controversies regarding animal abilities include the closely linked areas of Theory of mind, Imitation (e.g. Nehaniv & Dautenhahn, 2002), Animal Culture (e.g. Rendell & Whitehead, 2001), and Language Evolution (e.g. Christiansen & Kirby, 2003).

Sasquatches could be a possible evolutionary track, where language has developed in the direction of mimicry. However while the origin of human language can be argued to be onomatopoeic. The situation of the sasquatch would demand that language has developed in a different direction relying on other cues than verbal or has remained stayed for the past 15,000 years because of its environment and lack of contact with other creatures.

While Sasquatch could be an example of proto-humanity or of an evolution of another primate species, with its powers of mimicry it should be able to grasp language far better than most humans, but it would still need to be surrounded by human culture to be able to understand the context of the expressions used.
hobgoblin
im reminded of the junkbots from the transformers movie that used tv transmissions from earth as a way to learn english (and ended up sounding like a late night used car sales ad).

hell, i keep finding that language is as much culture as a specific sequence of sounds. and to fully understand a language one have to understand the culture.

as for language being logical, dont even go there. if there is anything thats not logical, its language.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
The way I figure it, the reason they can't understand metahuman speech is actually because their hearing is too good.

There is no in-game evidence that Sasquatches have better hearing than a metahuman.
HappyDaze
To break the language barrier, could a Sasquatch adept/mystic adept with the Linguistics power speak and understand spoken languages as described in that power?
hyzmarca
I telephoned the bear with a pumpernickel case and ate the velveteen rabbit. Stick the sock with a frog fool fricassee or poke the oblong buffalo.

Receptive aphasia, also known as Wernicke aphasia, is a perfect explanation for the Sasquach's difficulty with language. The sufferer unable to comprehend spoken language because he hears words he hears are different from the words being spoken and he is unable to communicate using spoken language because the words he speaks are different from the words he intends to speak. With just the right type of brain damage, you can be fluent in the language and yet not understand a word of it spoken and be unable to speak in coherent sentences yourself.

Linquisoft's wouldn't help and neither would the Linguistics power, since the issue isn't a lack fluency, it is simply involuntary nonsensical word substitution.
ludomastro
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Aug 31 2008, 08:33 AM) *
im reminded of the junkbots from the transformers movie that used tv transmissions from earth as a way to learn english (and ended up sounding like a late night used car sales ad).

hell, i keep finding that language is as much culture as a specific sequence of sounds. and to fully understand a language one have to understand the culture.

as for language being logical, dont even go there. if there is anything thats not logical, its language.


I will second that.

I am fluent in both English (my native language) and Spanish (learned) and neither language is truly logical. It is interesting to note that my English improved as a result of learning Spanish grammar. Don't ask, I have no idea why.

Although I reached a level of conversational fluency (i.e. word order, meaning, etc.) around 6 months in Spanish, I missed a lot of the actual conversation (i.e. subtleties, jokes, etc.) because my cultural understanding was lacking. By the end of two years, I could actually laugh at the jokes and even tell a few myself. However, I learned Spanish in Peru and my understanding of Mexican humor is still lacking due to the cultural differences.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
Receptive aphasia, also known as Wernicke aphasia, is a perfect explanation for the Sasquach's difficulty with language. The sufferer unable to comprehend spoken language because he hears words he hears are different from the words being spoken and he is unable to communicate using spoken language because the words he speaks are different from the words he intends to speak. With just the right type of brain damage, you can be fluent in the language and yet not understand a word of it spoken and be unable to speak in coherent sentences yourself.

Thius breaks down when you consider that they CAN use the right animal calls for specific purposes and they CAN reproduce the correct sounds for a given incidence when desired - see the sasquatch 'sound-man' that did music. If it always came out jumbled then you might hear the rolling of thunder when trying to produce bird calls - and this doesn't appear to happen.

QUOTE
Linquisoft's wouldn't help and neither would the Linguistics power, since the issue isn't a lack fluency, it is simply involuntary nonsensical word substitution.

Linguasofts already appear to help, at least through AR interface as described in RC. As far as the Linguistics power, what do you base your answer on? There doesn't appear to be any reason why the power can't function as intended - it goes back to using magical handwavium to counter magical handwavium - which, while I hate, seems to be within RAW. Note also that there is no game information - such as a Negative Quality - that states sasquatch can't use spoken language, only flavor text which is often only partially correct in SR.
HappyDaze
I'm also curious - RC hints that sasquatch need linguisofts and AR to understand written communication, but this is once again never spelled out clearly. Can sasquatch learn to read and write?
ludomastro
No offense intended HappyDaze, but what are you getting at? Are you dissatisfied with the RAW? Attempting to point out a perceived (or actual) flaw in the fluff/design? Railing against the Man (that is to say, Catalyst)?

Because I get the feeling that you won't be satisfied until you get everyone (or perhaps the devs) to agree with you and let the poor big guy talk and understand. Were I in your shoes, I would just hand wave it for my game and move on with life.

When I play DnD I don't fret over Paladins being required to have a Lawful Good Alignment (which means precisely nothing - see Frank's diatribe over at The Gaming Den). I just tell the player they must be Good, follow a code of conduct and not stray too far/too often from Lawful. Sometimes, I don't even require them to be Lawful. Yes, the RAW says one thing and I handwave it to the way that I want.

Anyway, thats my two nuyen.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Aug 31 2008, 01:08 PM) *
Thius breaks down when you consider that they CAN use the right animal calls for specific purposes and they CAN reproduce the correct sounds for a given incidence when desired - see the sasquatch 'sound-man' that did music. If it always came out jumbled then you might hear the rolling of thunder when trying to produce bird calls - and this doesn't appear to happen.


Actually, it doesn't. This particular type of aphasia does nothing to alter the ability to sing and understand song, because music is processed by a totally different part of the brain.
WearzManySkins
QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Aug 31 2008, 11:34 AM) *
Actually, it doesn't. This particular type of aphasia does nothing to alter the ability to sing and understand song, because music is processed by a totally different part of the brain.

Correction. That is in a MetaHuman brain, as AH has pointed out this an ALIEN brain such medical fact gathering is moot. Current medical conditions etc do not apply to the ALIEN brain.

The aspects of a Naga being able to understand language with no mean to naturally speak such has yet to be discussed. grinbig.gif

WMS
HappyDaze
QUOTE
No offense intended HappyDaze, but what are you getting at? Are you dissatisfied with the RAW? Attempting to point out a perceived (or actual) flaw in the fluff/design?

It's not really in the RAW - as I mentioned, there really is no game information text that specifically prevents sasquatch from learning and using Language skills. The fluff is my problem, and I think it's a rather poorly thought out concept that's been ported forward through each edition without any real thought to it.
QUOTE
Railing against the Man (that is to say, Catalyst)?

If you want to see it that way, then sure - it is a core concept to the cyperpunk genre, right?

QUOTE
Actually, it doesn't. This particular type of aphasia does nothing to alter the ability to sing and understand song, because music is processed by a totally different part of the brain.

So, let's go over this in play:

PC human (spoken): "I'm going to tell you how to woo that hot troll chick over there."
AR linguisoft translates human's spoken message to sign
PC sasquatch (sign): "OK"
AR linguisoft translates sasquatch's sign message to spoken
PC human (spoken): "<<<insert bad pick-up line>>>"
AR linguisoft translates human's spoken message to sign
PC sasquatch: I walk over and repeat the 'sounds' the human just made knowing fully what they mean (or at least as well as the AR linguisoft translated them). I am going to committ these 'sounds' to memory knowing to use it for these situations.

Later the PC learns other such sounds - along with what context to use them in - such as calls for help, alert signals, 'clear', etc.

Where does this break down?
imperialus
I admit I haven't read the entire thread yet but what about some kind of autism. You claim that an ability to grasp mathematics must lead to an ability to grasp languages but in the case of some extreme cases of autism it's very clear that this is not the case. Many autistic people are just now learning how to communicate over the internet, and just as many of them are proving highly intelligent, articulate and sociable in a digital setting. They may never speak a word to another person but you could read a post of theirs on a message board and never know the difference.

Now Sasquatch have evolved to function in this manner. A lot of the 'problems' associated with autism are now explained as expressions of frustration and anger at the individuals inability to communicate. A Sasquatch however has evolved so that this is normal for them. They can communicate amongst each other and have no problems with their intelligence, they just communicate differently.
Ancient History
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Aug 31 2008, 06:01 PM) *
Where does this break down?

About the same as when you've got a non-native speaker using a phrasebook, or try the same trick with two regular humans where one doesn't speak French and the other does. The sasquatch character can repeat the phrase but won't have a full understanding of its meaning - not to mention it won't know how to understand any response it gets or synthesize new phrases in the same language because it's parroting without understanding. Plus - and this is a uniquely sasquatch thing - the voice is going to be that of whoever the sasquatch is parroting, not their own voice, which can lead to some confusion and unusual situations.
Ancient History
I'm just going to share something horrible I thought of:

PC human female (spoken): "I'm going to tell you how to woo that hot troll chick over there."
AR linguisoft translates human's spoken message to sign
PC sasquatch male (sign): "OK"
AR linguisoft translates sasquatch's sign message to spoken
PC human female (spoken): "<<<insert bad pick-up line>>>"
AR linguisoft translates human's spoken message to sign
PC sasquatch male: I walk over and repeat the 'sounds' the human just made knowing fully what they mean (or at least as well as the AR linguisoft translated them). I am going to committ these 'sounds' to memory knowing to use it for these situations.
<sasquatch male repeats bad pick-up line in voice of human female>
NPC troll female (spoken): "Well, this is unusual...but as a lesbian I'm open to new experiences, so sure!"

<later on, in the motel room>

NPC troll female (thinking): "Okay, so she's a little hairy. I've dated girls who didn't shave before. So now we're in the hotel room and OMFG what IS that oh SHI..."
hobgoblin
one thing to keep in mind during all this is that we are not conscious about all the steps our brain have to perform to make the connection between sound and object.

from what i understand, people can have their brain damaged in such a way that they no longer can see motion. only that a object that was ones at location a is now at location b, as if by magic.

so it would not surprise me that given the right environment a being could evolve that can mimic sounds perfectly, but not make the jump to verbal communication.
Johnny Jacks
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Aug 31 2008, 08:12 AM) *
There is no in-game evidence that Sasquatches have better hearing than a metahuman.


Okay, I phrased that badly. I mean that they distinguish the differences in sounds better than human ears do. If they didn't, they wouldn't be able to mimic sounds as precisely as they do.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
About the same as when you've got a non-native speaker using a phrasebook, or try the same trick with two regular humans where one doesn't speak French and the other does.

Yes, but it's made better by the fact that the sasquatch will get the pronounciation correct if the original speaker did. I'm not saying that it will be flawless and perfect communication, but two people with phrasebooks CAN communicate. This means that it should be possible for sasquatch too.

QUOTE
The sasquatch character can repeat the phrase but won't have a full understanding of its meaning - not to mention it won't know how to understand any response it gets or synthesize new phrases in the same language because it's parroting without understanding.

OK, you've already agreed that it CAN speak, but my argument doesn't really help it with understanding spoken responses. For this it will still have to rely on the near-instant translation provided by it's AR. However, it has the reasoning to select a previously heard and memorized response that's appropriate (eideitc memory is a blessing for a sasquatch) and can then give another verbal response. It'll still be phrasebook-ish, but it'll work.

QUOTE
Plus - and this is a uniquely sasquatch thing - the voice is going to be that of whoever the sasquatch is parroting, not their own voice, which can lead to some confusion and unusual situations.

I agree with this part completely. I'd suggest the sasquatch select a pleasing voice from the 10,000+ options available to it from its linguisoft program to memorize the responses in.
BishopMcQ
I think one of the biggest problems is that all of us are human. We approach language, cognitive awareness and the concept of consciousness from a human perspective.

Picture a cow in a field, eating grass on a sunny day. I point and say Vahknato. Am I talking about the cow, the grass, the sun, the color of the sky, the fact that I'm hungry, the holiness of the cow, a pressing need to never move behind a four-legged beast? Because there is absolutely no basis for understanding, you can't even take the inflection as direction. Any inferences that can be made are going to be biased from your own preconceived notions of language and the world at large.

We expect people and other intelligences to think like we think, breathe what we breathe, etc. Could we fathom a concept that all the phytoplankton in the ocean is actually a single massive intelligence that sits and watches us? That it groks everything we are but doesn't understand why we can't grok it. Afterall, we have tasted it, we have become one with it, but in the grokking, never grokked. Step back for a second and feel the enormity of Alien.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
Step back for a second and feel the enormity of Alien.

The sasquatch is so alien that it can utilize real-time translations to sign language without a hiccup in the system. It's able to comprehend the manner and need for communication and can take steps to address the problem through technology - but not through learning... That's not really very alien in my eyes.
HappyDaze
Linguasofts are very valuable for sasquatches, as sign-to-speech, sign-to-text, text-to-sign, and speech-to-sign patches can be easily downloaded for free from the Matrix. This means a sasquatch can use AR gloves with an appropriate linguasoft to translate their sign language into relevant text or computer-generated speech for the language on the linguasoft. If the sasquatch has an image link and the appropriate linguasoft, any text they see or speech they hear in the language can be translated into animated sign language in their image link. This enables erudite, tech-savvy sasquatches to “speak? to other metahumans without much trouble.

Still checking - it's implied that sasquatches have to use linguasofts for written communications, but it this actually the case or is it just needed for languages the sasquatch doesn't already know (as with other characters)?
BishopMcQ
The sasquatch can grok humanity, great--that puts it with the phytoplankton in my example. Do we grok it? Nope. Without grokking how the sasquatch processes information and what it does, we can't understand why verbal communication is impossible for it.
HappyDaze
Gotcha - we're back to handwavium.
hobgoblin
hmm, could one construct a environment that would make it one more fit to survive if one used sign language rather then verbal?
Cain
I think you guys are making too big of a deal about the alien thing.

Clearly, their brain allows them to understand and communicate in a way similar to our own, otherwise they wouldn't be able to use AR. A truly alien being might not be able to comprehend such things.

Now, that isn't to say that there aren't some fascinating ideas floating about. It is known for a fact that in the human brain, language has to be acquired within a certain timeframe; miss that window, and there's no chance of you fully developing language abilities. You might be able to pick up some words here and there, but the bulk of it will forever escape you. I'll look up specific case studies if anyone's interested, but a search on "feral children" is a good place to start.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
hmm, could one construct a environment that would make it one more fit to survive if one used sign language rather then verbal?

Let's ammedn that to:

hmm, could one construct a environment that would make it one more fit to survive if one used sign language rather then verbal while still developing the ability to mimic all sounds - including speech?
BishopMcQ
If you have to label "unable to understand," handwavium, then yes. Nuclear physics was probably handwavium to Newton.

Personally I see a difference between unable to understand due to significant difference and casual dismissal. I don't understand why particle physics works the way it does, should I presume that the Universe is just throwing around handwavium? Instead, I look at it as an area to research and with further self-development I will be able to understand. For all we know, by 2075 there may be enough research to explain why sasquatches understand sign language but not vocalized language. The logical arguments put forth for and against by AH, Chrysalis and others are useful for maintaining a dialogue and seeking understanding. Throwing out handwavium is counter-productive.
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