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Conan's Linguistic Abilities


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#1 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 02:58 AM

"In his roaming about the world the giant adventurer had picked up a wide smattering of knowledge, particularly including the speaking and reading of many alien tongues. Many a sheltered scholar would have been astonished at the Cimmerian's linguistic abilities, for he had experienced many adventures where knowledge of a strange language meant the difference between life and death."-The Servants of Bit-Yakin

In reading this passage I wondered, what languages exactly did he speak and how many? There are several threads in these forums speculating what the counterparts to the languages Howard mentions in the Conan stories would be in real life in proto or historic forms of the languages that we know of today. But I was wondering in the stories themselves what languages are mentioned that he knows. After searching here and various other web sites and the Conan wiki I could not find the answer so I turned to the tales themselves to find out.

Since "he was born on the battlefield, during a fight between his tribe and a horde of raiding Vanir", and is "a pure-bred Cimmerian" from Cimmeria. (Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller) It stands to reason he grew up speaking his native Cimmerian. Since Howard never identifies the name of the language of the Cimmerians I have taken the liberty to name it after the country as many languages are today and historically. I take similar liberties with other language names if Howard does not mention them specifically.

1. Cimmerian

Phoenix on the Sword In Phoenix Conan is the king of Aquilonia and it is implied by the text he is speaking Aquilonian throughout the story.

2. Aquilonian

Incidentally Phoenix also mentions that he is literate and has some ability in cartography. "Behind an ivory, gold-inlaid writing-table sat a man whose broad shoulders and sun-browned skin seemed out of place among those luxuriant surroundings."

"Now he laid down the golden stylus with which he had been laboriously scrawling on waxed papyrus...."

"'What are you working at there?' 'A map,' Conan answered with pride. " The maps of the court show well the countries of the south, east and west, but in the north they are vague and faulty. I am adding the northern lands myself. Here is Cimmeria, where I was born.'" -TPotS

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 November 2010 - 09:26 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#2 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:13 AM

Frost-Giant's Daughter

Set in Nordheim with Conan as a part of a war band of the Æsir from Asgard fighting the Vanir of Vanaheim.
Since he speaks to both Æsir and Vanir as well as the god Ymir's daughter Atali and her brothers the frost giants and all seem to understand him, and that he understands Atali as she cries out for help from her father the Nordheimr God Ymir it seems he speaks Nordheimr.

3. Nordheimr

The God in the Bowl

Conan as a thief in Nemedia. "'I didn't kill him,' he answered, speaking Nemedian with a barbaric accent." -TGitB

4. Nemedian

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 27 November 2010 - 07:25 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#3 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:44 AM

The Tower of the Elephant

Conan as a thief in Zamora. "Conan was about seventeen" -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

"'You spoke of the Elephant Tower,' said the stranger, speaking Zamorian with an alien accent." -TTofE

5. Zamorian

The Scarlet Citadel

Conan again as the Aquilonian king rides to Ophir and is betrayed and taken captive to Khorshemish in Koth.

It is assumed he is speaking Aquilonian at the beginning of the tale in Aquilonia. In Ophir he is surrounded by Ophirean knights, Shemites and Kothain knights. He is confronted by Strabonus, king of Koth, King Amalrus of Ophir, and Tsotha-lanti a Kothian wizard.
All of the parties present are speaking and understanding each other so it is assumed that they are speaking Kothic. "'I offer you life, Conan,' said Tsotha, a cruel mirth bubbling at the back of his voice. 'I give you death, wizard,' snarled the king..." - The Scarlet Citadel
While it is possible that that he was addressed in Aquilonian, or that they were speaking Kothic or Opherian it is never made clear.

"The black spoke in a sea-coast dialect, and Conan replied; he had learned the jargon while a corsair on the coasts of Kush." - The Scarlet Citadel

"Have you taught her Kushite, as I commanded?"
-Untitled Draft: The Snout in the Dark

6. Kushite/Cushite sea-coast dialect

"'What year is this?' he asked, speaking Kothic. 'Today is the tenth day of the month Yuluk, of the year of the Gazelle,' answered Conan." The Scarlet Citadel

7. Kothic

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 25 November 2010 - 09:46 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#4 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:15 AM

Queen of the Black Coast

Starting out as a Mercenary in Argos Conan boards ship and sails past Shem and Stygia on the way to Cush (Kush). He becomes a corsair.

He speaks with the master of the ship Argus a man named Tito an Argossean. "'Who invited you aboard?' 'Get under way!' roared the intruder with a fierce gesture that spattered red drops from his broadsword. 'But we're bound for the coasts of Cush!' expostulated the master." -Queen of the Black Coast
Therefore it stands to reason that he is speaking Argossean.

8. Argossean

Confronted by the corsair Bêlit, "'Who are you?' she demanded....'I am Conan, a Cimmerian,' he answered." -Queen of the Black Coast
"...this daughter of Shem ..." -Queen of the Black Coast

Since Bêlit is Shemitish one could postulate that she addresses him in her native tongue although she may be speaking to him in Argossean knowing the nationality of the vessel she just captured on which he was aboard. She continues to speak to both Conan and the crew and it is doubtful she would address the crew in Argossean so it is assumed to be Shemitish.

9. Shemitish


Sometime during his time in Cush (Kush) he learns the language of the black corsairs. In the story he gives orders to the men but it doesn't clarify what tongue he is speaking. He probably learned Kushite while raiding the Stygians on board the Tigress.

"The Tigress ranged the sea, and the black villages shuddered. Tom-toms beat in the night, with a tale that she she-devil of the sea had found a mate, an iron man whose wrath was as that of a wounded lion. And the survivors of butchered Stygian ships named Bêlit with curse, and a white warrior with fierce blue eyes; so the Stygian princes remembered this man long and long, and their memory was a bitter tree which bore crimson fruit in the years to come."-QotBC

"If he were recognized as Amra, the corsair chief who had swept their coasts with steel and flame..." -The Hour of the Dragon

"The black spoke in a sea-coast dialect, and Conan replied; he had learned the jargon while a corsair on the coasts of Kush." - The Scarlet Citadel

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 November 2010 - 09:30 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#5 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:48 AM

Black Colossus

Conan begins the tale as a mercenary member of the free companions.
Set in Khoraja crosses over to Shem to the mysterious ruins of Kuthchemes. "But in Khoraja, carved out of Shemite lands by the swords of Kothic adventurers." "At first glance she saw he was no Kothian; when he spoke she knew he was no Hyborian." "'Have they shut you into the street?' he asked in barbarous Kothic, reaching for her." -Black Colossus

Iron Shadows in the Moon
Set in Turan near the Ilbars River and the Vilayet Sea. Conan is a Kozaki raider and ends the tale as pirate member of the fellowship of the Red Brotherhood.
"'You Hyrkanian dog!' mouthed this apparition in a barbarous accent. 'The devils of vengeance have brought you here!' 'Kozak!' ejaculated Shah Amurath, recoiling." -Black Colossus
Conan is speaking to a Hyrkanian probably in Shah Amurath's native tongue.

10. Hyrkanian

"'I am Conan, of Cimmeria,' he grunted. 'I was with the kozaki, as the Hyrkanian dogs called us.' ...'I am a daughter of the king of Ophir,'she said." -ISitM
Conan is speaking to Olivia presumably in her native tongue.
(In another story Howard mentions Ophirean, when the young girl Tina speaks. "'Lady Belesa!'she cried, rendering the Zingaran words with a soft Ophirean accent." - The Black Stranger)

11. Ophirean

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 November 2010 - 07:41 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#6 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:00 AM

Xuthal of the Dusk

Sole survivors of an army fighting its way through Koth, Shem, Stygia, and finally to the strange city of Xuthal in Kush. Conan is a mercenary, traveling together with Natala.

"The girl was Brythunian, whom Conan had found in the slave-market of a stormed Shemite city, and appropriated."- XotD Conan speaks with Natala throughout the story but it is never made clear if they are speaking Brythunian her native tongue, Shemitish the language where he found her, or Kothic the language of the army Conan is fighting for.

"'Lir an mannanan mac lir!'he swore..."- XotD Conan swearing in his native Cimmerian tongue naming two Celtic gods Lir, and "the son of" (mac in Gaelic) Lir, Mannanan. Curiously Howard does not mention either god in a list of Cimmerian gods "Crom, Badb, Morrigan, Macha, Nemain, war-goddeses, Diancecht, Dagda" nor other northern barbarian gods such as the Nordheimr god "Ymir". - Howard in Hyborian Names and Countries

"After a tense moment he spoke, in a far-away detached tone, and a language his hearers did not understand. On a venture Conan replied in Stygian, and the stranger answered in the same tongue: 'Who are you?'"- XotD

12. Stygian

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 November 2010 - 09:33 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#7 Ironhand

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:45 AM

In Xuthal of the Dusk, Conan and Natala both converse with Thalis, a Stygian, in the Stygian tongue; Conan fluently, and Natala clumsily. Earlier, Conan and Natala are conversing, but it is not clear whether it is in Brythunian, Kothian, or Shemitish.

Se we know that Conan is fluent in Stygian.

(I recently finished a script for a XotD screenplay, and I had to worry about subtitles. :) )

Note that for Conan, being fluent in a language, and speaking it with a barbarous accent, are not inconsistent.

Edited by Ironhand, 22 November 2010 - 06:49 AM.

"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#8 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:03 AM

The Pool of the Black One

Conan is a Corsair of the Barachan Isles. He joins some Zingaran freebooters. Set in the western ocean and the Isle of the Black Ones.

"Sancha, once of Kordava,..." -TPotBO Kordava is a city of Zingara.
"'Who are you?' she demanded. 'Whence did you come?'...'I am Conan,' the other answered imperturbably. Sancha pricked up her ears anew; she had never heard Zingaran spoken with such an accent as the stranger spoke it."- TPotBO

13. Zingaran


Rogues in the House

Unknown city west of Zamora. The Conan wiki places it in Corinthia. Conan is a thief.
"I am not sure that the adventure chronicled in 'Rogues in the House' occurred in Zamora...I am of the opinion that the city was one of the small city-states lying just west of Zamora." -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

The language of the story is never stated but is assumed to be whatever the local dialect is possibly Corinthian.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 November 2010 - 09:33 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#9 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:10 AM

The Vale of Lost Women

In the jungles of Kush Conan is the war-chief of the Bamulas tribe.

Conan and his warriors converse with Bajujh, king of Bakalah presumably in some dialect of Kushite although it is never stated in the story.

"'Who are you?'he demanded, speaking Ophirean with a barbarous accent.'By Crom, I never thought to find a white girl in this hellish land.' "My name is Livia,' she answered." -TVoLW

The Devil in Iron

This tale occurs on the island of Xapur in the Vilayet Sea and the city of Khawarizm of the Turanian empire. Conan is a Kozaki Chief their Hetman.
"Yezdigerd, King of Turan, was the mightiest monarch in the world... His fleets of purple-sailed war galleys had made Vilayet an Hyrkanian lake." - TDiI
"We will ask for a parley with the kozaks in regard to prisoners, at the edge of the steppes by Fort Ghori." - TDiI
"with the kozak chief with whom- by compulsion- she had she had shamelessly flirted in the pavilions of the camp by Fort Ghori, where the Hyrkanian lords had parleyed with the warriors of the steppes." - TDiI

"Hyrkanian kingdom of Turan"
- REH in The Hyborian Age

The parley was most likely spoken in Hyrkanian.

"Presently she spoke, but the tongue was unfamiliar to him, and he shook his head. She yawned again, stretched lithely, and without any show of fear or surprise, shifted to a language he did understand, a dialect of Yuetshi which sounded strangely archaic."- TDiI Yateli speaking to Conan.

The Yuetshi "who have dwelt in their rude fishing -huts along the southern shore of the Sea of Vilayet since time immemorial." - TDiI

14. Yuetshi

Conan understands a voice coming from behind a wall. "The tongue was Nemedian, but the voice was not human." - TDiI
He also speaks to the Nemedian girl Octavia.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 November 2010 - 09:35 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#10 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:12 AM

People of the Black Circle

Set in Vendhya in the cities of Ayodhya and Peshkhauri, and in the crags of the Himelians. Conan is Chief of the Afghulis the hillmen of Ghulistan or Afghulistan.

It is presumed by the text that Conan speaks Vendhyan as he speaks to the governor Chunder Shan in his native tongue.

"'Shhhh!' he warned. 'Don't make a noise, you bastard, or I'll send the devil a henchman!'" - PotBC

And also to the Devi Yasmina. "'You dare - you dare! Your life shall pay for this! Where are you taking me?' 'To the villages of Afghulistan,' he answered, casting a glance over his shoulder."- PotBC

15. Vendhyan

Conan speaks to Zhaibari tribesmen in the Zhaibar region of the Himelians, the Wazulis of Khurum.

"Conan and Yar Afzal stood a few paces before the door, and between them and the ring of warrors another man sat cross-legged. This one was addressing his chief in the harsh accents of the Wazuli which Yasmina could scarcely understand, though as part of her royal education she had been taught the languages of Iranistan and the kindred tongues of Ghulistan."- PotBC

16. Zhaibari Wazuli dialect.

Conan speaks to a girl from a Galzai village. "'If you will give this woman your garments,' he said, ' I will give you this money.'" - PotBC

Zhaibari Galzai dialect

Conan speaks to the Afghuli hillmen. "'I was riding for Ghor! he roared. 'I had not hoped to meet you dogs on the trail. Follow me as fast as your nags can push! I'm going to Yimsha, and -' 'Traitor!' The howl was like a dash of ice water in his face." - PotBC

17. Ghulistani or Ghuli

Conan speaks to the Turanian Kerim Shah in Hyrkanian. "'Where is the Devi?' demanded Kerim Shah. 'What's it to you, you Hyrkanian spy?' snarled Conan." - PotBC

The Turanian then explains to his followers the Irakzai tribesmen showing they didn't understand the conversation in Hyrkanian. "Kerim Shah turned to the silent Irakzai and spoke briefly: 'This chief and I are going to Yimsha to fight the wizards. Will you go with us, or stary here to be flayed by the Afghulis who are following this man?'"- PotBC

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 November 2010 - 09:37 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#11 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:00 AM

The Hour of the Dragon

Conan at his finest in his only full length novel as Aquilonian king. The story paces from Aquilonia to Nemedia, through Zingara and Argos, and into Stygia before coming full circle. Conan is of course King but dons various disguises a Nemedian Adventurer, a mercenary veteran free companion, a penniless wayfarer, an Asuran pilgrim boat slave, a Stygian fisherman and a priest of Set.

"Conan was about forty when he seized the crown of Aquilonia, and was about forty-four or forty-five at the time of 'The Hour of the Dragon.'" -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

Aquilonian is assumed when the King speaks to his subjects.

Conan speaks Nemedian to King Tarascus. "Conan hurled the bow at the king of Nemedia. 'Curse my shaky hand! Come in and take me if you dare!'" -THotD

Conan speaks Zingaran to Valbroso. "'Who are you, knave?' he demanded. 'A mercenary, riding for Argos,' answered Conan. 'What matter names?'" -THotD

Conan speaks Argossean as he searches for news of Beloso. "From the men that worked the fields, from the garrulous old men in the inns where he slaked his thirst with great leathern jacks of foaming ale, from the sharp-eyed silk-clad merchants he met upon the road, Conan sought for news of Beloso." -THotD

As the only white man left on aboard the Venturer Conan speaks Kushite to the freed slaves aboard from Argossean galley. "'Weapons in plenty for you, for this ship carried blades and harness to the Shemites who dwell along the coast. There are enough of us to work ship, aye, and to fight! You rowed in chains for the Argossean dogs: will you row as free men for Amra?'" -THotD

Conan speaks Stygian to the fisherman captive. "'Stand on your legs, man, and quit trembling,' said the Cimmerian impatiently, who found it difficult to understand abject terror." -THotD

Conan reads Stygian phonetic hieroglyphics then speaks them aloud. "Archaic hieroglyphics were scrawled across the lacquered lid, and, seeking back into his mind for tag-ends of learning, picked up here and there as incidentals of an adventurous life, he spelled them out, and said aloud: 'Akivasha!'" -THotD

Conan threatens Xaltotun on a scroll of parchment. "To Xaltotun, grand fakir of Nemedia: Dog of Acheron, I am returning to my kingdom, and I mean to hang your hide on a bramble. CONAN"
"'A forgery!'exclaimed Amalric. Xaltotun shook his head. 'It is genuine. I have compared it with the signature on the royal documents on record in the libraries of the court. None could imitate that bold scrawl.'"
-THotD

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 November 2010 - 09:38 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#12 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:06 AM

(I recently finished a script for a XotD screenplay, and I had to worry about subtitles. :) )


What language are you using for the Stygian in the screenplay out of curiosity? Arabic? I assume English for the Brythunian, Kothian, or Shemitish or whatever Conan and Natala are speaking in your screenplay.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#13 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:14 AM

A Witch Shall Be Born

Conan is the captain of the guard in Khauran, becomes chief of the Zuagirs.

"They are the Shemitish mercenaries of Constantius, the Kothic voivode of the Free Companies."

Conan understands the Kothic spoken to him by Constantius while crucified. He also speaks Kothic in Khauran "which at one time formed the eastern part of the empire of Koth, and which later regained the independence which was theirs at a still earlier age." -AWSBB

"'Remember me when the vultures are tearing at your living flesh,' he called mockingly." -AWSBB

"At the present there is some possibility of invasion from the desert, which is inhabited by tribes of Shemitish nomads. The mercenaries of Constantius are men from the Shemitish cities of the west, Pelishtim, Anakim, Akkharim, and are ardently hated by the Zuagirs and other wandering tribes."
-AWSBB

Conan understands the Zuagir dialect of Shemitish and speaks with them. "'Aye!' It was the guttural accents of a Zuagir. 'It is the Cimmerian who was captain of the queen's guard.'" -AWSBB

"Aie, you dogs, sharpen your ears and listen! Gather around here. I have a tale to tell you." -AWSBB

The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Set in the kingdom of Keshan. Conan is a mercenary offering his services to train the armies of Keshia and a treasure hunter in the haunted city of Alkmeenon.

Conan speaks to the Keshan rulers and the high priest Gorulga.

18. Keshani

Conan reads ancient Pelishtim a dialect of Shemitish.

"Remembering something, the Cimmerian drew forth the roll of parchment he had taken from the mummy and unrolled it carefully, as it seemed ready to fall to pieces with age. He scowled over the dim characters with which it was covered. In his roaming about the world the giant adventurer had picked up a wide smattering of knowledge, particularly including the speaking and reading of many alien tongues. Many a sheltered scholar would have been astonished at the Cimmerian's linguistic abilities, for he had experienced many adventures where knowledge of a strange language meant the difference between life and death.
These Characters were puzzling, at once familiar and unintelligible, and presently he discovered the reason. They were the characters of the archaic Pelishtim, which possessed many points of difference from the modern script, with which he was familiar, and which, three centuries ago, had been modified by conquest by a nomad tribe. This older, purer script baffled him. He made out a recurrent phrase, however, which he recognized as a proper name: Bit-Yakin. He gathered it was the name of the writer.
Scowling, his lips unconsciously moving as he struggled with the task, he blundered through the manuscript, finding much of it untranslatable and most of the rest of it obscure.
He gathered that the writer, the mysterious Bit-Yakin, had come from afar with his servants, and entered the valley of Alkmeenon. Much that followed was meaningless, interspersed as it was with unfamiliar phrases and characters. Such as he could translate seemed to indicate the passing of a very long period of time."
-TSoBY

"the Shemitish cities of the west, Pelishtim, Anakim, Akkharim,..." -AWSBB

Conan recognizes a Corinthian accent. "I thought it was strange that a princess of Alkmeenon would speak with a Corinthian accent! As soon as I'd gathered my wits I knew I'd seen you somewhere. You're Muriela, Zargheba's Corinthian dancing girl." -TSoBY It is probable that upon recognizing the Corinthian accent of the spoken Keshani, Conan confronts then converses with Muriela in her native tongue, which he probably learned during the tale Rogues in the House.

19. Corinthian

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 26 November 2010 - 01:35 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#14 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:16 AM

Beyond the Black River

Conan is a Mercenary employed as a scout and forest runner in the Westermarck region of the Bossonian Marches of Aquilonia. He makes a foray into the Pictish Wilderness during a border war with the Picts.

Conan is presumably speaking Aquilonian with the Gundermen and Aquilonians of the fort.

"'Come on out!' he called, in an accent unfamiliar to the wayfarer" -BtBR

""'But the Bossonians have sheltered you Aquilonians form the outer wildernesses for too many centuries. You need hardening.' That was true; the Bossonian marches, with thier fortified villages filled with determined bowmen, had long served Aquilonia as a buffer against the outlying barbarians." - BtBR

"The rangy figures of Aquilonian pikemen and forest runners mingled with the shorter, stockier forms of Bossonian archers." -BtBR

"The Westermarck: located between the Bossonian marches and the Pictish wilderness. Provinces: Thandara, Conawaga, Oriskonie, Schohira...Thandara was the southernmost province...Their governor was merely a military commander, elected from among themselves, their choice being always submitted to and approved by the king of Aquilonia as a matter of form. No troops were ever sent to Thandara...When the word came that Aquilonia was being torn by civil war, and that the Cimmerian Conan was striking for the crown, Thandara instantly declared for Conan, renounced their allegiance to King Namedes and sent word asking Conan to endorse their elected governor, which the Cimmerian instantly did." -REH in untitled notes.

"Baron Thasperas (Thespius) sent us word that we could do as we chose - he has declared for Conan and joined the rebel army." Gault speaking of one of the Bossonian barons-Wolves Beyond the Border Drafts A and B

It stands to reason that Conan can speak to the Bossonians in the Marches and the Westermarck and it is evidenced that he definitely can by the time he is King of Aquilonia and commanding the Bossonian archers as part of his armies.

"'No, Prospero,' the king continued...'I tell you it's not by chance that the Picts have of late so fiercely assailed the frontiers, so that the Bossonians have called for aid to beat them back.'" -The Phoenix on the Sword.

"In a sort of bastard-Bossonian, the priest made the chief understand his purpose, and the though extremely puzzled, Gorm gave him permission to remain among his tribe unbutchered- a case unique in the history of the race." REH speaking of Picts in The Hyborian Age.

20. Bossonian of the Bossonian Marches

Conan speaks Pictish.

"At his very ear had sounded the harsh gutturals of a Pict. Then he realized that Conan had called to the paddler in his own tongue." -BtBR

21. Pictish Gwawela dialect

Conan scrawls the symbol of Jhebbal Sag. "Conan turned, squatted and with his knife began scratching a curious symbol in the mold..." -BtBR
"'I saw it carved in the rock of a cave no human had visited for a million years,' muttered Conan. 'In the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet, half a world away from this spot. Later I saw a black witch-finder of Kush scratch it in the sand of a nameless river. He told me part of its meaning- it's sacred to Jhebbal Sag and the creatures which worship him.'" -BtBR

The Black Stranger

Through the Pictish Wilderness to the western coast, Conan is a Mercenary employed as a scout and forest runner in the Westermark region of the Bossonian Marches of Aquilonia who is captured by Picts and escapes. He becomes a Pirate.

Conan speaks Zingaran throughout the tale to The Count of Zingara and his retainers, Strom and his Barachan Pirates, and Black Zarono with his Zingaran buccaneers.

Conan is able to read the Barachan treasure map."I wouldn't have known he had a map, if he hadn't tried to eat it before he died. I recognized it for what it was, of course..."-TBS

Conan is able to read and distinguish the prints of moccasins from various Pict tribes. "'The Picts whose tracks are about this tree weren't Toucans,' he growled, returning through the thicket. 'I've sailed these coasts enough to know something about the sea-land tribes. If I read the prints of their moccasins right, they were Cormorants.'" -TBS

Conan uses smoke signals. "Conan the Cimmerian held a ragged cloak over a fire of green wood. As he manipulated the cloak, puffs of smoke rose upward, quivered against the dawn and vanished.
...'They'll understand my signals; it's the pirate code.'"
-TBS

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 27 November 2010 - 08:00 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#15 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:58 PM

The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

Conan is a traveler in the city of Zamboula in Turan.

Conan speaks to a Zuagir in Shemitish Zuagir dialect.

"'Be warned! Thou hast dwelt for many moons in the tents of the Zuagirs, and thou art our brother! Go not to the house of Aram Baksh!' 'Get out of sight!' Conan said suddenly."-TMEoZ

Conan speaks Hyrkanian the language of Turan and hears Shemitish, Kushite, and Stygian.

"The watchmen did not accost him...They were Pelishtim...mercenaries hired for work the ruling Turanians considered beneath themselves." -TMEoZ

"Giant black slaves slouched along, jostling blue-beared wanderers from the Shemitish cities, ragged nomads from the surrounding deserts, traders and adventurers from all the lands of the East.
The native population was no less heterogeneous. Here, centuries ago, the armies of Stygia had come, carving an empire out of the eastern desert. Zamboula was but a small trading town then, lying amidst a ring of oases, and inhabited by descendants of nomads. The Stygians built it into a city and settled it with their own people, and with Shemite and Kushite slaves. The ceaseless caravans, threading the desert from east to west and back again, brought riches and more mingling of races. Then came the conquering Turanians, riding out of the East to thrust back the boundaries of Stygia, and now for a generation Zamboula Had been Turan's western-most out-post, ruled by a Turanian satrap.
The babel of a myriad tongues smote on the Cimmerian's ears as the restless pattern of the Zamboula streets weaved about him..."
-TMEoZ

Conan listens to cannibal slaves from Darfar. "Now they could understand the gutturals of the black men." -TMEoZ
It is not made clear if they are speaking Hyrkanian since they are slaves and likely have been in the city for some time or their own language Darfari from Darfar near Kush.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 November 2010 - 09:45 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#16 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 07:16 PM

Red Nails

Conan is a Free Companion following Valeria who is fleeing fleeing from Sukhmet in Stygia through Darfar to a mysterious city palace of Xuchotl far to the south in the Black Kingdoms.

Conan speaks to Valeria who is Aquilonian in her native tongue. "Conan asked in the Aquilonian tongue: 'Who is this madman?' Valeria shrugged her shoulders." -Red Nails

Conan and Valeria speak to the inhabitants of Xuchotl in Stygian. "He was gibbering in the Stygian tongue, though in a dialect unfamiliar to her." -Red Nails

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 30 November 2010 - 08:04 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#17 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 07:20 PM

So there it is through all of the Conan tales written by Howard, Conan speaks 21 languages. With the possibility of 22 languages if he is speaking Brythunian to Natala in Xuthal of the Dusk. And 23 languages if when Conan listens to cannibal slaves from Darfar they are speaking their own language in The Man-Eaters of Zamboula.
He may have known a 24th language, Hyperborean of the Hyperboreans. When Conan was captured by Hyperboreans and may have learned their speech whilst captive (a mentioned but unwritten story). "He spent some months among a tribe of the Æsir, fighting with the Vanir and the Hyperboreans, and developing a hate for the latter which lasted all his life and later affected his policies as King of Aquilonia. Captured by them, he escaped southward and came into Zamora..." --Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller
In the untitled fragments, synopses, and drafts no different languages are mentioned.

Languages

1. Cimmerian (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
2. Aquilonian
3. Nordheimr (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
4. Nemedian
5. Zamorian
6. Kushite/Cushite
7. Kothic
8. Argossean (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
9. Shemitish (proper, Zuagir, and Pelishtim dialects)(Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
10. Hyrkanian (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
11. Ophirean
12. Stygian
13. Zingaran
14. Yuetshi
15. Vendhyan (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
16. Zhaibari (Wazuli and Galzai dialects) (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
17. Ghulistani or Ghuli (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
18. Keshani (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
19. Corinthian
20. Bossonian of the Bossonian Marches
21. Pictish (Gwawela dialect and probably others)

Possibly
22. Brythunian (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
23. Darfari (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)
24. Hyperborean (Never mentioned by Howard, named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in)

Other mentioned languages include Khitan of Khitai, Puntan the language of Punt, the language of Iranistan -Iranistani, language of the Irakzai - Irakzani, and Zembabwan of Zembabwei, Atlaian of the Atlaians, Amazonian of the Black Kingdoms of the Amazons, although no mention is made that Conan speaks them (some are never mentioned by Howard as a language by name, they are named after the people, or the country or region they are spoken in).

Ancient Languages in the time of Conan: Lemurian of Lemuria, Archeron of Archeron, Atlantian of Atlantis, Thurian of the pre-cataclysmic Thurian continent, Hybori of the Hyborians, archaic Stygian, Jhebbal Sag, archaic Pelishtim, archaic Yuetshi, the language of the Zhemri, the language of Kuthchemes, the language of Xapur, the language of Xuthal, the spoken phrase of the parrot in Iron Shadows in the Moon:"Yagkoolan yok tha, xuthalla!"

"The kingdoms of Kamelia, Valusia, Verulia, Grondar, Thule, and Commoria. These peoples spoke a similar language, arguing a common origin." (Thurian) - REH in The Hyborian Age

"He travelled widely, not only before his kingship, but after he was king. He traveled to Khitai and Hyrkania, and to even less known regions north of the latter and south of the former. He even visited a nameless continent in the western hemisphere, and roamed the islands adjacent to it. How much of this roaming will get into print, I can not foretell with any accuracy." -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

Sadly because of Howard's death none of those roaming tales were written sealing forever the Howardian Conan Canon. No doubt however Conan would have learned the languages of the land as the truly learned polyglot and multi-linguist he is.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 25 November 2010 - 08:42 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#18 Taranaich

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:06 PM

Great stuff, Amra! Well done!

I have to say, Puntan is a good bet. If Conan & Muriela did get to Punt, it would make sense for him to speak in their language, though he might just speak in Keshani.

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#19 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:10 PM

Great stuff, Amra! Well done!

I have to say, Puntan is a good bet. If Conan & Muriela did get to Punt, it would make sense for him to speak in their language, though he might just speak in Keshani.


The other possibility would be that Puntan, Darfari, Kushite, Keshani and Zembabwan are so close to each other to make them understandable to Conan who speaks Kushite. In The Servants of Bit-Yakin Conan is speaking to the ruler when Thutmekri, a Stygian who is acting as emissary from Zembabwei with a group of Zembabwans offers an alternate plan to the king who seems to have no trouble understanding them.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 22 November 2010 - 11:11 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#20 Tex

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 12:20 AM

Amra, this topic of yours is one worthy of the late, lamented Cimmerian! B)

I predict that in future, it will be used as a scholarly tool for researchers.

(This is what we in the book trade call a hint, y'all.)

Tex
(I shall be using this topic as a "take THAT" kill-shot against the unwashed who think Conan is just a big dumb barbarian)