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The root of Clan language is what linguists in the Inner Sphere refer to as Star League Standard English, a variation of English created by the Terran Hegemony and spread by the influence of the Star League to become the parlance of government, commerce, and culture throughout the Inner Sphere. With the collapse of the Star League, the language quickly mongrelized into the countless languages and dialects now used throughout the Inner Sphere. Today, only our Blessed Order and the upper classes of the Inner Sphere use a language approximating Star League Standard English.

The Clans took this language with them when they left and treated it with the same reverence they have for all things associated with the Star League. Talking to a Clansman is like talking to a holo from those bygone days; it is an amazing and sometimes eerie experience.

This reverence for the language of their forefathers gave birth to a subtle but very striking taboo in Clan society: the use of contractions is forbidden. I did not immediately recognize the total absence of contractions from their speech. In the first days of my association with the Clans, warriors would blanch and others become visibly upset at my speech, even though the words I had used were not offensive. I soon realized this effect was produced by my use of contractions. In my first conversation with the Loremaster of Clan Wolf, I discovered the rationale behind this odd taboo. He explained, "We in the Clans have learned almost from birth to revere the old Star League ways; everything we do should in some way glorify the Clans and the memory of the Star League. This specifically includes our speech, because we believe as strongly in the freedom of speech and expression as did the Star League. To slight the beauty of the language with contractions is to treat it as your people in the Inner Sphere treated the memory of the Star League. You have cut out its heart and reduced it to a cultural contraction, devoid of beauty and the best of its meaning. Only someone wishing to deliberately scorn the language and shock the listener would use contractions."

This does not mean that the Clans have allowed the language to stagnate. Over the years, the Kerenskys and the Clans have added terms to express unique Clan concepts. These words come from a wide variety of languages, especially Russian. Some are military terms adapted for common use. Others are formed by splicing together two words to form a third. These added words sometimes create the effect of listening to a completely foreign tongue.

Clan warriors also have a "battle language," with which I was much more comfortable. Like warriors in the Inner Sphere, Clan warriors use a wide range of acronyms, hyphenations, splices, and buzz words to convey the most meaning in the least number of words. Clan warriors' battle language is so quick and complex that even when Inner Sphere forces are able to intercept Clan communications, they seldom understand what they hear.

This data file was originally obtained from the BattleTech 3056 MUSE. It was originally converted to HTML by Michael J. Flynn of The Company Store and Team SPAM! who believe "Information is in the noise!"
 
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This page can be found at http://www.gamesnet.org/Spoint/clan_info/Language.htm.  Last modified: Thursday, June 08, 2006