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  • their world for the most part uses chinese characters and there seems to be no language barrier in their world which means they all speak the same language. While it could be possible for them to speak an entirely non-exixtent language being a seperate world, they use a writing system from our world. i would like to think that their spoken language is the same as their written language in the world of avatar which would mean they should speak chinese which has many dialects which leave question on whcih dialect it could be if chinese is the spoken language 

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    • English.

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    • then why would they use chinese characters?

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    • Then why would they speak in english?

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    • because english speaking fans need to understand it

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    • Then why not write in English?

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    • for the whole eastern influence. they are not western people by our world's point of view. if they are of eastern descent it makes more sense to speak an eastern language. by our worlds standards of course

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    • Yet they do not. Also, the Pro-Bending logo uses English letters.

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    • But how in-universe official (as opposed to for the benefit of the fans) is the probending logo with "PB" on it, actually?

      My guess would be a derivation of Old Chinese or Middle Chinese (despite some of the cultures not being entirely Chinese-inspired), although a lot of fan writers seem to give it as Mandarin.  However, I've read at least one fan work in which Korra and Asami, magically transported into our world, read and write in Chinese script but speak English.

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    • They speak in the common tongue.

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    • But how in-universe official (as opposed to for the benefit of the fans) is the probending logo with "PB" on it, actually?

      I'm not sure how it would be "unofficial," but it's not really the only example. "Buttercup" Raiko is also rendered in English. So is "Hope," albeit they said that they did that so the audience would understand the significance of the refugee couple's baby's name.

      Then, of course, you have some Greek names, Japanese names, Indian names, & at least 1 Arabic name.

      They've never used exclusively Chinese customs, so I see no reason to assume that their language is Chinese.

      However, I've read at least one fan work in which Korra and Asami, magically transported into our world, read and write in Chinese script but speak English.

      If the show is interpreted literally, that's pretty much what is going on, yeah.

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    • You forgot korean. Jeong Jeong is korean, and The Legend of Korea.

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    • 1. Calm down, Spellcheck.

      2. Some things I just didn't feel like mentioning, such as the Thai clothing in the Fire Nation.

      3. Others, such as Jeong Jeong's name, I did/do not know.

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    • Neo Bahamut wrote:
      But how in-universe official (as opposed to for the benefit of the fans) is the probending logo with "PB" on it, actually?

      I'm not sure how it would be "unofficial," but it's not really the only example. "Buttercup" Raiko is also rendered in English. So is "Hope," albeit they said that they did that so the audience would understand the significance of the refugee couple's baby's name.

      Then, of course, you have some Greek names, Japanese names, Indian names, & at least 1 Arabic name.

      They've never used exclusively Chinese customs, so I see no reason to assume that their language is Chinese.


      However, I've read at least one fan work in which Korra and Asami, magically transported into our world, read and write in Chinese script but speak English.

      If the show is interpreted literally, that's pretty much what is going on, yeah.

      I think we've actually been over this in terms of the show before.  Characters with Urdu (Zaheer), Mongolian (Baatar, just about all of the Rough Rhinos) and Hindi (Kuvira) names, too—which isn't even going into the fantasy names that just sounded appropriate.

      (I may or may not have an OC with a Sanskrit name.)

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    • Is there a difference between hindi and sanskrit?

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    • My rule on names is basically As Long As It Sounds Foreign.

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    • SaitamaBro wrote:
      Is there a difference between hindi and sanskrit?

      Sanskrit is an older language and more tonal; not sure what other differences there are.

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    • The Probending logo IMO is not officially canon, as no where else is it shown. It may be the real logo in-universe, but I doubt it has English letters, because, again, the english alphabet is never shown nor mentioned in any canonical source.

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    • iif there isn't english writing how can an english language exist?

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    • They're speaking in a common tongue where there is no language barrier between cultures. That doesn't mean they don't speak in English at all during the show, but for our purpose as the audience, we'd hear and interpret it just the same.

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    • Avatar thoyrn wrote:
      iif there isn't english writing how can an english language exist?

      Because it's a translation? Tolkien also framed his LOTR books as being written in a different language originally, the common language or Westron. In fact, all the characters speak different languages than English in the story, it is just rendered in English for the audience. Tolkien said he translated the original text. Of course, that's not true, but he liked to play with the idea of his stories having really happened. Even though he DID know, and also said, they were fictional.

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    • Anglicized pronunciations of names like Aang and mouths matching the English spoken words (particularly more noticeable to me in the more detailed parts of LoK) would suggest they might actually speak English. Just remember, this is a fantasy world, so predominantly speaking a language that is comparable to our world’s English while predominantly writing in one that is comparable to Chinese is not inconceivable.

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    • Game-fanatic wrote:
      Anglicized pronunciations of names like Aang and mouths matching the English spoken words (particularly more noticeable to me in the more detailed parts of LoK) would suggest they might actually speak English. Just remember, this is a fantasy world, so predominantly speaking a language that is comparable to our world’s English while predominantly writing in one that is comparable to Chinese is not inconceivable.

      Mouth movements being changed can be a translation too. Just a visual one. Most of what we see of Transformers speaking, even when the Transformers are not with humans, and even when they are on their own planet, Cybertron, is also in English, despite them supposedly speaking Cybertronian. Same with BIONICLE: The Matoran and Toa, and most other beings in those stories speak the Matoran language, but they speak English in the movies and their mouths match that language. The characters in the LOTR movies also speak English, clearly, but they don't "in canon." In fact, the humans of Middle-Earth speak one language, the Hobbits another one, the Dwarves a third, the Elves have more than one... and so on.

      And yes, I do think that is inconceivable. Seems more like something that Terry Pratchett would have joked about, or parodied. A sound, well-constructed world that's consistent is a more believable world. Yes, it's fantasy, but there are levels of realism in fantasy, and the the World of Avatar is simply not the kind of world you'd expect that sort of inconsistency to appear in. It's simply unrealistic when so many other things are logical in it. Cultures on Earth, for instance, usually do not develop a tendency like that. Except maybe in the Philippinesand some other countries that have been colonized by Westerners in the past. But at least their own language is also written with Latin letters.

      The only really logical explanation I can think of is that Chinese is somehow the Esperanto of Avatar, except this time a universal language worked. But why Chinese? Why not a new, original language created by Bryke? Maybe we could ask them ourselves whether the people speak Chinese or some other language. Or more than one. But they seem to all understand each other and be able to communicate perfectly.

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    • I would agree, except that the canonical pronunciation of names like Aang seem to be anglicized versions often, and there’s a mix of other cultures and languages besides Chinese present, as well, as has been pointed out before - these things seem to indicate it’s not quite as simple as everyone just speaking Chinese.

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    • And I don’t honestly see how it would be inconceivable to read Chinese characters in an English way. All reading is is associated particular vocal sounds with particular written symbols. In the world of Avatar, presumably, they just happen to associate different sounds with those characters than we do in the real world.

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    • Sure, but they say that "Yue" means moon. Yue is Chinese for moon. There are likely other examples of similar things in the show, where an Asian language word is said to mean something. Stuff like that is what creates a hole in a theory like that, unfortunately.

      Anglications can also appear in a translation like the ones I've proposed.

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    • If anything, that pokes a hole in your theory and supports mine. Why say "Yue means moon" if you are already speaking Chinese? Clearly they are translating "Yue" into something, in this case English.

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    • Game-fanatic wrote:
      If anything, that pokes a hole in your theory and supports mine. Why say "Yue means moon" if you are already speaking Chinese? Clearly they are translating "Yue" into something, in this case English.

      The term "translation" can cover a broader definition than simply translating words from one language to another. You can say that you translate body language as well. For instance, Italians have a lot of hand gestures that mean one thing, most Americans have different ones for the same thing.

      In this case, in-universe, they might have said "named me Moon, as in the Moon in the sky" rather than "named my Yue after the Moon/after Yue". Or something else to that effect.

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    • “Named me Yue after the Moon” sounds pretty in-universe translate-y to me. I just don’t find it adequate to assume they all simply speak Chinese; there are too many little pieces that don’t fit. Perhaps it’s not English (or perhaps it is), but some fictional language that resembles Chinese, but I just still am not ready to say it’s just Chinese with confidence, based on all the different lingual representations in the show.

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    • I mean in-universe as in in reality, within the reality of their own world. My two main points are just that "translation" is a term that means more than written and spoken language translation, and that that may be saying something different within the fictional world itself from what we are hearing, just like in Tolkien's TLOTR.

      It would be cool if they had a language that mixes words from most Asian languages, but has most of it written with Chinese characters. I do remember that there is a few instances of Japanese characters though, right? Did the Kyoshi Warriors, in adition to Kyoshi being a compound of two Japanese words, not have a some Japanese character on their sleeve? The one for Kyo specifically? Or am I remembering wrong?

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    • That would be the only other possibility, I think - a composite Asian language. And that actual fits the world of the show pretty well, with each of the cultures represented. But I still won’t rule out English, too :P

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    • Maybe Avatar is our future dude. They say we'll all be speaking Mandarin in the future, right? Imagine a cyberpunk version of Avatar. Just as a joke, not something serious. Avatar: Blade Runner style. Maybe Momo would be a robot like in the old concept art haha.

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    • I wonder how the technology of their world would develop from after the time of Korra. It might actually be interesting to see how bending affects that when the technology becomes significantly more advanced than it is in LoK.

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    • Game-fanatic wrote:
      I wonder how the technology of their world would develop from after the time of Korra. It might actually be interesting to see how bending affects that when the technology becomes significantly more advanced than it is in LoK.

      I hope that the world will begin to have more of a focus on spirituality and bending than it did in Korra, like how it was ATLA, in Avatar Aang's era, and before it as well. It seems like in a world like Avatar's it's important to have balance. Their world is not like ours. We never really did have true magic (well I don't believe we did), though people did believe in it, and we shied away a lot from religion, mythology, magical stuff... but the World of Avatar is different. There, these things are real. and I feel like people in UNR has gotten kinda detached from these aspects of the world since ATLA. Would be nice to see a return to it. ATLA placed a huge importance on these kind of things, and LOK sort of went away from that. But ATLA made it clear that balance was important, and that balance was not just about being nice to one another. It had to do with the spiritual side of everything as well. I think Korra is meant to maybe be a representation of how the majority of the Avatar World has grown away from bending, spiritual and other "solemn-sounding things." Like how humans in our own real world has grown away from many things that were valued in the past due to social media and other technology. But in a world where these things are indeed important, and very real (spirits exist there, and are important. Just look at what happend when the Moon Spirit got killed!), it seems like it is just as important to maintain connections to these aspects of the world. I hope I am making sense.

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    • Yeah, I think you’ve got some good thoughts there. Though the spiritual was still present in LoK, though - I mean, heck, we even got to see more actual spirits in LoK than we ever did in AtLA. But the way of life did definitely change noticeably from the first show to the second, which is understandable.

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    • Game-fanatic wrote:
      Yeah, I think you’ve got some good thoughts there. Though the spiritual was still present in LoK, though - I mean, heck, we even got to see more actual spirits in LoK than we ever did in AtLA. But the way of life did definitely change noticeably from the first show to the second, which is understandable.

      We saw spirits. We saw people meditating. That is about it. What happend when Jinora did meditate, and appear in astral form, did not make much sense. She just gave Korra some weird glow. It was never explained what that glow was.. And most of the other Spirit World stuff Bryke pulled was flashy effects. Glowing giants shooting lasers, brightly colored glowing explosions, Korra energybending the energy of a steel beam....? Or whatever that was. All of it felt random, and disconnected from stuff we've seen about the nature of the Avatar world beforehand. It wasn't just the way of life. It felt the way the whole "spirit magic" system worked was thrown out the window. Spirit World "magic" did whatever the plot wanted or what just looked kewl. That may just be my opinion though.

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    • No, I can definitely see where you're coming from, no doubt. The second season didn't really bother to offer much for an explanation of those things. Though I think I could probably rationalize most of the stuff in my head.

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