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  1. #1
    Probie
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    Default Ancient speaking english

    Hi,

    So being drunk and reminisce'ing the good old stargate clips that exist on youtube. Longing for a new show
    It got me wondering.
    in Stargate Atlantis, the first encounter with the only known living ancients: LINK:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8x0WRuvDkDE

    Why the actual F*** are they speaking english?!?
    They went extinct thousands of years ago long before english existed

    I've tried googling this question and all i can find is Q/A on why the entire SG Universe is speaking english.
    All i can find is that it would just not be worth the time and effort to make up a new language everytime they visit a new planet. which i totally understand and i have never ever complained about or even given a thought to.
    Star trek have their imaginary universal translator which can magically translate everything, even new encounter languages that has no history to any earth language...which makes no sense whatsoever.... to ANY translator program ever created.... it honestly makes less sense that everyone just speaking english

    But this is the ancients we are speaking off. These folks pretty much have their own language already established in our beloved SG world!

    So why wouldn't the writers just have them speak ancient?
    There is literally almost a half-full library of their language on the web.
    and probably wouldnt take to much effort to make them just say "unknown vessel and so forth" in ancient
    Daedalus could easily translate this as it/the crew "Mckay" would probably know enough ancient to translate
    and given their short existence in the series, they wouldnt really have to make up an entire dictionary.
    or very much effort, but it would have given the show a bit more power.
    alternatively they are intelligent enough to learn english extremly quickly. which would make alot of sense seeing as they are the ancients.

    Sorry for the rambling. probably answered most of my own questions as the screen writers would have.
    But i want to know the communties thoughts and theories on this

    Best regards:
    Archer Weiss

  2. #2
    Colonel Platschu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    McKay has answered this question in the SyFy special 2005 :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJW4OTyfPCo

    The Ancients has spoken the Latin language if you remember when Jack has started to talk it in season 2. So maybe the Roman Empire has inherited their legacy on Earth.

    Maybe the Goa'uld could understand some part of it and it was easier to manipulate the slaves with the same language. It is just a tv show, you know.

    Lots of languages belong to the Latin language group too.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_languages

    The Asgard has also taken folks from Earth, so maybe those planets can talk a dialect of German. It was never established, but it can happen.

    And who knows who else has taken humans from Earth?
    "I was hoping for another day. Looks like we just got a whole lot more than that. Let's not waste it."

    "Never underestimate your audience. They're generally sensitive, intelligent people who respond positively to quality entertainment."

    "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence, has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

  3. #3
    Captain Xaeden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    The writers made a stylistic choice to tell the audience that different languages exist, but to not devote episode time to having a character translate those languages. As a consequence, you have episodes like "Summit" in Sg-1, where Jacob approached Daniel to infiltrate the gathering of System Lords because he can fluently speak Goa'uld, but then they presented the whole thing in English, and in every other encounter with a Goa'uld, Daniel is not shown translating what a Goa'uld says for those around him. Similarly, there are episodes where it's important that someone is able to translate the written form of the Ancient language, but when they encounter Ancients, they don't depict a language barrier.

    This is a case of there being a difference between the mimetic and the ontic. Meaning, there's a difference between what we perceive, and what we're told to be true. In Star Trek, we're told that there's a device that can translate languages, but we don't see people's mouths being out of sync with what we hear because the production did not want to have one actor mouth/talk nonsense to another actor on set and then have them record their lines in English so they could be dubbed in post production. Even though this is how the universal translator would actually work, the producers believed that it would negatively impact the viewing experience to not have actors playing off each other's words live and in the moment. Plus, they likely didn't want to spend the extra cash making it happen. Consequently, the universal translator does not operate believably from a visual perspective, but that doesn't mean that we can't accept that it would work as I described within the fictional world of Star Trek.

    Imagine if you go to a stage play and they don't have the money to hire a real live dog, so they have an actor cradling and talking to a stuffed dog (or some very non-dog like prop that they have on hand... or nothing at all). Visually, it's a stuffed dog (or a candlestick... or nothing), but within the world of the play, it's an actual dog. Same thing where there are large leaps in time, but actors appear much the same. If you do a flashback to a character's youth, sometimes productions will cast a younger actor, and more recently digital de-aging is being used in movies that have the budget for that, but in other cases, the actor is just put in retro clothing and acts as if they're younger. Likewise, even though a lot of productions do use makeup to age an actor when leaping into the future, not all will. Some people are irked when an actor looks the same age in these situations, others have no difficultly accepting that there's a difference between perception and what actually is true within the fictional setting. The character is younger/older even though the actor is not because we're told he/she is.

    Stargate does something similar. Unless it's important to the plot of an individual episode, we don't see languages translated, and there's no indication of there being a shift where a main character starts speaking in the language of non-English speaker, but then everything after is presented to us in English. Yet, we're told different languages do exist, so we know we're being presented with aliens speaking English from the get-go for stylistic/production reasons and not because they actually speak English within the fictional setting.

    It may be jarring because we're accustomed to other productions at least paying lip service to translation by introducing a translation device, having a conversation start out in a different language and then shifting the perspective to English once it's clear the native English speakers are talking in the foreign language, using subtitles, etc. Then again, it's visually jarring if you take a balding 50 year old man, dress him up in clothing from the 1970s and say he's 20 years old for the duration of a scene or collection of scenes, but it's very common to represent younger versions of characters that way. Even though it's not everyone's preferred way of doing it and some people get extremely bothered by it, we all recognize that it's someone's artistic/stylistic decision to represent the reality of their fictional world with that contrasting visual.
    Last edited by Xaeden; August 16th, 2020 at 10:28 AM.

  4. #4
    First Lieutenant NickEast's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    While non-canon, one of the books described that the DHDs have some sort of a super-advanced program that somehow affects people's brains to understand alien languages, basically a mixture of the Universal Translator from Star Trek, and the Babel Fish from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Since Earth doesn't have a DHD, and as it was only the first mission, it can be assumed that that's the reason the Abydonians were speaking a different language and Daniel had to translate for them. Then as everyone traveled more frequently through the gate, it became less of a problem.

    This concept doesn't hold up well though, as it then makes Daniel's job unnecessary, and he wouldn't have been needed in Summit. Perhaps after all this time, and the evolution of the languages, this feature would become less reliable. Perhaps it only works for spoken languages, so writings still need to be translated, and perhaps it only works that reliably with Ancient.

    Basically, this is a textbook example of the "suspension of disbelief". It's not impossible to figure out a somewhat reasonable explanation, I've done plenty of such things over the years, but it's not really useful unless you're an uber-geek like some, myself included. The producers had their reasons for not making everyone speak different languages all the time.

    It's also mostly perception. In many scenes where we only see the Ancients or Goa'uld, while they speak English, that's only for our benefit, with the occasional foreign exclamation for dramatic effect (kree!) like the Klingons also do in Star Trek. Within their own "world", they speak their own language. Think Tolkien and Middle-Earth. He specifically said that no one is speaking or writing English, the books are "translated" from the actual languages they spoke and wrote. Same with Star Wars; "Basic" is basically English only to our eyes and ears, while actually being a completely different language (most material doesn't even show written English at all, but text written using the Aurebesh alphabet, though in most cases it's just English text using that alphabet)

  5. #5
    Colonel Platschu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    The Unas language was also established in the lore. Simply we can't spend half of the screentime with translations.

    There were many other ABCs from different civilizations (like the cuneiform for the Oannes, the runes for the Asgard). Sometimes they have even showed some texts on the walls. So even if they haven't talked these languages directly, they have showed it they exist.

    They have briefly showed Goa'uld written hieroglyph texts on SGC computers in season 8.
    https://www.gateworld.net/gallery/al...1_801_0273.JPG
    While we have seen the Wraith language also only on Wraith consoles, but they have not bothered to introduce even a single word. Since the Wraith are telepathic anyway, maybe it was not needed.
    Last edited by Platschu; August 15th, 2020 at 11:56 AM.
    "I was hoping for another day. Looks like we just got a whole lot more than that. Let's not waste it."

    "Never underestimate your audience. They're generally sensitive, intelligent people who respond positively to quality entertainment."

    "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today, but the core of science fiction, its essence, has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all."

  6. #6
    Air Force Chief of Staff Falcon Horus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    Subtitling does not require anyone to translate anything on screen...
    Heightmeyer's Lemming -- still the coolest Lemming of the forum
    Proper Stargate Rewatch -- season 9 of SG-1
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  7. #7
    Colonel Platschu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    I like the subtitle solution as it can help the story. Like the Klingon talk in the first episode of Star Trek : Discovery. But it would complicate the international versions. Shall they distribute it without the subtitles? Or must every country put the translation there? So this is the reason why "burned" subtitles woudn't really work.

    "No habla Jaffa!" is enough international.
    Last edited by Platschu; August 15th, 2020 at 03:40 PM.

  8. #8
    Captain Xaeden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    A large percentage of Americans tend to have little patience for subtitles. This is doubly true for Americans who are casual fans of action adventure shows.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    If I was nitpicking, yeah this one bothered me quite a bit. Besides, why does everyone in the milky way galaxy understand English?

    Groups of humans were taken from Earth when their civilization was still very young. So it's extremely unlikely that everyone across the galaxy that were transplanted or saved from the Goa'uld just happened to develop the same language over hundreds of years.

    Asgard and Nox were explained away as the former learned their language while they were studying Earth while the later learned it as they continued to interact with them.

    When it concerned the Ancients, I'd like to think that the Ancients used some form of telepathy so it would seem like they were speaking English based on our perception while in truth they were still speaking their own language.

    But with the whole language thing, they should have introduced some piece of technology like Star Treks universal translator that could explain away why everyone is speaking the same language. To make characters like Daniel Jackson still relevant it can easily be explained away as the limitations of the technology being able to translate languages spoken out loud but not the written word as that's entirely different enchilada. Of course for certain alien words, there is no real English equivalent and thus we hear it as they say it as shown by the Goa'uld, Tollan, and other races.

  10. #10
    Air Force Chief of Staff Falcon Horus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    Quote Originally Posted by Platschu View Post
    I like the subtitle solution as it can help the story. Like the Klingon talk in the first episode of Star Trek : Discovery. But it would complicate the international versions. Shall they distribute it without the subtitles? Or must every country put the translation there? So this is the reason why "burned" subtitles woudn't really work.
    If shows even make it to international non-English countries... and that's a big if these days... they either get subtitled anyway, or dubbed. Subtitling is cheaper but the French and Germans seem hellbent on dubbing.
    Heightmeyer's Lemming -- still the coolest Lemming of the forum
    Proper Stargate Rewatch -- season 9 of SG-1
    First time watching Star Trek: The Adventures of Captain Kirk and his Trusted Sidekick, Mr. Spock

  11. #11
    Second Lieutenant Peterking72's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient speaking english

    Or we can apply one of my old theories (which is also very sinister): They (SG-1) are still being held captive by the Gamekeeper who pulled a successful double fake-out, then straigthened out his **** and managed to make SG-1 believe they escaped. He took care of other SG-teams by either killing them or plugging tem into other empty chairs he made for them, so he can add more input from each captured SG team member or human. Eventually he would develop a machine that would capture people as soon as they step trough the gate and with that technique he would be able to capture most of the SGC and maybe Pentagon personnel also. Make a device that would hypnotize and lure people to his world whenever they open a gate to his world.
    So the entire show is just an imagination of the captured humans and that's why everyone is speaking english or any other Earth language and some other device or program could make sure that this would not make them suspicious for some reason.

    Imagine if the Gamekeeper matrixed the whole Earth and some other races too. LOL. He would rank up to System Keeper or Galaxy Master.

    Or Comtraya and everyone is a cyborg with white goo for blood.
    Hallowed are the Ori.

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