Saturday, 15 March 2014
Not Tardis But Diaglossa
A diaglossa, a small artifact inserted into an ear, is a molecular encoder storing important languages and basic customs of an area and era, drawing energy from body heat and meshing its output with the user's brain, thus adding an artificial memory center. Thus, different diaglossas are necessary for different periods and the diaglossas' programmers have had to learn the languages and customs in the first place. Similar effect to the Tardis but a lot more plausible. Diaglossas are silent about historical events so that native auxiliaries will not learn their futures.
In northern Europe in 1827 BC, Lockridge's diaglossa gives him an agglutinative language with a complex grammar and many fine distinctions unknown to civilized men, like twenty words for water, but no single word for "mass," "government" or "monotheism," and very different concepts of cause, time, self and death.
At the gate of Viborg in 1535 AD, Lockridge is suspected of spying because, although he claims to be English, his diaglossa makes him fluent in both German and Danish. In the late fortieth century, he has learned how to draw information from his diaglossa: two languages, Western and Eastern; two ideologies, materialism and pantheism; much information on Ranger subordination of underlings but far less on the Wardens, whose diaglossa he uses, although he does get an impression of benevolent hierarchy (!).