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Well, I'm not sure if I posted this last night or not... anyway, I can't seem to find it, so we'll try again (and I'm sorry if my other post appears somewhere and confuses people)
Anyway... I read something recently, which got me thinking, which got me writing, which got me stuck, which sent me to LO except the forums were down and I had to wait a few days to ask this! Hopefully now we're back up again I can find an answer.
The conundrum I would like some opinions on regards the communication between Tau and the Imperium.
It is my understanding that, based on a few passages and quotes in the Tau codex, there are some within the Tau empire that speak High Gothic - predominantly Ethereals and Water Caste envoys. Of course, human auxiliaries probably do as well...
However, I'm wondering how far this knowledge of the human tongue would extend, specifically amongst Fire Warriors.
Presumably, some of the higher ranking members of this caste could have been required to learn Gothic in order to negotiate or issue commands to their human allies, but I was wondering if there was any evidence of how wide-spread this is. I hardly think every single Fire Warrior would learn Gothic, especially if they spent most of their time fighting Nids or Orks. But perhaps the higher the rank, the more likely it is that they would have been required to learn High Gothic?
Is there any evidence out there to support or refute this idea, that anyone knows of? Even if there isn't, I'd appreciate people's thoughts on the matter! Thanks in advance for any replies!
I don't think that Fire Warriors would be required to learn it at all. They've been brought up to fight their whole lives in a completely stratified caste-based society. Why would someone who has been brought up their whole life to fight need any sort of negotiating skills? They just need to hunt the prey, not to talk to it. So no, I don't think the Fire Caste would learn any form of Imperial Gothic.
The only circumstance that I could imagine them learning anything beyond things like "get on your knees" or "form a line". Anything beyond basic commands directed towards prisoners seems to be beyond the remit of a warrior caste.
They might learn it, or at least certain members of a particular squad might learn it for the purposes of scouting, intercepting voxcasts and interrogation.
I am not sure what the Tau's, as a species, mental capacity for learning things on an individual basis is. Judging from their development I would say pretty good. In which case it is probably worth the effort for Fire warriors to learn High Gothic. After all the Tau expect to be interacting with a number of different races in their Empire and at the moment intergrating human colonies is on their agenda.
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Visitor Q is probably right. I can imagine Firewarriors having to learn one of several alien languages in the Fire Caste Academies and human would surely be one of the choices. Although I wouldn't be surprised if the Tau had translator drones....
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Simply put, if the Tau can build a helmet which lets Vespid speak Tau, it seems fairly likely they can build a microcomputer or small portable device which translates Gothic into Tau and vice versa. At the very least, some kind of translation drone.
Also, most gue'vesa communities were conquered during the second phase expansion and damocles gulf crusade. It's now the third phase.. Those humans have had a long time to assimilate and learn Tau, and I can't see the Tau giving them too much leniancy in that regard. Manifest destiny and cultural imperialism and all that..
The codex says that they speak it, but inexpertly and raspingly. Non-water-caste Tau presumably learn other languages (including High Gothic) to communicate with the auxiliaries.
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Well, I meant to come back to this to thank you all for your input, but it's just constantly slipped my mind!
I never thought of translations drones, which would no doubt be a fairly viable option for the Tau. But the hints regarding their capacity for language are interesting as well. I might have to go back and read my codices, rather than just skimming over them looking for hints!