Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Language Barrier

Your character wakes up to find him/herself in a strange land where everyone speaks a different language.  See what you can create to communicate with the natives.

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    When I woke up, I felt like I had not slept at all. I was stiff and sore and could tell that I was not reclining in a bed. I did not want to open my eyes to see where I was. It felt like every bone in my body had something to complain about. The feeling that ‘whatever I was in’ was moving was not encouraging either. The steady motion could easily lead to a rebelling stomach.

    Rubbing my neck, face and head did not stop the motion nor encourage me to open eyes. However, as the unexpected notes from a flute floated toward me my eyes fly open.

    I was in a reclined chair, on a boat, on a wide river. There was a young girl sitting on a matt near by. She was playing the flute, seemingly unaware of me. When I sat up, she jumped up, stopped playing her music, smiled and spoke with a soft, beautiful voice. When I looked at her questioningly she spoke again, but I could not understand her words.

    She gave me a smile and spoke again in strange sounding words.
    “Where am I?”
    She gave me a puzzled look.

    I pointed to the flute, smiles and said, “Your playing is very pretty.”
    She held out the flute and said one word.
    I pointed at it and said “Flute”.
    Cocking her head, she repeated what she said before.
    When I attempted the sound, she smiled, corrected me then grinned as I said the word again.

    By pointing and playing with sounds, she came close to saying my name and I called her “Sa-say-a” which seemed to please her.

    I began to move my hands to help me help express myself and she attentively watched each movement. I deliberately mimed with my hand that I wanted a drink. After a short questioning look, she walked to a water jug, poured me a drink and brought it to me.

    I asked her if anyone else was around, but she could not understand or answer.

    From there we carefully voiced, mimed and pointed to communicate. Finally I pointed to me and held up I finger. She did the same, by pointing to herself. I then pointed to her and me and held up two fingers. Again, she followed suit.

    Now I held up three fingers. I pointed to the first finger then pointed to me. I pointed to the second finger and pointed to her. We repeated those motions and we smiled our connection.

    Finally, I looked questioningly at the third finger, pointed to it, made a big show of looking for the person that finger represented and then shrugged my shoulders as I looked at her. Sa-say-a’s delighted laugh, like her flute, was wonderful to hear. Her small hands copied the motions I had give. She looked intently around the boat, shrugged her shoulders as I had shrugged mine as she pointed to her third finger.

    At my look of disappointment, she stood looking at me then turned to disappear behind some boxes. A moment later, she reappeared with an old woman in tow. “Sa-say-a” pointed to the woman, and then laughingly pointed to her third finger, saying "May-ua"