The minor tribes of the Plain of Horses, namely the Guychiang, Igidujin, and T'aghurs, adopted the dialect of the nearest major tribe with whom they were currently allied. These dialects changed as alliances shifted; a keen ear could determine tribal politics by discerning which was used.
The vocabulary of Chuchian was very specific and precise. The Plainsmen considered general terms like "grass", "tree", or "place" as next-to-useless, even a bit insulting. They preferred instead a specific word for each item and concept, that is, each animal, plant, emotion, terrain, type of weather, and so on, had a separate word attached. They would give all details about a topic. For example, a Plainsmen asked about a camel they owned would give its precise age, heritage, color, and personality.
Furthermore, every landmark, no matter how minor, had its own proper name, just as people did. However, each tribe had their own names for each hill, pass, stream, or bend in the river. Thus, many Plainsmen had to know four or five such names for each landmark in order to travel, and names could differ depending on who a traveler asked.
A non-native could easily learn some Chuchian sufficient for basic communication, but it was almost impossible to gain fluency without being raised with it. Thus a spy would have a hard time going among the tribes unnoticed.
- ↑ In 1988, Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms first discussed the language and dialects of six tribes of the Plain of Horses, but left it unnamed. Later, in 1990, Ronin Challenge named this language "Chuchian", but at the same time The Horde listed two of these tribes as among those speaking a language of the Eastern Imaskari languages group. The "Speaking in Tongues" article in Dragon Annual #4 repeats this categorization. For precision, this article adopts the narrow view that only the six tribes first discussed in Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms speak Chuchian (assumed to be of the Eastern Imaskari languages group), while the other tribes listed in The Horde speak other Eastern Imaskari languages. However, Thomas M. Costa, author of the "Speaking in Tongues" article, suggests here that "Chuchian" may simply be a Shou term for Imaskari, but this remains supposition.
- ↑ The Horde lists "Fankiang" and "Khaghun" as languages in their own right, but the Kara-Tur sources discusses these as only dialects of the Chuchian language. The Horde does not list Tsu-tsu, but as a major tribe it must also have its own dialect.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 17. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 David Cook (1990). The Horde (Cards). (TSR, Inc), p. 9a. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 84. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Curtis Smith and Rick Swan (1990). Ronin Challenge. (TSR, Inc), p. 86. ISBN 0-88038-749-1.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Thomas M. Costa (1999). “Speaking in Tongues”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #4 (TSR, Inc), p. 29.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 82. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.