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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old June 20 2014, 08:45 PM   #16
Pumpkin Spice Bacon
Pumpkin Spice Bacon's Avatar
Location: Kansas City
Re: The Atlantic article on "Shaka, When the Walls Fell"

Salinga wrote: View Post
My problem with "Darmok" is, that the viewer is smarter than the chracters in the story. How their language works is pretty obvious for everyone watching the episode, but not for 24th century people. It always frustated me, how Picard & Co. were massively dumbed down to make the story work, because in real life, even today for most people it would only take 5 minutes to understand what is going on.
I suspect those who had encountered the Tamarians before had some idea what the "structure" of their language was, but that doesn't mean they could be understood. It took the context of the "hunting trip" for Picard to put it together.

For all we know other encounters had the ship crews assuming the language was baffling the UT to the point it was spewing out nonsense.

And, as it discussed in the Juliet example, knowing what they're doing in their communication doesn't translate to being able to understand them, know their motivations, or being able to establish any kind of relationship with them.

But, even setting all of that aside and going meta... That's not the point of the episode. The very idea of a Universal Translator pretty much defies any and all logic and common sense (it just "can" hear and completely new language, compile it, and translate it perfectly into the language of listener, and vice-versa for the benefit of those without a translator on them. And it also can, somehow, manipulate the appearance of the speaker's lips to make it look as if they're speaking the correct tongue. The UT just "can" do this.)

So, yeah, when it boils down to it it should have been obvious to anyone encountering the Tamarians that they're speaking in metaphors, or citing examples for their means of communication and that communication was impossible out of not knowing the references they are making. (Though Troi and Data were able to figure it out pretty easily. Seems one more step in reading the myth about Darmok and Jilad they would've known more about what was going on.) But communication between two people who cannot communicate was sort of the point of the episode. The Tamarian captain and Picard were able to find some means of communication, work together and bond in spite of their linguistic hurdles.
Just because it's futuristic doesn't mean it's practical.
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Old June 21 2014, 01:29 PM   #17
Fleet Captain
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Re: The Atlantic article on "Shaka, When the Walls Fell"

I never thought their language made any sense. How could a language based on stories work? Wouldn't they have to have a language already in order for those stories to be told? I suppose they could have had a "normal" language in the past and it adapted into this bizarre story structure.
This episode always annoys me.
Resistance is futile
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