Reference:RAWA/First languages and linking cages

From Guild of Archivists

Q: The phrase 'Thank god you've returned.' - I would not expect such a colloquialism from someone exotic and fairly unconnected to this culture. However, he did spend his childhood with Anna, a human, where he might have picked it up.

A: Atrus definitely picked this up from Anna while on the surface.

Q: Did they speak D'ni or whatever the human language was at that time?

A: They spoke an Earth language, though Anna taught Atrus quite a bit of D'ni when he was younger.

Q: I waited through the scene with Cho, and was impressed by the language, but it seemed silly. The surprise at seeing me, wouldn't he have heard the cage go off?

A: Yes, he heard it. That's why he is investigating, but he expects it to be another false alarm.

Q: Why did the cage go off?

A: Your weight activated the pressure plate in the floor of the cage.

Q: Why not have it up all the time?

A: The main reason is that Gehn has no idea that the descriptive panel in the Riven Descriptive Book has become so distorted. As far as he knows, the arrival position is clearly visible in the panel, and does not want it to look like a cage. Building a structure at the arrival position is not an uncommon D'ni act, (Mechanical and Selenitic, for example), so the structure itself would not necessarily be alarming. Of course, Atrus would be suspicious, but he has not seen it.

Q: How did Gehn know where to place it?

A: There is only one way into Riven - the Riven Descriptive Book. Gehn knows precisely where that links to. As for the breaking of the cage, the scout's following instructions he has been given. (Gameplay-wise, it's to keep you from trapping yourself in the cage again, among other reasons.)

Q: IMHO, Cho starts talking to you in Rivenese, then, seeing that that doesn't work, he tries to talk to you in D'ni.

A: Actually, the way the story goes is that Cho was instructed by Gehn to watch the caged linking spot in case someone (Gehn hoping for Atrus) will show up. When someone does, Gehn also instructed Cho to say a few D'ni phrases. However, Cho has been watching the cage for a *long* time and really thinks that no one will ever show up. Then _you_ link in, surprising Cho but in a way he is excited to see someone new and starts talking to you in Rivenese. Then Cho remembers that he is suppose to say a D'ni phrase that he has memorized (but not too well, its hard to get good help). After messing that up, he decides to do the next thing on Gehn's list, which is to take any linking books. But of course, with the help of the rebel, he screws that up too.

Q: I suppose that even if we were absolutely sure of Cho's pronuciation we wouldn't know that it is correct.

A: That's a good point - even knowing what Cho says doesn't mean he's right...
I'll help out with this one.
Like Mark Deforest has said... Gehn has a hard time getting good help.

What Cho says:
tahg-em-ah... re-ko-ah
(stutters) tah... tah... tah...tahg-em-ah b'soo re-ko-ah

translates roughly to:
give-you(command) the-"ko-ah" (whatever that is).... to-me (not pronounced quite right)

What he's "supposed" to say:
tah-ge-mah b'zoo ah re-kor
give-you(command) to-me the-book.

which is:
"Gimme that book!"

Q: Was Chuck Carter's original D'ni polygonal model imported into SoftIMAGE (pronounce the "IMAGE" part like "Ih-majhe"...french pronunciation) and retextured, or was the flythrough rendered in Strata? (Used in Myst.) To me, the texture and lighting as seen in the opening D'ni sequence with Atrus looked very much like a Strata rendering, rather than Softimage.

A: Yes, it was done in Strata, with all the textures, lighting, etc. from the original shots in Myst.

It was all part of an attempt at a "Wizard of Oz" kind of opening. The intro movie of Atrus' speech uses the same screen size as Myst, the same textures, etc, so that your arrival in Riven was a noticable improvement.

No one has seemed to notice so far, probably because the movie goes to black, so you don't really see the picture size change. Oh well.

Q: In the Book of Ti'ana you see that Gehn was taught to speak D'ni, however Atrus knows just little of the language. So how did Gehn and Atrus communicate?

A: Anna is the source for both Gehn and Atrus speaking in English. Gehn wasn't merely taught to speak D'ni, he lived in and with the D'ni until he was eight years old, at which time Anna (his mother) and him fled to the surface during the downfall of D'ni. Anna realizing that the language of D'ni isn't going to do Gehn much good on the surface taught him her native language, English. Then Atrus (Gehn's son, Anna's grandson) is born on the surface and is raised by Anna, who first teaches him English (to survive on the surface) and also teaches him D'ni so he knows his heritage and to teach him critical thinking outside of his natural language (kinda like being taught Latin).

So, both Gehn and Atrus knew both D'ni and English. Like most dual language families, they would slip back and forth between D'ni and English in the middle of a conversation, because different languages have different strengths and weaknesses. However, for simplicity in the game, we had them stick to English (or whatever language the game was translated in).