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The Languages of SPQR2Gang

Many folk looking in onto our organization, or even those within it, have wondered about the mysterious situation of di- or tri-glossia that has appeared to exist in SPQR2Gang history and up to this day.

The primary language of administration in SPQR2Gang is English, yet The Book of Predictions and The Ledger of the Gang were both written in Classical Arabic, as was much of the literature of the Second Gang. A great amount of our terminology comes from Old Tibetan, and yet the title of Chaan itself is derived from the Tongue of the Gang. On top of this, every local center converses and teaches in their native language anyway. SPQR2Gang is not di- or tri-glossic, but penta-!


The Beginning

Going back to the foundation of the First Gang, the Grand Eternal Chaan is certainly a great polyglot. He spoke Multani, due to his birth in the city of Multan, which at the time was commonly called Faraj Bayt al-Dhabab ("Frontier House of Gold"), and later referred to as the "City of Saints". The Chaan naturally also spoke Arabic, and probably also spoke Persian.

Yet still, the Chaan's native tongue, the divine language in which he spoke his first words, is what we call the Tongue of the Gang (also called Mudanese, from Chaana Mudaniz 'the Chaan's Speech'). When the Chaan began to speak as an infant, his mother who was with him miraculously gained understanding of his language. Another miracle, the Miracle of the Tongue, as recorded in The Ledger goes as follows:

And the Chaan spoke to Daniel in his tongue, "Come, may you hear my voice", and Kashif, hearing him, said, "O Grand Chaan, I cannot understand your words". And Daniel spoke to the others in the Tongue of the Chaan, "O Friends, the Chaan has given me a voice". And the disciples, though they had never learned the Chaan's tongue, could understand his words. And the Chaan said, "O Friends, we shall speak in our Tongue, for it is now the Tongue of the Gang".

The Tongue of the Gang was passed down without fault since then, where after the Chaan's retreat into the Himalayas until the Fracturing of the Gang, it was the main method of communication and teaching within the Gang. An interesting note here is that a few philologists have attempted to reconstruct a 'Proto-Human' or 'Proto-World' language, seeing mysterious, or as characterized by opponents, spurious connections between words of completely disparate languages: it is now known that many of these connections come from languages borrowing words from The Tongue.

During the Gang's meeting with the Ancient Monks in the Himalayas, and their education by them, the Gang came to know many new words in Tibetan to describe the spiritual concepts being discussed. Many of these words are preserved in their original form (such as namkhyen), or roughly so after being passed into the Tongue of the Gang (such as the word gang itself, which was originally ging).

At the end of the Expedition, the Chaan wrote down his Book of Predictions, choosing to write in Arabic. The Ledger of the Gang was also written in Arabic later by literate Gs, establishing the principle that writing should be done in common languages, whereas speech should be in the divine language.

The Second Gang

The most foundational of SPQR2Gang's theological writings come from just after the reorganization of the Gang in Basra during the 10th century, where naturally the written language was Classical Arabic.

The Gs at the time produced several copies of The Ledger and The Book, which are now the oldest copies known to exist, as well as many commentaries on them, preserving orally transmitted history of the Gang, and creating other great works such as the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity, each in Arabic.

The Great Fracturing

After the Gs were distributed across the Middle East and Europe, some local groups of Gs continued to speak in the Tongue, corrupting it over time, and others simply began to use common languages amongst themselves, forgetting the Tongue of the Gang.

Eventually, in the summer of 1556, several leaders of Gs across Western and Central Europe convened in Ravenna in order to form the Five Departments of Ravenna, the five most ancient departments now part of SPQR2Gang, each given a different task in the preservation of the Gang's knowledge.

The Fifth Department was formed out of a council of monks who, having visited the Chaan in person (and being the last people to do so), were given knowledge of the Tongue in its original form, and so were conferred the task of institutionally preserving the tradition of the language, producing the first grammatical textbook and dictionary for the Tongue of the Gang, setting an eternal standard for its teaching.

The Third Gang

During the first SPQR2Gang conference, considerable dispute arose concerning which languages should be used for instruction and also general communication between Gs. As a compromise between those in favour of maintaining the Tongue in all communications, and those who wanted to simply use their local languages all the time, the Ilchaan1 Erukh Chaan mandated that local SPQR2Gang centers must use the native languages of the community they are established in, however it is also mandatory for each center to provide education in the Tongue for children and for adults who wish to learn it.

1 The term Ilchaan is a reference to the Mongolian title Ilkhan, by analogy between the Tongue's Chaan and Mongolian Khan (which was, funnily, borrowed from the Tongue). So perhaps even Mongolian should be included in the list at the start of this article!

This is still mostly the case to this day, with an exception for English being permitted in any part of the world, and although there are officially recognized SPQR2Gang institutions that are not incorporated as centers which might solely use the Tongue, Erukh Chaan's establishment of the use of local languages is considered one of the major reasons for our organization's great success and growth in the 21st century.