As both Romance languages, how closely related were Occitan and Italian in the 13th century? I'm aware there was for instance spread of poetry via the troubadour culture through southern France, Spain and into Italy.
Lion & the Lily suggest that French (Langue d'Oil) is related to Occitan (Langue d'Oc) with a -2 penalty (as opposed to the different dialects of each, which impose only a -1 penalty). Let's skip any prolonged discussion on the accuracy of ArM5 Language rules - I'm looking for something workable here.
Is it reasonable to suggest that Occitan and Italian are similarly related, but that French and Italian are sufficiently different to be separate/mutually barely intelligible (ie -4 penalty or so)?
Well a good rule for me is that, all Romain languages could be related with a -1 to -3, for dystance and evolution. In the XIII could think that all languages with some ranges of writting record, and social importance are independent langauages, and because that my personal independets languages list would be:
Castillian, Old English, Catalonian, Occitain, French, Italian, Euskerra (Basque), Galaic-Portuguesse, Up and Down Germans, Arabaic, Galaic, Corse, Sardian, Aragonese, Ladin, Maltesse, not really little, but yet more large.
Langue d'Oc, Langue d'Oil and Italian are all Romain languages. But Italian does not belong to the same sub family than Langue d'Oc and Langue d'Oil. So a penalty for Italian to Langue d'Oc also could be -4. And again a but: Langue d'Oc and Italian have a common border (Piedmont), so if it suits you fine why not lower the -4 to -3?
May I suggest checking out Ethnologue. It's really nice.
And even though I was put down last time I asked, I still think it would be nice to try extending the existing language framework to more languages - who cares if "each valley had their own language". grumble. grumble. hides back under the bridge.
I too favor a simple language system, some primary languages with modifiers for related dialects. Much like there is now, but with a little more leeway. There is no need to make a character learn ten different related languages. Over realism inhibits ease of play.
Italian does not exist in medieval times. There's this one crazy poet named Dante Alighieri in the late 13th century who dreams of a common language uniting the peninsula, but it's really a Delusion affecting him paired with a major Ambitious personality Flaw. The language spoken in the most serene republic of Venice is almost as far from the language spoken at the Sicilian court of Frederick II as they both are from other romance languages or from Latin itself.
That said, Occitan is extremely close to what is spoken in northwestern Italy (including Piedmont and the Republic of Genoa). I would apply only a -1 modifier between the two. I would apply a -2 to -3 modifier between Occitan and other parts of the Italian peninsula, and a similar modifier between different parts of the Italian peninsula. As a very rough approximation, split Italy's linguistic regions in South, Centre, North-East and North-West, and call them respectively Sicilian (south), Tuscan or Florentine (centre), Venetian (north east) and Genoese (north west). Sicilian and Venetian are at -3 from Latin, Tuscan and Genoese at -4. All are at -3 from Catalan and Castillian, and at -4 from the Langue d'oil (with the exception of Genoese, which is only at -3 from the Langue d'oil).
Note that by the late 12th century Occitan is making inroads in the courts of southern Italy, and by the mid 13th century in other noble courts in Italy too, as a language of poetry and romantic love. So perhaps you might reduce any penalty when communicating with people with the appropriate backgrounds, as they might have been exposed to it.
Story idea: this is the only period of literature, as far as I know, when some "french" poet suggested that you could fall in love with someone by reputation alone. This sounds exaggerated to us, and it did to many contemporaries, including a sicilian poet who claimed this to be blatantly impossible. Perhaps some faerie glamour or magical power can make it true?
I'm looking for something simple and in particular NW Italy (Piedmont, Genoa and possibly Lombardy I suppose). Thanks for the Ethnologue link - any idea how relevant this is to 13th century though?
Simple is preferred although dialects are always interesting in concept.
That's what I thought.
OK, so this is similar to the French vs Occitan example.
To be honest, this may be all I need for what I'm thinking of.
OK this is getting a bit complex, even for a language pedant like me...
I'm aware of this - my understanding is that the Limousin dialect was the one favoured by the troubadours but I haven't worked out how far exactly it spread into Italy - the court of Montferrat gets mentioned a lot in the sources I use.