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There were times that called for the use of ancient and powerful words, the acknowledgment of humans in a crisis everywhere and everywhen since language was first invented. This was one of them. "Shit." Aurora said.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:10 am 
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Innocent of All But Malice

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Just one of those odd questions that pops into my mind from time to time:

Given what we know of the technological level of Amber and the societal structure, what do people suppose the literacy rate is among the general population?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:43 pm 
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I don't think there is anything in canon to back me up but, I have always assumed that the average citizen is able to read and write basic Thari.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:13 am 
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I'm with Marcus.

I suspect that the majority of the people there are well educated. They do live for a very long time, it's not like they don't have the opportunity to become literate. A farmer might not be, but ... why not? I mean I assume the citizens of Amber live for hundreds of years, learning to read and write has big rewards for a small effort.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:57 am 
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Innocent of All But Malice

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Thirded. On top of that, it doesn't take much tech for there to be a lot of reading material available. Movable type printing press, hand operated. Amber has the forests and hills and streams to support paper mills, too.

You could probably increase or decrease the literacy rate by how you decide about the details of written Thari. Going by Amber's vaguely western European feel, you could argue by way of reflection (our world being based on Amber) that Thari has a smallish and mostly-phonetic alphabet, arranged in a regular pattern (lines, always in the same direction). Then you can draw conclusions based on our own history.

If you want the other extreme, well, Thari came from Chaos. Maybe shadow Earth's Europe lucked out in the language lottery. For all we know, their formal writing could be a large set of symbols (like Chinese), read in multiple directions (like Hebrew) or placed in patterns, or with a large and creative number of ways to write the same thing (like Mayan). In which case reading and writing can be arbitrarily difficult to learn without formal teaching. And arbitrarily difficult to get a printing press to mass produce.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:56 am 
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That all seems reasonable.

But seeing as universal literacy was not considered the norm even in the industrialised west until the late 19th/early 20th century here on Earth, presumably Amber would still have a large, unlettered underclass?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:11 pm 
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Hmmm … not necessarily. Earth is not a direct reflection of Amber and there is canonical proof that there was Elder influence. It’s possible the literacy level was suppressed as a precaution to keep Corwin in the dark.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:30 pm 
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erichenry wrote:
But seeing as universal literacy was not considered the norm even in the industrialised west until the late 19th/early 20th century here on Earth, presumably Amber would still have a large, unlettered underclass?


This seems to assume that literacy is dependent on the tech level. It may have been connected here on Earth, but I don't think that is necessarily the case in Amber.

The tech level of Amber is limited by the "natural laws" defined by Dworkin/Oberon, not because the people "haven't reached that level in their development". The people of Amber are probably aware of other tech levels (e.g. in the Golden Circle). The royal family is certainly aware of it. So, while the tech may be the level of Europe's medieval times, the mindset of the people isn't. And in that case you could very well have a high level of literacy.

Furthermore, Amber is a merchant nation, with a lot of trade. At least for the merchants literacy would be a very-nice-to-have (contracts, warehousing/inventory etc etc).

And what of the Church of the Unicorn? Amber does not seem to have a lot of rigid protocols, so I think it is likely that the church is also somewhat "free-format". What if the Church encourages people to read the Book of the Unicorn by themselves and to determine what it means for them personally? That would also be different from medieval churches on Earth and would promote literacy.

And battlebooze has a good point, they do live a long time...


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:24 pm 
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Isn't a large slab of Amber's population refugees blown in by Shadow Storms? If Thari is their second language, they are less likely to be literate in Thari than in their own tongue.

A second problem is being 'separated by a common language' - anyone from nearby will have a similar language, but misunderstandings will crop up due to divergences. These problems will be more serious with books than with people, as they wouldn't have body language, vocal tones etc to help understand.

[EDIT] A good portion of the specialists in Amber will have been collected by the family out in Shadow, so they would either be literate, or not only illiterate but also dyslexic, depending on the plans the Amberite for the specialist servant.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:32 pm 
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evilwurst wrote:
Thirded. On top of that, it doesn't take much tech for there to be a lot of reading material available. Movable type printing press, hand operated. Amber has the forests and hills and streams to support paper mills, too.

Books themselves, once created, are low tech - so Amber might just import them!


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