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JordanCon 2016 ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

On that note, in Secret History, Kelsier's reading the symbols. Does he not-- I mean he is able to understand them...

Brandon Sanderson

Right, right. So, if you go look really closely at what happens with Kelsier before he's able to start reading the symbols and understand the language, you can relate it to things in the cosmere that I've talked about before for how he's able to do that.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

Is it possible to Compound your Spiritual Connection to a location on a planet while storing your Spiritual Connection to all other locations on the planet to kind of pull yourself through the Spiritual Realm to that location?

Brandon Sanderson

That's not how that would work. Parts of what you say are possible, but the teleportation aspect wouldn't actually do anything.

Questioner

Was Hoid trying to Compound his Spiritual location in the scene you added in the 10th Anniversary [Elantris]? Was he trying to Compound Connection to that location to try to become Elantrian?  

Brandon Sanderson

...So at that point chronologically he was not an Allomancer.

Orem signing 2014 ()
#3 Copy

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Could you spike Elantrian-ness? Like, could you Hemalurgically spike Elantrian-ness?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Theoretically, yes.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Could you out of a Reod Elantrian? The zombie ones?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Um, yes you could.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

You could?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

So what you would be spiking there is their Connection to...to the planet, first. That's gonna be the big important thing. So you're going to overwrite your Connection. Um, and then you're going to....it's going to be a complicated process because you're going to have to spike the actual ability to have been transformed, that's gonna be harder.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Does that make sense?

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Yeah, so it's gonna take two spikes.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's gonna take two spikes.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Alright.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

And you gonna have to get the right Connection to the right place. Let's say you spike somebody from MaiPon, and then you spike an Elantrian, you're not going to be able to use it, you're not connected to the right area.

Utah Humanities Book Festival ()
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dougpgc (paraphrased)

I asked him if a feruchemist were to visit Earth and tap Duralumin, could they do something as involved as talk local sports with someone?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No -- when you trick your spirit into thinking it's from where you're currently tapping, it's not a full transformation, like Sel-ish magic making a copy.. It doesn't just fill your head with things from the place you're visiting.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

In Bands of Mourning we saw the medallions that can give people Connection to the area that they are in.  Two thoughts on that.  One… if a person were to get a connection to one of the areas from Elantris would they be able to gain the powers from the area?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah that’s a good question, it’s not that easy.  But it is an excellent question.

Questioner

And if there was an area where the primary language was sign language, would a person gain the ability to speak sign language to the people present by using that connection?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.  It is definitely related to the Cognitive Realm and how people are thinking about language.

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

Does the spren have to be present for a Surgebinder to have their abilities? Because with Dalinar, the Stormfather won’t be around all the time...

Brandon Sanderson

Good Question! Fortunately, the Stormfather is a little more omnipresent. Normally you’re gonna have to have your spren close, but the Stormfather absorbed... is basically Honor’s cognitive shadow, which means he’s got a connection to a lot of different things, so he’s not bound by a lot of the rules that others are.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

In Bands of Mourning you got more into the Connection element and gave us some hints there. During a previous seminar a question came up on how that relates to your Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual Realm. I guess, we've talked about if people were to go different places it seems from the hints you've given in your books that there's a Physical aspect to Connection as far as where people are when they use the Connection as well as there's some ideal with… in the Secret History that we've got, when Kelsier was, when he wasn't Connected enough to Preservation. So can you give us anything more--

Brandon Sanderson

I just gave you a ton in Secret History! So much! I gave you a lot in Secret History to philosophize upon, this is very relevant to a lot of the things that happen in the cosmere.

Questioner

I guess, specifically, does someone have to have both-- with Connection, are there more than one elements that people would have to have to have Connection to provide avenue to power from a different area.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, um… there are multiple things that could help with it, yes. There are certain things that you can Connect through to make one strong Connection would be enough for a variety of magics, yeah.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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Argent

Recently, at DragonCon, you talked briefly about detecting worldhoppers by examining their speech, and you mentioned Hoid using "coin" on Roshar, where there are no coins. Which overlapped with a question I had been meaning to ask - why would the people around him hear "coin" instead of "sphere"? Is this magical translation (something to do with Connection) malfunctioning for some reason? Or is the use of such out-of-context words solely for the benefit of the Cosmere-aware reader?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this has to do with magical translation. It's a quirk of trying to say something in the language, and the magic mixing up your intent. Someone who actually learns the local language wouldn't make this mistake.

Argent

Can I just make sure I understand your reply real quick? Are you saying that if Hoid, or someone with the same magical translation, were to learn a bit of Alethi language and culture, get more used to spheres being used as currency, then the magic would stop using "coin" and replace it with sphere? Or, in a sci-fi world, maybe "credit"?

Brandon Sanderson

If he was thinking about saying sphere, he'd say sphere with the magic.

If he accidentally said coin, through the magic, it would try to translate it into coin.

If he learned the language, there's little chance he'd make this mistake. It's a natural feature of learning another language--you tend to imitate those around you. It's still possible he'd make the mistake, but from my experience with second language acquisition, you don't accidentally say words in your native language expecting them to make sense in the new language.

Argent

But wouldn't this require, in his case, the Alethi language to have a word for "coin"? I thought what's happening is that he is saying "coin" (because it's more natural to him), and his magic - not knowing how to translate a word that doesn't exist in Alethi, just sends it across verbatim. Like how he used the word "dog" once, even though the Alethi can't have a word for it.

Brandon Sanderson

That's exactly what is happening--it's sending across the word verbatim.

Argent

Ah, so when you say that is he had said "sphere" in his own language, instead of "coin" (which would be weird to him, because he doesn't think of spheres as currency), then the translation would be fine. Not that he could say "coin" and have the magic interpret his intent and turn into "sphere".

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, to an extent. Remember, this is magical means through connection--not exact translation. But this is a short version of what is happening.

Torrieltar

*in response to Brandon's original answer* Is that how translated puns work, then? Based on your intent?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that has something to do with it. Though being aware that you're using the magic, and how it works, helps. For example, Hoid (very experienced with this sort of thing) can manipulate the magic and get a feel for what will work and what won't. It's a strange thing, because in most cases, you're actually SPEAKING the language, not speaking your own and having it translated. The magic pretends you were born and grew up in that place.

So you can speak in puns, and riddles, and so forth. However, there's latency from where you actually grew up that causes a kind of "blip" when you try to force through something that just doesn't translate. If you just let the magic do its thing, you'll naturally use idioms from the world you're in. But if you lock on to one from your past, it causes a kind of disharmony in the magic--reminding your spirit web that you don't actually speak the language. It will spit out a transliteration or verbatim phrase in this case.

You will rarely see Hoid having the trouble that Vasher does in using the language and magic, as Vasher doesn't really care. But you will still see even the most expert slip up now and then.

There's an extra layer on this that I don't focus too much on, in that the books themselves are in translation--so when Hoid's using a pun, he's filtering his intent to pun through the magic, into Alethi, creating a local pun that works in the language--then that is in turn translated to one that works in our language.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Aurimus [PENDING REVIEW]

As the two Realms, the Cognitive and the Spiritual, are, well, fictional... Are they all comprised of Investiture, completely?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. No, completely? Well, here's the thing. Investiture, matter, and energy are all the same thing in the cosmere. So, just like energy and matter are the same thing here. So, yes, everything's made of Investiture, in the same way that everything's made of energy in our world. Does that make sense?

Aurimus [PENDING REVIEW]

So, what about what spren are made of in the Cognitive Realm? Is that just Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, yeah, I'll dig more into that. I'm gonna go with Investiture for now, but I could change that as I move along. What I'm kind of debating is, is there a separate Cognitive state, and I don't think so. So I'm gonna go with Investiture for now.

Aurimus [PENDING REVIEW]

How about Connection?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Connection is, like, the equivalent of a quantum connection in our world, so it's more like a force than something comprised of something. The question is like, "What is gravity comprised of?" And then you start asking weird questions.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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Nepene

In The Emperor's Soul and Elantris the magic systems have very different methods and powers, though both work through symbols. Assuming they adapted the symbols to their local geography could they use each other's methods? Could an Elantrian forge a soulstamp say?

Brandon Sanderson

Birth in a certain location on Sel gives a certain affinity for the local symbols, and their usage. To use the magic of another region, one would need to have a rewritten connection to that area instead.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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Doom-Slayer

So how do the exact mechanics of Feruchemy in relation to Compounding work?

This confusion is primarily around how [the Lord Ruler] gets his near infinite age.

Okay. So first off, I understand the concept of how they work. Feruchemy is net zero, Allomancy is net positive, combine them and you end with a net positive Feruchemy ability.

So how Feruchemy normally works... you take say weight, store half your normal weight and then you can access it whenever you want. So you (originally X weight) are taking A weight, storing it, and then you are at (X-A) weight, with access to A. So we have a metalmind that store magnitude with the efficiency of how its received based on how quickly or slowly it is drawn upon.

All the metalminds except atium seem to act this way. Atium seems to work as storing magnitude/time rather than just magnitude. The way I understand it is that say a 30 year old person becomes 50 years old for 1 day, this would give access to 20 years difference for a 1 day period.

The Lord Ruler then exploits this by gaining access to say 20 years difference over 10 days(magnification by compounding) which he then slowly feeds into himself to lower his age.

Why this difference? Im assuming its to maintain a neutral "body age" because with just magnitude a person could permanently make themselves younger by compounding.

With just magnitude of "20 years of youth" being stored, if the lord ruler magnified it, he could turn it into "200 years of youth" and then he would never need the constant stream off youth(and wouldn't of died without the bracelets)

Hope this makes sense.

Brandon Sanderson

All right, so there are a few things you have to understand about cosmere magics to grok all of this.

First, is that magics can be hacked together. You'll see more of this in the future of the cosmere, but an early one is the hack here--where you're essentially powering Feruchemy with Allomancy. (A little more complex than that, but it seems like you get the idea.)

The piece you're missing is the nature of a person's Spiritual aspect. This is similar to a Platonic idea--the idea that there's a perfect version of everyone somewhere. It's a mix of their connections to places, people, and times with raw investiture. The soul, you might say.

(Note that over time, a person's perception of themselves shapes their cognitive aspect as well, and the cognitive aspect can interfere with the spiritual aspect trying to make the physical aspect repair itself.) Healing in the cosmere often works by aligning your physical self with your spiritual self--making the physical regrow. More powerful forms of investiture can repair the soul as well.

However, your age is part of your Connection to places, people, and times. Your soul "knows" things, like where you were born, what investiture you are aligned with, and--yes--how old you are. When you're healing yourself, you're restoring yourself to a perfect state--when you're done, everything is good. When you're changing your age, however, you are transforming yourself to something unnatural. Against what your soul understands to be true.

So the spiritual aspect will push for a restoration to the way you should be. With this compounding hack, you're not changing connection; it's a purely Physical Realm change.

This dichotomy cannot remain for long. And the greater the disparity, the more pressure the spirit will exert. Ten or twenty years won't matter much. A thousand will matter a lot. So the only way to use compounding to change your age is to store up all this extra youth in a metalmind, then be constantly tapping it to counteract the soul's attempt to restore you to how you should be.

Yes, all of this means there are FAR more efficient means of counteracting aging than the one used by the Lord Ruler. It's a hack, and not meant to be terribly efficient. Eventually, he wouldn't have been able to maintain himself this way at all. Changing connection (or even involving ones Cognitive Aspect a little more) would have been far more efficient, though actively more difficult.

Though this is the point where I ping [Peter Ahlstrom] and get him to double-check all this. Once in a while, my fingers still type the wrong term in places. (See silvereye vs tineye.)

Skyward release party ()
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JoyBlu [PENDING REVIEW]

Both Tien and Kaladin are Radiant, you talked about how that wasn't hereditary, and how that was more because of where they were with association. Was it because they were associated with the same person, or the same place?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, Connection influences spren.

JoyBlu [PENDING REVIEW]

Right, but was the Connection to a person that they were around?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Connection to people.

JoyBlue [PENDING REVIEW]

So not necessarily the place where they were?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right.

Joyblu [PENDING REVIEW]

Because my way of thinking it might be with the people is because, like with the Purelake on the Cognitive Realm there would be more spren hanging out there because that was more land, right; so if you spent more time on that you would have more spren around you. So if you're closer to more water, you're closer to more spren.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is not an irrelevant observation.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
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Questioner

I'm not sure if it was duralumin or something but the Feruchemical ability to store Connection, is that how Hoid worldhops? It stores Connection to another world?

Brandon Sanderson

It's a good question, it doesn't have anything to do with worldhopping but what it does do is once you have worldhopped you can change your Connection to which planet you are on, which helps you with magic systems.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong

Was Hoid trying to become an Elantrian kind of in a way how Kelsier was able to connect to Preservation to take up the Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the thing about it is you're getting Hoid before he knew as much as he did in Scadrial era, so what he was trying to do was completely ineffective and it couldn't have worked.

Questioner #1

Doesn't it get weaker the farther away you are, so it wouldn't help at all.

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner #2

Well we have an example of an Elantrian on Roshar, so.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes we have an Elantrian on Roshar, but we don't see him use any powers, and his skin is dark on Roshar rather than glowing, granted that could be a disguise. That is something to be aware of.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong

Would it be harder for Jasnah to Soulcast a Knight Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Would it be harder for her to Soulcast a Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, investiture resists investiture. It's harder for her to even Soulcast a person than a rock, right?

Questioner

Is a Mistborn invested?

Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn, how their burning the metal, you're right. They are not specifically invested when they are not burning. When the investiture becomes active, the yes. Before, no, you're right on that.

Blightsong

So Kelsier, he stayed around longer, not because he was invested, but because he had the potential to use investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Over time using the magic will invest you, on Scadrial. Most of the power is not coming from, on Roshar the power isn't coming from the person either [he cut himself off, so I assume this is how it works on Scadrial even though he didn't finish his thought] so I'm going to have to back up on that one and say, yes, the Mistborn are as invested as a Knight Radiant, because in both cases the majority, bulk, of the power is coming from somewhere else, but there is the spirit web. Investing the wrong term, but you have all these connections in the spiritual realm, so yanking you away from them, or rewriting them is harder.

Questioner

Would they be harder with more Stormlight or metals burning?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes. That would increase the difficulty ratio. For instance, wearing Shardplate is gonna be a great barrier, right, and things like that so yea. The problem is like, Invested is the wrong term for that, their Spiritweb is connected in different ways.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong (paraphrased)

Is it normal for people to become Connected to an area after being there for a bit, like with Kel and wherever he was when he found the Ire, or is something special going on?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It is normal for a cognitive shadow to get stuck to places, because they exist through investiture it is normal for them to get tied to an area. Kelsier was still in Scadrial when he found the Ire. This happened with Odium and the two shards on Roshar, Preservation to Ruin, and the Heralds.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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333Fred

  1. In the part 2 epigraphs of Oathbringer, Michael reads Harmony's letter in Sazed's accent. Is that something you specifically told him to do, or did he figure that out on his own?

  2. By that same token, have there been other instances of you telling Michael and Kate "Read this with a specific accent" or "Make something memorable for this momentarily-appearing side character" (Jezrien the beggar comes to mind).

  3. In TWoK interlude 1, Michael doesn't read Demoux with the same accent as he did in Mistborn. That leads me to believe that connection also emulates accent. When Dalinar used connection to speak with the Azish, did he sound like an Azish speaking Azish, or an Alethi speaking Azish?

  4. Finally, this occurred to me as I was typing the previous question: How is Taln understandable to the modern characters of SA? He's been in Damnation for the past 4500 years, and there's been dramatic changes in the writing system. I assume that means similarly dramatic shifts in the spoken language too. I mean, today we can't really understand Old English, and that wasn't even 1 millennium ago. Has the spoken word really not changed that much, or is he using connection? If he is, do all the heralds use it?

Brandon Sanderson

1.) I believe we warned him.

2.) Yes, though Peter usually makes these calls (he checks with me on a few.) We do need to do this for translations sometimes too (gender an ambiguous-in-English voice, for example.)

3.) We're better at this than we used to be. He probably should have had the same voice there. However, it can vary, depending on how the magic works. For example, Hoid--who is generally using connection, rather than using languages--sounds like a native speaker. How you use the magic, how you view yourself, and things like that do influence this.

4.) I'm on this one, and will have answers for you eventually. In original drafts of TWOK, back when it was supposed to be a mystery if Taln were a Herald or not, I believe Jasnah used this as evidence that he WASN'T one, actually. Suffice it to say that the Heralds have had to deal with this a lot, over thousands of years...

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
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Darkness (paraphrased)

Is there any spiritual or cognitive affect on the subject of Shallan's memory collecting?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well… …

Darkness (paraphrased)

Simply from taking the memory, not from the consequences of seeing the pictures or anything.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Right… no, I would say no, but there is a sliiiiight spiritual connection happening. So, so… but it doesn't really have an affect on the person.  I mean, you could say, you could make the argument that any slight connection like that does have one. But I don't want you to read that much into it. So the answer is yes, with an asterisk of no.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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mcase19

Could someone Feruchemically storing connection in an Aonic nation become an Elantrian?

Brandon Sanderson

It's a little tougher than that, but it would be a start. And for some people, it would be enough.

yahasgaruna

Is it tougher because of some inherent difficultly with the selection process of Elantrians? Or because of something to do with using connection?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm getting a few too many 17th Shard style questions on the thread. I'm going to start curtailing them, as waking up to an hour' or two's worth of detailed cosmere questions each day is going to seriously impact my ability to actually write. So I'm going to liberally apply RAFO from here out.

So RAFO. :)

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Dalinar can learn languages with the people he contacts. Venli knows all the languages. Could he learn all the languages? And how long would that last?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

His Connection is going to work, he has to kind of be active about it, so it needs to be, let me see if I can get the specific words right.

The mechanics I have in the notes is he has to touch someone and will learn to speak the language of their native country, that they spoke as a young person. He's making a direct Connection to that specific person and their way of speaking. So if you have learned another language and Dalinar shakes your hand and activates his Connection ability, he will Connect not to that language you've learned, but to your native language.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How long does it last?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I have it lasting... it does need to be renewed, but I have it lasting basically as long as... days not months. But I didn't actually put a define on it, so I'm going to say that's not canon. I'm not canonizing that. But I didn't want him to have to keep renewing it every couple of hours. But he would have to do it again if he left and came back.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I'm wondering how worldhoppers are able to understand languages on different worlds.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, because I knew I was doing this whole thing, I made it fairly easy to use Connection to start speaking other languages, like you see in the Mistborn books happening. That's a pretty common thing with the various magic systems, one of the easiest things to get going. Some just learn the language. It does happen. But, for instance, Hoid isn't learning the language, which is why you see him making goofs, like when he says "coin" instead of "sphere." Because, like, that doesn't happen really, if you learn the other language. There's not really the word for coin. But the magic is trying to interpret the thing that he says, and it just comes out as a word that's not in their language, really. And you'll see worldhoppers making that mistake. You'll see them using words like "dirt" and stuff like that, and that's just a clue they're using magical means.

GenCon 2017 ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

If I wanted to Hemalurgically acquire a power from First of the Sun, which metal would the spike need to be?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

This is going to be pretty complicated, but several metals would work.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Would it involve Connection between the person being spiked and the bird?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well it would be even harder than on Roshar, where you need to somehow spike the spren and also the Radiant. You would need to spike the bird and steal the power, but also spike the person and steal Connection.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

So, the fan page wanted to know. Would it be possible for Hemalurgy to steal a living Shardblade? That was the top voted question.

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, so you're bonded to a Shardblade. You get spiked, then they spike off the bond so that the Shardblade is bonded to someone else.

Questioner

I assume so...

Brandon Sanderson

But can they do it with a living Shardblade? You can definitely do it with a dead Shardblade because its just stealing the Connection. With a living Shardblade, yes you could do that 'though the spren could break the bind at will.

Questioner

So the spren would survive? That was the second-- the corollary--

Brandon Sanderson

Ehhh. Would the spren survive? The spren would survive as long as the oaths were--

Questioner

Intact?

Brandon Sanderson

--the person didn't break the oaths. But you could theoretically steal the bond, break the oaths, and kill the spren. If you wanted to. Its a very convoluted to kill a spren, they are easier to kill than that, but yes. You could do that. That is a viable but twisted route that you can do. You would end up with a dead spren and a Shardblade, so there is that. But there are easier ways to accomplish that...

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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dougpgc

Is there Shard based magic that's used for translation? Hoid is very smart, but it seems like it would be a pain to learn all these other world's languages -- and he's very eloquent in all of them. Will you tell us any details you can about this? pretty please : )

Brandon Sanderson

There are several ways to do this. Hoid is not learning all of the languages without aid. No details, I'm afraid. Except that if you watch, you will see him slip and use words that have no meaning (or the wrong meaning) in some of the languages he's speaking. Those translate oddly, or don't translate at all.