It hasn’t been that long since the apocalypse began on The Walking Dead. How does this factor into the Scavengers’ language?
We’ve all heard of Pig Latin, and it’s not uncommon for kids (and some adults) to create their own secret languages to communicate secret messages to those in the know. Having a secret language could prove useful to communicate with other members of your group in the apocalypse, but the Scavengers not only have a language all their own, but they use it with outsiders.
Jadis speaks to Rick in sentence fragments, not bothering to string together entire sentences. Her economy of language, as it were, expresses exactly what she wants and nothing more: “Jars and guns. Guns and jars.”
If you follow this timeline for the show, less than two years have passed since the start of the apocalypse. The development of other dialects might make sense in one or two post-apocalyptic generations, after a whole generation of apocalypse kids like Judith grow up without the benefit of formal education. But it doesn’t provide enough time for language to break down among a whole group of people. The Scavengers’ language, then, doesn’t really make sense.
Historically, languages and dialects of those language developed over time, with dialects developing among communities that were separated geographically from other areas. A good example is France French and Canadian French or Mexican Spanish and Spain Spanish. I speak France French and Mexican Spanish. I had a Quebecoise substitute teacher in high school and I had no idea what she was saying because the accent and the words she used were so distinctly different that I was lost. The same thing happened with one of my Spanish professors who was born in New Orleans, learned Spanish in Spain, and was teaching in San Diego. You can hear a difference between a Londoner and someone from Liverpool just as you can hear a major difference between a Southern Californian, a Bostonian, and someone from Alabama. Regions can impact language a great deal. (I say soda while other people say pop, and in some areas a “Coke” is the generic term for any kind of soda)
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With all of that in mind, how do you account for the language breakdown among the Scavengers? Clearly each community might have special terms for repurposed pieces of equipment, such as “the Iron” at the Sanctuary and “Up Up Up” among the Scavengers. But the way Jadis speaks is a mystery.
There’s really no answer here other than to keep watching the show for more clues. In the meantime, what are your thoughts? What caused the language breakdown among the Scavengers?