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 Message
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Orange County interview
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/14/1996 12:15:00 PM  

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Cherns Major <75026.3723@compuserve.com> asks:
> If the latter, care to expand?
> While I have your attention, could I ask something that's been
> bothering me a bit? What languages do the various characters
> speak, and when? I presume that the humans are all talking English
> (is English now Earth's official language? maybe they're all
> speaking Esperanto or LogLan?); and I can accept that when
> various other species talk among themselves they are speaking
> their native language but that the show expresses their
> conversations in English for our convenience; and we have seen
> some cases where characters speak in a language other than
> English when language is an issue ("brickbat lingerie"), but what
> about a situation like Sheridan and Lorien?

"Now, I *know* you didn't write all the episodes in Seasons 1 and 2,
but I wondered if there really was a connection between the planned
series length and "the name of the place." After all, I suppose 5 is a
fairly arbitrary number--it could have been one or two or seventeen
earlier stations that were sabotaged during construction--but I never
really thought of the similarity."

No, that was never the intent, that it was called Babylon 5
because it's 5 years of story. The reporter just kinda came up with
that.

"The interviewer constantly uses the term "sci-fi," but, since I'm
sure that you are well aware of the controversy over it, I would have
presumed that you either would not have used it yourself (I don't think
I've ever seen it in one of your messages), or else that you would have
some particular statement-making reason. If the latter, care to
expand?"

No, I didn't use the term sci-fi, and NEVER use the term. I use
either SF of Science Fiction, but interviewers insist in putting those
terms in my mouth because it's what they use. I've complained to
several of them about this already.

"I'm not ruling out Babel Fish or belt-mounted Universal Translators,
or perhaps Lorien's ability to read Sheridan's mind and learn English
from it, but it does seem to me that things like this require at least
a minimum of explanation. "

There are several primary languages used on B5: Earth English,
Centauri and Interlac, the latter being a kind of Esperanto (all of the
important signs are in all three languages). In addition, many
species, such as the Gaim and the pak'ma'ra, use translator devices,
since they're incapable of making human sounds. Remember, you're
seeing ambassadors for the most part, or aliens in the trade or
commercial business, so they would tend to learn the dominant language
of the place they're working in.

"I'll hang on to the clipping if you want it for your scrapbook."

I'd *definitely* appreciate a copy of that one, so I can pass it
on to WB for use in their PR, thanks.

jms

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