In Mage: The Awakening, High Speech was the original language of Atlantis before the fall. All spells could be spoken through this form of speech, though the language is too fragmented to be used in everyday conversation. When mages use High Speech, they find it easier to cast their spells, while using Atlantean glyphs lengthens the duration of said-spells. However, sleepers cannot understand or even hear High Speech, the Lie forcing them to hear only static or some other abnormal noise, thereby increasing probability of paradox.
The Nature of the True Tongue
Some speculate the nature of High Speech to be not so much its own language, but rather the origin of all languages.
In a sense, High Speech revolves around the concept of projecting the higher truths of the Supernal Realms through speech, which is a collection of sounds given meaning by the speaker to be projected outwards and interpreted by listeners. It is through this "supernal language" that mages are then better able to manipulate the elements of the Fallen World. But according to Secrets of the Ruined Temple, High Speech is too fragmented a language to be used in day-to-day conversation. Others speculate that, according to the metaphysical laws of "as above, so below", there must be a form of "Low Speech" as well. This language is rumored to have connections to the Abyss, and is said to be known by both Scelesti, and a small faction of Seers that serve the Secret Order of the Gate.
Forms of High Speech
Three ways of speaking and using High Speech have resurfaced in modern Awakened scoiety.
- Accented: The mage in question uses a Sleeper tongue to act as a “transmitter” for High Speech. Mages using this form appear to be speaking normal words in a strange accent. The cadence, tone and associated body language convey the magical import of the language. Sleepers can imitate Accented High Speech, although they may not understand the full meaning of the words and cannot profit from any Supernatural benefits that High Speech would bring.
- Classical: According to purists the tongue of old Atlantis, Classical High Speech is indecipherable for Sleepers. This is the standard form of High Speech taught at most Consilii.
- Poetic: The Poetic form of High Speech is a vocabulary of images and symbols that can be expressed in any language, along with a meter that binds it into memorable performance. This form is far more complex and demands high focus on metric, rhythm, speech velocity and intonation.