In Princess Academy, Tutor Olana believes that her charges need to refine their language and learn the art of diplomacy because they're poor, crude girls from the mountains. Her lessons do help them, but that doesn't mean that lowlander communication is better than highlander communication—and it turns out that natives from Mount Eskel can communicate with each other through something called quarry-speech, where they can silently exchange messages and send memories. Their messages travel through the linder rock that they work so closely with.
With their quarry-speech, the people of Mount Eskel can communicate—and seek help—even from far away. It's a cool trick, for sure, but it's also what ultimately saves the day for everyone.
Questions About Language and Communication
How do the girls use their diplomacy lessons against Tutor Olana?
What happens when the girls call for their families using quarry-speech after they're seized by bandits?
Why doesn't Tutor Olana want to change the way that the girls speak? Do you think it's necessary?
Why doesn't Miri tell Peder how she really feels about him from the beginning?
Chew on This
Throughout the course of the book, Miri learns that language doesn't need to always be conveyed verbally; you can communicate with others without words as well.
Tutor Olana teaches the girls how to speak "well" and engage in the practice of diplomacy, and with their new knowledge they are able to turn their skills against her and use diplomacy to make their own demands.