I have a species of intelligent humanoids roughly modelled after bears. They're hulking great grizzly-sized solitary mesocarnivores. Genus Homo and descended from H. sapiens, but significantly different in both biology (size) and psychology (solitary and territorial). Think the varl from Banner Saga, but crank up the solitude and territoriality. Technology is roughly neolithic.
Having read this question on the social structure of intelligent hypercarnivores, I've determined that their 'society' would be highly diffuse. Communication would largely take place via written messages along the borders of territories, stretching from threats against trespass to messages about projects of mutual benefit amongst semi-trusted neighbours (probably those with a degree of relation). The closest they would get to a band would be either mother and children, or perhaps a gang of late-juvenile siblings like you sometimes get with real-world solitary predators.
However, descending from H. sapiens, verbal language is too powerful of a tool to give up. Although avoidance would be preferred there are situations where face-to-face interaction would be unavoidable, either through chance or for mating (females are close enough in size to make forced mating a risky business).
What aspects of a verbal language might we expect to develop based on the social interactions of this species?
As a starter for ten, I've thought of the following:
- Excessively formal. In order to avoid physical confrontation trollspeak would be littered with formalities to try and avoid giving offense.
- These formalities probably wouldn't be based on social structure like a lot of ours (sir/madam etc.) as that structure and hierarchy wouldn't necessarily exist.
- Manifold and heavily nuanced language to describe actions and intent in order to clearly and very accurately describe what you want to do so the other ettin doesn't get the wrong end of the stick and attack you.
- On a less grim and gritty note, you might expect some very eloquent speech designed to woo the opposite sex. If physical confrontation is very risky, perhaps courtship language might help provide a strong evolutionary driver for retaining advanced speech.
So yeah, what other features might we expect to arise in the language of intelligent solitary territorial humanoids?