Assume that in this culture that everyone can read minds and project images into the minds of others. Can there be a way for such a culture to evolve speech?

  • $\begingroup$ This will be hard to answer without knowing the species. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Please read How to Ask and add more details. As it stands, this question is infinitely broad. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ Somewhat related: Would people develop spoken language if everyone was telepathic? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ Telepathy is a faculty that must trained and to make any significant use out of; It could also be very taxing on the body. As result your psionic race will develop a spoken language. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ This is out of scope for Worldbuilding, it is however in scope for the currently in definition scope of Hypotheticals (area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/95463/what-ifhypotheticals). $\endgroup$
    – Oak
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 3:04

2 Answers 2


They probably wouldn't develop their own language, but if they were exposed to another species that does use language, then they would probably learn the concept pretty quickly (and then be able to teach each other).


For privacy!

I assume you by "telepathy" do not mean "mind reading". Broadcasting your message to everybody in proximity has some disadvantages. Perhaps you do not want everybody to hear it? Or want to have control over the information? Then you must have a more secure way of communication. That is a so strong motivation that I predict development of a language would appear anyway.

That is, if you do not count the transfer protocol and encoding of the telepathic message as a language. From a theoretical linguistic point of view, that is a language too.


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