Let's say that I own a planet and I have the chance to set up rules before any human can move in. I want to make a law that would welcome anyone to the planet as long as they only speak the decided language.

It would mean doing anything needed to make sure nobody spoke any other language, even in a private place. The end goal would be to make the rest of the languages disappear and everyone would be able to understand each other.

Here are the rules I came up with to make it work:

  • I wouldn't rule the planet for long. There could be any political system established as long as that rule would be inmutable.
  • It doesn't matter your level on that language. As long as you are trying to speak it you are welcome.
  • Any communication in and out of the planet would be forced to be on that language.
  • The language can evolve as long as any changes to it would be applied globally.

Would forcing the new citizens and prosecuting anyone that tried to spoke a different language be justified for the better end?

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    $\begingroup$ But having multiple languages allows different forms of art (poetry, song, etc). Different languages have different ways of encoding information - learning a second language changes how you think, and opens you up to different interpretations of the physical world. $\endgroup$ – John Feltz Nov 10 '16 at 20:10
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, look. I see you defending your choices no matter what people post or point out in their answers. Here's what it comes down to: there's no way to justify this sort of tyranny. There is just no way. You can simply make it happen in your world because you want it to, but we can't justify it for you. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 10 '16 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ I am not 100% sure I speak the same language as people 20 years younger than me... $\endgroup$ – Layna Nov 11 '16 at 11:09
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    $\begingroup$ if two planets enforced similar rules with different languages, then they would effectively be legally unable to communicate with each other at all. $\endgroup$ – Simba Nov 11 '16 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ I really don't see the point of banning secondary languages as long as everyone is required to be proficient in the main one -which, instead, is easy enough. You're heading for major trouble for little additional gain. $\endgroup$ – Francesco Dondi Nov 11 '16 at 17:33

15 Answers 15


Would forcing the new citizens and prosecuting anyone that tried to spoke a different language be justified for the better end?

No. The End Sucks. So Do The Middle and Beginning.

It creates a privileged culture, suppresses others, leads to language stagnation, thought crime, and a police state.

This has been tried a number of times throughout history, most notably Turkey or the US forcing Native Americans and Australia forcing Aborigines to learn English. Usually it results in continuous cultural suppression. It establishes a dominant culture and suppresses the others.

An analogy is enforcing a dress code. The choices you make in what that code is and how its enforced says which culture and economic class gets preference, sets them at a higher standard of what is "proper", and selective enforcement can be used for harassment. For example, a "no hoodies" rule is clearly a way to target certain racial and economic classes, and deciding what is and is not a "hoodie" can be used to harass.

Here's the choices you need to make and how they lead to that end.

Which Language and Why?

I'm gonna use the US as an example to make this less abstract.

Which language do you choose? That might seem obvious, whatever language the most people already speak (English)... or do you go with one that's easy to learn (Spanish)? Maybe the pick the one with the most in common with other languages (... maybe Spanish again)? Or do you use the language that the most of your neighbors and trading partners speak (Mandarin)? Or do you make up a whole new language so everyone is equally hosed (Esperanto)?

Whatever you pick, it's going to be a continuing hassle.

Language As Privilege

If you chose an existing language, existing speakers are now privileged.

If you create a new language, well-off people are now privileged because they have the free time and money to learn the new language, hire tutors, training programs, etc...

Let's say it's English. Existing English speakers don't have to do anything. They don't have to spend time, and money, for schooling. They can keep their existing jobs, in fact native speakers will be in high demand as everyone else tries to catch up. The industry of teaching English will expand creating more jobs for English speakers.

As long as you are trying to speak it you are welcome.

This creates a linguistic, cultural, and economic privilege to immigration. You're welcome... so long as you either already speak the language, or have the money and free time to learn it.

Newcomers who are "trying" to speak the language remain at a disadvantage. Their native language is not just not spoken, it is illegal. How do they get a job? How do they read a contract? How do they read a manual?

This doesn't end.

Language As Culture

The language you speak isn't just some interchangeable part. It is your culture and it even alters how you think. It's your written and oral histories, parables, stories, songs, expressions, and vocabulary. All these things are made illegal. It wipes out other cultures.

Learning Material As Cultural Indoctrination

Until recently, the most translated book was the Bible. Missionaries were happy to teach you how to read... but it was going to be a Bible.

Now we're not quite as blunt about our indoctrination, but when you're running an entire society through a forced language re-education program the choice of reading material, pictures, phrasing, vocabulary, and grammar will be indoctrinate a certain world view whether you mean it or not.

Even something as innocent as your choice of noun to use when teaching basic grammar can codify what is normal and what is not.

I like to eat apples.
People eat apples.
Apples are good for you.
They bought three apples.

enter image description here

Translation As Suppression

Anyone who says "just translate them" has never done translation. Meaning is lost between languages, especially for songs. Translation is always a trade off between the literal meaning and the metaphorical meaning. How do you translate "stop, you're killing me"?

You can't translate everything, there simply aren't enough translators and money to pay them. The selection of what gets translated and how it gets translated becomes cultural suppression.

And if there aren't a lot of translators for your language... oh well. It disappears.

Translation As Rewriting Cultural History

Translators have a lot of power to subtly shape our understanding of history when the original documents are in another language. Not just in the choice of what gets translated, but the choices they make in doing that translation.

Perhaps the most famous example is the bowdlerization of classic texts such as Shakespeare, Ancient Greek and Roman writers, and the Bible. Every language has ambiguity through idioms and context.

Embarrassing historical documents can be subtly reworded to make them seem innocuous. Homosexuality, sex, dirty jokes... anything considered "vulgar" were obscured in popular translations of Greek and Roman texts to prop up the idea that this was a prim and proper golden age of humanity and that our morals have slipped. Have a look into the writings of Martial and Catullus or watch an uncensored version of Lysistrata.

For more on this read The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible which puts racy Bible stories in plain English and reveals what they're really talking about.

The End Is Bad.

The end doesn't justify the means because enforcing cultural laws leads you to bad outcomes.

Option 1: Surveillance State

How do you enforce the language law? How do you check that people aren't speaking and writing their own languages? To enforce this requires a surveillance state.

You need to spy on what people are saying, and what people are writing. This means no strong encryption. This means neighbors turning in neighbors. This means crackdowns on cultural displays like something as innocuous as showing a subtitled movie or displaying an old, untranslated play.

Option 2: Selective Enforcement As Cultural Domination

In this option, you count on normal law enforcement to enforce the language law. For otherwise innocuous, culturally driven laws like this there is a great urge to use selective enforcement as police harassment of groups they don't like. Want to harass someone? Accuse them of "speaking foreign".

Establishing One Language/Culture As "Better"

As with dress codes, choosing a single language signals that one language is "better" than the others. Again, doesn't matter what your intent is, people will use this as an excuse or grow up with this lesson.

Suppressing Knowledge Of Other Cultures

Since nobody is allowed to practice other languages, how can they ever really understand other cultures? People who only speak one language get a very selective and limited view of the world.

If you travel to a foreign country, you can only speak and read things which are in your language. Everything else is out of bounds, or you need a phrase book, or hire a translator (more economic privilege). This will keep most people to "tourist" areas and they will get a very selected and limited view.

This will twist your people's understanding of the world. Their limited view through their own lens will encourage xenophobia.

Language Police, Language Stagnation

The language can evolve as long as any changes to it would be applied globally.

Language evolves and changes. But in your world these changes have to first be approved before they can be legally used. Since they can't be used legally, the population can't first play around with them to see what works. Some council of Language Police decides what new words the people need (or, oh god, the people vote on what new words are ok?).

It's the ultimate in Linguistic prescription. At best this promotes cultural stagnation as the language is not allowed to naturally change and adapt. For example, as much as some people don't like it, verbing nouns is really useful.

At worst, constant tinkering with the language creates continual, punctuated, and awkward changes that everyone needs to relearn.

As an example, the speeches of Atatürk in the 1920s, leader of the Turkish language reforms, cannot be understood by most modern Turks.

Cultural Suppression

What words, spellings, and phrases the Language Police decide are legal will be informed by what cultural, economic, and political things they are associated with. As a simple example, I was told growing up that "ain't" ain't a word, even though the meaning is clear, because it's considered lower class.

Another example is "sodomy". Want to suppress certain sexual acts through language? Roll them all into one word, now it's really easy to over-generalize, and difficult to discuss in detail. Then attach to them a word that says "remember that time God smote a whole city for being perverts?"

Similar examples come from dress codes. Not just things like hoodie bans, but here's a list of banned items from a bar using "safety" as cultural suppression.

enter image description here

Most of can be justified with safety, but others are simply targeting certain cultures they don't want around. Pacifiers, glowsticks, stuffed animals, and candy bracelets are stereotypical of raver culture. Others like "no chapstick" might be some sort of attempt to stop secret drug use?

Language restrictions can be used similarly.

Thought Crime

What if there simply isn't a word to express what you want to say? Or an idea that you came up with? How many words for emotions and thoughts and actions have we come up with in the past ten years of ubiquitous Internet use and loan words alone? Mansplaining; lol; owned; email; to email; code monkey; texting; sexting; burner account; DOXing.... off the top of my head. Sure, there are similar words and phrases, but they don't say it quite the same way.

An example of vocabulary shaping thinking is the German loanword schadenfreude. We have sadism and masochism, a relationship of pain and pleasure between two parties... but schadenfreude is the relationship of a third and otherwise unrelated party. Sure, you can express this idea without introducing a new word, but a word neatly packages an idea for transmission to others.

Must we use increasingly awkward and literal phrases? Hey, are you going to the musical show which is a darker offshoot to the backlash to the cultural and economic stagnation represented by rock and roll tonight? A goth-punk show. Do we always have to point out that L.A.S.E.R. is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation?

What about poetry and music? Will an artist be prosecuted for using a word in a non-approved way?

I could go on, but this is turning into a dissertation on cultural identity and suppression. I think you get the idea.

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    $\begingroup$ Bravo. Above and beyond the call of duty. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 11 '16 at 5:26
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    $\begingroup$ If you allow people to keep speaking their own language you get enclaves of disadvantaged people. We see that here in the Netherlands, with 2nd and 3rd generation Turkish immigrants. The ones who get raised with Turkish as their main language have a much harder time getting good education then the ones who get Dutch (the language of the host country). Why? Because once these kids enter kindergarten, they're already behind. They don't speak Turkish well, because they're not in a Turkey and they hardly speak Dutch. Knowledge gets transferred in language and being good at it helps a lot. $\endgroup$ – Pieter B Nov 11 '16 at 7:56
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    $\begingroup$ "most notably Turkey" -- I'd suggest that the more recent example of Spain under Franco is perhaps relevant here. Franco's government attempted to abolish the use of the various regional languages of Spain, with the end result that as soon as he was out of power those languages came back to prominence with a political message behind them driving them to even more popularity than they ever had to begin with.. $\endgroup$ – Periata Breatta Nov 11 '16 at 10:27
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    $\begingroup$ (...) whatever language the most people already speak (English)... or do you go with one that's easy to learn (Spanish)? I'm honestly curious to know under what metric you consider spanish easier to learn than english. I, for one, I'm native spanish and fluent in English (C1) and I thank all the gods and heavens that I didn't have to "learn" spanish. Spanish is great, but I consider it a horror to learn, let alone master, with all its tenses and irregularities and lack of flexibility for verbing nouns, easily adding suffixes like "-ish" or "-y", chaining adjectives,etc... $\endgroup$ – xDaizu Nov 11 '16 at 10:35
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    $\begingroup$ @xDaizu In Spanish you can tell exactly how a word is pronounced from how it's written, most letters have only one possible sound and there's few combinations of letters that produce new sounds. That perhaps introduces additional hurdles to learning it, but on the flip side you don't have to build a gigantic mental catalogue of exceptions or rules that don't work consistently like "i before e except after c". I feel sorry for anyone who has to learn English as a second language. $\endgroup$ – Doval Nov 11 '16 at 12:53

is there any need to suppress any languages?

your goal is for everyone to understand each other. to achieve that goal, it is sufficient that everyone speaks a common language next to any other less common languages. human laziness will do the rest. unless you get people whose goal it is to preserve their language, most will give up their parents language in the second or third generation.

some things that help:

declare an official language that everyone needs to know and use in public communication.

make it clear to newcomers that everyone must speak this language and that all education will be done in that language. anyone who wants to preserve their own language will stay away.

newcomers who don't speak the language are welcome, but will spend their first months learning the language. if you pick esperanto, that will only take them one month in a full-time full immersion learning environment.

require that all official publications are done in that language (that includes TV, newspaper, advertising, company websites)

you may allow other languages to be used, but anything that is available to the public must be accessible in the official language.

that means multi-language publications are ok, but not foreign-language only. you can even teach foreign languages in school, as long as the official language dominates, it won't hurt.

finally, try to make sure your population is as diverse as possible, so that no other secondary language plays any dominant role. avoid language ghettos. i believe this is easier in densely populated areas because there is simply more people. that way newcomers can find enough people from their own background to not feel isolated, but still be surrounded by others that do not speak their native language, thus forcing them to use the official language to communicate.

for comparison, look at the early history of north america. most languages besides english play a negligible role. english dominated, and so everyone learned it. it is only recently that other languages are on the rise again through immigration. and immigration is something you can influence.

in other places creole and pidgin languages are developed when multiple languages are commonly spoken. if your official language is easy enough to learn, you can avoid that.


Unless you have a crazy good reason for wanting to speak only said language, such as, for example, speaking anything else on that particular planet will summon Cthulhu itself, no, there's no justification.

Here's the long and short of it: people will rebel.

Oh, you might get your way for a while, but only under a demonstrated, and actively enforced threat of punishment.

Consider that in order to know when people are disobeying you will have to monitor them constantly. Regardless of the morality of this action, implementing that level of surveillance is going to be challenging. I also doubt too many people will enjoy having some AI-like entity listening to every word they say, even in their most private moments, or in their sleep.

  • $\begingroup$ If some change is justified, people will agree on it, and it would be consider by the whole. It would be similar to a democracy, you will always have some people disappointed, some people will rebel, but I could see it getting to a point where the language seems to be almost perfect. $\endgroup$ – diegowc Nov 10 '16 at 20:02
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    $\begingroup$ @diegowc - here's the thing though. Yes, some people will disagree with one law or another. Take gun ownership for example. Let's say I LOVE guns, and want to own machineguns, etc. And the government bans them. I hate that, but I still comply. Now, however, the government bans not my hobby, but my language. Well, now sh!t just got real. I'm not about to comply with that, not to mention the tremendous invasion of privacy to ensure I obey $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 10 '16 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ The invasion of privacy is probably the biggest short term problem that I find to this law. If this method could run for a couple generations until any other language is forgotten, I think the invasion of privacy could be avoided. Also there's the freedom to join the planet or leave it as you want $\endgroup$ – diegowc Nov 10 '16 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ @diegowc - you're looking at this through a very narrow viewpoint. I learn a new language, want to speak it with my own family, or my pen-pal, and you'll kick me out of my ancestral home because I did so? How is that justified? You're literally imposing that people be dumbed down by excluding all other languages. Which is not to say that you can't have all government services be provided in a certain language, but going so far as to bad all other languages, even in people's residences is insanity, and not justifiable. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 10 '16 at 20:11
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    $\begingroup$ @diegowc - the big difference here is agreement. Yes, fine, let's have one official language, and everyone should know it. Great. There's a huge difference between that and banning all other languages. Do I seriously have to point that out? You seem to be imagining some sort of nirvana where everyone agrees, and we have general consensus on big decisions, not to mention compliance. That's just ... naive. Look up Quebec and their views on their native language if you want to understand how fierce people get about their heritage. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 10 '16 at 20:19

One of primary functions of language is identification: "we" speak like that, "they" speak differently. Even if you manage to force people to use the same grammar and vocabulary, you cannot make them mean same things.

Look at the different rhyming slangs - there's a lot of them in the English speaking world. A person says: "look at the apples", but those in-the-know understand that it means "look at the stairs" (because stairs is a rhyme for "apples and pears"). Everyone who knows the slang immediately feels connected, everyone who doesn't is excluded. Even though the sentence is "valid" English.

So, when someone says: "I want a new telephone", how do you know if you should punish him or not? Because this could be common English, but could as well mean "I want a new dog" (because "telephone" rhymes with "dog and bone").

The moment you start enforing that people use the same language for communication, you will get a lot more of things like that - a tone of voice, a hand movement will completely change meaning of sentences. I know first-hand, I grew up in a communist state, and believe me, you could criticize USSR all you wanted without using a single word that censors could object.


Different answers to different parts of the question.

Banning off-world communication in any other language would require censorship of all off-world communications. People are getting used to that in the current era, but such censorship/surveillance used to be a significant intrusion into civil rights.

Banning the development of the language unless the change is global bans any change, because a local trend doesn't get a chance to become global.

A planet (or country) could require a language proficiency test before it allows immigration through the normal immigration process. This would have some side effects, especially if there are no exceptions.

  • A man from Planet A and a woman from planet B marry. The man doesn't speak the language of planet B, but then the mother of the woman becomes ill and the family wants to care for her. Will there be an exception?
  • A family wants to immigrate, but one child has serious disabilities and won't pass any language test. Will there be an exception?

Even if there is such a test, people might not adopt the language at home (especially if they don't need a high level of profiency). So the children might grow up with their ancestral language.

A very bad place to live, a very good place for storytelling.

  • $\begingroup$ Those are really good points. I am assuming that surrounding planets would want to learn the language to be able to communicate with them, or even have translators. The condition is for the people living in that specific planet, they could move if they want. For the second point, I agree, there are many short term problems and prosecutions happening at the start until everyone is on the same page, but I am wondering if the long term benefits are justified. Thanks for the answer $\endgroup$ – diegowc Nov 10 '16 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ @diegowc, I think the long-term damage of the oppressive system outweighs any benefits. $\endgroup$ – o.m. Nov 10 '16 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ I think that giving the choice to the citizens to come in if they accept the terms isn't too bad. Also, I am not forcing anyone to stay on it if they don't want to accept the inmutable law $\endgroup$ – diegowc Nov 10 '16 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ @diegowc, you may not be "forcing" anyone to stay, but are you going to pay for their resettlement? And what if a second or third generation immigrant wants to get in touch with his or her roots? I still think you're building a dystopia. $\endgroup$ – o.m. Nov 10 '16 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ @diegowc I'm sure most of us don't. Get it? $\endgroup$ – Schwern Nov 10 '16 at 22:00

When someone wants to move to your planet, find out what languages they speak besides DiegoLang. Group all people born off-planet into small, isolated communities and make sure no community has two people who speak the same language except DiegoLang. Off-planet-born are not permitted to have any contact with Off-planet-born from other communities. With nobody to communicate with, they will have no choice but to communicate in DiegoLang.

The communities will sooner or later start to have kids. Organize childcare as a communal effort right from birth. Children should have as many contact-people as possible, so their language learning is not dominated by only one parent who might try to talk to their child mostly in a forbidden language. That makes sure that children only learn to speak DiegoLang. A possible method to organize this might be to expect mothers to return to their full-time job shortly after giving birth, but have all community members take turns as the designated nanny-of-the-day who takes care of all the children of the community.

Only children born on the planet are allowed to leave their community and get into contact with people from other communities. Encourage them to do so a lot to prevent the communities from bastardizing DiegoLang into community-specific dialects.

Caveat: This society-model is not 100% tamper-proof. An adversary group might send several people to your planet which independently from each other teach the children in their respective communities a forbidden language with the goal to have these children form a secret underground society on your planet. The only countermeasure against that is to enact a total surveillance state.


Would forcing the new citizens and prosecuting anyone that tried to spoke a different language be justified for the better end?

This question is only superficially about language. It is really about which rights are inalienable - that is, which rights can a person never give away?

A regime which literally policed its citizens' every word would certainly be a tyranny if imposed on any pre-existing community. Majority support for such a rule could not justify it. The whole point of human rights is that they belong to every human being, regardless of whether they are in a minority or a majority. Nor could the imposition of such a rule be justified because it was believed good would come of it in the end; the idea of human rights includes the idea that they cannot be negated because someone else (the planet-owner) imagines a benefit to other people (their descendants) in the future.

However, unlike every other answerer so far, I can see a possible justification on the grounds that people can consent to suspension of their rights while living or working in a place, so long as it is made clear to them what the consequences of the contract are, the contract is not signed under duress, they are adults capable of informed consent, and, most importantly, so long as they are free to leave at any time.

Categories of people who agree to live voluntarily under rules and discipline that would be outrageous if imposed include members of the armed forces, monks and nuns, the crews of ships, planes and space vehicles, workers on oil rigs, people undergoing "cold turkey" treatment to get off alcohol or drugs, and people living under a dome as an experiment to simulate the rigours of travel to Mars. Even those who take jobs in companies that insist on certain codes of behaviour from their employees when at work (including a given language being spoken) are acting under a version of this principle that many rights are voluntarily alienable. The right to speak other languages than the official one is alienable, and, in fact, is given up without controversy by many people in the situations listed above.

Doubts might arise as to whether one could consent to be bound to speak only the official language even in private, but it is arguable you could. Sometimes people trying to learn a foreign language by total immersion take a promise not to say a word of any other language for a given period. There is a separate issue in that the only way to check what language people spoke in private would be constant surveillance. Can one consent to that? The surveillance in the Big Brother House is not total.

I think this monolingual society would be a repressive and intellectually stagnant place and the alleged "benefit" of worldwide monolingualism to be no benefit at all, but, yes, I think it could be justified under a strict condition of continuing consent by the individuals involved.

But only for the people who signed up for it. Not their children.


The answer depends on the condition of the planet in question.

Is it already populated? If so, you would be suppressing the culture of an alien race, which would be horrific, not to mention probably a galactic crime of some sort.

If the planet isn't populated (e.g. recently terraformed or newly discovered after a mass extinction), then the issue becomes what language you choose.

If you choose a pre-existing language known by a significant portion of Earth's population (English, Spanish, Mandarin, etc.), then you run into some of the problems discussed in other answers. You would give an inherent advantage to one group of people, which would probably lead to dissent and eventually rebellion (unless one country in particular is colonizing the planet for itself, which opens up a whole different can of worms).

However, if you were to choose a language that everyone would have to learn before moving to the planet (like Esperanto), then things might actually work out like you want. You would run into problems with language stagnation and inevitably people would come up with other things to complain about, but you would have a moderately decent shot at creating a new and different culture based on aspects from all of your colonists' cultures.

In the situation where you're now the ruler of said planet, there's really no practical way that you could go about ensuring that only one language was spoken all of the time without significantly altering the basic structure of society, but you could make your chosen language the official language of the planet and monitor written and transmitted communications for the use of other languages, which would result in the punishment of your choosing for those found in violation of that decree.

A final note on language stagnation: you need to define what constitutes "speaking another language." If you go with what seems most practical and define it as stringing together a certain number of known words from a single foreign language, you could actually prevent language stagnation in part by allowing for its evolution (in that people could invent words without getting flagged/punished, but there's not enough flexibility to speak whole sentences in a different language).

It doesn't necessarily get you exactly what you want, but it seems to be the most practical and advantageous way to go about it.


I can see only one way - make sure all of the people arriving are native speakers of that language. Ideally, all of the same culture - either all white speaking English, all Chinese speaking Mandarin, etc.

Once established, it should be self-supporting - the people of your planet would be sufficiently bigoted and racist (having never met other cultures) not to accept speakers of other languages. They will have problems getting jobs, etc., and with a bit of luck, anyone who is able to speak another language will be so afraid of getting fired, losing their house, etc., they will not do anything to draw attention to themselves (like speaking another language). They would not teach their children another language, in case they accidentally let the cat out of the bag.

If you don't do this intentionally, but succeed in your stated goal, I think it will probably tend to happen unintentionally.

Sounds like a pretty awful place to live to me.


Not exactly what you asked for but I think a better alternative would be offering services that enables new comers to learn the common language.

Simply forcing people to speak only 1 common language causes too much negative side effects as stated in the above answers. However, what you want to achieve is "common interface for communication" and this can be done in other less painful ways.

  • Making translators available. It's convenient, time-saving, and proven to work fairly well. Also, this gives easy way outs for temporary visitors who do not want to invest time learning an enitrely new language.
  • Design a simple easy-to-learn language, make it accessible by offering free lessons etc, and add incentives for learning this language, such as most prints are only available in this language etc. This would essentially accomplish what you want, that is most people being able to speak one common language.

Try some of Chomsky's writings on the origins of language. In a nutshell, he argues that the purpose of language is not to facilitate communication but actually to impede it. Or at least, to stop those who we view as outsiders from easily communicating with us.

And let us not get started on what constitutes the same or a different language exactly.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a little short to be a complete answer. $\endgroup$ – Hohmannfan Nov 11 '16 at 5:41

You need to make the people wan't to speak lour language and have it the easyest language to speakt for them.

I make an example:

Switzerland (7.7 Million People) has 4 Official Languages one of them is German. The Dialects in Swiss German, vary from County to County or even from Town to town, that you can tell where one is from. The Dialects from City to City vary so much you can compare it from American English to British English (but keep in Mind, that they are only a few minutes apart, not on different Continents.

Due to a School rule to only speak "High German" (spoken in Germany) in School, most TV Programms are from Germany (High German as well) and written Language is also High German, it feels more natural, to speak High German to them, than their "original Dialect".

The Fact that there are many Immigrants that only speak High German, doesn't help either.

So more and more of these wrong-Language-"words" are getting in everyday language. And so, the many dialects are getting Lost and becomeing closer and closer to High German.

Another thig is the Internet, because many sites, like 9Gag or IFunny are english, kids learn to speak english.

Many Animes (Jpanese Cartoons) are Japanese or originally Japanese, so many off my classmates learnd japanese to understand them.


If you control School, the Internett and TV programms, the new generation will get used to it, and oly speak your Language, because it becomes natural to them.

A rule about Languages is,that people (who speak multiple Languages) will allways/usually speak that Language, that is the easyest common Language that they have.


I’ts completely justified. You’re not forcing anyone to come to your planet. It’s a consensual agreement between you and those people who want to come. They don’t want such a planet they can choose not to come. Furthermore if your planet is so good that everyone wants to come in, speaking the same language as everyone who was already there is a small price to pay. And like I said they have every freedom to choose not to. It’s actually a great idea that you have in mind. If everyone in the planet speaks the same language then no doubt they will be a more united people.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, Joel Abonmei! If you have a moment, please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. You may also find Worldbuilding Meta and The Sandbox useful. Here is a meta post on the culture and style of Worldbuilding.SE, just to help you understand our scope and methods, and how we do things here. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Feb 27 at 4:04

Language is at best a rough approximation of an Ontological structure that has some utility with regard to an activity.

To break that down a little:

  • Each word represents a thing or process at some level of resolution and abstraction.

    • ie. 'run' is the abstraction of a creature with legs moving so that at times it is completely suspended in the air not touching the ground, it usually quite fast.
    • This is why we also apply the concept to programs on a computer that 'run' quite fast without apparently touching anything physical.
  • the words can be organised into phrases/sentences so that they form a more specific description or reinforce a particular set of qualities.

    • 'jhon runs' refines the concept of 'jhon' and 'runs' to describe a more specific circumstance
    • 'thunderous pin drop' works to infer that the really quiet sound of a small object hitting the ground, was very very noticable.

When you lock down a specific set of structures and words you essential say, yep we know everything, it has all been discovered.

That is the definition of a Tyrany. The Tyrany has all knowledge about all forms, and it is clear what is correct and what is incorrect.

In this environment, to act differently isn't just being naive, it is a viscous attack.

Why? It means that the Tyrany does not have perfect information. Otherwise the Tyrany would have already handled this problem before it became a problem.

So how do you handle a situation that contains new information, when you already live in a society that has perfect information?

There are two obvious solutions:

  1. The people handling the situation realise that the tyrany is incorrect. They too act differently and magnify the scope of the problem from the perspective of the tyrany.

  2. The individuals acting aberently are terminated. They were working to corrupt and contaminate the complete and true knowledge already known. Such individuals are by the definition of a Tyrany renouncing their own consciousness. From such a Tyranical perspective it might be considered a kindness to alleviate their suffering.

The first solution might lead to some form of a revolution. It might be a quiet intellectual sort, or a busy constructive sort, or a bloody civil war.

The second solution might lead you to Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Maoist China, ... Places that have suffered greatly in terms of mass genocides regardless of how those situations occurred.

Either way cultures that make the mistake of believing that they know everything of value are about to find a lot of troubles ahead of them.


No. Most of the bloodiest wars in human history are civil wars, where the people understand each other all too well.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a little too mystical / vague. Please expand on it, or delete and repost as a comment $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 10 '16 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ That's a logical fallacy. Having the same language doesn't imply more wars, there are so many other factors. $\endgroup$ – diegowc Nov 10 '16 at 19:52
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not saying that having the same language will cause more wars. I'm saying that "the greater good" isn't guaranteed by having a common language. $\endgroup$ – John Feltz Nov 10 '16 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ @diegowc - there's a huge difference between a language that you can optionally learn in order to communicate with most of the world, and a tyrant banning all languages except his. You're trying to justify tyranny, and you just can't. People crave freedom and self determination - it's a theme which has played out through bloody revolution over and over again in history. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 10 '16 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ How is this answering the question? It doesn't say anything about the motive being to prevent wars. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Nov 10 '16 at 20:25

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