Questions tagged [language]

For questions about the written or spoken language of a world.

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0
votes
3answers
80 views

How do runescribes activate the desired effect from ideographic runes with multiple, different meanings?

There exists a radical offshoot of the Elder Futhark runic alphabet called kig-anr (“stone-symbols”) that evolved into an ideographic form consisting of over fifty different characters. People who use ...
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6answers
126 views

Future evolution of an English Language and writing system

In a future where a large company is launching a series of interstellar colony fleets to nearby star systems, would it be feasible if they modified the English writing system and Earth kept to the ...
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13answers
7k views

How would a theoretically perfect language work? [closed]

Suppose a species gets together to make the most efficient language possible. The species is culturally able to accept it, the logistics of getting it to everybody has already been taken care of. ...
5
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10answers
209 views

In a cultural worldbuilding scenario, what would turn a whole multitude of languages to sound virtually nothing like their common ancestor?

Allow me to clarify by starting with the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia article on "Proto-Indo-European language": No direct evidence of PIE exists – scholars have reconstructed PIE ...
3
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1answer
124 views

Proto-German name for Plant People

I was considering calling plant people in a setting, "skoagraz," which is a combination of the words for forest (skogaz) and flood (agraz). Flood seemed a good word to imply inclusiveness, ...
3
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2answers
120 views

Biologically classifying a gene-spliced creature?

In my world, new wildlife and creatures have emerged due to the presence of radiation, genetic engineering, and have lead to new mutants and dangerous beasts stalking the Wastelands. A scientist in my ...
7
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11answers
2k views

Bidimensional thinking

Is there a way of more advanced minds start to count with complex integers, instead of naturals? This way such a society would never think of $2$ as prime since $2=(1+i)(1-i)$. Notice that more ...
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2answers
157 views

What phonemes could an intelligent fox produce?

What phonemes could an intelligent fox produce? This assumes that their vocal tract is the same as real life foxes. They have human intelligence and have built a civilization that has reached the pre-...
9
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2answers
252 views

Linguistics in a society with contrapositive thermodynamic philosophy

Our philosophy is based on the concept of energy as a positive, because we generally live on a planet in a low energy state which does work via fuel. As such, we don’t really have articulate language ...
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2answers
121 views

How to decide what language(s) to use for place names? [closed]

I have a homebrew world for a TTRPG where I have generated languages for each of the cultures populating the planet. When referring to those places (on a map, in the player's guide, in-game, etc.), I'...
8
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9answers
342 views

Magic and Language Problem

So I wanted my magic system to have spells based within different religions, each of which rooted in (but not limited to) the country of the race it corresponds too. example Dogfolk have their own ...
31
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12answers
3k views

Universal Language

If I want to have multiple intelligent species (with different languages for each), how can they exchange each other? Some species may not have eyes, legs, hands, ears, ... so is there a way for a &...
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3answers
268 views

Should I attempt to make my aliens all have their own language? [closed]

I am creating creating a universe similar to Star Wars. It is not like Star Trek where new planets are always being found, it more like Star Wars, where the planets are known, so are the aliens, and ...
7
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6answers
296 views

Would it make sense for Dragons to be able to learn to speak the common language of Dwarves, Elves, Humans etc. And vice versa?

My world is a medieval high fantasy setting. Dragons are one of the many denizens of the world. They speak a complicated language. Humans and other common races know most dragons to be cunning, ...
3
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2answers
136 views

It is feasible that a (human) civilization at the end of time uses English, Latin, etc. words but considers earth history as a myth? [closed]

When universe is close to ending (only few solar systems remain), I can see how Earth history (or the current galactic civilization beginnings) could become a myth. However, does that mean that some ...
4
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1answer
119 views

How to make a bird/human hybrid language

In my world, through the work of magic, a group of humans were mutated into half-bird people. I've figured out most of the anatomy so I wanted to know how their speech would work. If it matters, ...
8
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7answers
649 views

What would it take to make a “true” universal translator? [duplicate]

In Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy I know you put the Babel Fish in your ear and it telepathically translates any language, and the one from Star Trek could translate languages that the Federation ...
19
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3answers
2k views

Which two numbers between 1 and 10 inclusive are the most difficult to distinguish when lip-reading? [closed]

The heroine in my story is a princess who has fallen in love with a commoner, but because of the differences in their ranks, they may not marry under normal circumstances. However, there is a ...
7
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4answers
174 views

Books about Insults Across Cultures

I am trying to come up with insults and swears for some fictional races. Their cultures pretty well mapped out, but I am still having some trouble. I figured the best source of inspiration would be to ...
9
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5answers
1k views

Keeping oral tradition accurate, and preventing language divergence, how long will it last? [duplicate]

So, this is the set up. Communities of wood elves spread out over a large area (think half a continent), with each community having several hundred to several thousand individuals. Communities are so ...
18
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16answers
4k views

How do governments keep people accountable for contracts and oaths in a civilisation without a writing system?

Let’s say we have this fictional civilisation. It doesn’t have a writing system; its traditions are oral and so is its system of government. How do you keep people accountable to what they’ve sworn? ...
20
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4answers
4k views

Are there any 3000 year old Northern European languages that modern humans could communicate with?

Follow up to Could a well versed archaeologist understand and speak languages that are 3000+ years old? I have an archaeologist who finds some inscriptions that are at least 3000 years old while ...
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7answers
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Could a well versed archaeologist understand and speak languages that are 3000+ years old?

I have an archaeologist who specializes in ancient ancient Northern European civilizations. Due to some handwavy mumbo jumbo, he is brought face to face with a supernatural being which still speaks ...
3
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3answers
327 views

Name of scientists that study sapient life

In a fantasy world I'm creating, one of the characters biologist who studies the other intelligent beings. Originally, I was going to name them a Xeno biologist. But that would implies that other ...
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14answers
6k views

Why would a religion make up its own language?

I've been exploring language for the past few weeks, and I came up with what I believe is an interesting idea. Let's say that a fictitious religious sect decides to, for some reason, make a language. ...
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1answer
64 views

What events would trigger linguistic hyper-evolution in a spacefaring civilisation?

Let's say that in an alternate universe, humans developed on a relatively small supercontinent, so their languages and cultures were somewhat similar. After a while, all of the nations merged into one ...
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14answers
5k views

How can a language be prevented from evolving and drifting?

So language drifts enormously over time. With the English of today, little drifts happen fairly quickly in slang, but over long periods of time languages drift and change and move, even changing ...
4
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2answers
129 views

Would sound shifts be severe enough for two dialects to be mutually unintelligible after 400 years of no verbal contact?

A group of English-speaking settlers travel to the Earth-like exoplanet of Rataan, which is 5 light years away. They board the generation ship Genesis that will reach Rataan in 200 years (0.25% of the ...
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19answers
5k views

How do I make a writing system undecipherable, while not intended as such in-world?

It is relatively well known that hieroglyphs were not fully translated, or at all for that matter, until a while after the Rosetta Stone was found. It is less well known that the script known as ...
3
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2answers
92 views

How can the effects of a language be linguistically locked?

The ancient Sumerians were the first great empire on earth, worshipping a great elder god called "Mickey". After the empire fell, worshippers of the god went underground and continued to thrive. In ...
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20answers
5k views

Language that cannot be divided into words?

For the purposes of this post, "word" is defined as a unit of language such that Has some meaning on its own, often relating to the real world. Complex utterances can be formed simply by transmitting ...
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4answers
1k views

Would lifespan have an influence on the rate of language evolution?

Would a race/species that lives twice as long as humans experience linguistic evolution at half the rate of humans? If not, would it be slowed down at all? Would any cultural characteristics have a ...
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2answers
166 views

Should languages ​spoken by two similar races have the same protolanguage, or can they be not related by protolanguage?

Should languages ​​spoken by two similar races have the same protolanguage, or can they be not related by protolanguage? I guess they should be similar for example in phonetics or in some other ...
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1answer
120 views

What might be a blanket term for all sapient species? [closed]

In the far future the descendants of humanity (homo sapiens sapiens sapiens) have made contact with several intelligent aliens like. The Ergs the descendants of modern humans who have modified their ...
8
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2answers
360 views

Are there any algorithms that will build fictitious languages?

I understand how complicated constructed languages can be. I do not want that though. The language would need no grammar or syntax. But I would like to create places/people names and maybe the odd ...
0
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2answers
85 views

How does an intelligent race which can only perceives microwave develops written language?

Imagine a race of humanoid alien living somewhere in the universe evolves weird sensory organ which can only picks up frequency of light ranging from 800MHz up to 2.5GHz which is in the microwave ...
0
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3answers
93 views

Could my a highly advance species exist without a written or spoken language

One thing that nearly every multi cellular organism and complex thinking species is communicate, either it be pheromones, chemicals, chirps and sounds, symbols and shapes, to even complex sentences ...
6
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2answers
237 views

What language would we expect human-cuckoos to speak?

In my world there is an engineered species of changeling-like shapeshifters. Their lifecycle is similar to that of cuckoos (and the fair folk) of replacing human children with their own, who then run ...
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9answers
923 views

Different ways of going about worldbuilding besides making up words and drawing maps?

I'm really not interested in creating a language for my world, especially having to make up names for the peoples and places. Or drawing maps. Mainly because I'm neither a good linguist nor a good ...
3
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1answer
74 views

Can noises similar to crickets be made well underwater?

So I have this sea creature. It's lower half is lobster-like. It's upper half sort of humanoid. On its lower torso area it has ridges and stuff and multiple pairs of small tentacles to scrape the ...
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2answers
150 views

How scientifically created new language could be helpful to all of humans? [closed]

It is common in the world for all of us to use English in the STEM field. But for non-native English speakers who are having a tough time to explain certain concepts using that language, Why can't the ...
2
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2answers
146 views

Biodiversity how far can you go before a human is no longer human? [closed]

I'm starting a world where humans have traveled to many planets and exhibit as much diversity as dog breeds would. Some changes are merely cosmetic like coloration while others are more drastic like ...
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7answers
3k views

Would an enduring Inca Empire ever need paper?

In this alternate history, Tawantinsuyo resisted all attempts at conquest. The reason is not very important; let's say a fluke storm killed all of Pizarro's men shortly after they started engaging the ...
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2answers
130 views

What would people who have never seen a plane before call it? [closed]

In my story, my characters live in the wilderness, and they have no modern technology. They do see ruins from the past (from now) but other than that they have no idea how advanced other parts of the ...
10
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7answers
3k views

How would we comunicate with Aliens if we meet them face-to-face? [duplicate]

Let's say that in the near future we come across an alien civilization not much technologically evolved from ours and we decided to send some people to communicate with them. How could we possibly ...
0
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2answers
142 views

How could multiple languages be abandoned in favor of a unified common language?

In the world of my RPG, a race of sentient magical beings (Lycans) have inhabited the planet much longer than even those of early humans. Lycans eventually experimented with human biology, and created ...
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2answers
130 views

Taking notes in a fantasy world that resembles our own early Renaissance? [closed]

In a fantasy world that resembles the renaissance in our own world (let's say 1500-99 southern France) how might someone take notes on the go? Would they have some parchment rolled up in their pant ...
7
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6answers
706 views

Why would an intelligent creature, which can use human language, be unable to communicate with nearby humans?

This creature has human-level intelligence, and after spending enough time around humans as a pet, it learns to understand the human language. It isn't hostile and has no wish to attack humans. It ...
11
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11answers
4k views

Reasons to not use the “Language of Magic” as a common language

Magic in a certain world works as follows: Elvish is the "language of magic", meaning all magic is chanted/invoked using Elvish To invoke the fire spell, the user ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

What factors affect how easy it is to understand a foreign language?

I'm making a homebrew D&D world where, among other things, there is no "common" tongue. I've always found that concept frustratingly unrealistic. Yes, it prevents a lot of problems for adventurers,...

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