Questions tagged [language]

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

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4
votes
6answers
168 views

Preserving information for future humans

I'm conceptualizing a sci-fi short story. In it, the main character will find an obelisk type object which has been half-buried for who knows how long. Well, the answer is about 20,000 years. The ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Universal translation throughout an environment? [duplicate]

Related to another question I had—-if there was something in a sci-fi environment that allowed for everyone there to understand each other, by letting every language be understood by anyone under the ...
3
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6answers
267 views

How to maintain a language as simple as possible?

What is a simple language? Any language which avoids any redundant words Poison+venom=toxin This an example to begin, many languages do not have separate words for poison and venom, when talking about ...
6
votes
7answers
233 views

How could a universal translation drug work?

Rather than a machine or computer to translate things, how could a sci fi drug of some sort (such as a pill that one or both parties has to take and be under the influence of, or a gas that fills an ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Spontaneous linguistic evolution [closed]

I'm working on some world building, and I am making a conlang for this world. It's intended to be a slightly futuristic language, but with no influence from any existing language (in world) that ...
6
votes
3answers
142 views

What type of lullabies would a dnd style dragon sing to their eggs? Especially Ice Dragons

Dnd style dragons come out of the egg knowing languages meaning that they had to learn it somewhere. I'm not interested in that. What I want to know is, that assuming Dragon lullabies are like human ...
0
votes
2answers
197 views

What concept replaces the placeholder behaviour of the He/She/Him/His/Her/Hers pronouns in a genderless society? [closed]

A society of ungendered beings speak English. They have no concept of gender identity, and haven't for thousands of years. They have all the other concepts we have in English that we use to derive ...
7
votes
3answers
685 views

Minimum phonemes for a conlang?

I'm designing an alien race with limited points of articulation, and it got me thinking what is the minimum number of phonemes needed for a language to function? That would help me determine their ...
5
votes
5answers
249 views

How can three separate magic systems benefit over an all-inclusive one?

In the land of Gnosticia, legend speaks of a messiah who would lead his chosen people to greatness as a far flung empire. This prophecy came to pass when a child was born to a virgin woman, and would ...
18
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9answers
5k views

What happens when two languages merge?

I'm trying to work out what two languages merging would look like. Obviously, I know about pidgins and creoles, but these generally require the presence of a third, dominant language. Here, I'm ...
0
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3answers
104 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 ...
0
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6answers
160 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 ...
14
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13answers
8k 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
votes
10answers
242 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
votes
1answer
136 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
votes
2answers
128 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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
172 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
votes
2answers
329 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
131 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
votes
9answers
492 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
votes
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 &...
2
votes
3answers
276 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
votes
6answers
338 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
votes
2answers
138 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
163 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
votes
7answers
672 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
votes
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
votes
4answers
193 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
votes
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
votes
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? ...
21
votes
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 ...
33
votes
7answers
4k views

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
votes
3answers
338 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 ...
27
votes
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. ...
2
votes
1answer
66 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 ...
24
votes
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
241 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 ...
17
votes
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
votes
2answers
97 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 ...
18
votes
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 ...
12
votes
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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
172 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
122 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
votes
2answers
389 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
votes
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
votes
3answers
96 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
votes
2answers
246 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 ...
6
votes
9answers
997 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
votes
1answer
77 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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