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Questions tagged [language]

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

6
votes
3answers
401 views

Is a more visual language possible using spoken words?

I once participated in a contest. People grouped in pairs. The two members of each pair sit back-to-back. They can neither see each other nor what the other is doing. I was the one who opens an ...
29
votes
14answers
11k views

Is it practical to make English the global language?

The Hegemony since day 1 of its formation in 2041 has enforced a single global language for: education, legal documents, announcements, and for communication between citizens across the various states ...
35
votes
17answers
11k views

Can the number of letters in alphabet suggest how advanced civilization is?

Let's suppose we intercepted a message in an unknown language. We were not able to decipher it, but we were able to decode it. Meaning we know the letters but not the meaning of the words in the text. ...
5
votes
2answers
170 views

Verbally communicating with a no-lips, no-nosed, spiked tooth alien

In my world, humans encounter an alien species. They want to communicate verbally with each other, so I'd like to know what sounds could be shared by both species. The species has no/very thin lips, ...
1
vote
0answers
97 views

How to create naming conventions for a fantasy society with its own language? [closed]

I'm not a proper linguist or anything, but over the years I've created a fairly basic language for a magic people that I use in my D&D games. So far I've got by with them being ancient and long ...
12
votes
3answers
634 views

What factors would affect the choice of direction of script writing to the inventor of a new writing system?

i.e left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom etc. My guesses so far : righty/lefty person, material on which writing is done, tools by which writing is done etc. But I'm not able to convince ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

If a civilization lands on a new planet and comes into contact with native tribes, how would their language change over time? [closed]

So around 13,000 years ago, a group of refugees from a planet with Greco-Roman culture and technology were kicked off of their planet by what were essentially space vikings (space travel is done via ...
8
votes
4answers
545 views

Speaking three sentences at the same time?

TL;DR - I want my angelic race to have the ability to speak in a way in which up to three sentences are communicated at the same time. (Assume English for the sake of simplicity. I want physiology ...
6
votes
6answers
283 views

How could a species that breathes through its skin develop spoken language?

I've been working on a fantasy race recently of sentient bipedal salamanders (sorta) and was talking with a friend about them until one of us realised that since they're amphibians they would breathe ...
8
votes
2answers
359 views

Could an alien evolve to speak through its anus?

Humans can speak making precise movements of our tongues, teeth and vocal chords. I want a sentient creature whose carnivorous mouth-parts are completely unsuitable for speech to be able to ...
24
votes
36answers
7k views

Why would a telepathic species use spoken language? [duplicate]

I'm currently designing an advanced alien civilization that has achieved telepathy. The idea is that each one of their species has a small device merged with their brain that can allow them to ...
7
votes
2answers
961 views

Natural gas based communication

In the faraway land of Backeye, people have developed a secretive language called Pasgas. Rather than enunciating words, or forming them with gestures, Pasgas speakers communicate by passing wind. ...
-2
votes
3answers
92 views

Derogatory Terms for Martian/Ceresian/Deimosian/etc [closed]

What are some ideas, preferably based in clever word usage, puns, or some such, for derogatory terms or slurs (of varying intensity) for the inhabits of Mars/Ceres/Deimos/Venus/Jovian moons/other ...
7
votes
6answers
874 views

Getting Past Phonetic Limitations [closed]

For the sake of making things much, much simpler, most worlds I'm familiar with have a defining feature of language: there is a common language. This allows for universal communication and overcomes ...
9
votes
1answer
170 views

What would languages descended from Esperanto look like? [closed]

Esperanto itself is mostly derived from/reminiscent of English, Polish, Russian, German, French and various romance languages (or so I’ve heard). In a post-apocalyptic future where the survivors ...
13
votes
12answers
2k views

Universal translation and nonsense lyrics

I've been drafting a science fiction story that places a lot of emphases on the vastness of culture. One way technique I've been using is language and the hassle of translation. Earth has abut 4,500 ...
29
votes
18answers
9k views

What event would cause a huge, dominant nation to adopt the language of a smaller, inferior one?

Inspired by this question. I was thinking about the constructed language I'm building and a group of countries in the history of my world, and ended up wanting to ask this question. Please do take the ...
5
votes
6answers
384 views

How Could A Very Complex Language Arise?

Many efforts have been made to construct simpler languages that are easier to learn (e.g. Esperanto), and relatively simple language arise naturally in the form of pidgins and creoles, when people ...
8
votes
2answers
163 views

The language of Duckburg: Calisota German

My Calisota, which is located in the north of what we know as California and largely resembles the universe seen in German-language Disney comics (Lustiges Taschenbuch), except for the absence of ...
14
votes
8answers
3k views

How to avoid cursing myself with my black magic? [closed]

My magic system works through runes. Each rune has a different effect and they need to be carved on different materials for different effects. Let's focus on a curse named "I rot your life." For this ...
3
votes
7answers
408 views

How would slaves learn a new language?

An invading kingdom has conquered a foreign nation and enslaved tens of thousands of its citizens. The enslavers want their captives to perform complex functions in their new country, such as serving ...
42
votes
11answers
10k views

How to avoid the language barrier when there is no time to learn the other language?

In my medieval world, population A and population B have not had any contacts for thousands of years. But pressing events will make them look for each other. However when they meet... how are they ...
3
votes
2answers
123 views

A lingua franca for aliens in a galactic zoo [closed]

The setting of this world is a galactic zoo in which numerous species of sentient aliens coexist at a primitive tech level. Each species can be assumed to have their own language and therefore ...
6
votes
2answers
139 views

Language features of solitary mesocarnivorous humanoids

The Background 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
220 views

Would Aztec language work well with Chinese characters?

In the event of cultural contact between Chinese Explorers and Aztec/other Mesoamerican peoples, would these Mexican societies find the Chinese writing system to be useful for their record keeping? ...
0
votes
3answers
175 views

Creating Language for a Comic

Does anybody have experience creating languages for the world they are creating? I am world building for a comic, and I am by no means a linguist. If I could avoid making an entirely new language I ...
3
votes
4answers
147 views

Random word generation [closed]

Is there any generator available online that will let me input x amount of letters, and generate random words? ie if I used BHKDAIE, could generate all 4 letter words (non-English also) using any ...
-1
votes
3answers
123 views

5x5 Biome Scale possibility?

My world has a conlang that heavily emphasizes words in 'grades' of 5. For example the words for issues are grouped as: Danger-Threat-Risk-Hazard-Situation. Usually it isn't hard to find a set of ...
1
vote
5answers
407 views

How would the scholars read Modern English 800 years from now when they speak a different language?

Out in the former state of Utah, near where the Old Salt Lake ruins are, a group of scholars and students from the New Jerusalem University are on an exploration mission. They have heard, from an ...
-1
votes
1answer
78 views

Will a language built on organized synesthesia be viable for noumena conveyance through empathic telepathy? [closed]

Language in the most primal sense of the word, is a convention for communication between separate entities. Humans have the most developed languages. We have dialects and jargons too many to count, ...
13
votes
7answers
781 views

What change in history would cause the Dutch to speak German?

What single change(s) in history would cause the Dutch people to be speaking German instead of Dutch? I understand that German and Dutch are both Germanic languages and share a common ancestry, as ...
22
votes
11answers
4k views

How to explain a character's ability to communicate while traveling across a land of extremely fractured dialects?

So, on my post apocalyptic world, most people are relative homebodies compared to today. Nobody travels more than a few days distance, except for soldiers, merchants, and slavers. It’s been 500 years ...
2
votes
3answers
110 views

How could robots learn the new language of the human?

There is a community of androids living in the ruins of Fresno after the apocalypse. They trade with the local humans for fusion batteries which they need for power. It is essential that they are able ...
18
votes
10answers
4k views

How would interstellar human cultures describe themselves long after Earth was lost?

I was writing in my book when I decided I wanted to add some interesting characters into the mix (like an Irishmen, Chinese, Russian etc). But I hit a wall. You see a big plot point is that the Earth ...
6
votes
8answers
321 views

How would a two-speak language evolve? (Spoken and Sign-Language)

So I'm creating an original world with a number of creatures, and original peoples. One of the peoples has a two-speak language. One element, the base of the language, is based off of local mythology, ...
4
votes
4answers
264 views

Telepathic species and written language

In my fantasy setting which I have been building, then there's a planet neighboring the main planet of my setting. I've taken to calling it Kazimar. On it, then there are two intelligent races that ...
5
votes
2answers
153 views

What would a pidgin arising from interacting elites look like?

Pidgins generally arise between interactions with merchants, traders, and the like, while the elites would be far away in the capital, not haggling for fish with the foreigners. They tend to simplify ...
0
votes
4answers
301 views

Star system that isn't the Sun: words for “sunlight”

Language revolving around the Sun would probably not be used on a planet with a different star, right? For example, if a planet was orbiting Sirius, "siriuslight" or "siriusburn" seems a tad clunky, ...
2
votes
4answers
166 views

Would an alien species be able to make the same sounds the human voice can produce? [closed]

I have started creating a language for a primitive alien civilization I am (slowly) making, and my first step was selecting sounds for this languge. But I was wondering if aliens could make these ...
1
vote
1answer
174 views

Is it possible to keep naughty word as legal term? [closed]

In the TV series The 100 there is described a punishment used on multigenerational space ship. Its being described as "To float someone": Given person is put to an airlock without any protective suit ...
9
votes
5answers
299 views

Language Divergence on a Lost Colony

I've read several of the questions about language shifting and diffusion here, and it has unfortunately left me more unsure of things than I was before. Situation: Colonists on an arid planet ...
1
vote
5answers
186 views

How could a sentient species not develop a word differentiating themselves from other animals?

Essentially, I'm in the pre-planning stage of writing a short story where I want there to be a "normal" species (think human) that interacts with a species that for one reason or another doesn't ...
1
vote
5answers
267 views

Possibility of two-way sign language communication between humans and non-humanoid, dexterous alien

I am writing a story where humankind has made contact with aliens, and has been spending some weeks trying to establish meaningful communication. These are the characterisrics of the aliens that I ...
1
vote
2answers
89 views

Would global connectivity prevent the formation of different languages?

If global communication comparable to the Internet had existed from the beginning of time, would humans still have developed thousands of languages?
-3
votes
3answers
224 views

Is it possible to keep a single language?

For a frame of reference I’ll be using the population and general distribution of the United States Let’s assume the United States spoke English and only English. The country is sealed off and kept ...
12
votes
9answers
4k views

What would a modern civilization look like if they aren't allowed to write? [closed]

CASE: There is a sentient life form that is snake-like in appearance, and cannot have the means to write or perform elaborate body gestures due to a lack of fine motor skills. Their only proof of ...
5
votes
7answers
227 views

The Zoblings and the Case of the Curious Dictionary

I have a race of very non-humanoid aliens, let's call them Zoblings, and they find an English Dictionary. These aliens are being oppressed and exploited as a resource by the humans because they don't ...
14
votes
2answers
259 views

How do I make the grammatical evolution of my language realistic?

We've had questions on constructed languages (conlangs) before--their inventories, sound changes and phonotactics--but we rarely if ever talk about the grammar change. When designing a naturalistic ...
0
votes
2answers
105 views

Subtleties of the Atlantean language

The city of Atlantis is home to a race of people with multiple Cephalopod-like traits. For the purposes of this question only two are important, however. The first is that their hair, including any on ...
3
votes
0answers
60 views

How does one create a realistic language for their world? [duplicate]

Within your world, would you want to create a simplistic language for one society while having English or native "Earth" language be the other? When creating a language, how would you go about ...