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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 ...
76
votes
13answers
11k views

Are there techniques for creating alien or foreign sounding names?

An interesting setting conducive to telling many stories in? Go! Well thought out inhabitants in this setting with diverse cultural backgrounds? Go! A proper noun for any of it? Houston, we ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How would language be affected if humans had animal-like mouths?

Every single depiction out there seems to think that animal teeth and/or mouth are no problem for a perfect speech-therapist approved pronunciation. For instance the Cat People. They never have any ...
133
votes
33answers
50k views

You can control a Demon by knowing its True Name, but why?

The power of True Names over demons is unbelievable: A Lamashtu demon can drain you of your blood in under 5 seconds, blend into shadows, and travel at the speed of darkness. Yet it will crumple like ...
4
votes
1answer
154 views

Primitive ant-like species and written language

Consider a fictional species of sapient creatures descended from arthropods that greatly resembled Hymenopterans and termites in both their physical biology and behavior. Their social lifestyle varies ...
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 ...
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, ...
74
votes
17answers
18k views

How can I develop names for my fantasy land?

I'm writing a traditional fantasy novel (minus the cliches). I have a land that the novel takes place in. The land does have a name, which sometimes sounds all right, but most of the time sounds kind ...
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 ...
5
votes
5answers
412 views

Can a separate but related community have the same language as the rest of my world?

Ok, so I have started the worldbuilding process by creating several different communities and giving them each their own personalities. I ran into a problem, though, when I created a desert dwelling ...
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. ...
16
votes
13answers
3k views

What kind of/How a secret language could be developed in middle ages by a secret society?

1350 AD. A secret society is recruiting adepts in Rome, Florence, Paris, Wien, Prague and London; well-educated people in high ranks of nobility, catholic church, engineers, professors and knights. ...
-2
votes
3answers
93 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 ...
30
votes
16answers
15k views

In the future, around year 2500, will only one language exist on earth?

In the future, will only one unified language exist on earth, which will be spoken and used for writing by all humans? Will all the other languages and various forms that language become extinct and ...
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 ...
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 ...
52
votes
13answers
5k views

How should a country introduce a constructed language as the official language?

Story background The government has chosen to use a constructed language as a part of the process of building national identity. They don't want to use a foreign language. They also don't want to use ...
58
votes
19answers
9k views

Would it be possible for an Earth-sized world to speak a single language?

We have thousands of languages in the world, which seem to have evolved differently due to lack of communication methods (it wasn't quite easy for a Chinese guy to speak with French people thousands ...
7
votes
1answer
472 views

How does one go about developing the sound of a language for a particular culture in a world? [closed]

In Worldbuilding, linguistica communication within and between cultures can greatly affect how the world is shaped. How does one make an invented language's aesthetic qualities sound authentic as ...
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 ...
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 ...
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
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 ...
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 ...
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
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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
905 views

What would a gesture-based language look like in the absence of a spoken language?

People can, through sign language, express anything that can be expressed through spoken language so far as I know. So gestures can be fully expressive (there's enough "gesture-space" to build a ...
17
votes
3answers
526 views

What tools can be used to help with language development?

I love developing complex languages for stories and worlds, I'm not much of a language expert though and on top of this I struggle to store all the necessary information to help me work with the ...
31
votes
16answers
6k views

Why would robots use verbal communication?

Robots (intelligent machines using some form of artificial intelligence), are central to the plot in a snippet I'm working on. These robots do not have to interact with humans on a regular basis: ...
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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
134 views

Possible language changes of a suddenly isolated group

The world's the same as in How would the economy of a city whose parent nation was destroyed support itself? During the same war mentioned in the linked question, a group of people (~300 people) ...
30
votes
13answers
3k views

How could names plausibly change over several generations of humans living in a space station on another planet?

I'm worldbuilding for a story in which a certain portion of the population relocates to a slightly habitable planet due to the complete inhabitability of Earth. It takes place several generations ...
-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, ...