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Questions tagged [language]

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

29
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15answers
5k views

How to share knowledge to a future human civilization who doesn't know our languages?

Consider that I want to let an object to share knowledge to a civilization living in a far future (~10.000 years after today). It can be a book or any object which can store information, must be ...
15
votes
11answers
3k views

How would people with perfect memory design their language

A race of people was created through magic, their mind was greatly altered, among the abilities that were granted was a memory that perfectly records all sensory information forever. As well as the ...
3
votes
3answers
233 views

When is the earliest I can hope for a culture to create Featural Writing?

The featural writing system (first used in hangul) is a writing system in which the glyphs themselves contain phonetic information in the characters. It is widely agreed by linguists and conlangers ...
3
votes
5answers
236 views

Planning magical language lessons

Setting : Suppose a magic potion could make the person drinking it able to understand, memorize and re-use any word, idiom, sentence structure or grammatical rule they hear. (EDIT : It's not ...
1
vote
2answers
159 views

Could an Emotional IPA be created?

So, I just had an idea inspired by This question here while simultaneously listening to a video about language... Could we make a sort of International Phonetic Alphabet for Emotions and States of ...
28
votes
11answers
8k views

How could the English language gradually dwindle to just one word?

This excerpt below is from George Orwell's 1984 and it is the character Syme talking about the progress of the official language "Newspeak" and how its goal is to eventually destroy modern language. ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Nomenclature for software beings

I’ve seen the terms posthuman and transhuman used in fairly generic ways. But given a setting with several types of beings, what consistent naming convention could be used? I suppose the vulgar terms ...
6
votes
3answers
705 views

Social engineering: Design a new language for a totalitarian state obsessed with scientific advancement

In the world I'm currently building, there are many species, each with their own language. Most of these languages evolved naturally over time, much like here on Earth. But there is one race (let's ...
21
votes
15answers
6k views

What royal title can an absolutistic ruler have? [closed]

The world is based on the old norse and 13th century Europe culture (northern places, names and climate and Europian titles, castles and technology). In this world an organized group of people resists ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

What are some tips for designing symbols for a constructed language?

Constructed languages are the life blood of imaginary cultures. If a culture speaks an earthly language, how can we be expected to believe that we are in a different culture? While every detail is ...
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 ...
18
votes
11answers
4k views

How to name aliens?

Consider writing about aliens, in an alien setting. Not “costume” aliens mind you, but imaginative different beings in fundamental ways. Calling it “Bill” is campy. Making up some noise and trying to ...
4
votes
2answers
230 views

Language threshold for a species

What would be the rules/threshold for a chronicler to declare a species has evolved into one capable of speaking a language of their own (the species') making? Consider a scenario where you're an ...
2
votes
4answers
138 views

How would a system of communication based on coloured smoke work?

Assuming we have a race of creatures that breathe out coloured smoke, how could a system of communication or language develop that is based on the colour of said smoke? Assume they can form sentences ...
20
votes
8answers
2k views

Pheromone-based language

On Earth, there are many species that communicate using pheromones - from the simple (cats marking their territory) to the complex (ants conveying information about food, danger, and the current ...
12
votes
2answers
838 views

What phonemes would a snouted animal (e.g. dog or cat) be able to pronounce?

Assuming human-style vocal cords, what phonemes would a snouted animal be able to produce? I'm looking at developing a conlang (or several) for a setting, and it has several humanoid species with ...
18
votes
13answers
6k views

Why do people create fictional languages?

I didn't see this question pop up when I wrote the title, so I don't think this has been asked before (or, at least not the way I'm going to ask it). Everyone knows and loves fictional languages: ...
2
votes
4answers
236 views

What would an underground population say instead of “What in the world?” or “What on Earth?”

In my world, a population of vikings, one of the groups who landed on North America in the 9th and 10th centuries, was driven inland by a party of natives and holed up in a cavern that they found. ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

What are some steps / guidelines for making a constructed language?

I wanted to create a constructed language for a species in my world that other people will be able to speak , but I have no idea where to start at all , and I am very confused. My Question is : what ...
10
votes
4answers
893 views

How can I create a realistic linguistic drift effect?

I'm still in the process of building my fictional language. However, I need some help in creating a realistic drifting effect for my language over time. By linguistic drift, I mean the natural change ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

Roots When Creating A Language

This questions was inspired by this one. I'm also in the process of making a language, to pair with a writing system I created. I'm a stickler for consistency (language and consistency don't go ...
59
votes
10answers
6k views

Is there a more effective way to build a language than a word frequency list?

I'm in the process of creating my own language, and so far, I've built a basic vocabulary set of about ~200 words. From here, however, I'm somewhat unsure as to what vocabulary I should work on adding ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Alien Periodic Table of Elements

There's a classic story that uses a chemestry text as a Rosetta Stone to get a toehold on an exo-archeological expedition, because the properties of the elements prove to be something known to be in ...
5
votes
2answers
196 views

Lingual drift in isolation

Imagine a mostly homogenous culture with one unified language has a period of diaspora into the galaxy, under circumstances that make ongoing communication impossible. Assuming a space-faring ...
19
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17answers
5k views

You need to disguise a manual as the diary of a madman. How?

Let's say you are creating secret instructions for a new, very dangerous weapon. You have decided to encrypt the instructions. But you do not want anyone to guess that these notes are encrypted! So ...
2
votes
3answers
211 views

Language shift over a long period of independent development

Consider a planet initially colonized (1500 years ago) by a group of about 200.000 people. To prevent ongoing interference/influence of the high-tech society from which they originally came they cut ...
5
votes
3answers
405 views

How can I make an alphabet for a fictional dialect of a real language?

The following post is copy-pasted from a similar question on Reddit: Apparently, I already started work on the story and it turns out, that I have Ganymede speaking a fictional Russian dialect ...
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 ...
22
votes
16answers
6k views

Is a galaxy-wide language possible? [duplicate]

While working on the world I talked about here, I decided to tweak one thing. Instead of having the group of aliens terraforming a planet be of the same species, I decided to have them be different ...
3
votes
3answers
548 views

Secret Communication in Sign Language

In a world where spoken language is impossible, people still need to communicate secretly at times. After all, what would a culture be without movies about spies sharing secrets in public places? I ...
2
votes
4answers
474 views

How do we communicate with (fairly) intelligent aliens?

Generic alien race A has developed advanced spacecraft technology, and through tedious exploration, has found Earth. Astronauts orbiting our planet see the craft as well, and notify our human ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What kind of names would humans living in Lower Paleolithic Ethiopia have?

I'm writing a story set in the early Lower Paleolithic era, in the area around where Ethiopia currently is. What kind of names would my characters have? Do we have any knowledge of how people were ...
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: ...
2
votes
2answers
648 views

Could a post-apocalyptic modern society rediscover language through the Rosetta Disk?

This is the Rosetta Disk. If you want to know more about, head on over to that link. Here's what the website says: The Disk surface shown here, meant to be a guide to the contents, is etched with a ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How long does it take before dialects branching from a single language become new languages themselves?

In the setting I'm constructing, humans migrated in a single major wave to a pair of large continents within the last thousand years or so (the exact value is partly dependent on the answer to this ...
2
votes
2answers
249 views

How would a culture with telepathy evolve language? [closed]

Assume that in this culture that everyone can read minds and project images into the minds of others. Can there be a way for such a culture to evolve speech?
6
votes
3answers
252 views

In a world where you had to pay for words, which words would be the most expensives? [closed]

Imagine a world where you would have to pay for each word you spoke or wrote. I wondered which words (or which kind of) would be the most expensive ones? I assume it would not only be a matter of ...
33
votes
11answers
9k views

A language made of silence

Currently, most, if not, all human languages use sound to communicate. What if, language A, a language much like English in terms of its global dominance and widespread use, on a planet much like ours,...
8
votes
2answers
163 views

Phonetic overlap between humans and wolves

This question is a subsidiary of: Shapeshifters - Shared language between human and animal forms There is some of background information in that question, but none of it is critical for this question....
7
votes
3answers
373 views

Shapeshifters - Shared language between human and animal forms [closed]

Some background on the shapeshifters in question: Shapeshifters can shift between a human form and a single animal form; all the members of a given group of shapeshifters shift into the same species ...
8
votes
2answers
282 views

Would a human culture that developed in a world where audio recording was straightforward also develop written language?

Possible situations where this might happen: Early human culture develops in a situation where audio recording and recall is straightforward - perhaps in a place where there is an abundance of tame ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What would be the best way for a language to spread?

What would the most efficient way for a language to spread over a large area over a short period of time (about 600 years)? Imagine this is a medieval type world, and the goal is to spread the ...
14
votes
9answers
3k views

The human race can survive - if we can all cooperate

The year is 2020. The aliens have sent a message to the dominant race of earth, the humans, that they have a weapon of mass destruction, a giant laser beam that can blow through the earth and ...
0
votes
0answers
143 views

How can I come up with fantasy place names without sounding derivative of known languages? [duplicate]

For Elven or Dwarven cultures it is easy enough to use something that sounds like the fictional languages these races speak, with those fictional languages usually being based in some ancient language ...
5
votes
5answers
699 views

If I had an alien race, how would they interpret our numerical characters as being numbers?

So say we discovered aliens through a wormhole near Saturn (Interstellar anyone?). Congratz to us! But we have a bigger issue in trying to communicate with them. They developed in a completely ...
14
votes
9answers
671 views

What conditions might cause a natural language to be completely literal?

The world I am building has two highly intelligent, sapient species coexisting (along with a large number of non-sapient species). One evolved from ape-like creatures and is suspiciously similar to ...
-4
votes
1answer
112 views

How to spell buggz [closed]

My lizard is named Booger, for short I call them "b-ugz" but how do I spell it in English? I don't know what kind of question you really want to rephrase it as, I thought my first sentence summed it ...
19
votes
9answers
4k views

How to force a country to use a language that merges two languages that diverged 1000 years ago?

This country currently only has two languages in common use: Language A, spoken by 62% of the population, and language B, spoken by 38%. Both languages have official status in the country, so road ...
-1
votes
3answers
244 views

Would forcing a nation switch to Latin script be possible today?

In the early twentieth century, Atatürk forced its own nation to abandon the Arabic script for a Latin one. Would a similar move in today's context be possible? I know that technically and ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

If a culture split up and its parts were isolated for 750 years, would they then be able to understand each other? [duplicate]

They begin as one country with one language, but then a small contingent of people are suddenly blown off course. They land in a land that is much hotter, dryer, and harsher. 750 years later they ...