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Questions tagged [language]

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

12
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10answers
3k views

Does it make sense for all names to have a common letter or sound?

In a short story that I'm writing, there are four main characters: Myra Alytho Syng Theyna Myra and Theyna are female; Alytho and Syng are male. They all have a few things in common, one of which is ...
4
votes
6answers
396 views

Alternate ways for aliens with no mouth to talk?

The aliens in question are highly intelligent (at least smarter than you dumb apes on this rock) and have a language of articulated sounds (specifically, the syllables "Khar" and "Kie") where the ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

Is a teddy dead or alive? [closed]

All, My daughter asked me today is my teddy real? I said well yes it's real but it's not like us, it's not alive it's... And stopped myself because it's not dead either. I'm trying to find out if ...
3
votes
2answers
344 views

Improving the naturalness of a fictional language [closed]

As part of a larger project, I am constructing a language (orromonda) from scratch which will be spoken by a closely humanoid species. I've created some simple literature to get the ball rolling, but ...
-1
votes
1answer
216 views

How to construct an accent that sounds twice as German? [closed]

How would one construct a language that, to native X speakers, sounds the same as X does to native English speakers? I.e. how can one take the sound difference between English and X, and apply that ...
7
votes
2answers
231 views

Would increased language education result in less language changes?

Language and communication is an evolving and ever-changing beast. However, it recently occurred to me that the evolution of many words seem to occur because of a mistake on the part of the speaker, ...
3
votes
1answer
191 views

How human-like can a badger sound?

Okay, so now some badger folk want to try and imitate human speech. How close can badger vocal cords emulate human speech? I know dogs can crudely imitate human speech (we can see two dogs with the ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Deaf aliens interpreting sound waves

I'm writing a story about an alien race that is blind and deaf: They communicate based on touch and scent, and have a tech level generally similar to us. I'm assuming that they can measure frequency ...
6
votes
8answers
611 views

How alien can a language be - transmission?

This is a follow-on question from: How alien can a language be - grammar? Leaving the grammar behind we can look at how the actual words or concepts are transmitted. Almost all human languages are ...
21
votes
17answers
3k views

How alien can a language be - grammar?

While we have notable variation in grammar certain patterns can be found in almost all human languages. For example verbs, nouns and adjectives can be found in some form. They are strung together into ...
2
votes
2answers
228 views

Multiple different languages in one brain [duplicate]

Could a human-sized brain be able to learn all the spoken languages in the world? Is our brain size capable of that not only learning them, but fluently being able to speak them? Also, if one is ...
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) ...
3
votes
2answers
123 views

Abstract conversation on an interspecies level

Inspired by this question: Talking animals in a parallel universe I wonder, would it be possible, if there were more species which created their own abstract means of communication, would they be ...
10
votes
10answers
2k views

How do I keep a language shared by two separate peoples, static for as long as possible? The lower tech-complexity the better?

How do I keep a language from evolving for as long as possible? The world I'm talking about has two separate groups of humans who never meet, but even after being apart for some long time, like a ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

Why would a language based solely on volume develop?

Speakers of this language would communicate through differences in volume, rather than pitch or phone. While speakers might be able to use these features - just as in English we can use can aspirate ...
15
votes
5answers
744 views

Grammar for a species that communicates via hallucinations

The Ents broke off from the rest of the civilization many aeons ago, and their main means of communication has evolved to the point where instead of words, they use fully immersive and lightning-fast ...
7
votes
3answers
227 views

What are ways plants might be communicating with one another without people realizing it?

Our war with the plants has been unending for thousands of years. And we don't even know it exists. Plants strategize, doing their best to survive, but the humans are relentless. Constant removal and ...
9
votes
6answers
488 views

How to explain something like a universal translator

An explorer arrives from a "far away land" where they have "indistinguishable from magic" level technology. Singularity level at least. Of course he would not know the local language, but with the ...
10
votes
11answers
2k views

What language would the Anglo-French Empire use?

In the backstory for my world, the British and French royal families married into one another in the early-mid 18th Century. By the early 20th Century, what would the main language be for official (...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

Would communication lag stop language developing in a space-borne race?

Imagine for a few moments that despite the difficulty a race has evolved in space, away from any atmosphere (perhaps a species of space jellyfish). This race exists in a fairly 'noisy' nebula, but ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

Do intelligent organisms evolved to communicate only through scent have a language?

This intelligent organism develops a pair of binocular eyes to perceive the world in the visible and infrared portions of the spectrum of light, as well as a good sense of smell many times more ...
7
votes
4answers
936 views

What language would droids use to communicate with each other?

The language tag challenge did remind me something which always baffles me on "Star Wars" franchise: Why on Tatooine would intelligent androids use beeping for communication? So I call you, fellow ...
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 ...
10
votes
7answers
994 views

Will spoken language become obsolete with advances in technology?

There are currently advancements of devices that can read our brain and interpret the signals, allowing us to control devices with our minds (my answer here to another question). With what we can do ...
8
votes
3answers
451 views

Is it possible for a language/method of passing information based purely on touch to develop?

Picture a race living in a cave with no light. Their entire existence pivots on remaining quiet and scentless enough that the various (and vicious) predators hanging from the roof of the cave don't ...
4
votes
3answers
305 views

Language problems for time travelers

How far back (or, more speculatively, forth) from now could someone travel through time without language training? The place on Earth would be the same then and now. The time traveller was born and ...
51
votes
18answers
10k views

In an atheist alien society where bodily functions (reproduction and waste elimination) are not taboo what would be used to curse?

Most human swearing and cursing is based on either bodily functions (notably reproduction and waste elimination) or on religion. In an alien society where there are no taboos along those lines and ...
19
votes
12answers
3k views

Would a common language develop in a fantasy world?

In many fantasy worlds, there is a "common" language spoken by the majority of all races. While there can be some dwarfs who reject to speak common and speak only dwarf, in many worlds these are a ...
3
votes
5answers
348 views

Developing Counting Systems [duplicate]

It’s common knowledge that (most) modern societies use arabic numerals, and moreover use base 10 for counting. That is, you count from 1 to 9 (unless you’re a programmer and you start at 0) and then ...
10
votes
14answers
2k views

Can a single language have two separate dialects spoken in a single location?

I am looking to create a scenario in which the nobility and peasantry of a medieval kingdom speak the same language but different versions/dialects. Scenario parameters: The nobility can understand ...
-1
votes
1answer
218 views

Tables are politically incorrect. What do we call times tables? [closed]

So, at some point, tables (the physical thing) became politically incorrect, and liberals are calling for the offensive term "times table" to be removed from schools. What can we call them instead. ...
29
votes
7answers
5k views

Is one year a realistic timescale to learn an ancient language if every language you knew didn't exist yet?

Say you've gone back in time Terminator-style (no possessions, no clothes, nothing but you and your cells) to roughly 6,000 BC to the ancient near east. You meet a farmer and his family who take you ...
6
votes
2answers
877 views

How would an Immortal's language/accent change/develop amongst normal humans?

In a world much like our own (basically, identical humans, points in history, etc) where humans live 80 or so years, we have developed a wide array of languages around the planet as well as very ...
55
votes
23answers
12k views

Is it plausible to have two written forms of one spoken language that are so different as to be indecipherable?

For a story idea in my head to work on paper, a character has to be able to fluently and eloquently speak a common language, to the point of being able to turn a phrase or make plays on words ...
9
votes
4answers
273 views

Does intelligence necessarily lead to an abstract language?

Pretty much what it says in the question title. Suppose a non-human, social species of Earth animal found itself on an evolutionary path that favored increased intelligence of a kind not completely ...
6
votes
1answer
229 views

Are human languages influenced by the climate?

Sometimes when building a world, and in particular since Tolkien, one may wish to create original languages for the inhabitants. There are some information around the site about the creation of ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

Creating a realistic world - Spreading languages

Many languages exist on Earth and many languages will also exist in a detailed fantasy world. The influence of some languages will spread over time while other will only be spoken in a small area. I ...
16
votes
2answers
532 views

How can I replicate language evolution?

I realize that evolutionary linguistics comprises an entire sub-field of study, but I figure I can narrow it down a bit for this question. In How long will it take to form a new dialect and language ...
63
votes
22answers
9k views

How can I make my languages structurally less like English?

Making vocabulary for a language isn't too difficult (at least, not as hard as it might seem at first!). You can come up with some simple patterns of letters and syllables, and work off of those to ...
6
votes
1answer
148 views

What is a good book for developing an a posteriori constructed language?

I'm currently working on an experiment using Worldbuilding Stack Exchange, and so I'm working on a constructed language to be used by some of the people in my world. I have some of the main points ...
31
votes
14answers
11k views

Is mathematics a truly universal language?

The quote has many forms, but is basically "mathematics is a universal language." My question is if this is true? If we met aliens could we use mathematics to talk to them? The fact that we could ...
11
votes
4answers
886 views

How long will it take to form a new dialect and language in underground steampunk London?

This is the start of an experiment to see just how useful Worldbuilding Stack Exchange can be. I'm planning a work of fiction, but rather than build the world around the story, I'd like to write the ...
4
votes
1answer
545 views

Hive mind withdrawal and communication skills

Centuries ago, humanity have been incorporated into an alien hive mind, spread by a bacterial-like infection. The "bacteria" infects the blood and brain and allows the infected to join their minds ...
7
votes
3answers
626 views

Phonetic features of human languages spoken by sentient cats

In my world I have a couple species of sentient animals, mainly cats, who among other things are capable of communication with human beings. While I am perfectly happy to resort to explanations ...
2
votes
2answers
203 views

How will language work without sounds or body language?

I'm picturing a specie of intelligent aliens evolving on a familiar yet different Earth-like environment, these beings are capable of empathy and shares many similar psychological traits with us human....
4
votes
4answers
170 views

Externally Influencing a Language

Is it possible to control the development of language externally? An example being aliens living in hidden spaceships outside of our atmosphere but doing things during our history to control how our ...
6
votes
7answers
696 views

Pronounce an unknown language just by reading it

If while exploring the galaxy, we were to encounter an alien script, would we be able to decipher the pronunciation of the language without actually hearing it? Assumptions: The language is ...
4
votes
2answers
411 views

How would humans adapt their language in response to moving through time at different rates relative each other?

Okay, so humans are finally transitioning to a space-colonial society. We sent ships out, colonize worlds, etc... We aren't really in the business of sending multigenerational ships. Instead we use ...
4
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5answers
1k views

How would two alien races decipher each others language?

Two vastly different alien races, on opposite sides of the universe, have made first contact. This has been possible by one of the races developing new wormhole technology and randomly finding a ...
2
votes
2answers
153 views

Alternative revealing charms [closed]

I am seeking alternative terms for use as a revealing charm that can be used when a character does not understand something (e.g. the language of a different species) and is trying to change that. A ...