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Questions tagged [language]

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

8
votes
4answers
951 views

How to speak with someone whose language drifted from your own

This question is closely related to this one: How long can language drift before it becomes indecipherable, and how to minimize drift? Say you have a time traveler, moving forward or backward in time....
11
votes
1answer
1k views

How long can language drift before it becomes indecipherable, and how to minimize drift?

A general question here, relevant to many world-building scenarios. Language drifts, to the point that I likely could never understand old English, but I'm not sure how much. I want to know how long ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

Language among isolated population of 2 million?

Picture this scenario: all of humanity in its beginning is on a single island roughly the right size to support 1/2/3 million people. For some reason (sea monsters, too much ocean, whatever reason you ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How many languages can a person know at one time?

In a galaxy where there are thousands of sentient species and even more languages, a universal translator implant was developed to make communication possible. The software is regularly updated by ...
2
votes
3answers
399 views

Evolution of Earth languages on another planet

A group of humans in ancient times spoke a Proto-Indo-European language. They were taken to another planet thousands of years ago and placed in a time dilation bubble that allowed their society to ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Could a lingua franca be possible on a galactic scale?

In sci-fi movies and tv shows, English happens to be the Lingua Franca of most alien civilisations humans come into contact with. Even upon first contact. The obvious reason for this is that these ...
3
votes
3answers
265 views

What is essential to creating languages?

A group of cloaked smugglers and thieves use an unspoken language of hand signals, like ASL. However, I was imagining they use finger digits, the position of the thumb, and the rotation of the hand ...
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 ...
45
votes
20answers
7k views

Is there a reason to believe that programming languages are going to converge?

On Earth today, even though most people speak some English, there is seemingly no reason to believe that future generation's main language will be the same in decades/centuries to come (i.e., we'll ...
4
votes
9answers
868 views

Excuse for speaking other tongues

I have a character who travels back in time to the Roman era. He is an American and does not know Latin (or variants of it). He must communicate in Latin as soon as he arrives in the Roman era, but I ...
3
votes
9answers
643 views

What would be a politically correct term for “hominid”?

Aliens that look somewhat like humans probably wouldn't refer to themselves as humanoid or anthropoid. Is there a more generic term for beings who are bipedal, bimanual, and have a roughly human-like ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
695 views

How can I make names that are racially similar, yet diverse? [duplicate]

I've always had trouble with inventing names. They refuse to come, or when they do, they sound funny or cheesy. However, a name will occasionally pop into my head, fully formed and sounding perfect. ...
13
votes
11answers
2k views

How to move on as a society without a common language

Scenario: 20 people (men and women of varying demographics, occupations, and socio-economic classes) awake and find themselves on a deserted tropical island (with no idea of how they got there). The ...
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
905 views

What are the advantages/disadvantages for building a constructed language versus modifying an existing language?

The story I'm writing has characters that speak a different language from the protagonists. I'm thinking about building them a conlang (constructed language) but I don't know the best way to go about....
2
votes
1answer
377 views

What language(s) would animals speak? [closed]

Many stories involve animals being able to communicate with each other using some spoken language. But, what would these languages actually be like? Would each species have their own language? If yes,...
9
votes
3answers
562 views

Overcoming language barrier; no speech

A human (contemporary, western) makes contact with an alien. Not wanting to engage 'governments and scientists' the human wants to communicate with the alien. The alien is physiologically incapable ...
18
votes
11answers
3k views

Exclamations in a nonreligious culture

Suppose elves were the first humanoid species to appear on a planet and the species evolved naturally over time. They developed magic, sapience, agriculture, and the general concept of a stable ...
5
votes
4answers
394 views

Communication of a highly evolved superorganism

Suppose there is a sentient, intelligent species that has developed similar to a superorganism in that there is a species-wide repository of knowledge and individual members of the species are capable ...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

What do we call all the humans?

In my world(s), there are many varieties of humans. We have what we would think of as normal humans of various races and colours. However, we also have other varieties of human, such as Satyrs and ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

How would common time-travel affect a language?

In most languages, the linear concept of time has led to similar concepts of past/present/future. Now, suppose that we have a human or human-like society in which time travel is fairly common, and it ...
9
votes
2answers
326 views

How can I name tribes to show the formation and development of cultures?

I'm working on a random world generator, and want to generate names for the various tribes that inhabit the world. On Earth, while different tribes and civilizations have different names, they tend ...
2
votes
1answer
280 views

What is the short form of Valkyrie? [closed]

Imagine I have a female character named Valkyrie in an English text. What could a short form of that name be (analogous to Bob for Robert) ? I could only come up with Vally Val
42
votes
20answers
8k views

Would people develop spoken language if everyone was telepathic?

Let's assume for a moment that humans developed telepathy as part of our divergence from apes and becoming bipedal. Like intelligence, that evolutionary trait was powerful, leading to it quickly ...
10
votes
5answers
846 views

A species developing writing but not (yet) speech

I am not a writer. I have never written any story and I have no idea of what it takes to get this idea into any meaningful narrative. It's more of a thought experiment for me and I formally give the ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

How long would it take for a brilliant person to decipher/crack an alien language and how to use its technology? [closed]

Consider this: A fallen spaceship is approached by a person of very high intelligence. Think of someone really really smart, like top 50 in the world. How long would take for such a person to grasp ...
-2
votes
1answer
462 views

In what ways humans could adapt to communicate if there was no languages at all? [closed]

Assuming language is a barrier when it comes to socializing. How would people socialize? How would they be mean to each other? How would they sound at all? When I say language, I mean the code, ...
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. ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

How to name places that have multiple names?

When designing a world it is convenient to decide how places will be named : Elements like the continents and the oceans. However, it is likely that the different cultures of the world will not ...
6
votes
5answers
812 views

What does it take for an invader to successfully assimilate the population of a conquered state?

Let’s say we have 2 states. One gets invaded by the other. What does it take for an invader to successfully assimilate the population of a conquered state? Successfully: At least 50% of the ...
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 ...
22
votes
8answers
1k views

How do I blend cultures - naming world features?

In my world I have a variety of nations and city states but I also have a history/background that means they are not and have not been completely isolated. In fact there was once a continent spanning ...
6
votes
0answers
378 views

Is there an established framework to create a language? [closed]

I'm coming at this with a limited grasp of some European languages and for my world I'm faced with the daunting task of creating anywhere between 9 and 2000 languages (we never pick easy projects do ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

How to make different cultures with different naming styles but common language believable?

For a roleplaying world, it is highly favorable to have some common language spoken by all the possible playable races or nations, so that the players could play different characters without having to ...
35
votes
3answers
1k views

For designing a vocal language for an intelligent species, how to decide on phonemes?

When you are designing a language for a species that uses vocal communication, one of the early decisions you need to make is that of which phonemes can be used. How does one determine what phonemes ...
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 ...