Questions tagged [language]

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

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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
903 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
217 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
487 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 ...
15
votes
12answers
3k 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
526 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
185 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 ...
44
votes
11answers
11k 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
440 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
144 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
182 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
257 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
219 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
164 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
151 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
383 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
309 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
1k 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
535 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
445 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 ...
23
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
138 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) ...
31
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
85 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
868 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Create a civilization out of our domesticated animals - The Dolittle plan

Human civilization really took off when individuals started to interact with each other, in language and trade and settlements. The transition from stone age to our space faring civilization of today ...
2
votes
3answers
120 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 ...
68
votes
18answers
14k views

How could a language that uses a single word extremely often sustain itself?

The most commonly used word in english is "the" accounting for about 6% of all the words being used. The second most common word is "be" account for less than 1% of all the words used (see ngram ...
14
votes
4answers
297 views

Grammatical tenses for time travelers

A staple of time travel stories is a moment where the meaning of “before” or “past” can't be taken in the simple normal way, and everyone laughs at the novelty. In reality, a trained ChronoCop Agent ...
6
votes
1answer
149 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
567 views

How long would it take these two languages present in a common area over a LONG period of time to merge?

Note: Sorry if this post is needlessly detailed, I understand a lot of these details don't affect the question much. I thought I'd bring them up anyways since this is quite the unique situation for ...
6
votes
8answers
356 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, ...
0
votes
4answers
320 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
171 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
188 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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
970 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....
1
vote
1answer
185 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
198 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
333 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

What is (if any) the commonly accepted phonetic set for a fictitious language?

I am working on developing a fictitious language, and was wondering if there exists a commonly accepted set of phonemes which could be used. I specifically don't want it to be similar to Indo-...
23
votes
8answers
2k views

Dragon script/writing system — how would it work?

Let us assume we have our prototypical European dragon representative over here, George. He has four ground-limbs with four clawed digits including an opposable digit on the forelimbs, normally is ...
2
votes
5answers
193 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
297 views

How could public key cryptography evolve in a biological system?

Pssst! Come here! Imagine an ecosystem where animals have evolved highly developed mimicry of each other’s calls (perhaps they have the universal vocal apparatus discussed in earlier questions). So ...
1
vote
2answers
102 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?