Questions tagged [language]

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

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11
votes
6answers
452 views

How would a civilization without reading and writing develop general-purpose computers?

Related: Technological development without writing (related to general technological development without writing) How would a society without linear alphabetic writing have devised human-readable ...
20
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18answers
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
143
votes
34answers
62k 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
202 views

All my species have their languages based on the same few words. How do I keep them from inventing more words through combining existing ones?

What I want this system for: Language wouldn't be 'the one cool thing' only intelligent creatures have and all cultures would be as far/as close from understanding each other as from understanding ...
5
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6answers
264 views

To what extent can a language deviate as it evolves separately from its parent language in 50+ years?

In a setting where hundreds of scientists and engineers from around the world embark on an international mission to colonize a distant Earth-like planet (the ethics thereof are out of the scope of ...
5
votes
1answer
180 views

What might a written language look like for a species that communicates like cephalopods?

A species I have been working on (and have asked a few questions about in the past) lives in a mostly oceanic planet and communicates with large, colourful dorsal sails. I was considering designing ...
1
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4answers
240 views

Should I use several languages or only one language in my fictional world? [closed]

I'm a new member in your forum, and since I want to success in my project to create a great fictional world, I would need some advices. Since I intend to "remix" our real world, I have to create ...
10
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9answers
699 views

Is a Language with Two Phonemes Feasible?

In one of my stories, I have a race that communicates using only two sounds: "O" and "U". This can be strung together like this: ...
18
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6answers
2k views

How to Make Different Cultures Have Different Naming Styles, But a Common Language Between Them 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
153 views

What biology does it take to form human language (communication between species)

The story I'm writing has a lot of different races and I've been thinking about how they would all communicate. I'd imagine they'd all have different languages (and probably different languages within ...
2
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1answer
132 views

International Language [closed]

I was reading International Auxiliary Language, but I don't like their setups. Because, mostly, they use Latin alphabets! And that, my friends, cause confusions! No matter what the letter was ...
0
votes
2answers
138 views

How to create a language family? [closed]

I understand the basics of language creation, but I don't know how languages evolve or why. I know it has to do with politics, geography, and culture but I don't understand how those things come into ...
18
votes
14answers
4k 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. ...
4
votes
14answers
4k views

Is there a reliable way to hide/convey a message in vocal expressions (speech, song,…)

Assume Bob. Bob wants to convey the following, simple message (an example) to Cassandra: Walk 5 feet forward, turn around 90 degrees clockwise, walk another 4 feet and dig 3 feet into the ground. ...
-1
votes
1answer
120 views

Is liquid metallic hydrogen, when used as a spacecraft fuel, a chemical fuel? [closed]

Is it scientifically sound to call liquid metallic hydrogen a chemical rocket fuel?
14
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11answers
940 views

Writing system of blind, sea dwelling sentients?

So let's consider a species of blind, sea dwelling, squid-like aliens. They are sentient, intelligent and highly social. As their societies develop and their available knowledge increases they ...
-1
votes
1answer
109 views

Could AI create a more complex language and (if so) how? [closed]

Animals use less intelligent language, so one may assume that human language is unintelligent to extraterrestrial life. We use technology to perceive senses that we do not naturally have (e.g., seeing ...
25
votes
24answers
7k views

In a culture that writes in circles, what would the medium for writing look like?

Most Earth cultures — as far as I know — tend to use square or rectangular surfaces to write upon, and similarly our texts are also organized into square and rectangular shapes. However, a culture ...
19
votes
2answers
832 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
135 views

What word or phrase might a vegetarian culture use instead of “meatspace”? [closed]

I'm looking for a word or phrase that might be used in a vegetarian culture to denote the non-cyber "world", and that is not "meatspace" or "real life". The best I've come up with so far is "...
81
votes
48answers
16k views

Why would “dead languages” be the only languages that spells could be written in?

Note: this is an in-universe explanation, not media in general. Media in general tends to have magic written in archaic, usually dead, languages. In my world, magic is best described as fickle; most ...
10
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5answers
496 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 ...
80
votes
13answers
14k 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 have a ...
15
votes
12answers
4k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
224 views

Which languages would be most useful for time travelers to learn? [closed]

Title pretty much says it all. Which languages would be most useful to a time traveler?
53
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20answers
10k views

How would an order of Monks that renounce their names communicate effectively?

In my fantasy world there exists an order of monks known as the Noncara/Non Cara (haven't decided which form looks better). The Non Cara practice a theology based solely on works. By this I mean: ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Conversational goal of a conscious talking machine [closed]

One Artificial Intelligence tech giant has created a bot much like Alexa or Siri that talks to humans, takes notes, listens to everything and communicates with external sources when instructed by the ...
62
votes
12answers
7k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

How do tongues affect speech? [duplicate]

If you had your tongue removed, would you still be able to form coherent words? What sounds would you lose the ability to make and why?
20
votes
17answers
5k views

How to make a language evolve quickly?

Imagine a world in which the language barrier is a means of propaganda defence. In this world, one of the primary concerns of each country is the migration of natives, since they know their native ...
13
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Which sounds could a tongueless person produce?

In my world, officials dealing with sensitive information have their tongues amputated. Naturally writing and a special, government-only sign-language are the main forms of communication, but ...
3
votes
3answers
480 views

A collective noun for a group of spaceships [closed]

A shrewdness of apes, an unkindness of ravens, a murder of crows...I wonder how to call a collection of spaceships often seen in the proximity to my planet that is apparently a fruit of a particular ...
24
votes
7answers
5k views

Would a primitive species be able to learn English from reading books alone?

A species that hasn’t developed any form of written or spoken language learns to speak English, or any modern language for that matter, and it becomes prevalent in their future society. To summarize, ...
19
votes
14answers
4k views

How would a solely written language work mechanically

I am trying to make a language for a fictional world and I am wondering how a species without vocal chords could communicate via written language
32
votes
14answers
13k 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
3k views

The alphabet of a language based on pitch and vocabulary

A world/continent/land/place/location where language has developed slightly differently from earth. Instead of communicating through normal speech, these beings communicate in a combination of ...
20
votes
15answers
5k views

Forcing everyone to speak the same language

Let's say that I own a planet and I have the chance to set up rules before any human can move in. I want to make a law that would welcome anyone to the planet as long as they only speak the decided ...
0
votes
5answers
148 views

Is that possible to make a world in which no one needs to speak? [closed]

In my ideal world, everyone will be very very Intelligent. By that I mean everyone can think and feel what other people around them think and feel, so no one needs to talk with each other. Everyone ...
9
votes
1answer
326 views

How can people adjust spoken language to adapt for the discovery that they live on a non-orientable surface?

Follow up to How can orientation-discriminating people keep their views when it turns out they live on a non-orientable surface? To quickly summarize the world, their are rightie and leftie people ...
-1
votes
1answer
87 views

How would a species with crustacean-like “mouths” sound when speaking? [closed]

What might their language sound like? Would they have any speech impediments to contend with speaking a Common language?
6
votes
3answers
508 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 ...
30
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
199 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
635 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
324 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, ...
77
votes
17answers
26k 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
334 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 ...

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