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Questions tagged [language]

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

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13
votes
5answers
2k views

Common pattern by which species come to name their home planets? [closed]

An interesting aspect of world-building I haven't felt very exposed to is what the native race(s) of a planet would call their own world. On Earth, we call it Earth, after the stuff beneath our feet. ...
31
votes
29answers
7k views

Would a civilization simplify their languages (eg:English) in order to let their citizens learn more easily?

I know language is not easy to learn, so I have a little bit strange idea: would a civilization simpify their language just because it is too difficult to learn? For example, to simplify English: ...
5
votes
1answer
239 views

An Anglo-Greek Language? [closed]

I had some great advice from here a short time ago and I’m back again! I’m trying to imagine an ‘English’ language that evolved, not from Old English and Norman French but from Old English and ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

Could two populations maintain a common language over hundreds of years following sudden isolation?

Background A previously subjugated population flees a region, settling in an extremely remote location and remains isolated for a few hundred years. The population, upon fleeing, speaks the same ...
9
votes
6answers
383 views

How could scents develop into a full language?

Human (spoken) languages have a great variety in terms of grammar and what the basic elements are, but they have essential features in common in terms of being a time sequence of phonetic primitives, ...
21
votes
14answers
2k views

Justifications for a language learned via magical transference?

Say I've got a hero who's been summoned to another world. The inhabitants of this world have been expecting his arrival, and are armed with the knowledge that he won't speak their language. So the ...
3
votes
5answers
220 views

Language Creation and Development as a Result of Unification

In my not-too-far-future world, under a treaty from the U.N., participants from several nations (less than 10,000 total, from mainly France, the U.K., the U.S.A., alongside minor contributions from ...
43
votes
20answers
6k views

How expressive is a color-based language?

In the answers to this question I learned that some cephalopods communicate via color: Some cephalopods are capable of rapid changes in skin color and pattern through nervous control of ...
1
vote
3answers
280 views

Linguistic diversity in the 21st century [closed]

During the 20th century, we have already seen the loss of hundreds of languages in favor of more international and widely-used languages. The United Nations, for example, uses Arabic, French, English, ...
-1
votes
3answers
217 views

Make aliens believe that you are not harmful [closed]

Consider one day wake up and find yourself on an Alien planet. Now, you don't wanna die and you don't understand their language. How can you make aliens believe that you are not harmful.
6
votes
1answer
303 views

What are some assumptions we could make about the linguistics of a civilization evolved from birds?

Suppose they have non-flexible beaks, but they still posses vocal cords and a tongue capable of producing the same sounds as humans. Variation of these bird-people are as follows: What types of sound ...
11
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
480 views

What are the limitations/expressive powers of my constructed proto-human like language?

This is a follow-on from a previous question. I've done a bit of research and have determined that I'm interested in creating as expressive a language I can with a limited set of concepts, to be ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

How much time is needed before a language is no longer recognizeable? [duplicate]

Year 2020, the United States of Japan sends colonists to the outer space to colonize new planets under the name of the Emperor. Long story short, they finally colonized Planet VII of the Lem solar ...
7
votes
4answers
265 views

Vocal hardware required for a single creature to communicate with any land animal?

The Question: So, in my fantasy world, I have a race of human-like creatures that can talk to any land animal. The basic question is what kind of and how many voice boxes would this race need to be ...
5
votes
1answer
131 views

How would language evolve in a world of primarily digital communication instead of speech? [closed]

If our society continues on its current trajectory and we arrive in a reality that involves very little face-to-face communication and increasingly stream-lined digital communication, what is your ...
21
votes
15answers
7k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
199 views

This could be the nickname for a nuclear family of females? [closed]

In omegaverse we can have a nuclear family formed by an Alfa Female and a Beta or Omega Female whose kids will be all females. I get the inspiration to call this kind of family "Doll house", but ...
5
votes
4answers
360 views

What title can a person who executes greatest actual power in a republic have?

I think this question could be a good complement to What royal title can an absolutistic ruler have?. I have a republic, and I need to refer to its current actual leader somehow. Two obvious choices ...
12
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
712 views

Word lists for constructed languages

When building a language for your world, words are "surprisingly" important. All natural language have words of some kind and only extremely experimental constructed languages lack them. Word choice ...
7
votes
2answers
332 views

How does one approach phonology notation for a non-human constructed language?

A bit of background on what I'm developing: I'm trying to develop a language for an alien race with completely different biology to humans. It's still in the very early stages, so the exact form is ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Ease of translating languages with/without similar “Base” language

Let's begin. Humanity reaches for the solar system, but wants to make sure everyone can talk to each other. A "Solar Language" edict is enacted, making one language the default language for everyone ...
24
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7answers
5k views

Is there a way to translate a language that includes words for things we don't know?

I saw some ideas of translating an alien language, like in the movie Arrival. The steps make sense, but I thought of another scenario: Imagine you meet aliens in space. They speak, but you can't ...
8
votes
3answers
428 views

Are oligosynthetic languages feasible?

Oligosynthetic languages are languages with many suffixes and few roots, often leading to a vocabulary of only a few hundred words. While common in constructed languages, they are not found in nature. ...
7
votes
3answers
757 views

What Kind Of Operators or Functions Should A Magic Language Have?

I am going into considerable detail designing a magic language for a game system. The world is a classical high fantasy type world, with most of the tropes that might be expected from old school D&...
4
votes
4answers
272 views

How dense can a word become?

In the constructed language Ithkuil, entire sentences can be said in a single word. It does this using stress, tones, volume, etc., in the word to make it as dense as humanly possible. Has Ithkuil ...
44
votes
20answers
9k views

How can I explain English existing in a fantasy world?

My hero travels from our world to a fantasy world where people speak English. While there are other nations that speak non-English languages, the particular land she arrives in does. How can I explain ...
6
votes
6answers
626 views

How sophisticated could an illiterate society become?

Imagine a society of people every bit as intelligent as people today, on a planet in all material respects identical to Earth. But, on this planet, no one has every invented a written language, or ...
4
votes
4answers
547 views

How many parts of speech are there, really?

Consider a conlang designed for an interstellar transmission to a recipient that will have to figure it out. I’m thinking it will be invented for the purpose, formal, and rigorous. It will ...
0
votes
1answer
132 views

Will we transcend language and words in the future? [closed]

Will we transcend language and numbers in the future? I just don't get how this could happen. So would symbols be obsolete too? There would be no fun in art or drawing or making basic symbols. How ...
9
votes
7answers
569 views

How can I explain distinct conlang evolution without using isolation?

I'm planning on having several races in my novel, each of which primarily uses a different language. The idea is that all of these languages were at some point related, and all of them came from one ...
1
vote
5answers
334 views

“Alien” superintelligence learning human languages

A quote from Story of Your Life (the short novel that Arrival movie is based on) Colonel Weber frowned. “You seem to be implying that no alien could have learned human languages by monitoring our ...
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 ...
4
votes
7answers
522 views

Name of people inhabiting the Kingdom of Bonfrith? [closed]

would people living in the Kingdom of Bonfrith be called Bonfrithians, Bonfrisians, or something else, according to correct grammar?
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 ...
12
votes
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 ...
37
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,...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

Establish common language with Chalcolithic group (Modern man vs copper age group)

How would a single person establish a common language with group that does not speak any language that this person knows? This group is from copper age period and modern man does not have any modern ...
3
votes
4answers
222 views

What would you call a catalog of concepts and schema? [closed]

I'm looking for relevant word roots that could be used to make a word similar to lexicon. However, instead of a collection of words, I'm thinking of a collection of concepts and schema. The catalog ...
7
votes
4answers
864 views

What would a purely academic constructed-language be like?

Did you know that i.e. were short for id est? And etc. meant et cetera? These are relics of the Roman occupation of Europe, as far as I know. The Latin expression remained in the academic dialect for ...
8
votes
3answers
285 views

Civilized Dolphins and their Record Keeping

On the Life Ball of my fantasy stories, a particular species of delphinidae- I call them black dolphins- have evolved and advanced at least as much as humans and other intelligent races. A prior ...
24
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 ...
15
votes
10answers
2k views

Alternative to writing for creatures without eyesight?

We know that cave-dwellers who live in lightless environments well develop traits such as transparent skins, barely functional eyes (or completely blind) and other enhanced senses to replace eyesight ...
4
votes
6answers
401 views

How long would it take for society to forget a language if a new one is enforced upon it?

This is the future, there are two groups of humans and they split (say, one moves to another planet). They stop communicating with each other and the group that split decides it's time to have their ...
2
votes
7answers
897 views

How would a realistic universal translator work? [duplicate]

How could a mechanical or computerized Babel Fish work? I've always been bugged by the lack of ways media can find to explain these sort of things. To be clear, this is about a device that allows two ...
9
votes
6answers
504 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

How (if at all) would being able to speak and listen simultaneously alter the structure and development of language?

Spoken communication requires human beings to be able to do two separate things: The first is to understand what is being said to them (including isolating the sound of the other person's voice from ...
3
votes
6answers
360 views

How would a God(-like being) enforce use of a specific language?

Gods in this world are not physical beings, but instead a consciousness that can span a great distance. They think many times faster than a human, but lack the ability to multitask--so they can ...
5
votes
2answers
321 views

Mixed language or creole?

I'm trying to work up a conlang and having some trouble deciding between a creole and a mixed/intertwined language like Media Lengua, Mednyj Aleut or Michif. Here's the set-up situation: Small nation ...