Questions tagged [language]

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

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2
votes
2answers
533 views

How would telepathy work without a common language?

An ethereal, higher dimensional entity assumed human form and came to present-day Earth for a visit; this entity could not speak human languages nor possessed any sort of universal translator. It ...
9
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6answers
1k views

What would modern language look like if humans also communicated via bio-luminescence?

Suppose human beings have evolved markings covering the face and hairs. The cells contain a colony of bacterium capable of producing multiple arrays of visible light. Each bacteria reacts differently ...
3
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3answers
454 views

Do we need a language to think? [closed]

I don't know whether this is the right place to ask this question. I have always wondered whether a language is needed to think. When I actively think, I automatically use my mother tongue to do so, ...
10
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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 ...
5
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5answers
760 views

If I had an alien race, how would they interpret our numerical characters as being numbers?

So say we discovered aliens through a wormhole near Saturn (Interstellar anyone?). Congratz to us! But we have a bigger issue in trying to communicate with them. They developed in a completely ...
-1
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3answers
115 views

Standardization of a language without standard vocabulary [closed]

So, I was thinking about where to put this question. It has linguistic and political aspects but it also has an impact on many other topics. At the end, I also think that it can't be answered with ...
7
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11answers
748 views

How fast can a species communicate using only tapping?

Most members of my species are fairly human-like and can communicate using speech, but many of them possess mutations that make normal speech impossible. These mutations can also significantly change ...
5
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3answers
533 views

What is the extent of Featural Writing?

In an earlier question I found out that the earliest I can realistically have a featural writing system is the late Neolithic, or anywhere from 1600 - 800 BC. Working on this languages writing system ...
29
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15answers
5k views

How to share knowledge to a future human civilization who doesn't know our languages?

Consider that I want to let an object to share knowledge to a civilization living in a far future (~10.000 years after today). It can be a book or any object which can store information, must be ...
3
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3answers
241 views

When is the earliest I can hope for a culture to create Featural Writing?

The featural writing system (first used in hangul) is a writing system in which the glyphs themselves contain phonetic information in the characters. It is widely agreed by linguists and conlangers ...
5
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2answers
206 views

Lingual drift in isolation

Imagine a mostly homogenous culture with one unified language has a period of diaspora into the galaxy, under circumstances that make ongoing communication impossible. Assuming a space-faring ...
3
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5answers
265 views

Planning magical language lessons

Setting : Suppose a magic potion could make the person drinking it able to understand, memorize and re-use any word, idiom, sentence structure or grammatical rule they hear. (EDIT : It's not ...
1
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2answers
162 views

Could an Emotional IPA be created?

So, I just had an idea inspired by This question here while simultaneously listening to a video about language... Could we make a sort of International Phonetic Alphabet for Emotions and States of ...
28
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11answers
9k views

How could the English language gradually dwindle to just one word?

This excerpt below is from George Orwell's 1984 and it is the character Syme talking about the progress of the official language "Newspeak" and how its goal is to eventually destroy modern language. ...
7
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3answers
871 views

Social engineering: Design a new language for a totalitarian state obsessed with scientific advancement

In the world I'm currently building, there are many species, each with their own language. Most of these languages evolved naturally over time, much like here on Earth. But there is one race (let's ...
9
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4answers
1k views

Nomenclature for software beings

I’ve seen the terms posthuman and transhuman used in fairly generic ways. But given a setting with several types of beings, what consistent naming convention could be used? I suppose the vulgar terms ...
2
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4answers
238 views

What would an underground population say instead of “What in the world?” or “What on Earth?”

In my world, a population of vikings, one of the groups who landed on North America in the 9th and 10th centuries, was driven inland by a party of natives and holed up in a cavern that they found. ...
18
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11answers
5k views

How to name aliens?

Consider writing about aliens, in an alien setting. Not “costume” aliens mind you, but imaginative different beings in fundamental ways. Calling it “Bill” is campy. Making up some noise and trying to ...
4
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2answers
265 views

Language threshold for a species

What would be the rules/threshold for a chronicler to declare a species has evolved into one capable of speaking a language of their own (the species') making? Consider a scenario where you're an ...
2
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4answers
145 views

How would a system of communication based on coloured smoke work?

Assuming we have a race of creatures that breathe out coloured smoke, how could a system of communication or language develop that is based on the colour of said smoke? Assume they can form sentences ...
21
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8answers
2k views

Pheromone-based language

On Earth, there are many species that communicate using pheromones - from the simple (cats marking their territory) to the complex (ants conveying information about food, danger, and the current ...
12
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2answers
1k views

What phonemes would a snouted animal (e.g. dog or cat) be able to pronounce?

Assuming human-style vocal cords, what phonemes would a snouted animal be able to produce? I'm looking at developing a conlang (or several) for a setting, and it has several humanoid species with ...
19
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13answers
6k views

Why do people create fictional languages?

I didn't see this question pop up when I wrote the title, so I don't think this has been asked before (or, at least not the way I'm going to ask it). Everyone knows and loves fictional languages: ...
45
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20answers
8k 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 ...
10
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4answers
1k views

How can I create a realistic linguistic drift effect?

I'm still in the process of building my fictional language. However, I need some help in creating a realistic drifting effect for my language over time. By linguistic drift, I mean the natural change ...
10
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7answers
2k views

Roots When Creating A Language

This questions was inspired by this one. I'm also in the process of making a language, to pair with a writing system I created. I'm a stickler for consistency (language and consistency don't go ...
5
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3answers
421 views

How can I make an alphabet for a fictional dialect of a real language?

The following post is copy-pasted from a similar question on Reddit: Apparently, I already started work on the story and it turns out, that I have Ganymede speaking a fictional Russian dialect ...
2
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3answers
226 views

Language shift over a long period of independent development

Consider a planet initially colonized (1500 years ago) by a group of about 200.000 people. To prevent ongoing interference/influence of the high-tech society from which they originally came they cut ...
19
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17answers
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 ...
23
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16answers
6k views

Is a galaxy-wide language possible? [duplicate]

While working on the world I talked about here, I decided to tweak one thing. Instead of having the group of aliens terraforming a planet be of the same species, I decided to have them be different ...
4
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3answers
638 views

Secret Communication in Sign Language

In a world where spoken language is impossible, people still need to communicate secretly at times. After all, what would a culture be without movies about spies sharing secrets in public places? I ...
2
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4answers
503 views

How do we communicate with (fairly) intelligent aliens?

Generic alien race A has developed advanced spacecraft technology, and through tedious exploration, has found Earth. Astronauts orbiting our planet see the craft as well, and notify our human ...
13
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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
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2answers
2k views

What kind of names would humans living in Lower Paleolithic Ethiopia have?

I'm writing a story set in the early Lower Paleolithic era, in the area around where Ethiopia currently is. What kind of names would my characters have? Do we have any knowledge of how people were ...
3
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2answers
732 views

Could a post-apocalyptic modern society rediscover language through the Rosetta Disk?

This is the Rosetta Disk. If you want to know more about, head on over to that link. Here's what the website says: The Disk surface shown here, meant to be a guide to the contents, is etched with a ...
9
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4answers
2k views

How long does it take before dialects branching from a single language become new languages themselves?

In the setting I'm constructing, humans migrated in a single major wave to a pair of large continents within the last thousand years or so (the exact value is partly dependent on the answer to this ...
4
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6answers
439 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 ...
2
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2answers
269 views

How would a culture with telepathy evolve language? [closed]

Assume that in this culture that everyone can read minds and project images into the minds of others. Can there be a way for such a culture to evolve speech?
6
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3answers
286 views

In a world where you had to pay for words, which words would be the most expensives? [closed]

Imagine a world where you would have to pay for each word you spoke or wrote. I wondered which words (or which kind of) would be the most expensive ones? I assume it would not only be a matter of ...
7
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8answers
641 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 ...
8
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2answers
176 views

Phonetic overlap between humans and wolves

This question is a subsidiary of: Shapeshifters - Shared language between human and animal forms There is some of background information in that question, but none of it is critical for this question....
7
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3answers
487 views

Shapeshifters - Shared language between human and animal forms [closed]

Some background on the shapeshifters in question: Shapeshifters can shift between a human form and a single animal form; all the members of a given group of shapeshifters shift into the same species ...
10
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2answers
2k views

What would be the best way for a language to spread?

What would the most efficient way for a language to spread over a large area over a short period of time (about 600 years)? Imagine this is a medieval type world, and the goal is to spread the ...
14
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9answers
687 views

What conditions might cause a natural language to be completely literal?

The world I am building has two highly intelligent, sapient species coexisting (along with a large number of non-sapient species). One evolved from ape-like creatures and is suspiciously similar to ...
6
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7answers
2k views

If a culture split up and its parts were isolated for 750 years, would they then be able to understand each other? [duplicate]

They begin as one country with one language, but then a small contingent of people are suddenly blown off course. They land in a land that is much hotter, dryer, and harsher. 750 years later they ...
19
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9answers
4k views

How to force a country to use a language that merges two languages that diverged 1000 years ago?

This country currently only has two languages in common use: Language A, spoken by 62% of the population, and language B, spoken by 38%. Both languages have official status in the country, so road ...
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1answer
116 views

How to spell buggz [closed]

My lizard is named Booger, for short I call them "b-ugz" but how do I spell it in English? I don't know what kind of question you really want to rephrase it as, I thought my first sentence summed it ...
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3answers
259 views

Would forcing a nation switch to Latin script be possible today?

In the early twentieth century, Atatürk forced its own nation to abandon the Arabic script for a Latin one. Would a similar move in today's context be possible? I know that technically and ...
1
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1answer
96 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
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2answers
377 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 ...