Lostinfrance
  • Member for 6 years, 9 months
  • Last seen more than a month ago
Creating a realistic world - Spreading languages
7 votes

What is responsible for the spreading of a language? Given the limits of my knowledge, my suggested answers will concentrate on the history of English, but of course these phenomena have happened ...

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How can an alien meet the president of the USA without attracting attention?
6 votes

If the aliens are required by their government not to draw unnecessary attention to themselves then one thing they cannot do is stand in an immensely public place for days on end without sleep or food....

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If the global temperature rose by 20 degrees Celsius, would the freezing temperature of water drop 20 degrees?
6 votes

No, it wouldn't. The temperature at which water freezes is decided by the physical properties of the H2O molecule. If I can put it in a slightly silly way, how would a water molecule in one part of ...

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An environment where round beds are easier to build than rectangular
5 votes

On Earth many birds and some mammals build cup-shaped nests by weaving together natural materials such as grass and pliable branches, bound together by mud, saliva or even spider silk. You could say ...

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

The obvious answer, although not I suspect the one you are looking for*, is that English would become extinct in the same way as thousands of other languages have become extinct over the ages: that is ...

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Social engineering: Design a new language for a totalitarian state obsessed with scientific advancement
Accepted answer
5 votes

I have a few suggestions for the Supreme Social Architect: 1) Some real-life languages have a characteristic called evidentiality in which the grammar of the language obliges speakers when making any ...

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Political debate resulting from USA considering switching to an opt-out policy for organ donation after death
5 votes

"How much of a lively debate could the topic really make?" I hate to pour cold water on a scenario into which you have obviously put considerable work, but judging from the example of Wales, not much ...

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What would happen if time travelers brought assault weapons to 17th-century Ireland?
5 votes

"They don't want to give the historical Irish a permanent huge military advantage over everyone else" It won't be permanent. I doubt it will last for more than a few months after they run out of ...

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Signs of a realistic Ragnarök
5 votes

Building on bilbo_pingouin's answer, perhaps the signs that a volcano is going to erupt, such as seismic activity, ground deformation, and gases from fumaroles, could provide the omens that Ragnarok ...

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What would be a politically correct term for "hominid"?
Accepted answer
5 votes

Have your characters discuss the problem in-story, and perhaps move to a more neutral term to satisfy their universe's equivalent of political correctness. In James White's Sector General series, in ...

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Russian Dolls - How do they reproduce?
4 votes

My theory would mean that the population could only stay the same or decrease. In fact accidents would mean that the population would decrease until the species became extinct. Your theory is ...

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Justifications for a language learned via magical transference?
4 votes

I suggest that an "exam spell" to temporarily boost the ability of the brain to absorb any new information would do the trick. You have said that the magic of your world "uses the human body as a ...

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What animals lend themselves to being ridden by Quadrupeds?
Accepted answer
4 votes

It's going to be difficult to find an animal capable of bearing their weight. Even a dwarf elephant is bulky. I agree with AndreiROM that "a hurricane washed them ashore" is implausible. A more ...

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Roots When Creating A Language
4 votes

I'm kind of embarrassed to post the same answer as I did for your previous question. Nonetheless, the book I mentioned before, The Conlanger's Lexipedia has a lot about root words too. Not just Latin ...

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What similarities could I expect to find across alien nervous systems?
4 votes

Trying to get a handle on this question, I took a look at Wikipedia to see what a nervous system actually does: At the cellular level, the nervous system is defined by the presence of a special ...

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What could microscopic people use for fire? ( series )
4 votes

Great question, but I am not convinced that microscopic people would need fire. Cooking with fire played a role in human evolution by allowing us to spend far less time chewing and digesting. This ...

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How do I keep a language shared by two separate peoples, static for as long as possible? The lower tech-complexity the better?
4 votes

There was a similar question asked by dsollen on Worldbuilding SE in July, "How long can language drift before it becomes indecipherable, and how to minimize drift?". In my answer I suggested the ...

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What if the notion of 'Nationalism' was eradicated?
4 votes

"What could be potential pitfalls of creating a world without nations or one world for all humanity?" The main pitfall of having humanity under one political jurisdiction would be the same pitfall as ...

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Forcing everyone to speak the same language
3 votes

Would forcing the new citizens and prosecuting anyone that tried to spoke a different language be justified for the better end? This question is only superficially about language. It is really about ...

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What goes into making a good writing system
3 votes

It depends whether you mean "good" as in "easy to learn and practical to use" or as in "believable as being the naturally evolved writing system of a fictional culture created by the author". The two ...

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What benefits would having a second moon bring for humanity?
3 votes

Zyxrra's answer has covered some very plausible suggested reasons. Great, that leaves an implausible one for me. Disguise - maybe there are robot doomsday ships cruising the universe destroying all ...

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Language threshold for a species
Accepted answer
3 votes

John Dallman's answer makes the essential point. True language is not restricted in the messages it can send. In the 1960s a linguistic anthropologist called Charles F. Hockett set out an influential ...

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How could a society with computers still use animals for physically demanding activities?
3 votes

They have suffered a catastrophe in the past that caused vast numbers of deaths specifically linked to technology failure and they have good reason to believe that the same might happen again. This ...

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What organisms ranging from 0.2 - 4 mm lend themselves to domestication? (Series)
Accepted answer
3 votes

They are a little above your size range, given that they grow up to 6mm, but aphids already have been domesticated by ants in the real world: Scientists had previously established that certain ...

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Is a world wide Council realistic?
3 votes

A worldwide council, quite possibly. This worldwide council, no. Most countries, particularly democratic ones, would refuse to sign up for this structure. It is at once too onerous (I assume point (3) ...

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What would happen if a country weighted voting in inverse proportion to wealth?
3 votes

I think the way to look at what will happen is to consider the incentives on an individual voter. Call him Fred. Like most people Fred votes according to his individual interest. He votes for a party ...

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How can the President of the United States make a lot of money without doing anything illegal or bad to his reputation?
3 votes

Did I miss something in the question that said that doing what real presidents do doesn't count? Assuming I didn't, the president just has to wait until he leaves office and then make a fortune on the ...

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Religion After the Discovery of a Multiverse
3 votes

I once wrote a story in which the deleterious effect of a proven multiverse on religion was mentioned in passing - but the problem didn't relate to the multiverse being infinite in age or size (as ...

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culture changes to reliable and mandated birth control used from puberty until ready to conceive
3 votes

"To have a child someone must go through certain steps to have the birth control deactivated (for example perhaps a very short parenting class and a small, but manageable even by those who are not ...

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Excuse for speaking other tongues
3 votes

"How hard is to learn Latin without someone who is fluent in both English AND Latin as a guide? Are the standard ways of dealing with the language problem?" You might be able to answer this question ...

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