List of Languages
For a discussion of in-game linguistic mechanics, see Language.
There is no "common" trade tongue (but Ubrekti comes close on the Mainland). People generally speak the tongue of their homeland, while most traders and many in border regions are multi-lingual. Church business is conducted in Ubrekti. The mother tongue is generally called Prime, and is thought to have been primarily an oral language. Some particularly ancient monuments, such as the Black Obelisks, bear a unique and undeciphered script that some believe to be Prime.
In general, groupings are more cultural/geographic than linguistic in nature. This will probably be a mechanical problem if it ever comes up, but it probably won't.
- 1 Demihuman
- 2 Human
- 3 Servitor
- 4 Other
- 5 Sahuagin
- 6 Professional Tongues
These languages are presumed to descend from Prime, although the mechanics and alphabets of Dwarven, Human and Elven show almost no similarities. The Gnomish alphabet has strong similarities to the Dwarven one, although Gnomes themselves argue that is due to linguistic corruption during the Gnomish Vassalage rather than a sign that some aspect of Gnomish culture is taken from the Dwarves.
The Human language tree, as one might imagine from such a short lived and prolific race, is much more diverse. All use one of two alphabets. Since the Human written tradition appears during the Ubrekti Empire, all of the human languages of the civilized mainland use the Ubrekti Alphabet. Written language was only introduced to Ulan in the first century FI, by Mikos Lygit in exile, who taught the Zupan Alphabet, a system of his own creation.
All human languages are presumed to have originated with Prime, although the subfamilies diverge enormously, and in some cases the similarities are disputed.
These languages are not related enough to any other to group them into subfamilies of Prime.
The Fresian tree diverged in relatively recent history within the past couple of thousand years. At least thirty variants are spoken, but any speaker of a Fresian language can understand any other speaker of a different Fresian language, although sometimes with difficulty if the two are of the more divergent subgroups. Listed below are a selection of the most-spoken variants.
Petaran's two major ethnic groups divide strongly on linguistic lines between its nomadic and its agrarian peoples. Bedowyld further divides regionally into several dialectical variants, but Petaran lacks this diversity.
Little studied, the Ulan subfamily is quite diverse, and consists of the various tongues spoken by its various tribal families. Writing was not developed independently in the Ulan--the alphabet used there was constructed and introduced by Mikos Lygit, one of the Children of Tragedy and adopted son of Sayid ibn Maimun, who used it as a vehicle to promote his own Alexandrian Heresy, known as Zupanism (A corruption of Petaran Alexandrianism). He was wildly successful, and its use has spread throughout since. The following languages are a small selection of the most commonly spoken tongues in the region, although possibly as many as a hundred variants have been noted.
The languages that derived from that spoken by the Ubrekti Empire are among some of the most influential in the world, and it is the Ubrekti alphabet that is generally used by all save the Ulan subfamilies. Speakers of these languages can often pick up on the vocabulary and structure of words spoken in the others of this group, and simple ideas can often be expressed between them, if the speakers are patient.
Ubrekti deserves special mention, as its has gained widespread usage for a variety of reasons, most notably its original spreading by the Ubrekti Empire and later adoption by the Alexandrian Church as the language of Church Affairs, which in turn lead to its adoption as the de facto language of the universities of the mainland.
The linguistic history of the Unknown Lands is largely unknown and unstudied. There is no regular or reliable contact or relations between the two lands.
The Servitor language groups are less-studied, but nevertheless have their own groups.
Kobold is less a language, and more of a pidgin of several regionally related languages (notably Gildenhome Goblin and Dwarvish). Its structure is not suitable for extremely abstract discussion, but its simplicity makes it a common language between Servitor groups when not enough time exists to form a proper linguistic connection (which is most of the time, since Servitors are hardly known for being particularly cooperative).
Goblin, on the other hand, is a complex language in its own right, and is widely spoken among several Servitor groups, with several variants, although it too is a creole derived from generations of blending of Servitor and other tongues.
The Orcs have developed their own tongue, thought to be distantly related to Sidhe, but muddling from surrounding Human and Dwarvish groups (and a lack of living speakers of Sidhe on the Mainland) have kept any such speculations from being verified. Contrary to the rough nature of Orcish appearance, the tongue is melodical, and Orcish chants might be considered some of the more beautiful in the world, if they didn't regularly precede the destruction of the town that heard them.
The Giants have their own, very ancient, tongue, but many Giants, living solely or in small family groups among larger groups of other Servitors, speak it very rarely, instead opting for the more common Goblin or Orcish tongues. The survival of the Giant tongue, strikingly unchanged even across widely disparate units, is a mystery. Some attribute it to a Giant racial memory, though such thoughts are purely speculative.
The language of the Lizardfolk is unique among the languages of the Mainland, largely due to their unique physiology. Much like cursive writing, all its sounds are combined into one sibilant chain of phonemes that is almost impossible for the untrained to distinguish into lexical units.
The Sahuagin have not been seen on the mainland for ages, and are mostly forgotten (citation? maybe they pillage ships from time to time? --Slitherrr 19:51, 14 February 2013 (EST)), but they do exist, lurking beneath the waters. They are widespread and speak a variety of tongues, but since very little is known about the race itself, none on the Mainland knows much beyond that. The sounds are a frightening combination of ethereal trills mixed with wet flapping and short grunts, punctuated by basso popping noises that can carry quite long distances under water.
- Sahuagin (all families and sublanguages, grouped together for the convenience of ignorant surface-dwellers)
Most professions have a set of lingo that can be used to communicate concisely to members of that organization. Sometimes these organizations are coherent over quite a large area. The most notable of this type of languages is Druidic, which, although it is confused with being related to Sidhe thanks to some mingling of vocabulary (by the very few scholars in a position to know such a thing), has almost no relation to that language. The Druids themselves are not known to have made any comment on the matter.
Note that all Paladins of Alexandria form a very tight organization, and do have their own jargon, but their speech is not sufficiently far from Ubrekti for it to warrant its own consideration, given Ubrekti's widespread adoption.