Author Topic: Fantasy Languages  (Read 910 times)

Offline veekie

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Fantasy Languages
« on: November 11, 2011, 04:03:47 AM »
Just a little fun I've had thinking about the matter recently.

What do languages look and sound like in your settings?
Came up with the following:
(click to show/hide)

So, how do you see languages?

Quote from: Agita
For Abyssal...you could probably have a set of meanings, then those are stringed together however the hell the user likes to make a message. A "spoken" form would be popping sounds, which are easy to make for anything in any form, even an amorphous thing, or even colors. Most chaos-related critters are shapeshifters, after all. The color route also instantly doubles as a writing medium if a mortal wants to write it down (anything made of chaos wouldn't bother).

The elemental languages are easy enough. Air elementals vocalize by whistling, wooshing, and wheezing, earth elementals through morse-esque clicking sounds (easy to make by hitting something solid with something solid), water elementals with gurgles, bubbling, and sloshing, fire elementals with crackling sounds.
Quote from: Prime32
Druidic... maybe it doesn't even look like a language, but a landscape drawing. Druids label the owner of a grove through feng shui. :p

Halfling: either derived from Common, heavily influenced by Common, or heavily influnced Common; it uses Common script and shares a number of words.

Gnome: based on Dwarven, but more freeform grammar and with more loanwords. While Dwarven and Gnome script are similar, it's like comparing block capitals and cursive (though they're a bit closer than that).
Well, I was thinking Fire wouldn't have a strictly Spoken form(since they'd probably use light and heat modulation), but anyone with a light source and a shutter could probably 'speak' it with a horrendous accent.

And here I go thinking Halfling could be some Portuguese and Spanish mix. 
Quote from: Agita
And here I go thinking Halfling could be some Portuguese and Spanish mix. 
Not necessarily mutually exclusive with influencing and being influenced by Common. They could be influenced by the same root languages, like how Spanish and Portuguese are derived from Latin and a good number of english words have Latin roots as well.
But yes, Spanish Halflings for the win.
Quote from: Prime32
And here I go thinking Halfling could be some Portuguese and Spanish mix.
There's a reason Eberron gave halflings the Mark of Hospitality. Halflings are generally friendly and have a lot of traders, so it would make sense as a significant root. I could swear I'd seen something like this before.

EDIT:
But yes, Spanish Halflings for the win.
Nah, Spanish gnomes. Gnomes get the blade bravo class, so D&D Zorro is a gnome. :p
Quote from: Agita
But yes, Spanish Halflings for the win.
Nah, Spanish gnomes. Gnomes get the blade bravo class, so D&D Zorro is a gnome. :p
No, gnomes are small and funny inventors. They're clearly Italian.
Quote from: Sunfire Titan
Infernal
Spoken -  Sorta German-like in tone.
Written - Pictograms, tending towards angular shapes and a lot of words that look very similar to other words.

FC2 actually brought this topic up before. According to it, Infernal is written in a form similar to Morse Code+Braile, but without the dots.

No, gnomes are small and funny inventors. They're clearly Italian.

This is now forever canon in my Eberron games.
Well, Gnomes use the dwarven script, so you get some atrocious German-Spanish hybrid.

EDIT:
All hail Italian gnomes.
Quote from: Prime32
IIRC Spell weavers speak in a kind of semaphore and their written language is based on arm positions.


Also, I get the feeling that if there was an anime based on Eberron we'd get:
Quote
Draconic: German. Because anime spells are always in German.
Elven: Chinese. There are plenty of elves and half-elves, and they have both Arrogant Kung Fu Guys and a court of divine beings.
Giant (or Riedran): English. Exotic and powerful, but somewhat crude. Riedran visitors are pretty cool, but they're trying to subvert local culture.
Goblin: Antiquated Japanese. Because they were the first inhabitants of Khorvaire and had samurai.
Orc: Ainu. Because ancient and respect for nature.
Quote from: Agita
some atrocious German-Spanish hybrid
Also known as... Italian.

(Okay, to be fair it's more on the Spanish side.)
Quote from: Robbypants
I haven't put this much thought into it, honestly. I remember one campaign where I tried to give each sub-race a language and each continent a separate Common. It turned out to be a big pain in the ass and a pointless skill point sink.

That flavor is cool though. I have been known to try to adopt voices for NPCs, so I guess I do put some thought into how things sound... just when I'm speaking English, though. ;)
Quote from: Arthurick
I always had my goblins speak Spanish.  Common-speaking goblins tended to sound like Cheech Marin.

Running gag at my table is that Undercommon should Ebonics.  "Fo' shizzle my Drizzit!"
Quote from: Bozwevial
Aquan: Bit of an interesting case. The elemental plane of water is, well, nothing but water. Aquan isn't sound-based because everything is drowned out by the constant roar of noises propagating in every direction. Instead, it's based on the pressure made by the water against your skin. There's no fixed phrase that means something because a speaker has vary what he does to account for currents, other creatures, local architecture, whatever. In the open air, you speak it exactly the same (taking into account your surroundings) and a listener has to determine what sort of pressure patterns he'd feel if he can't feel them normally. The script is a stylized representation of those pressure patterns, which makes it a lot easier to read Aquan than to speak it if you're not an aquatic race, since a written Aquan phrase isn't context-dependent.

Ignan: It's fire-based, obviously, but since the entire freaking plane is on fire, temperature fluctuations distinguish what you're saying from random background noise. You could seriously have the script look like a graph of temperature over time and just be a single line spiking up and down, with breaks indicating words or something.
^^
Aquan's an interesting thought, I went with pulsed bubblings because thats pretty much the reason, you need to make it through the cacophony. Good call on the context dependency though.

Ignan, I updated the OP with something. Color and temperature both apply, largely because color propagates further than variations of heat when well...the whole place is on fire.
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