Languages in your setting?

jedion357's picture
September 6, 2009 - 6:13am
I'm currently using Bills Skilled Frontier article SFM 9 which has a Linguist PSA
it references human languages, dralasite languages etc.

hadn't really thought about this aspect of the setting so I'm really looking to steal ideas from others

Do you just say there's 1 human language, 1 dral language, 1 vursk language, 1 yaz and then Pan-Gal and assume that in a future society that through recording and wide spread communication these languages have settled down and don't change much.

or do you multiply the number of languages for each race?

Personally I could image a language called Spanglish projected into the future or I could go Neo-chinese or some other thats likely to figure large in any space effort of the next 100 years.

I could easily see the yazerians being very traditional and the clan structure enforcing the survival of several ancient yaz languages. and the Family of One trying to enforce its official that all religious services are held in shoving it down everyone's throat.

I suspect the dralasite language changes much like genetic changes entering the gene code. Once a change happens is forever passes down stream from parent to child and experts can tell you as much about your dralasite lineage by your dialect as by sampling your genes.

vursk are hard to say, personally I say one language and done for them
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
September 6, 2009 - 6:33am
GReat big "DAH!"

I was sitting here thinking, "Boy it would be great if the site had a search option to let me look at the postings with the word language in them." Dah is does and I just found Roy Chrisman's write up on languages in SF2000
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 6, 2009 - 10:38am
I have my own language system in my game, basically the character starts with their native tongue and Pan Galactic Common at a level equal to LOG/10 rounded up (or maybe it's rounded down...been a while since I invoked it). XP can be spent to acquire other languages, and it isn't a heavy expenditure (again, I don't have it handy at the moment), but no language can exceed the native tongue level. Also, the character can only learn as many languages as their LOG score divided by ten, rounded one way or the other (again...well you get the idea)

Anyways I do permit dialects (simply put: asian, hispanic, etc on the human tongues; Regarian clan etc for yazirians...), although I have a "common" tongue for each race and unless otherwise specified, the common tongue is what the character would begin with but I like to let the player decide which way they can go with that. And learning a new dialect costs less XP than a different language.

And of course a character can learn less common languages, such as Streel Corporation Code, Pan Galactic Affiliated, etc but would be mandated to have a working contract before becoming eligible to learn such languages. Underworld tongues could also be invoked, assuming the character has exposure to such an environment. Even SpaceFleet could have a language, with higher ranking officers being elligible to learn it.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
September 6, 2009 - 12:41pm
Google's search is pretty good as well. Use the following syntax search pattern

For example: language

Georgie's picture
September 6, 2009 - 3:57pm
I like the idea of have regional as well as racial languages, especially if you have a solid concept of race origins and colonization patterns. For example, in my vision, Gran Quivera is the human homeworld. It will have the most diverse human languages. Colonists originating from GQ will likely have to speak the same language to cooperate with other colony communities. Thus Ruperts Hole, for instance, is more likely to have only a single human language as the original colonists hand it down and newer colonists are pressured to conform. Other GQ languages are sure to live on on RH, but rarely as a primary. Think of the colonization of North America (excluding Mexico). It was primarily the French and English in the beginning. Once the English established dominance, French was largely pushed aside except in small areas such as Quebec and Cajun country. As more Europeans arrive from Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, and other countries, they learned English and eventually their decendants learned less and less of their native tongue.

I expect Yazarian, as a primate, would develop along similar lines as the human languages. Dralasite I see as being much more stable, especially in a modern. 'small world' sense. Vrusk is also more likely to be highly stable due to their regimented nature, but family differences are likely to exist. Think of a New Yawker from da Bronx speaking to a Cockney.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.    * Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

Will's picture
September 6, 2009 - 6:37pm
My two centicreds:

Humans would have the most diversity when it comes to languages, though, as Georgie said, one of them will emerge as the lingua franca for the entire race, say Quiveran and Clarionian, one being the offshoot of the other, like British and American English(in my SFU, in fact, Quiveran is an offshoot of Claronian, the latter being spoken not just on Clarion, but on Triad and Rupert's Hole as well, while the natives of Morgaine's World speak Quiveran with a slow drawl).

Yazirians would also have a diversity when it comes to languages, with each clan having its own language, and the most prominent clans in the Frontier providing the basis for what the other three races have come to know as the "common" Yazirian language.

Naturally, the Anglann clan(being the patriarchs of the Family of One)persists in their efforts to make Anglann the official Yazirian language, having already achieved this on Hentz.

Most Dral communication would be non-verbal, relying on their innate racial abilities to get most major points across; however, what written and verbal language would exist would be uniform within the Dral culture, and, surprisingly, be mathematically precise(with little deviation due to dialects, and virtually no idioms, much like German), due to the Dralasites' philosophical bent(a common frame of reference is good for getting one's point across, especially when discussing philosophy)and their comical one, especially when discussing the peculiarities inherent in the other three races' languages.

Vrusk would also have a mathematically-precise language, even more uniform, and even more idiom-free, than the Dralasites(one of the reason Vrusk and Dralasites get along), due to their business-like nature(misunderstandings and ambigous language tending to be costly); rather than each trade house having its own dialect, they would resort to strict protocols, encryption, and the like to keep their business dealings secret from competitors. 

Inevitably, as the Four Races interacted with one another, each of the four primary racial languages began assimilating words and concepts from the other three primary racial languages, ultimately leading, after refinement by PGC, to the Pan-Galactic tongue.

@Shadow: I can see various professions adopting their own jargon, same with organized crime, street gangs, street people and inner-city denizens in general, and so on, with the rest of the Frontier, through popular media, having at least a passing familiarity with the slang and conventions of these other worlds...tho some subcultures, teenagers and street gangs, for example, tending to discard their previous slang for new coinages, should "their" language become too familiar to those they're trying to be different from.

These languages, for that very reason, and others, tend to be the ones undergoing the most radical shifts in meaning and dicton.  

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."

—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation