Language

  • Is there a trade language that facilitates commerce between countries that don’t speak the same tongue?
  • Is there a “universal language” spoken by educated or noble persons, as Latin was in the Middle Ages and French was later?
  • Is there a liturgical tongue? What language are religious documents kept in?
  • Are some or all people bilingual? Is there a common second language many people know?
  • Are there “secret” languages or codes known only by priests, soldiers, guild members? If so, why were they developed? Are they fully functional (they can express anything one could normally express in language) or are they limited to a certain scope (metallurgy, trade, or religion)?
  • What are the variations in speech patterns, syntax, and slang from one social class to another? One occupation to another? One region to another?
  • From what areas do local slang phrases come? What kinds of colorful turns of phrase do people use?
  • For what things would a local language have many specific words to indicate fine differences? What do the people in this culture consider important enough to name?
  • What do people use as curse words?
  • How many languages are there? Which ones are related and why? Which languages borrow words or phrases from other languages? Which are likely to be most widely spoken?
  • Are there different languages for different races (dwarves, elves, etc.), or is language based more on geography than race or species? Is there a special language you need to learn in order to talk to dragons or other beasts?
  • Do wizards have a special language that is used for magic? If so, where do they learn it? Is it safe to chat in this language, or is everything said in it automatically a spell?
  • How close to people stand when talking? Does it differ from place to place? How do people with different ideas of “personal space” react to one another?

See also Gestures

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Language

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