In the Shadow of Titans
The Languages of the Known World
This tongue was originally developed as a simplified version of talgen. Common was a language that would have been used to communicate with those new cultures that the Old Empire would come into contact with in its various conquests. However, despite bearing talgen roots, common would often end up being so influenced by the languages of the conquered that it came into contact with that it would not be mutually communicable amongst speakers even in different provinces of the empire!
In the case of western Morinar though, common was adopted as the unofficial universal language as a method to distance themselves from their old imperial roots. Combined with elements of dwarven, barbarian tongues, a little bit of elven, and tack on two hundred years of isolation, it has evolved from its pidgin roots into a full language of its own. It is somewhat communicable with gutterspeak, and talgen.
Gutterspeak is the language of criminal societies in Morinar. It is the tongue most often used by smugglers, and other unsavoury types. It is the universal language for all things illicit and hard to find. Gutterspeak possesses elements of common, its own unique hand signs; as well as elvish as often times smugglers tend to deal with elves when dealing with illicit merchandise. It is frowned upon to speak it in polite society, and those who speak it often times end up being politely excluded until they’ve learned the error of their ways. The peasantry often use gutterspeak, especially if they tend to live near or in docks, and slums. It is somewhat compatible with common, and elvish.
Talgen is the language of the New Empire. At its heart, talgen contains elements of the original aristocratic language of the Old Empire, as well as elements of dwarven. Curiously enough, due to the nearness of the dwarven realms, elven seems to have made next to no impression in the language. It is marginally cross communicable with common and marginally communicable in dwarven. To communicate with a dwarf in Talgen though, would render one impossible to suggest any but the most basic of concepts.
Old talgen is the preserved language of the old empire. Its speakers mainly consist of the upper crust of nobility in the New Empire, and the pantheon clergy. It is interesting to note that the clergy primarily conduct their services in old talgen, despite preaching to people who largely do not understand them at all. This has caused a certain grumbling amongst those who see this as the church’s attempts to increase the dependency of the people on them to interpret the will of the gods.
Dwarven is the language of the dwarves. Many liken hearing it to a rock slide rumbling down a mountain. Despite the heavy contact that dwarves and humans generally have amongst each other, it is very rare to hear dwarves speaking in their native tongue. They prefer to be as secretive as possible. It is more common to have dwarves speaking in common to conduct their business affairs and then switching back to dwarven for their kith and kin. Additionally the dwarven language seems to not have changed very much despite the heavy contact with humanity. Whether this points to an inherent fallibility of human tongues, the strength and stubbornness of a dwarf or perhaps hitherto unknown dwarven xenophobia remains to be seen.
Elven is the language of the elves. To hear elven being spoken is to hear the wind whistling through tree boughs, and to hear a babbling brook meander its way through a twilight glade. Like dwarven it too has been relatively unaffected by contact with humanity. Naturally elven is a language that one will almost never hear inside Morinar as elven presence in human lands is generally restricted to the odd diplomat, adventurer, or merchant. Elven is communicable with sylvan as well.
The language of the orcs in the badlands, it is a harsh and guttural tongue. As far as those who have learned the language say, orcish conveys only the barest rudiments of communication, with most terms revolving around slaughter and bloodshed. If there are other terms for more complex metaphysical thoughts, they have yet to be seen or heard for that matter. It is also passably communicable with goblin and giant tongues.
The language of the orcs smaller cousins, it is known for its quick sharp chittering. Goblin scholars theorize that it is an offshoot of the orcish tongue, and also claim that goblins are probably some devolved form of orc from the wastes that was simply born stunty, and then proliferated. Like orcish, goblin has very few words outside of physical concrete objects and actions. It is somewhat communicable between orc and giant.
The language of the “big folk” as it were, giant is a language that is shared by ogres, giants, and trolls amongst others. Giant sounds quite similar to dwarven though this may only be because of the depth of voice rather than any actual phonetic similarity. An unusual trait of the language is that while it is somewhat communicable with goblin and orc, giant also possesses words for the metaphysical, which are noticeably lacking in the goblin and orc tongues. Scholars again theorize that this may be signs of the “big folk” possessing a once flourishing civilization or at least culture. What may have brought this civilization low however remains to be seen.
Military sign (Dwarven, Elven, Human, Giant, Saurian)
Military sign consists of various hand signals and coded speech required in guerrilla ops, and various other operations that require stealth. Due to its short hand nature though, military sign generally is only used to communicate the bare facts and qualities of a situation. As far as it is known, humans, elves, and dwarves have their own military signs, whether or not other races such as orcs and goblins possess this as well remains to be seen. Military signs are generally not inter-communicable between each other.
Battle flags (Dwarven, Elven, Human, Orc, Goblin, Saurian, Giant)
Battle flags represent the knowledge of utilising flags to communicate with other groups of people. This is most often utilised in navies and on battle fields where runners cannot be utilised to communicate changes. Battle flags vary from the combinations of colour and pennants that the humans use, to the crude banner waving of the orcs and goblins. Battle flags are generally not inter-communicable between each other.
Celestial is the language of the divine, and only the gods and their various avatars speak this language. As far as can be told, the followers of the One True God purport that this is the language their priests chant when calling forth their miracles. Naturally this is something that those who worship the Pantheon dispute hotly. The elves and the dwarves have remained silent on the matter.
Sylvan is the language of the birds and the beasts. It is also the language of the rootwalkers. While a very flowery language, sylvan’s coherency is largely dependent on who speaks it. Communicating with squirrels as opposed to a moose is a very different experience! Sylvan is communicable to those who understand elven, though the finer points would elude them.
Infernal is the language of the demonic, and only the foulest beings in creation speak this language. It is this language that most frequently is associated with dark magicks (though in reality any language is capable of being utilised in their foul rites). Unfortunately whilst celestial is not known in the world, infernal is. Infernal tends to be spoken by those who wish to make foul pacts with the dark gods and their ilk. As with all these pacts though, only the most cunning dealers ever benefit from it, and more often than not it is the demonic.
Saurian is the common language of all the lizardman tribes that live in Jotunland. It is a language that consists of a wide variety of communication styles including vocalizations, hissing, colour changes, and even motions involve frills. Unfortunately should you lack the proper tools needed you will not be able to communicate at all or understand the more complex ideas being conveyed. At most without the proper biological adaptations, one will only be able to understand the most basic of ideas.