Worldbuilding Day 9: Languages

11 Jan

Today’s exercise is about languages. What languages to people in different parts of your world speak, and how do those languages sound? Are they based on languages from Earth? How does this affect the names of people and places?

If you are writing something that doesn’t take place in a different world, you aren’t off the hook! As my good friend at Paper, Pen, and No Plan explains, every story is in need of some language development. I mean, if it’s taking place in New York a hundred years from now, surely there are some new words that have taken on. When you think about it, “selfie” didn’t even exist like ten years ago. Languages are constantly evolving. If your story is taking place in 2013 and you think you don’t need this exercise, think again. Do some research about colloquialisms specific to your setting.

There are three different language groups on my little planet, as follows:

Kedron, Bellador, and Domanar

This language is, of course, English. Or at least represented by English. I doubt anyone is going to want to slog through a book written in a made up language they can’t understand! Having developed in different ways, though, each country has a slightly different dialect from the other, and additional accents in different regions of their countries. I always thought of Kedron as being more “American” with hard R’s; Bellador as more British; Domanar as Scottish. Names of people are typically recognizable (Gareth) or at least easily pronounceable (Aralyn or Farram), with an “English” feel to them.

I was thinking that Bellador and Domanar were invaded to become part of the Kedroni Empire years and years ago, and that initially their languages might be more like Gaelic, so some very, very old books might be written in a different language, but the people who would be able to read them would be few and far between.

Noraja and Hajar

A mix of soft and hard sounds, with syllables running together so that two syllables sounds more like one. I like to think of these two as similar, but different languages. For instance (though they don’t sound quite like this), one could be “Spanish” while the other is “Italian.” If you know Spanish you can usually get by in Italy, and vice versa.  Will likely make up words when necessary.

Ruain and Edolie

Most soft sounds, vowel-heavy. Different regions also have older, “tribal” languages that have influenced certain words. In some areas, these languages are still spoken in addition to the main language, which was developed to make it easier to trade between the two countries. Slightly different accents, like the difference between American and Canadian accents.


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