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Amaril
2013-04-03, 11:11 AM
Hey everybody :smallsmile: I'm looking for some input of possible names for languages in my campaign setting. I have names for most of the languages commonly spoken in the region where the game takes place, but there are a few more exotic and far-flung languages that I still need names for. If you could offer some suggestions for sources of possible names, or come up with any good-sounding ones yourself, I'd really appreciate it.

These are the languages I have names for so far:

Ilarnic: The "common" language originally spoken by the indigenous Ilarn humans. Inspired mostly by English, but proper nouns will often include Latin flavor and some purely invented vocabulary to sound more fantastical (e.g. the cities of Mathos and Celondia). Uses a heavily modified and adapted version of the Neph alphabet (see below).

Old Ilarnic: An archaic ancestor of modern Ilarnic. Used mostly by barbarian nations outside the cities, and by some pagans as a religious language. Inspired mostly by English and Gaelic, with very occasional Latin flavor. Uses the same modified Neph alphabet as modern Ilarnic, on the rare occasions it is written at all.

Neph: The language of the Old Kingdom, which serves as the basis for many modern languages, including the various forms of Ilarnic, which use a version of the Neph alphabet heavily altered by time. Neph is essentially a dead language, only used regularly by Dianists for religious purposes, and by scholars who study the Old Kingdom. Its sound is inspired mostly by Latin, with occasional influence from the Elder Tongues (see below).

Medscaic (med-SAY-ic): The most common language among the Green Elves, and one of the most spoken languages in the region overall. Medscaic mostly sounds like the typical fantasy Elven language. It uses its own script.

Mandar: The language of the Scamander humans of the near east. Spoken Mandar sounds mostly Germanic, with some Gaelic influence. It uses the same alphabet as Ilarnic.

Orcish: This is not a single language, but a collection of similar languages spoken by the various Orc-kind nations that comprise the Children of the Wolf. Each dialect is subtly different, but most sound pretty much the same as standard fantasy Orc language. None of the dialects are known to have written forms.

Tula: The language of the Ina Tu-liq humans from the north. As with Orcish, this is more of a group than one single language (though Tula dialects tend to be more similar than Orcish ones). Most sound like a mix of various Inuit, Native North American, Asian and Himalayan languages. Tula languages are not written--information is transmitted verbally and through pictograms.

Ice Elven: This isn't the actual name of the Ice Elves' language, but almost everyone calls it some variation of this. The actual name of the language is kept a complete secret by the Ice Elves, as is the language itself--teaching it to an outsider is severely punishable in virtually all Ice Elf communities, and those few that differ from this norm tend to be ganged up on and conquered by the others very quickly. The spoken form of the language sounds more like the typical fantasy Drow language than anything else--like stereo Elven, but with a lot of X's, Z's, and more guttural sounds. It uses its own script, which is also secret.

Elder Tongues: The various Elder Tongues spoken by extraplanar beings are not standard languages that the PCs can learn--they are only ever used in magic. Although both the Others (read--Great Old Ones) and the various Fae races are believed to speak Elder Tongues, only those spoken by the Others are ever used by mortals--the languages of the Fae are only spoken amongst themselves, and are not known or used by divine spellcasters. Arcane magic-users, however, use vocabulary from the Elder Tongues as essential components of their spells. They generally sound something like "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn".

Ok, after my long-winded descriptions of the languages I have names for already, here are the ones I still need:

The Dwarven language, which sounds like Quechua,

The language of the southern Bhatu humans, which sounds like a mix of Swahili and Arabic,

The language of the Tasiim (Gnomes), which sounds mostly Semitic,

And the various languages of the Halflings, who come from the western islands and sound somewhat like a mix of Greek and Italian.

So, if anybody has any suggestions, either for places I can find names or names of their own, I'd love to hear them. Thanks everybody!

Craft (Cheese)
2013-04-03, 02:17 PM
Are you looking for exonyms, or endonyms? This is an important distinction.

Amaril
2013-04-03, 02:23 PM
Are you looking for exonyms, or endonyms? This is an important distinction.
Both if possible, but I'll start with exonyms, since those will probably be used more often.

Thinker
2013-04-03, 02:39 PM
Dwarven - Stonespeak
Bhatu - Bhatan
Tasiim - Tasiic
Halflings - Piratian, Seaspeak, Gibberish

Xuc Xac
2013-04-03, 10:28 PM
The names of some of the languages named so far seem to be out of character with what they are supposed to sound like. "Ilarnic" is a spoonerized version of "Killarney", so I would expect it to have a Gaelic flavor. "Neph" is supposed to sound like Latin, but "Neph" is the only word we know from that language and it sounds distinctly Semitic (compare Hebrew "nephilim" and Egyptian "Nephthys").

For your Quechua dwarves, I would suggest "Rimaq rumipura" for the spoken form (Quechua for "speaking among stones") and "simi rumipi" for the written form ("language on stones").

For Bhatu, they might call their own language "kibhatu" but outsiders might use their own suffixes like "Bhatuni" or "Bhatunese". The Latin-based "Neph" might just adapt "kibhatu" to their own grammar and call it something like "cibato" or "cibatus".

Tasiim would speak Tasiic or Tasite or Tasitic.

If the halflings come from a bunch of islands and they have different related languages, then they would probably have names for their languages based on the islands where the languages are spoken. Just add "-an", "-ic", or "-ian" to the end of the names of the islands. See "Corsican", "Rhodesian", "Sicilian", "Cretan", etc.

Amaril
2013-04-04, 09:37 AM
The names of some of the languages named so far seem to be out of character with what they are supposed to sound like. "Ilarnic" is a spoonerized version of "Killarney", so I would expect it to have a Gaelic flavor. "Neph" is supposed to sound like Latin, but "Neph" is the only word we know from that language and it sounds distinctly Semitic (compare Hebrew "nephilim" and Egyptian "Nephthys").

For your Quechua dwarves, I would suggest "Rimaq rumipura" for the spoken form (Quechua for "speaking among stones") and "simi rumipi" for the written form ("language on stones").

For Bhatu, they might call their own language "kibhatu" but outsiders might use their own suffixes like "Bhatuni" or "Bhatunese". The Latin-based "Neph" might just adapt "kibhatu" to their own grammar and call it something like "cibato" or "cibatus".

Tasiim would speak Tasiic or Tasite or Tasitic.

If the halflings come from a bunch of islands and they have different related languages, then they would probably have names for their languages based on the islands where the languages are spoken. Just add "-an", "-ic", or "-ian" to the end of the names of the islands. See "Corsican", "Rhodesian", "Sicilian", "Cretan", etc.

The Gaelic flavor of Ilarnic is supposed to indicate that the name comes from the old form of the language, which sounds more Gaelic than Latin because the influence of Neph wasn't yet present to the same degree. Neph is actually an exonym for the language created by the Tasiim, which is used so often because the Tasiim are so involved with the study of Old Kingdom lore--that's why the name sounds Semitic (it was inspired by the term Nephilim).

I like the sound of Kibhatu, I'll probably use that. The suggestions you made for Dwarven language are good too, except that my Dwarves aren't stone workers and don't live underground--they're hill-dwelling shepherds who make their livings off their sheep, goats and llamas (at least, the ones who live in Dwarf communities and not in human cities).

Thanks for the help :smallsmile: