Common Languages: Basic | Ersatz | Primitive | Sign Language
Dialects of Basic: Centrillium | Dredge | Floe | Keystone | Ore | Prytonian | Sanguid | Solar | Thornium | Veiled
Exotic Languages: Green | Forge | Primordial
Restricted Languages: Discarnate | Heretical
Across the fragments in Astral Space, a variety of known languages and dialects are spoken. While humans predominantly speak dialects of the Basic language, other languages derived from ancient, alien, or other sources exist and remain in use by scholars, researchers, aristocrats, criminals, and mystics.
Common languages and dialects are those found throughout the Kingdom of Humanity. They are languages and dialects that humans are well acquainted with and use in their every day communications. There are four common languages: Basic, Ersatz, Primitive, and Sign Language. A human character starts with Basic (if raised in society).
Basic is the official language of the Kingdom of Humanity. Developed by the royal government on Solis thousands of years ago, its sole purpose is to unify humanity following the Fragmentation and provide a common means of communication and culture for the Kingdom’s millions of inhabitants.
The adoption of Basic over any native language is a prerequisite for a wild or unconnected fragment to receive a well and become connected to the Astral Leylines. Additionally, all government documents, broadcasts, and propaganda exclusively utilize Basic.
All characters that are born in connected (civilized) society natively speak Basic.
In terms of speech, Basic is extremely formal and conjugates verbs in relation to social class and other hierarchies (with the monarchy and the government receiving special reverence). Its usage is seen as proper and necessary in polite society.
However, because of the vast distances between fragments, as well as the vast cultural differences between them, dialects of Basic have cropped up throughout Astral Space. These dialects are often geographic in nature, centered around a specific urban or culturally-influential fragment in a cluster.
Yet, some dialects have become so ubiquitous and useful that they extend far beyond any geographic range and are used in specific situations or settings where standard Basic is seen as inefficient or inadequate.
There are nine officially recognized dialects of Basic.
Geographic Range: Slag Cluster, Alloy Cluster, Junkton, Frontier Fragments
Centrillium is one of the most spoken dialects in Astral Space. Popular on Centrum and the surrounding fragments in the Slag Cluster, it is known for its freeform structure that ignores all formality and has few style rules for sentence construction. The dialect is filled with slang and is popular for its wide assortment of insults and profanities. When spoken, it has a guttural sound compared to other dialects and is notable for its high use of sarcasm.
Centrillium is commonly spoken on fragments far away from Centrum. Because of the sheer number of workers who migrate from Centrum’s densely popular streets to find new opportunities, a vast array of working class individuals on frontier, agricultural, and industrial fragments use Centrillium as their preferred dialect.
Historically, Centrillium was also the predominant dialect of the Comet Cluster before the Kingdom of Humanity forsakened the Cluster and ceased its development.
Geographic Range: Comet Cluster
Dredge is a dialect most predominantly found in the Comet Cluster but is spoken throughout Astral Space by pirates, religious sects, and other fugitives. The dialect is esoteric ascribing rules of speaking and writing that are unknown to any other dialect of Basic.
The dialect was initially created by academics, historians, and archeologists studying—or dredging—the Comet Cluster as a cipher to both efficiently document their findings while also obscuring them from the public and the government. Dredge in this form has since been lost, as the original dialect guides and dictionaries were destroyed alongside the destruction of the Comet Station. Despite these setbacks, the dialect lives on in a simplified form that is still spoken.
The government views Dredge as a dangerous dialect that bastardized the principles of Basic and the Kingdom of Man. Speaking the dialect openly on government controlled fragments, by those who can recognize it, can lead to derision or open hostility. However, the dialect is a necessary component of life as a fugitive where the dialect is preferred by peers operating outside of the law or even modern civilization.
Geographic Range: Breach Cluster, Ocean Cluster, Freeze Cluster
Floe is a dialect with a broad geographic range from the Breach Cluster to the Freeze Cluster. It is considered to be forgiving since many of the grammar and style rules found in other dialects are non-existent. For example, the dialect lacks proper honorifics and uses gender-neutral pronouns. It is recognizable when spoken aloud for its harsh consonants and its slower speaking style.
The dialect originated in the Arctic cluster before its destruction by the Elysian Anomaly. However, it gained prominence on the various, and oftimes isolated, fragments near the Azure Stretch at the time of their settlement. Due to this history, Floe is rarely spoken outside of its native regions and is seen as an odd cultural legacy of when the Kingdom of Humanity was less connected. Nevertheless, Floe speakers tend to be proud of their dialect and the associated cultural beliefs that were developed from the initial isolation of their fragments.
Geographic Range: Trade Cluster, Synth Cluster, Cross Fragment, Trading Vessels
Keystone is the dialect predominantly spoken on the Arch Fragment and the Cross Fragment as well as the myriad of other settlements associated with trade. Named after the famous Keystone Exchange located on the Arch Fragment, the dialect was created overtime to bridge the communication gaps between the two major trade fragments, Arch and Cross, before expanding along the two fragments’ trade routes. It is recognizable for its brusque and efficient way of speaking. Keystone frequently uses shorthand, contractions, and compound words to explain matters quickly. This leaves the dialect sounding fast-paced and curt.
The speed and ease of which Keystone can be expressed makes it popular in the business world. It is commonly spoken in marketplaces, stock exchanges, and auctions throughout Astral Space. Likewise, trading and shipping vessels that make stops regularly to the Trade Cluster often use it as their preferred dialect.
Geographic Range: Grove Cluster, Vine Cluster, Breach Cluster, Agricultural Fragments
Ore is the dialect of Basic most connected with agricultural fragments and the Vine Cluster. It is thought to have originated on or near the Oren Fragment where historical usage of Elven vocabulary was popular and the dialect adopts a variety of words from the Green language (particularly the Elven dialect). This allows the dialect to accurately describe weather, plants, animals, and geographic features with ease. When spoken aloud, Ore has a drawl and a slower speaking style, yet it is most recognizable for its high-pitch tones that resemble bird and other animal calls.
The dialect is most popular on agricultural fragments and on other fragments that have an abundance of flora and fauna. For this reason, outdoorsmen, scouts, and publications about survival or nature often prefer Oren.
Geographic Range: Eclipse Fragment
Prytonian is the dialect of the destroyed Prytos fragment and is exclusively found spoken in the NeoPrytonian Enclave on the Eclipse Fragment. The dialect is one of proud history, descending from the original dialect spoken by Prytonian refugees to the Eclipse Fragment. With the separation and isolation of the NeoPyrtonian Enclave, Prytonian diverged drastically from other dialects, failing to adopt new words, grammar, or phrases. For instance, the dialect utilizes a form of the Basic writing system that was phased out centuries ago. In its place, the dialect developed unique slang and slurs that mark insiders from outsiders to the enclave.
While speakers of other dialects may have pride in their dialect or view it as superior, Prytonian speakers see it as a matter of cultural survival following the destruction of their ancestral home. Speakers rarely use other dialects in the enclave and those that do are met with suspicion or animosity.
Geographic Range: Dusk Fragment
One of the oldest dialects of Basic, Sanguid is the dialect widely spoken on the Dusk Fragment. Supposedly invented by Lord Solomon, the dialect borrows from several extinct languages known personally by the Lord and uses unique sounds and syllables not employed in other dialects. When spoken aloud, the dialect is seemingly foreign and considered airy, elegant, and exotic to non-speakers.
Because of the dialect’s ability to describe injuries, diseases, and conditions of the blood, the dialect is frequently preferred by medical professionals and scientific names are often ascribed to plants, animals, and medicine in Sanguid.
Additionally, due to the strong local identity found on Dusk, native residents of Dusk frequently use Sanguid in their everyday lives even when travelling or living on other fragments. The usage of Sanguid is seen to these individuals as a matter of pride and a mark of superiority. It also helps to bring native Duskers together, often forming communities in foreign fragments that are pridefully called ‘Blood Clots’.
Geographic Range: Crown Cluster, University Fragments, Pinnacle Fragment, Blush Fragment
Named after the Solis Fragment, Solar is a dialect predominantly spoken in the Crown Cluster. It is known for its highly accented and flowery speech. It has the largest vocabulary of any dialect in terms of adjectives and it utilizes elaborate tenses nonexistent in other dialects.
Additionally, Solar is famous for its use of honorifics. Nearly every individual, regardless of social rank, is given an honorific attached to their name either as a prefix or suffix that designates the social class differences between the speaker and the listener.
This strong emphasis on honorifics and vast vocabulary makes Solar the preferred dialect of the social elite and is commonly used by screenwriters and playwrights. Likewise, the dialect is widely embraced on university fragments because of its broad vocabulary and its adoption of words from ancient languages.
Geographic Range: Mana Cluster
Thornium is the newest recognized dialect of Basic. Unlike other dialects which were developed accidentally and over centuries, Thornium was manufactured by the Kingdom of Man for use in the Mana Cluster. The government developed it to aid and expedite the isolated human settlements in the Mana Cluster integrate into the broader realms as loyal subjects. The dialect uses terms and grammar from the Thorn Fragment’s dialect of the Primitive language. When spoken, the dialect is known for its heavily accented speech and the assortment of primitive words that use syllables and mouth movements unrecognizable to other Basic dialects.
King’s University published the first Thornium dictionary and manual in 202 Burke IV 13. The two publications followed years of study by leading linguists and historians who specialize in the Primitive language. Since the dialect is so new, usage outside of the Mana Cluster is rare beyond academic fragments that studied and developed the dialect.
Geographic Range: Umbra Cluster, Synth Cluster, Grove Cluster
Veiled is the dialect popular on the Shroud Fragment, the surrounding Umbra Cluster, and the industrial parts of the Synth and Grove Clusters. Infamous for its complexity, the Veiled dialect is deliberately verbose and long-winded when compared to other dialects. It employs a huge vocabulary filled with homonyms, homophones, and homographs. Additionally, the dialect when spoken is highly tonal, with a speaker’s tone changing the meaning of what is being said (even if the pronunciation is the same). All of these characteristics give Veiled its namesake and the dialect is notorious for allowing a speaker to “hide” their intentions or otherwise speak in a coded manner to the untrained ear.
Throughout Astral Space, Veiled can be found in boardrooms, black markets, and executive lounges. It is the preferred dialect of aristocrats, executives, corporations, and criminal syndicates when discussing matters of business or secrecy.
Eratz is a language that compresses the Basic language for quick and efficient transmission between pieces of technology. In written form, it appears in the form of dots and lines (resembling long barcodes) that machines can easily process. When heard aloud, the language sounds like a series of high-pitch and low-pitch noises strung together. Humans, usually technicians, can learn to read and write the language after extensive training. However, due to the speed associated with Ersatz, it is physically impossible for a human to speak the language without the aid of a machine or a bio-modification.
There are two dialects of Ersatz.
- Standard. This dialect is used throughout the Kingdom of Man. It was originally developed by the government to hasten inter-fragment communication.
- Hymn. This dialect is used by Clerics, particularly those in the Cult of Eternity. Its origin is unknown but assumed to be derived from the GOD satellites. When spoken aloud, it supposedly sounds like mechanical singing. Learning how to understand Hymn requires being a Cleric or somehow communing with a GOD satellite. For this reason, communicating through Hymn is considered a grave crime against the Kingdom of Humanity and is illegal.
Primitive is the academic term for the language originally spoken by humans before the Kingdom of Man. An unknown number of Primitive dialects exist with each unconnected fragment speaking its own variant. The language is considered simple and barbaric since the Kingdom of Man mandates the adoption of Basic before a fragment can be formally connected to society. Because of this, the unconnected areas of the Mana and Gigas Clusters are the only known fragments that still speak Primitive.
All characters born outside of connected (civilized) society natively speak Primitive.
Sign Language is a language that is actually an extension of the Basic Language. Basic must be known for Sign Language to be learned. However, once you have learned Sign Language, you can express any known dialects of Basic using your hands or other body movements. The language is often taught in classes at schools in Urban fragments or on University fragments. It is used by those who are deaf, mute, or have a physical disability. It is also employed by the military and by some criminal groups to communicate silently without the aid of technology.
Exotic languages are ancient languages that were once spoken by other races before the world fragmented. Exotic languages are uncommonly spoken in wider society and are usually the realm of specific trades, sciences, or professions. Most native speakers of these languages are either extremely rare, hostile to humans, or extinct. There are three exotic languages: Green, Forge and Primordial.
Green is the language associated with growth and regeneration. All creatures that natively speak it are inhuman and are said to have originated from the mythical Tree of Life. The language can sometimes be spoken by recluses and frontiersmen on fragments near the Fae Mist or in the Grove Cluster. However within larger society, Green is mainly studied and spoken by a select few, predominantly academics (such as archeologists or historians), eccentric aristocrats, and creative types, like poets. Learning green takes considerable practice and time, since the language is unlike anything humans normally speak. Similarly, most of its native speakers are seemingly extinct or are hostile to humans. This means most of the language has been reconstructed from ruins and ancient texts.
There are three known dialects of Green.
- Elven. The dialect spoken by Elves, who humanity assumes are extinct.
- Goblin. The dialect spoken by Goblins and their kin.
- Orcish. The dialect spoken by Orcs, who humanity assumes are extinct.
Forge is the language associated with strength and endurance. All creatures that natively speak it are inhuman and are said to have originally hatched from the legendary Earthen Core. The language is customarily practiced by higher ups in the exclusive manufacturing guilds on the Mithril and Mantel Fragments. Beyond these ceremonial purposes, the language is also found in the Gigas Cluster, particularly near the Titan Fist. A small group of academics, archeologists, and historians also study the language, but it is less popular than other exotic languages studied on University Fragments. Most of its native speakers are seemingly extinct, tremendously rare, or extremely hostile to humans. For this reason, the language has been reconstructed from ruins or carried down through generations of oral tradition.
There are three known dialects of Forge.
- Dwarvish. The dialect spoken by Dwarves, who humanity assumes are extinct.
- Draconic. The dialect spoken by Dragons and their followers.
- Giant. The dialect spoken by Giants, who humanity assumes are extinct. The dialect is also spoken in the Gigas Cluster.
Primordial is the language associated with the Maelstrom and elementals. The language is inherently mystical in quality since other, somewhat-intelligent life can also speak limited versions of the language’s dialects. The language remains mostly obscure outside areas near the Maelstrom or the Azure Stretch. However, some recluses, hermits, and huntsmen have been known to speak it. Primordial is not usually studied by historians or archeologists, but rather academics focusing on arcana, cosmology, elemental technologies, or zoology. Unlike other exotic languages, native speakers of Primordial are alive, but are incredibly rare to find in the wild and can be rather inhuman and dangerous if encountered.
There are four known dialects of Primordial, each associated with an element.
- Aquan. The dialect spoken by Water Elementals and creatures associated with water.
- Auran. The dialect spoken by Air Elementals and creatures associated with air.
- Ignan. The dialect spoken by Fire Elementals and creatures associated with fire.
- Terran. The dialect spoken by Earth Elementals and creatures associated with earth.
Restricted languages are inhuman languages connected to other planes of existence. The study and acquisition of these languages is strictly regulated as they are seen as a threat to the Kingdom of Humanity. Learning these languages without proper clearances is considered a major crime. There are two restricted languages: Discarnate and Heretical.
Discarnate is the language associated with the soul and the clone planes. It is spoken by projections outside the Chamber of the Soul and creatures native to the clone planes. Humans cannot naturally speak or understand discarnate but can learn either through exhaustive study on a University fragment, making a pact with one of their projections, or through exposure to a creature from the clone plane.
Restricted. Learning any form of Discarnate requires special clearances from the government (typically relating to a profession or academic field). Using Discarnate without these permits is grounds for arrest and interrogation by the Inquisition.
There are three dialects of Discarnate.
- Fanciful. The dialect spoken by Fae and creatures from the Dream Plane.
- Grave. The dialect spoken by Undead and creatures from the Shadow Plane.
- Totem. The dialect spoken by Eidolons and creatures from the Totem Plane.
Heretical is the academic language used to understand and commune with planar outsiders. The language is unique in that humans have no natural ability to speak it and can only read, write, and understand the language. The language and its dialects are spoken through mental projection and only planar outsiders or creatures who made pacts with those outsiders are capable of “speaking” it. Heretical and its dialect can only be learned through rigorous study at a University Fragment or from special tutors.
Restricted. Learning any form of Heretical requires special clearances from the government (typically relating to a profession or academic field). Using heretical without these permits is grounds for arrest and interrogation by the Inquisition.
There are four dialects of Heretical.
- Abberate. The dialect spoken by Aberrations and creatures from the Far Realm.
- Demonic. The dialect spoken by Demons and creatures from the Abyss.
- Celestial. The dialect spoken by Angels and creatures from Celestia.
- Infernal. The dialect spoken by Devils and creatures from Hell.