Languages in Immoren have been evolving since before recorded history. In certain eras there has been a proliferation of tongues even more bewildering than the war-torn political landscape of the so-called Thousand Cities. Language has followed in the wake of culture, and warfare between tribes has resulted in the dominance and subjugation of tongues, while dialects have sprouted and evolved in isolated communities. Each of these tongues has a complex and varied history and many regional variances, and dozens of lesser languages linger on the fringes.
- 1 Caspian-Morridane languages
- 2 Khurzic languages
- 3 Molgur languages
- 4 Elvish languages
- 5 Quor-gar and Quor-og
- 6 Skorne languages
- 7 Language isolates
- 8 Mixed languages
- 9 Other/Unclassified languages
- 10 References
The first written documents, such as text of the True Law, were in Proto-Calacian, which was the immediate precursor of Caspian. Caspian spread with both the Menite and Morrowan faiths before it changed and fragmented. The Caspian language reached its height during the Thousand Cities Era and became the language of educated discourse. Most ancient Morrowan and Menite texts in the south were written in Caspian, with the most modern and internally consistent version being set down by Ascendant Angellia when she presented the definitive translation of the Enkheiridion.
Several languages descended from Caspian are still in common use. Additionally, there have been a number of intermediary Caspian languages; most are of interest only to linguists, but some are still spoken in certain regions, although rarely as a primary tongue.
The most conservative Caspian language, Cygnaran is the dominant language of the southern Iron Kingdoms, having been widely adopted by the people of the Midlunds and Caspia itself. It is the official and national language of Cygnar and the Protectorate of Menoth, and is also widely used by all races and ethnicities in the Iron Kingdoms as a second language and lingua franca.
Cygnaran is a pluricentric language. The Protectorate dialect, called Sulese by its speakers, has adopted a number of Idrian terms and phrases and includes distinct religious terms. The riverfolk and swamp denizens of the northern stretches of the Black River are infamous for their Swampie language, a dialect that includes many terms from Morridane and is thus difficult to understand by the uninitiated. The Arjun employ a similarly dense dialect that mixes old Thurian with Cygnaran.
There has been some debate as to whether Scharde, spoken throughout the Broken Coast and among the denizens of Cryx, can be considered its own language or should be classified as a dialect of Cygnaran. As the Nightmare Empire has absorbed denizens of every mainland kingdom, its language includes words from Molgur, Morridane, Ordic, Llaelese, and Khadoran.
Llaelese is descended from the Old Rynnish language and has changed very little since before the Orgoth Occupation. It was the official language of Llael before the Khadoran conquest, and since then the Llaelese people still use it among families and friends.
The modern descendant of Tordoran, Ordic is the most widely spoken language in Ord. The vocabulary includes many words from Thurian as well as a number of Orgoth terms. Other words have been borrowed from a variety of languages, likely as a result of Ord’s status as a seafaring melting pot. Ordic is notable for having established many widely accepted nautical terms, which are familiar to sailors of all nations.
The language of Morrdh, Morridane has been subject to far less scholarly study than Caspian. Morridane used to have its own alphabet, although both living Morridane languages have abandoned it and switched to the Caspian script.
In ancient times Morrdh conquered a number of Idrian tribes, who abandoned their language in favour of Morridane, although Idrian still exhibits significant substrata from the replaced indigenous languages of the region. Idrian also incorporates many Molgur terms. Although Idrian once had its own alphabet, it has been largely forgotten. Most Idrian speakers cannot read or write its original alphabet.
Idrian is an endangered language - Idrians who convert to the Menite faith have mostly shifted to Sulese Cygnaran - but is still spoken among the remaining pagan tribes on the fringes of the Protectorate of Menoth and elsewhere in the Bloodstone Marches. Menite Idrians who still speak Idrian write it with the Caspian script. Other tribes have taken up the Molgur alphabet.
The most widely spoken of the Morridane languages, Thurian has persisted in Ord and northwestern Cygnar, as the descendants of Thuria are proud of their ancient roots. Thurians do not consider themselves descendants of Morrdh, but their kingdom had regular contact with the dark kingdom and eventually shifted to a Morridane dialect influenced by their region's indigenous languages. Thurian is a very innovative language and one of the most distinct of western Immoren’s living tongues, making it difficult to learn by outsiders, although most Ordsmen know some Thurian as a matter of course. In Ord, it is considered less prestigious than Ordic or Tordoran, a matter of dispute between these two peoples. Thurian literature is quite popular among the nobles of northwestern Cygnar, where the tongue has a more romantic connotation.
Proto-Khurzic was the indigenous language of the prehistoric northwestern Immoren. It was first written down by pilgrims from the southern Exodus who spread Menite teachings into the northlands. Their disciples sought to translate the True Law into local tongues and preserve these scriptures in writing. Khurzic uses a distinct alphabet, although it was likely derived from the pre-Caspian alphabet used in Icthier. Khurzic is no longer spoken but is studied by scholars of ancient history. Most Khurzic languages have begun to fall by the wayside in favor of modern Khadoran, which is spoken pervasively across the Khadoran Empire.
The official language of Khador is the enduring language of the north and has been learned by many in the regions bordering its expanding territories. Over the generations Khadoran has steadily swallowed up rival languages in the north, incorporating a variety of words from the other Khurzic tongues. Khadoran includes a number of Orgoth-derived terms as well as some taken from Molgur. Most Khadoran speakers can communicate easily with one another despite regional accents and colloquialisms, although fewer Khadorans in the rural regions are literate compared to those in other kingdoms.
Kossite is an endangered tongue, perhaps due to its scarcity of written literature. The Kossites were largely illiterate for most of their history, even after many tribes converted to Menoth. In some remote forest communities and among certain families the language is preserved, but most of its speakers have shifted to Khadoran.
Umbrean has been preserved by the people of Umbrey and is still spoken both in homes and among other Umbreans. There are distinct Umbrean translations of the True Law, which differ in small but noteworthy ways from their Khadoran counterparts. This language has persisted despite the prevalence of Khadoran, although most Umbreans speak both, and many also speak Llaelese, Ordic, or Cygnaran.
Proto-Molgur was originally as a creole language, created from a variety of previously dissimilar tongues. It spread across western Immoren with the dominance of the Molgur confederacy before the Warlord Era. It was once pervasive among Devourer Wurm followers, but its use is now confined to fringe settlements and dialects adopted by Dhunian races. Due to its association with the Wurm, it is sometimes referred to as the Berserker’s Tongue. Many modern Molgur languages are partially mutually intelligible, although conveying complex ideas can be difficult.
Molgur-Og is native to the ogrun, who have added their own words and particularly expanded the language’s range of curses and swearing. There is no written form of Molgur-Og. Rhulic ogrun use Rhulic for written purposes, and even in speech this language has become increasingly prevalent. Molgur-Og is on the decline among Rhulic ogrun, who retain its use primarily for Dhunian services and family matters.
Molgur-Tharn is one of the most distinct dialects of Molgur. The Tharn have their own words and phrases but their language is otherwise quite similar to ancient Molgur. Molgur-Tharn is full of hard consonants and only a few, sparsely used vowels. Its simplicity allows the Tharn to communicate with one another even while transformed; more nuanced speech is difficult to pronounce with long fangs and an extended muzzle, but Molgur-Tharn is easily growled. The Tharn are not literate but have a strong oral tradition.
Molgur-Trul, used by the trollkin, is the most widely used Molgur tongue. It is the most innovative of the Molgur languages and has become the most versatile in that family. Use of this language spread to other troll species, including full-blood trolls, pygmy trolls, and dire trolls, although their vocabularies and sentence construction are much more limited.
Gobberish and Molgur-Bog
Gobberish is as divergent from Proto-Molgur as Molgur-Trul and is difficult for outsiders to comprehend. Gobberish is less cohesive and consistent than the other Molgur tongues, frequently becoming an amalgam including local human tongues of the region. The most broadly spoken dialect includes many Cygnaran terms. Since most southern gobbers can also speak Cygnaran, they sometimes seem to employ Gobberish just to confuse humans that annoy them. They also use it to speak privately, often speaking particularly quickly to further confound outsiders.
The Iosans speak a language called Shyr, an ancient and extremely complex language, with rigid rules of syntax and grammar entirely dissimilar from human and dwarven tongues. The Shyr script is logographic and uses thousands of intricate glyphs. Shyr is almost never heard outside of Ios, and as the Iosans guard their language as tightly as all their secrets, only a handful of non-Iosans are familiar with its written form. There are distinct dialect differences between the language used in Shyrr, Iryss, and Lynshynal as well as among those used in some of the outlying fortifications. Additionally, the numerous houses have developed terms specific to their use. Members of the Retribution of Scyrah have created an extensive system of gestures to be used in place of spoken language for certain tasks.
Aeric, the language of the Nyss, has diverged considerably from Shyr after the Nyss left Ios and settled in the Shard Spires. The written form bears no similarities to Shyr’s, is revered and considered sacred. Its sigils can be found on Nyss weapons and the winter stones that once marked the fringes of their homeland. Traditionally only Nyss priests and sorcerers were literate, though that custom begins to weaken when the Nyss leave the Shard Spires. Other Nyss, eager to preserve their culture, have begun to learn the Aeric script.
Quor-gar and Quor-og
The language of the gatormen is Quor-gar, a tongue that employs a variety of sounds many races find difficult to reproduce or comprehend, combined with body, tail, and head posturing are a significant aspect of the language. The combination of sounds and postures are needed to convey complex ideas. Other races, even those having regular contact with gatormen, can rarely communicate properly in Quor-gar. Quor-gar forms a small family with the bog trog language Quor-og, which is partially mutually intelligible with Quor-gar.
Havaati, the official language of the Skorne Empire, is a standardised form dating to the aftermath of the War of the Exalted. In an attempt to record a definitive account of the events, the lord tyrant-turned-scholar Havaatan transcribed an epic rendition of these battles. This work codified many aspects of the language and grammar utilised by literate skorne.
Havaati is written using a script invented by Kexorus, the Sage of Malphas. He carved its runes in stone to preserve ancient histories, legends, and the hoksune warrior code of Vuxoris, becoming one of the very few non-warrior skorne who earned exaltation.
Kadesh is the local dialect of the Kademesh, the largest skorne ethnicity who inhabit the southeastern Tor-Kademe. Most Kademesh also speak standard Havaati fluently unless their profession keeps them isolated from the central empire.
Soresh, the native language of the rural Sortaani and Kasortaan skorne in the northern Skorne Empire, is a rapidly spoken language related to Havaati that includes a simpler and less ornate alphabet. Though Sortaani can speak standard Havaati, speaking Soresh demonstrates pride in one’s background.
All dwarves and most northern ogrun speak Rhulic, and this language is not generally well known outside of Rhul. Although some human scholars have undertaken its study, particularly in communities with dwarven enclaves, dwarves prefer to speak in Cygnaran or Khadoran when dealing with humans. Written Rhulic is complex, consisting of numerous runic combinations of geometric shapes. The alphabet also has a distinct variant used for written correspondence that differs from the angular variant used for inscription. Most Rhulic ogrun can speak fluent Rhulic and some can even read and write it. Rhulic has a variety of minor dialects, with the most distinct used among clans who associate least with outsiders. The miners of Ulgar have a distinct dialect, for example, as do the dwarves of remote eastern Farhallow.
Grun, the spoken language of the farrow, is a mix of guttural squealing, abrupt grunts, and words borrowed from the Cygnaran language and modified for the farrow. A Cygnaran speaker might be able to pick out a number of words, but Grun is utterly incoherent and irreproducible to a non-speaker. Grun is unwritten, though some enterprising farrow borrow elements of the Cygnaran alphabet and Molgur runes to mark totems and fashion personal symbols.
Telgesh is a sacred and a mystical language of great importance to Thamarites. It is thought to have played a key role in Thamar’s own ascension as she began to unravel the occult mysteries underlying reality. The development of the unique Telgesh script was based on research into older languages, including studies of Morrdhic writings. Telgesh is not an ordinary means of communication and is rarely spoken aloud except in certain mystical rituals or prayers. Most Thamarites consider use of the tongue for common purposes to be disrespectful and even dangerous. The letters and words of Telgesh have inherent power and their casual use has unpredictable consequences, including gaining the attention of Thamar and her scions.
The Telgesh script certain shared elements and similarities to the mystical alphabets used by conventional arcanists. This is no coincidence, since it is thought that the runes discovered after the Gift of Magic are an evolution of Telgesh passed to humanity to enable humans to more easily control arcane forces. Non-Thamarite arcanists downplay or dismiss this similarity. Telgesh sigils are particularly useful in the practice of necromancy, arguably the eldest arcane art, and they are frequently employed as part of the animating process of creating undead. Thamarite advocates believe this is only one of many applications of these sigils, the understanding of which is an ongoing and never-ending process.
Five Cant is a Thurian-based pidgin blending old Tordoran, Cygnaran, and Caspian. It is a very fast-spoken and intentionally confusing dialect used extensively in the town of Five Fingers that originally arose among the port’s criminals and has spread to the criminal circles of other cities.
The Gnasir, a tribal people living near the White Bay of northern Cygnar, speaks a creole language blended from Cygnaran and Thurian, with many words taken from Molgur-Trul.
There are many other languages in western Immoren, including dozens of tongues among isolated areas on the fringes of Khador or other nations. Some are obscure like Satyx, the language of the satyxis; Kworak, the croaks' language, the nearly incomprehensible Thrallspeak utilised by the more advanced undead, and the blasphemous language of the infernals. The Thousand Cities era saw the development of dozens of tongues now of use only to scholars attempting to piece together the distant past.