Questions tagged [languages]

Questions about languages, whether alien, fantasy, or human. Always use in conjunction with the specific work tag the language appears in. If a more specific tag exists use that instead, for example, [tolkien-languages].

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Short story about an alien glossary of untranslatable terms [duplicate]

A story from an anthology, a list of untranslatable terms, possibly written by a female writer... I think one of the terms was "laha sihp", defined as "the first breath of fresh air ...
Gary McCammon's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
197 views

Is there an SF story on the theme of language that does NOT use the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? [closed]

There are numerous SF stories based on language but I have never heard of one that doesn't focus on the idea that language shapes thought. For example, here is a previous question that lists a few ...
Qwokker's user avatar
  • 167
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

When was the first time a human spoke an alien language in Star Trek, without the use of the Universal Translator?

The Universal Translator in Star Trek translates languages to allow species to communicate with each other. This obviously leads to a need not to know an alien language, as the computer will translate ...
A.Steer's user avatar
  • 5,421
0 votes
0 answers
119 views

How did Lo'ak learn the language of the Tulkun?

At one point during the movie, Jake Sully's son Lo'ak is abandoned (by Na'vi of the Metkayina clan) in the middle of a sea predator's territory. Lo'ak is saved from the predator by Payakan, a member ...
Peter M's user avatar
  • 4,436
18 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why didn't Gandalf identify the troll's swords?

Elrond identified the swords by their runes in The Hobbit: Elrond knew all about runes of every kind. That day he looked at the swords they had brought from the trolls’ lair, and he said: ‘These are ...
Michael Foster's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
356 views

Linguistics science-fiction story by James Tiptree, Jr

A while ago I stumbled on a list of science fiction with linguistic themes. I'd quite like to re-find the list, but I remember little more about it than that it mentioned Babel-17 by Delany, and a ...
LSpice's user avatar
  • 293
8 votes
2 answers
443 views

Novel or short story where people who had different professions spoke different languages?

There was a work about a distant future where people belonged to different castes or tribes based on their education/specialization, and every tribe had their own language. A mathematician would ...
DCD's user avatar
  • 171
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is "Dank Farrik" an exclamatory or a cuss word?

I have seen Dank Farrik being used only in the Mandalorian show and only in scenes where the word sayer either is in trouble or just surprised. This makes me wonder is it an exclamatory word akin to - ...
shanu's user avatar
  • 8,074
6 votes
3 answers
3k views

What's offensive about 'poodoo'?

In a lot of Star Wars media, most notably The Phantom Menace, we see "poodoo" used as an apparent curse word or exclamation: However, in its first appearance ...
Milo P's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
415 views

How, precisely, does one "narfle" a Garthok?

In the 1993 movie Coneheads, Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) and his family (Jane Curtin and Michelle Burke) are recalled to Remulac. He is brought before the Highmaster (Peter Aykroyd(*)), who is displeased ...
Spencer's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
163 views

Science fiction story published before 1966 with constructed language demonstrating some NLP principles

In a 1966 interview, J.R.R. Tolkien was discussing his thoughts about contemporary science fiction writers. It is when dealing with the question of language, he feels, that science fiction writers do ...
ibid's user avatar
  • 93k
22 votes
2 answers
2k views

Trying to remember the title of the novel I thought Arrival was based on

When I saw the O-shape of the alien language in the trailer for Arrival I thought "Ok, I already know the plot and how it ends". Today I discovered that the plot was instead taken from "...
nihil_mirari's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
512 views

What is Hup singing in jail?

Hup singing in jail was one of my favourite scenes from the Age of Resistance series (episode 4). I'm learning what I can about the podling language, and as such I'd like to know what the song ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the meaning of 'baize over a budgerigar'?

" - And we wait," Ron finished, throwing it over Hermione's head like baize over a budgerigar and rolling his eyes at Harry." Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Chapter 12 What is ...
Games Explorer's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
510 views

How can Hadrian Marlowe speak Cielcin when humans haven't had social contact with the Cielcin?

This is about Empire Of Silence (volume 1 of the Sun Eater series by Christopher Ruocchio). In Hadrian Marlowe's formative years, his Scholiast, Tor Gibson, has taught him several languages, including ...
Nimloth's user avatar
  • 243
1 vote
2 answers
274 views

Is English the language used on the Enterprise and the Federation? [duplicate]

In Episode 4 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, a character asked another character to rephrase something in English. I thought the standard language used in the Federation is called Galactic Basic or ...
Roslan Amir's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is Raktajino Klingon like a bat'leth or Klingon like Shakespeare?

In DS9, Trials and Tribble-ations, Odo says that raktajino is a 'Klingon coffee'. My question is: is raktajino made from a Klingon native plant species or substance that is similar but not related to ...
scifiseuser's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
345 views

How to translate "The Eye of Sauron is always watching" to Black Speech? [duplicate]

How would the following sentence be translated to Black Speech: "The Eye of Sauron is always watching"? Or, more simply, "Sauron is always watching", or, even more simply, "...
JustOneMan's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
416 views

What language is being used in season 2, episode 2 of Evil?

When David speaks to and/or hallucinates the angel in 'A is for Angel' they both speak in a language other than English. Was this a real (natural) language or a constructed one? It sounded like it ...
Adele- Nexus of Potlucks's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
636 views

Why was the name for Death's End changed in translation?

The final book in Cixin Liu's Three Body series was titled in Chinese, 死神永生. The first 2 characters translated literally mean "death spirit", a personification of death. In English an ...
Batperson's user avatar
  • 3,333
3 votes
1 answer
107 views

Pronouncing Hindi words in Tanith Lee's "Bright Burning Tiger"

(If this belongs elsewhere, point me there; I didn't see an appropriate language stack, and it is in a fantasy story.) I have been working up Chapter 2 of Tanith Lee's collection Tamastara, Or The ...
keshlam's user avatar
  • 1,083
10 votes
1 answer
159 views

What is a tabukuk?

Near the beginning of Keith Laumer's A Plague of Demons,* two spies are meeting in a restaurant in North Africa, and one sweeps their table for surveillance devices. We went through a ritual of hand ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 96.6k
18 votes
2 answers
3k views

Was Tolkien's concept of an Oliphaunt borrowed from Afrikaans?

The Afrikaans word for an Elephant is an 'Olifant' which is phonetically similar if not identical to the mythical elephant-like creatures called the Oliphaunt. There is even a scene in the movie where ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
194 views

In universe are multiple levels or instances of the Matrix called Matrices or Matrixes?

The word 'Matrices' to me feels too close to the mathematical notation than the constructed reality. While the English plural can be applied to imported words, even if they have Latin or other origins....
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
  • 82.2k
32 votes
3 answers
3k views

First use of the term "belter" in sci-fi as the demonym for asteroid belt inhabitants?

Obviously the series The Expanse has brought the term "Belter" into relatively common use. However, I have seen the expression used in Larry Niven's great novel Protector (strongly ...
StephenG - Help Ukraine's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
368 views

Vintage movie about early modern humans

Many years ago, I saw a movie that seemed to be set in the stone age. If my memory serves me correctly, the movie looked old even then, leaving it likely in the 1960s-80s range. Since it's been so ...
Arash Howaida's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

What sign language does Makkari use?

There are a few facets to this question: What sign language is shown in the Eternals film (is it actually ASL, BSL, etc)? If it is an actual real-world sign language, are we supposed to infer that ...
ThePopMachine's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the language Santa Claus speaks with the elves?

In the 2020 film The Christmas Chronicles 2, we hear Santa Claus speaking Elvish with the Elves. Katie turns out to speak it as well. I can't recall if that language was used in the first film as well....
SQB's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
2k views

In Star Trek, are the humans actually all speaking English?

So, in Star Trek, across much of the franchise, but especially in the 24th century, we are to understand that the problem of human-alien communication is solved by universal translator - a device ...
ZooSKP's user avatar
  • 137
3 votes
2 answers
795 views

Has anyone ever revealed the Oompa-Loompish language (fortunately, which Willie was fluent in)?

Oompa-Loompas were the workers at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, who were imported by Willy Wonka direct from Loompaland. We are first introduced to the Oompa-Loompas in Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s ...
Silly but True's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
259 views

Linguist on alien planet must learn the local language, ends up becoming an actor

I'm trying to remember a story I encountered in the past. Here's what I remember: A linguist goes to an alien planet to teach English. On the way he loses his translator and has to learn the alien ...
Nick Velotta's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
190 views

Episode titles of "Luna"

An answer to this question reminded me of the children's science fiction show Luna, shown on ITV in 1983 - 1984 (and also apparently broadcast in New Zealand). Although I've only ever seen the show on ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is the language of the TVA, He Who Remains, and all of the printed material in these places in English or Allspeak?

Many years ago, I learned about Allspeak and how the Asgardians used Allspeak which was basically like a magical way that no matter how they spoke, it was translated into the vernacular of the person ...
Jacob Jones's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Pronunciation of 'Teixcalaan'

I was wondering what the correct pronunciation of the word 'Teixcalaan' (in Teixcalaanli) is. I rewrote the word using the IPA and arrived at (except using the sound 'l' for the letter 'l' instead of '...
David's user avatar
  • 203
5 votes
1 answer
3k views

Does the name of Shub Niggurath contain or reference a racial slur?

I've always thought that the name of the Lovecraft deity Shub Niggurath was intended to sound vaguely Semitic, but I recently noticed that it seems to encode a certain well-known English-language ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
806 views

Is Teixcalaanli based on a real human language?

In Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire the main planet speaks a language called Teixcalaanli. Is this language based on Aztec, Mayan, or some other real human language?
wogsland's user avatar
  • 1,141
20 votes
3 answers
4k views

First science fiction movie or tv show that had a complete language created for it?

I read a question about what the language used in 1951's The Day the Earth Stood Still was based upon and I guessed, apparently rightly, that it was just made up. I also of course know that there is a ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 14.6k
7 votes
1 answer
722 views

Is Judoonian a language, and if so is there an official translation?

I've been researching linguistics to help write a conlang, and I've taken an interest in Judoonian because of its unique use of vowel sounds. I found a translator online, but it's clearly not official ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
  • 82.2k
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

How does everyone in Star Wars understand droidspeak? [duplicate]

All throughout the Star Wars movies, we see the droids emit several beeps and whirs, and the humans reply to the droid as if it were a normal conversation. How can every character in Star Wars ...
Just another Star Wars geek's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
261 views

Society with standardized English language

This is a question based on the thinnest of clues: In the future, an Earth man visits a society that has standardized its English so that there are no irregular forms. The characters say "bes&...
Invisible Trihedron's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
290 views

Is Poe not spelling Hux in Aubresh?

At the beginning of TLJ, Poe stalls the First Order’s attack by pretending to have a bad connection: Poe: Hux? Hux: He can? Poe: With an ‘H’? Skinny guy? Kind of pasty? Hux: I can hear you. Can you ...
yrodro's user avatar
  • 3,477
6 votes
0 answers
218 views

Eric Flint's "Mother of Demons" Enagulishuc language rules?

I've been trying to figure out the rules for Enagulishuc, the English dialect spoken by Gukuy (and demons) in Eric Flint's 1997 first novel "Mother of Demons". The Gukuy are alien mollusks with ...
MikeC's user avatar
  • 726
11 votes
2 answers
668 views

What accent do trolls in Discworld have?

“Dis der Riot Act and you’ve all got to read it, right? “Boys, if dere was a PhD in bein’ fick, youse wouldn’t be able to find a pencil.” These are a couple of quotes from Detritus, the Troll in the ...
jl6's user avatar
  • 475
40 votes
3 answers
8k views

How did Finn learn to understand Chewie so quickly?

When Finn meets Chewie, he's astounded that Han can understand him - and I can see where he's coming from: it all sounds the same to someone who didn't grow up with those phonemes, i.e. we can't tell ...
Martha's user avatar
  • 16.2k
7 votes
2 answers
245 views

Do non-human groups gender their ships?

From various quotes in Star Trek we can tell that Federation officers (or at least the human ones) have preserved the English language tradition of referring to ships with feminine pronouns (e.g. "I'm ...
Oblivious Sage's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it common for protocol droids to be disallowed to translate the Sith language?

A plot point in The Rise of Skywalker is C-3PO's insistence that while he can read text written in the Sith language, his programming forbids him from translating it for others. Is this restriction a ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
1k views

What in-universe sign language is the Mandalorian using, and how did he know it?

In the episode 5, the Mandalorian communicates with two Tusken Raiders using sign language. In the Star Wars universe, what sign language is he using? Is it a special sign language to Tusken Raiders, ...
vikingsteve's user avatar
  • 2,427
17 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is the Mandalorian using out-of-universe real sign language?

In Episode 5 of The Mandalorian, Mando uses a form of sign language to communicate with two characters. From an out of universe perspective, do any of the signs he is using correlate to ASL (American ...
NKCampbell's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
807 views

Does the Black Speech have a name?

Most sources seem to call the language of Sauron's servants the Black Speech and/or the language of Mordor, while other languages have their own names, such as Khuzdul, Quenya, and Sindarin. Does the ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
953 views

How developed is Huttese?

Between all the dialog in A Phantom Menace and A New Hope, the various animated series (where I understand the Hutts figured prominently in some story lines) and now The Mandalorian, there has been ...
ThePopMachine's user avatar

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