The Languages of Ghelspad

Human Languages

Albadian: A language with a long and mostly obscure history, it is spoken throughout northern Ghelspad and shares many characteristics with Elven.

Calastian: Present day Calastian originated among a group of colonies along the southeast corner of Ghelspad that spread quickly northwest. Blending with various cultures and ethnic groups along the way, there is little trace of this original group, except in small influences further north in Vesh. Though Calastian has become dominant in southeastern Ghelspad, there are a large number of dialects, particularly in Calastia and Lageni.

Darakeene: With influences from Dunahn and dwarvish, Darakeene is a hodgepodge language that is spoken widely across the continent.

Dunahn: Dunahn is another language with strong ties to Elven. In this case, it is related to a tongue once known as Vaeratha. Unrelated in any obvious way to standard Elven, Vaeratha was abandoned as a tongue long before the Divine War, only spoken by half-elves and humans with close dealings with them. Today, it is spoken almost entirely in Dunahnae.

Ledean: This is Ghelspad’s “common” tongue. As a dead language, it is easy to learn and a convenient language for trade and statecraft. In the centuries leading up to the Divine War, the regional variations and “common Ledean” became more distinctive, evolving into a number of individual languages. No nation uses Ledean as an official language, but most Ghelspadians have at least a basic understanding. Many regional languages, long suppressed by Lede, have come back into usage following the Divine War, but Ledean remains the language of diplomacy, scholarship, religion, and trade. Those who know it will have a good chance of making themselves understood throughout the continent. Most languages are normally written in Ledean script, though there are many local alphabets.

Ontenazu: This language is descended from ancient Ledean and has gained many features that make it unique to the Ontenazu area. It is spoken only in isolated areas, however, and is probably dying out.

Shelzari: Widely spoken throughout southern Ghelspad, Shelzari shares many features with traditional Zathisk, but due to the Shelzari’s more open culture, it is adaptable and includes many foreign words and concepts. After Ledean, it is the language of choice among merchants and sailors, and a pidgin version of Shelzari is spoken in distant Termana.

Ukrudan: The language of the Ukrudan tribes has gone through a great deal of change. Though currently isolated, at the time of the Divine War the Ukrudans were part of the extensive Empire of Elz, which covered large portions of southwestern Ghelspad. Earlier trade and other civilizations had also caused some transfer of culture and language.

Veshian: Veshian is a cluster of related languages common to eastern Ghelspad. It is apparently descended from the original Ledean, but has changed sufficiently to be considered a separate language.

Zathisk: Once spoken as far north as present day Hollowfaust, Zathisk’s influence is fading. Currently, a large number of inhabitants of the Calastian Hegemony still speak Zathisk, though the numbers are dropping rapidly. In a few generations, the language will likely be a dead one, if the Calastians have their way.

Nonhuman Languages

Aquan: Not much is known about the languages of the sea-dwelling races, but this common tongue is spoken by most intelligent aquatic species. Even the pisceans, who hate all other underwater races, have limited knowledge of it, for it enables them to send intelligible demands for surrender and tribute.

Dwarven: The language of dwarves has held a long running influence on western Ghelspad languages. Just about every city, holding, and family in less populated areas speaks a distinct dialect. Burok Torn forms one mostly uniform dialect, and the dwarves of Vesh speak another somewhat more diversified dialect. Traditional dwarves, such as those who dwell in Burok Tom, use an ancient runic script, while those associated with humans utilize Ledean.

Elven: Elven is actually divided into three largely unrelated languages: High (spoken by the forsaken elves and the elves of Uria, but otherwise quite rare in Ghelspad), Middle (spoken by wood elves), and Dark (or, derogatorily, “low”) Elven.
Middle Elven is closely related to Albadian, enough so that Middle Elven can be considered a dialect of Albadian.
High Elven is rare on Ghelspad, being the native tongue of the Termanan forsaken elves. A dialect of High Elven is spoken by the Ubantu tribesmen of the Desert of Onn.
Each of these languages is written in Ahna, or Elven script. Middle Elven is frequently written in Ledean, particularly that used by half-elves.

Halfling: The halflings once spoke two languages. One was a dialect of Middle Elven called Eriikimi, and the other was a dialect of Zathisk known as Santasha. Both are now extinct except in old texts, and halflings have adopted the languages of those who dominate them.

Kraken: The language of the kraken is unpronounceable by human throats and mouths. It can, though, be approximated. In structure, most words are short and have a complex series of tonal and sound modifiers. The kraken alphabet is arcane and complex, normally observed carved on stone or coral tablets in kraken settlements.

Orafaun: The antelope-like priests of Erias, who inhabit the mysterious Drifting Isle, speak a soft and gentle sounding language that few humans have ever mastered. Many elven scholars have attained some fluency, but only after decades of practice. The language also includes many non-verbal elements, such as facial expression, body attitude, and possibly even magical or mental emanation from the orafaun, features that are difficult, if not impossible, for non-orafauns to duplicate.

Piscean: The Piscean tongue is likewise difficult for humans to pronounce, but boasts a relatively simple grammar and structure.

Titan Speech: The original languages spoken among the titanspawn were an attempt to communicate meaningfully with their creators. After a great deal of experimentation, the titans eventually developed a basic series of languages. Mesos and Mormo were instrumental in this process. These languages were gradually adopted by all the titans for communication with each other and their followers. Over millennia, these languages became characteristic of each titan. Unlike other languages, the titans demanded that their followers use these basic languages and retain typical usage of them, as the titans had no wish to keep up with any changes brought about by their creations.
Titan Speech, also known as the Dark Speech or “Common Titan,” is still spoken in many parts of Ghelspad. Spawn of each titan spoke a slightly different variation on the Dark Speech, but all are basically the same. The language of the slitheren is a dialect of Dark Speech that shifts pronunciation considerably to accommodate their squeaks and chitters.

Vangal’s Tongue: The origins of this language are somewhat uncertain. What is known is that as early as 2000 OC this language was common among the companions of visiting Exemplars from Termana and is thought to have originated there. Over the centuries, it became a language of monks and peasants, near both Hedrad and Rahoch. Some of these peasant groups eventually developed into tribes of horsemen in the central areas of Ghelspad and formed the foundation of the present day Horsemen of Vangal.


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