Non-human Languages of Golarion
Aboleth- The language of the aboleth is one of the oldest on the face (and below the waters) of Golarion.
Boggard- This language of croaks and belched pops is spoken by the boggards of the Mushfens in Varisia. A crude pidgin of it is also spoken by marsh giants, and is supposedly even more disgusting to hear.
Draconic- It is believed that Draconic is among the oldest, if not the oldest language of the multiverse. Because of this, nearly all other languages can trace some roots back to this primordial tongue.
Druidic- This language has been guarded so vigilantly by the druids of Golarion that it remains a secret language to this day. Speakers of Elven or Sylvan may be able to discern a few individual words here and there, but even they remain baffled without a greater context to place them in.
Dwarven- Dwarven is a clipped language of hard consonants and guttural pronunciation. It shares some aspects with Terran, including the runic alphabet.
Elven- Elven is believed to be among the eldest, if not the eldest of the languages mortals speak on Golarion. Scholars conjecture that it was formed when elven speakers of Sylvan tried to introduce grammatical rules and vocabulary from both Celestial and Draconic. The elven alphabet contains thirty-three letters (twenty-four consonants and nine vowels).
Giantese- The language of the giants that exists today is a mixture of an older form (called Original Giant) and Thassilonian. First used by the giant slaves of the runelords in the time before Earthfall, it spread to the rest of Golarion after the destruction of that realm.
Gnomeish- In terms of the sheer number of words in its vocabulary, Gnome is the largest language known. It has changed dramatically since it was first introduced to Golarion, a process which has by no means halted.
Gobish- Gobish is shared by the Goblin, Bugbear, and Hobgoblin races. It is an extremely flexible language, containing a plethora of terms related to subservience, fear, and death
Gnoll- This language is hard for non-gnolls to understand and speak, as it is made up of countless barks, growls and yips. Like many other racial languages, its construction is a clear reflection of the cultural priorities of its speakers: gnoll has 37 words for the term “slave” and only two for “work”.
Halfling- The language of halflings is believed to have developed from a coded version of Taldane and Varisian. It was first used in Cheliax among the halfling slave population and eventually spread across Avistan and Garund.
Orcish- Much like the folk who speak it, Orc is a harsh and violent language, full of sharp delivery and hard consonants. It uses the Dwarven alphabet.
Sphinx- Sphinx is spoken by the guardians of Osirion. The ability to speak this language is needed to become a living monolith.
StrixenThe language of the winged men of Cheliax is a pidgin of Azlanti and Infernal.
Sylven- The language of the fey, Sylvan is one of the most linguistically-static of all languages. Thought to be nearly as old as Draconic or Abyssal, Sylvan has a tiny vocabulary which has barely changed over the eons.
Human Languages of Golarion
There are countless human languages spoken on the surface of Golarion. Below is a small sample of the most common found in Avistan and Garund.
Chelish- Chelish is the language of Imperial Cheliax and her colonies.
Common (Taldane)- Taldane is the most widely spoken language in Avistan and Garund. It is a trade language which takes its alphabet from ancient Jistka and its numerals from Kelish. Most of the terms and grammar are based on ancient Azlanti, although Taldane also borrows from Varisian.
Hallit- This harsh tongue is spoken by the Kellid people originally from the north of Avistan and centers around survival and war. Although many northern barbarian tribes use versions of Hallit that has no written form, at least one ancient one does exist. It is spoken by a significant portion of the population in the following countries: Brevoy, Galt, Mendev, Nirmathas, Numeria, Razmiran, the River Kingdoms, and the Worldwound.
Kelish- Kelish is the language of the Great Padishah Empire of Kelesh far to the east of the Inner Sea. It is a language rich with poetry, scholarly writing, and history, having served the empire for countless generations. It is also widely spoken by the genies of that land. It is widely spoken in Absalom, Alkenstar, Geb, Katapesh, Nex, Taldor, and of course Qadira, the westernmost satrapy of the Great Empire.
Osiriani- This is the most widely spoken language on the continent of Garund. It is a direct descendant of Ancient Osiriani, which modern speakers can partially understand. It is a majority language in Osirion, Alkenstar, Geb, Nex, and Thuvia, and spoken by a sizable minority in Katapesh and Rahadoum.
Polyglot- Polyglot is the collective name given to numerous dialects of the Mwangi tribesfolk inhabiting central and western Garund. Surprisingly, the various tribes can generally understand each other, and it is believed all the dialects are derived from an unknown root language. Polyglot is spoken mainly in the Mwangi Expanse, the Shackles and Sargava.
Shadowtongue- Spoken with any frequency only in the shadowy country of Nidal, Shadowtongue is believed by some to have been directly handed down by the god Zon-Kuthon to his faithful during the Age of Darkness. It is a sibilant language of quiet hisses and whispered words. Many words are pronounced with a delicate intake of breath. Non-speakers who hear it often remark that it sounds like it is being spoken backwards. The winged folk of the Devil’s Perch mountains in nearby Cheliax refer to it as Whisprin and believe that it is not only inherently evil, but that it is the cause of Nidal’s cultural malignancy.
Shoanti- Spoken by the Shoanti people of Varisia, this language has many similarities to Varisian, Hallit, and ancient Thassilonian. A person who speaks any of these three language can communicate basic ideas to a Shoanti, although learning the language is necessary to truly earn these proud people’s trust.
Skald- Skald is the language of the people of the far north-west of Avistan, the Lands of the Linnorm Kings. It sounds both sonorous and harsh to the southern ear and has a chanting, sing-songy quality. Skald uses the dwarven alphabet with a few letters imported from Taldane. Other than in its homeland, it is also spoken in Brevoy, Irrisen, and Ustalav.
Tien- This complex language is spoken by the Tian people from regions of the once great Imperial Lung Wa. It contains nearly 24,000 pictographs and is a tonal language.
Varisian- Varisian is the language of the native Varisian people of Varisia. Vocabulary and grammar are based on a mix of Orc, Taldane, Giant, ancient Thassilonian, and a now defunct proto-Varisian language. It is spoken by a minority of the population of any of the countries these nomadic people have traveled to or settled in over the millennia including Brevoy, Lastwall, Molthune, Nidal, Nirmathas, and Ustalav.
Vudrani- Vudrani is believed to have been born in the Dhavala River basin in distant Vudra, and has been heavily influenced by both Tien and Kelesh. Speakers tend to add many prefixes and suffixes in conversation, making for many difficult-to-pronounce and lengthy words. It is the primary language of Vudra, and people there believe that it is the tongue of the gods. It is also spoken on the island of Jalmeray, and in Katapesh and Nex.
- Korvosan (Common): The slight blend of Varisian, Shoanti, and Common, along with isolation from imperial Cheliax, caused Korvosa to develop a unique slang.
- Riddleport Slang (Common): The heavy influence of Varisian, Skald, and Shoanti have warped the language of Taldane into one with double meanings, more than twenty words for “prostitute,” and made Riddleportians careful of their accent if working a con or acting as spies.
- Lupine Common (Common): The language of the nigh-extinct wolfmen of the extreme north, Lupin has influenced Common where the barking, howling people can be found. This mix, almost exclusively used by the lupins, uses many Common words, but has such a growling, guttural quality that a stuffy Taldan would find it unrecognizable.
- Dark Azlanti (Azlanti): The bastardized language of Azlanti in the Darklands is used by servants of the aboleths and refugees from Ancient Azlant.