Languages of the Great Beyond

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Given the size of the multiverse, there are bound to be countless languages spoken within it. What follows is but a small sampling of languages spoken on planes beyond the material Universe.

Chthonian

Some believe that Chthonian, also known as Abyssal, was the first language developed by the inhabitants of the Outer Sphere.1 Given the incredible rate of change within the tongue, this is very difficult to prove. Although it is the native language of the demons of the Outer Rifts, it is also spoken by many devils, daemons, or others who have frequent dealings with races of the lower realms.2 Chthonian is spoken on Golarion in the Worldwound, a region in northern Avistan with a direct connection to the Outer Rifts that was overrun by demons.3 In Tian Xia, Chthonian is most commonly spoken among the oni and other evil spirits.4

Cyrunian

A language spoken by witchwyrds.5

Daemonic

Daemonic is the language spoken primarily by daemons of Abaddon.6

D'ziriak

The d'ziriak are insect-like natives of the Netherworld who communicate using a language of their own also called D'ziriak. The language sounds quite simply like insect noises: a buzzing and a chittering noise. Fortunately, the creatures can communicate with other races using telepathy.7

Diabolic

Spoken predominantly in Hell and by those who traffic with it, the Diabolic language, also known as Infernal, is a concise language which requires precise speech. It contains many homophones in its vocabulary, leading to great confusion among novice speakers, as similar-sounding words can have widely varying meaning.28 In Tian Xia, Diabolic is sometimes spoken by oni and other evil spirits.4

Empyrean

Empyrean, also known as Celestial, is spoken by all benevolent races of the Outer Sphere. It shares aspects of its structure with both Fey and Draconic,2 with few voiced consonants and lightly voiced vowels.9 In Tian Xia, Celestial is the official language of the empyrean nation of Tianjing, and is growing in popularity in Kwanlai as well.10

First Speech or Feycommon

Almost all creatures in the First World that can speak do so in the First World's ubiquitous, but unnamed, tongue. Outsiders have dubbed this common language as "First Speech" or "Feycommon". The language is similar to both Fey and Aklo to such an extent that those fluent in either language can generally understand First Speech as well, so First Speech may have been the root of both of those languages.1112

Jandelayan

Jandelayan is the supposed language spoken by the inhabitants of the mythical realm of Jandelay. The only creature known to have ever spoken it is the one most closely related to that place: the Oliphaunt of Jandelay.13

Muan

Muan is the language of the Plane of Wood's inhabitants and is composed of percussive and melodic sounds that resemble musical instruments. Its script is often written on plant-based media such as ephemeral papyrus or durable hardwoods and resembles sheet music in its notation of tone and tempo.14

Petran

Petran, also known as Terran, is the language of the Plane of Earth and an extremely slow language not meant to be rushed.2 In Tian Xia, Petran is also known as the "tongue of earth" and is commonly spoken in their Darklands.4

The Plane of Earth's oldest earth elementals speak a version of Petran that is so ancient it is incomprehensible to any others, including native Petran speakers. It is believed this form of the language is that spoken when the Plane of Earth formed, and maybe from even before that time.15

Protean

Protean is the ever-changing language of the proteans, who are natives of the Maelstrom. The language's mutability makes it very difficult to record or study in either its hissed vocalized form or its written form.16

Pyric

The language of the Elemental Plane of Fire, Pyric—also known as Ignan17—is a quick, percussive language, said to emulate the popping of a fire.28 In Tian Xia, Pyric is also known as the "tongue of fire" and is most commonly spoken in the volcanic mountains of central Nagajor and the Valashmai Jungle.4

Requian

Requian is a melodic language spoken slowly in the courts of the Boneyard,18 and is the primary written language in the Boneyard's facilities.19 On Golarion, it is used in Pharasmin writings.20

Shae

Shae is the language spoken by and named after the mysterious humanoids of the Netherworld called shae.21

Sign languages

Several groups use sign and gesture languages to communicate.

Bonewrought willow sign language

Bonewrought willows of the Boneyard are intelligent enough to have learned a sign language from psychopomps, and have since developed and taught it to other bonewrought willows.22

Ib

Ib is the language used by beings of Ib. These creatures are unable to speak in the fashion understood by, say, humans but their language uses facial expressions and hand movements to communicate. They can also learn and understand other species' languages.23

Sussuran

Sussuran, also known as Auran,17 is a soft-spoken, breathy language which shares a similar grammar with the other elemental languages. It is primarily spoken by those of the Elemental Plane of Air,2 and occasionally by the inhabitants of the Wall of Heaven Mountains and the nation of Zi Ha in Tian Xia, where it is sometimes referred to as the "tongue of the heavens".10

Talican

Talican is a percussive language composed of struck metal pangs, such as bells, steel drums, and scraped steel. Many non-metallic beings find such sounds difficult or impossible to reproduce naturally and must use specialized metal tools to communicate. The written form is tactile and embossed or drilled as bubbles, ridges, and holes into sheets of metal, with additional magnetic context that is difficult for non-metallic beings to perceive.24

Thalassic

Thalassic, also known as Aquan,17 is a language from the Plane of Water. It grew from a proto-elemental language which was the progenitor of all elemental languages. Much of its vocabulary is taken up with water-related terms.2 It is a guttural language with many long syllables made up of dense, throaty sounds,1 with affixes and inflections providing subtle shifts in meaning.9 Aquan is spoken in Tian Xia in the kraken-ruled underwater nation of Xidao and by those who wish to do business with this strange realm. It is sometimes known as the "tongue of the sea" there.10

Truespeech

While not a language per-se, truespeech is a magical form of communication possessed by angels, archons, and azatas, which allows them to speak with any creature that possesses a language.25 Mortals are not known to be capable of using truespeech, although on very rare occasions, empyreal lords have been known to bestow this power on worthy paladins in their service.26 Truespeech is also spoken by the undead personifications of death known as grim reapers,27 and the divine servitor race of Abadar's called the orsheval.28

Utopian

Utopian is the language of Axis, aeons, inevitables, and axiomites. Aeons demonstrated to axiomites after the Convergence that the language is a combination of aeon principles and formulaic mathematical expression.29

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 251. Paizo Inc., 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 220. Paizo Inc., 2008
  3. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 198. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 James Jacobs, et al. “Life in the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 49. Paizo Inc., 2011
  5. Erik Mona, et al. “Bestiary” in Children of the Void, 88. Paizo Inc., 2008
  6. Logan Bonner, et al. “Appendix” in Bestiary, 348. Paizo Inc., 2019
  7. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 113. Paizo Inc., 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Introduction” in Inner Sea Races, 7. Paizo Inc., 2015
  9. 9.0 9.1 Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Introduction” in Inner Sea Races, 6. Paizo Inc., 2015
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 James Jacobs, et al. “Life in the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 50. Paizo Inc., 2011
  11. James L. Sutter. “The First World” in Sound of a Thousand Screams, 67. Paizo Inc., 2010
  12. James L. Sutter. First World Adventures” in The First World, Realm of the Fey, 7. Paizo Inc., 2016
  13. Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Chapter 3: Characters” in Mythic Realms, 58–59. Paizo Inc., 2013
  14. Logan Bonner, et al. “Wood” in Rage of Elements, 191. Paizo Inc., 2023
  15. Eleanor Ferron, et al. Plane of Earth” in Planes of Power, 24. Paizo Inc., 2016
  16. Amber Stewart. “Keepers of Chaos” in The End of Eternity, 56. Paizo Inc., 2009
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Logan Bonner, et al. Rage of Elements, 3. Paizo Inc., 2023
  18. Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 270. Paizo Inc., 2019
  19. Jessica Catalan. “Ghost King's Rage” in Ghost King's Rage, 19. Paizo Inc., 2022
  20. Jessica Catalan. “Ghost King's Rage” in Ghost King's Rage, 13–14. Paizo Inc., 2022
  21. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 242. Paizo Inc., 2011
  22. Mike Welham, et al. “Bestiary” in The Dead Roads, 82–83. Paizo Inc., 2019
  23. James Jacobs & Amber Stewart. “Bestiary” in Dreams of the Yellow King, 87. Paizo Inc., 2016
  24. Logan Bonner, et al. “Metal” in Rage of Elements, 137. Paizo Inc., 2023
  25. Paizo Inc., et al. “Appendix 3: Glossary” in Bestiary, 310–311. Paizo Inc., 2009
  26. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 1: Classes” in Ultimate Combat, 62. Paizo Inc., 2011
  27. F. Wesley Schneider, et al. “Bestiary” in Shadows of Gallowspire, 87. Paizo Inc., 2011
  28. Sean K Reynolds, et al. Inner Sea Gods, 277. Paizo Inc., 2014
  29. Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 8–11. Paizo Inc., 2019