3.5 Question about languages in d&d 1e through 3.5

Im trying to locate a complete and accurate (or as close as i can come for both of those qualifiers) tree of languages in d&d for these editions.

Clarifying edit: a tree that details how the languages dervie from older ones from the most ancient one or couple in the multiverse carrying forward. Sorry i was unclear.
 
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Turgenev

Explorer
I can't speak for 3.0 or 3.5 (it has been ages since I've looked at my 3.0 books and I never did 3.5), but in old school D&D languages usually could be broken down as the following:

Common (and Undercommon for those that dwell in the Underdark -- which appeared in late 1E AD&D and was carried over to 2E IIRC)
Alignment languages
Special/secret class based languages (Thieves' Cant and Druid - at least in 1E AD&D)
Each race (including monsters) had their own language. For example, Hill Giants spoke Hill Giant while Frost Giants spoke Frost Giant.

Cheers,
Tim
 
I can't speak for 3.0 or 3.5 (it has been ages since I've looked at my 3.0 books and I never did 3.5), but in old school D&D languages usually could be broken down as the following:

Common (and Undercommon for those that dwell in the Underdark -- which appeared in late 1E AD&D and was carried over to 2E IIRC)
Alignment languages
Special/secret class based languages (Thieves' Cant and Druid - at least in 1E AD&D)
Each race (including monsters) had their own language. For example, Hill Giants spoke Hill Giant while Frost Giants spoke Frost Giant.

Cheers,
Tim
Thanks. I was a little unclear but this is still helpful.
 

aco175

Adventurer
Try some of the FR sites. I recall seeing some stuff on language and writing. Some of the stuff like dwarf writing uses the same as draconic writing meaning it may have been tied together in the past.
 

Turgenev

Explorer
Here is some World of Greyhawk language specifics (mainly from a 1E AD&D perspective). There are several regional/cultural languages for Greyhawk.
  • Common (combination of Ancient Baklunish and Old Oeridian)
  • Suloise (dead language almost extinct, only known to a few scholars)
  • Flan (the oldest, yet stagnant, language still spoken)
  • Ancient Baklunish (while it is one of the ancestors of the Common tongue, it is significantly different from modern common; still spoken in the Paynim tribes)
  • Old Oeridian (it is a 'younger' language with the exception of Common)

There are also several dialects/sub-languages:
  • Feral (secret language spoken by officials of the Iron League)
  • Nyrondese (High Oeridian dialect of Common)
  • The Cold Tongue (dialect, also known as Fruz, is spoken commonly by the Ice, Snow, and Frost Barbarians)
  • Velondi (rural dialect of Common along the Furyondy-Veluna border)
  • Keolandish (local dialect of Old High Oeridian used in and arounds Keoland)
  • Lendorian (obscure dialect spoken in the Spendrift Isles)

And Gnomish is also known as Neblin in the World of Greyhawk. It is commonly used by scholars/sages for taxonomy purposes.

Cheers,
Tim
 
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digitalelf

Explorer
Greyhawk Player's Guide (2e) goes into more detail about each of the languages Turgenev cites above.

The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book (3e) lists in addition to the various core 3e language, several human regional tongues and their relationships between the other languages.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Im trying to locate a complete and accurate (or as close as i can come for both of those qualifiers) tree of languages in d&d for these editions.

Clarifying edit: a tree that details how the languages dervie from older ones from the most ancient one or couple in the multiverse carrying forward. Sorry i was unclear.
Now that's something I've never seen done as an overall thing. I've seen it done for specific races e.g. tying all the variants of Elvish into a language tree, but not for all languages combined.

And thinking about it, I'm not even sure if an overall tree could really exist. There's just too many different creature types out there, some (many?) of whom might well have developed linguistic communication in complete isolation (i.e. taught themselves to speak, and then codified it into actual words with meanings) before contact with other speaking species.

It'd be like trying to tie the real-world Human language tree(s) in with the language trees of insterstellar aliens, should any come to call - they're completely separate.

Never mind that in the typical D&D universe you've also got deities who could grant (or remove!) speech and language to an entire culture on a whim.
 
Thankyou. Both useful answers. Both increase my perceptual scope on the topic.

Do you think there is a main trunk most of the languages fit into though?

Like languages that tie in some way with descending and parallel patterns to the language primeval? Ive seen a lot of connections to that one.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
There was no main trunk. I have seen a few articles trying to hammer the messy mass of languages into a logical form. But my advice is too get the list of languages and come with your own version of a root language.
 
There was no main trunk. I have seen a few articles trying to hammer the messy mass of languages into a logical form. But my advice is too get the list of languages and come with your own version of a root language.
Hmmm. Do you know of a complete list of languages with general descriptions i can get my hands on? Even if there is no main group...still, do you?
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
Several books list what script is used for the written version of each language; IE Elvish, Sylvan, and Undercommon all being written using the Elvish script. That might be helpful for you to determine some kind of language development tree. The 5E PHB has a small list of that type, and the 3E Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book has a more extensive list of languages and the scripts they use. But I've never seen any kind of "in-universe" language tree like that.

If you're looking to discover some kind of root "Original Language" that all other languages descended from in D&D, I believe that role is supposed to be kind of filled by the Celestial tongue, which is a concept based on the esoteric occult ideas of "Adamic", and of the "Enochian" Angelic script created by the 16th century English polymath and occultist Dr. John Dee.

(I have a pretty cool idea for a character I want to try out soon: a Warlock with the Celestial Patron, based on the aforementioned Dr. John Dee, who is basically a Hermetic Kabbalist and uses a system of magic formed from a patchwork of numerology, divine names, and the Celestial language to draw Arcane magical energies from the Divine power of Celestial entities.)
 
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digitalelf

Explorer
Dragon Magazine #66 (October, 1982) has an article that is pretty much exactly what you are looking for! The article is: "Language rules leave lots of room for creativity in your campaign"

It has three language trees; One showing how the faerie tongue is the root of elvish and a few other languages, one for elven that show how it is the root of quite a few different languages, and finally, one for the giant tongue and how it is the root for several languages as well (including dwarven, gnome, and troll for example).

The issue's main theme concerns languages in AD&D (1e anyway). It has a second article that has a language tree splitting the common tongue into several different dialects ("Fantasy philology: Playing the fluency percentages")

The issue's special "pull-out" section is a "Thieves' Can't Pocket Dictionary".
 
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Dragon Magazine #66 (October, 1982) has an article that is pretty much exactly what you are looking for! The article is: "Language rules leave lots of room for creativity in your campaign"

It has three language trees; One showing how the faerie tongue is the root of elvish and a few other languages, one for elven that show how it is the root of quite a few different languages, and finally, one for the giant tongue and how it is the root for several languages as well (including dwarven, gnome, and troll for example).

The issue's main theme concerns languages in AD&D (1e anyway). It has a second article that has a language tree splitting the common tongue into several different dialects ("Fantasy philology: Playing the fluency percentages")

The issue's special "pull-out" section is a "Thieves' Can't Pocket Dictionary".
Excellent!
 
Im actually wanting to do a bit with giants and fey too so this is useful in a special kind of way since it deals with some languages ill be leaning on.
 

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