Skull & Shackles
Common (Taldane) 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. It is thought to be one of the oldest human languages still spoken in the Inner Sea region, and is certainly the most widely-spoken.
Dtang is the tongue of the Tian ethnic group known as the Tian-Dtang who primarily inhabit the nation of Dtang Ma in southern Tian Xia.
Erutaki is the native tongue of the Erutaki people of the Crown of the World.
Hallit 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 widely spoken in Brevoy, Galt, Mendev, Nirmathas, Numeria, Razmiran, the River Kingdoms, and the Worldwound.
Hon-La is the native language of the Tian-La people who reside in northernmost Tian Xia, mostly in the nations of Hongal and Shaguang.
Hwan is the native language of the ethnic Tian-Hwan of Hwanggot, although it also became popular among those rebelling against the empire of Lung Wa and those who now fight against its Successor States.
Kelish is the language of the Great Padishah Empire of Kelesh far to the east of the Inner Sea. It is a throaty, phlegmatic 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 the Inner Sea region in Absalom, Alkenstar, Geb, Katapesh, Nex, Taldor, and of course Qadira, the westernmost satrapy of the Great Empire. The traders of Kelesh are so ubiquitous, that the language is even spoken by a sizable minority in the great city of Goka, in distant Tian Xia.
Minkaian, sometimes called ‘Minkan’, is spoken in the Minkai Empire as the native language of the Tian-Min peoples. The language is related to Tien, and is also very widely spoken in Tian Xia, especially the northern and central regions of that continent including Jinin, Shokuro, Chu Ye, and Wanshou.
Osiriani 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 sizeable minority in Katapesh and Rahadoum.
Polyglot is the collective name given to the 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 is a mix of Taldane, Infernal, and Azlanti, Spoken with any frequency only in the shadowy country of Nidal. 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 strix 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. Shadowtongue is the official language of Nisroch.
Shoanti is spoken by the Shoanti people of Varisia, and has many similarities to Hallit, Varisian, Giant, and ancient Thassilonian. A person who speaks any of these three languages can communicate basic ideas to a Shoanti, although learning the language is necessary to truly earn these proud people’s trust.
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 Common is spoken by the Tian people from regions of the once great Imperial Lung Wa; its use is so prevalent it is often referred to as Common within the Tian Xia region. It contains nearly 24,000 pictographs and is a tonal language with thousands of homophones.
Varisian is the language of the native 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 known for its subtle nuances and double-meanings, and is a perfect tool for innuendo. 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.
Varki is the native language of the semi-nomadic Varki people who live in the far north of Golarion, centred in Icemark in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings.
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.
Aboleth: The language of the aboleth is one of the oldest on the face (and below the waters) of Golarion.
Adlet: The language of the adlet, a snow-wolf-like humanoid species.
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.
Ceratioidi: The language of the ceratoidi.
Cyclops: The language of the cyclops was also once spoken by giants. It developed before the coming of humans, among the cyclops of the legendary realm of Ghol-Gan.
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.
Elder Thing: The super-intelligent elder things, or ‘old ones’, speak their own language also called Elder Thing. Due to the creature’s alien form, the language is extremely difficult for other creatures to speak; it consists of high pitched shouts and doleful woodwind sounds. The written language is equally alien, being spun in circular patterns looking like nonsensical dots.
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). It is a complex language, but sounds poetic in tone and cadence.
Garuda: Garuda is the name of the language and the name of the creature that speaks it. Garudas are brightly colored avian creatures living in tropical climates, including the island nation of Jalmeray. Garudas, being intelligent creatures, may also speak Common and Vudrani.
Giant: The language of the giants that exists today is a mixture of Cyclops 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.
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.”
Gnome: 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. It shares certain similarities with both Aklo and Sylvan.
Goblin: Goblin 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.
Grippli: Gripplis are humanoids that are clearly related to frogs. They may speak Common but, amongst their own kind, they speak their own language called Grippli.
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. The language has many regional dialects to the point that halflings may find difficulty communicating with foreign halflings in complex areas. Modern halfling has the same grammar structure as Azlanti; scholars can only suggest why this is the case, but it tends to suggest halflings were present within the ancient Azlanti empire alongside the humans.
Orc: 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.
Sahuagin: The language of the sahuagin, sometimes spoken by merfolk and gillmen.
Sphinx: Sphinx is spoken by the guardians of Osirion. The ability to speak this language is needed to become a living monolith.
Strix: The language of the winged men of Cheliax is a pidgin of Azlanti and Infernal.
Sylvan: 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.
Tengu: The language of the tengu, which may be found in a number of dialects. The language is also spoken by Yamabushi tengus: oni that resemble tengus.
Treant: The language of the treant, presumably used during moots.
Drow Sign Language
Ancient Osiriani: The archaic root language of northern Garund, Ancient Osiriani came into being over 8,000 years ago at the dawn of the Age of Destiny. Though different from modern-day Osiriani, it is still decipherable to speakers of the modern language. It has more complex pictograms than its modern counterpart, although there are not nearly as many words. Words and symbols in Ancient Osiriani can also have many more meanings than the modern language.
Azlanti: Even though the language of the kingdom of Azlant has been lost for millennia, its linguistic legacy is carried on in such languages as Taldane, Polyglot, Hallit, and Varisian. The elves of the Mordant Spire are rumored to still speak the original language, acting as guardians of the tongue just as they oversee the last remnants of the ancient continent above the waves.
Jistka: The language of the Jistka Imperium, which stretched across western Garund and Avistan during the Age of Anguish, Jistka is remembered for forming the basis of the alphabets of many human languages. Skald, Taldane, and Varisian have numerous letters from the Jistka alphabet, and the Jistka numerals (where I is 1, V is 5, etc) is still used by scholars and royalty for their most formal documents.
Tekritanin: This language (pronounced tek-rih-TAN-in) evolved with the founding of the Tekritanin League during the early millennia of the Age of Destiny, combining elements of many of the tribal languages spoken at that time in northern Garund. Many modern languages can trace elements back to Tekritanin, especially words concerning heat, desert, or governance. A woman possessed by the ghost of an ancient astrologer named Kubburum Ishmedagan, who was fluent in Tekritanin, was recently discovered by Pathfinders in Absalom. Sadly, the ghost was sent to Pharasma’s Boneyard before a detailed study of his speech patterns could be recorded.
Thassilonian: Only modern Varisian and Shoanti contain elements of this truly ancient language spoken in the Thassilonian Empire before the coming of the Age of Darkness. Scholars remember it chiefly as the first language to develop three grammatical genders and for using a complex alphabet made up of three separate runic systems.