Common vocabulary of Noen
As trade expanded throughout throughout Noen, various languages ended up replacing many of their lexical words with those of the worldwide trade language. This relexification is slightly more extensive than the adoption of terms derived from Latin and Greek into English. A close analogy is the sort of mixed language that English became in the eleventh century CE when the conquerors' Norman French was bolted on top of it, or Chamorro that replaced much of its vocabulary with that of Spanish, whose speakers had colonized Guam.
At some point, governments pushed the common vocabulary as an intentional policy. At the time, it was thought to be the best middle ground to keep language barriers from delaying the spread of scientific knowledge while preserving the individual character of each culture's native tongue. One benefit is that a speaker of a language that has assimilated the common vocabulary might be able to pick out a few words in another such language and possibly get the gist of what's being talked about. It would sound like a very thick Poirot-speak: the lexical words would be familiar but the inflections, prepositions, helping verbs, and word order not so much. The common vocabulary brings about mutual intelligibility that discourages tribalism, yet allowing indigenous peoples to keep those parts of their languages not covered by the common vocabulary helps preserve knowledge of their parts of the world.
Had something like this been done in real-world Europe, it might helped Gregor Mendel's cracking of dominant and recessive traits spread past Hungary.
|Behind the scenes information|
It is believed that false cognates act as an attractor for words across languages. For example, words for mother, father, and food tend to match more often than chance alone would predict. So any vocabulary that is a false cognate in a real world language (e.g. Latin habere vs. German haben) is fair game. The next step in constructing these is to capture these false cognates, especially those involving these:
But apart from obvious cases like mama and papa and kiki/bouba case (which provided Nognese bobba "ball"), sound symbolism is still tenuous.
In a work with multiple languages, the viewpoint character's language is rendered in the reader's language, and other languages are depicted based on the degree of similarity. For example, if the viewpoint character speaks the language of a conquered land that has assimilated common vocabulary, Noeneg might be rendered with English open-class words and Noeneg closed-class words and inflections, the exact opposite of the situation in The Gostak. This would begin to fade as the viewpoint character learns the language.
- jlovegren, kaleissin. "Answers to Why do we have interest in (dying) language preservation?". Linguistics Stack Exchange, 2012-03-05. Accessed 2014-09-21.
- acattle. "Answer to Is there a way to prove one language is more efficient than another language for science?". Linguistics Stack Exchange, 2013-03-07. Accessed 2014-09-11.
- David Robson. "Kiki or bouba? In search of language's missing link". New Scientist, 2011-08-17. Accessed 2014-02-04. Via Floating Tone. "Answer to What is the term for how close a phonetic expression is to its meaning?". Linguistics Stack Exchange, 2011-10-21. Accessed 2014-02-04.