Wyrd of the Kingdoms of Kalamar
In Tellene there is no one common tongue that unites the races of Man. There is a so-called Merchant’s Tongue that all player characters are assumed to be fluent. This tongue is a conglomeration of other languages which is used by merchants (of course), mercenaries, and other travelers. Any reasonably large town or any community on a major highway will have at least a few people that speak it.
In addition to Merchant’s tongue, the PC will speak their alignment tongue and the major human tongue of his area:
Brandobian is spoken in the far western lands and in some of the more isolated regions of the Young Kingdoms. Brandobian names are thick with consonants and bold by the standards of other peoples (Celenon, Granden, Malvus, Vrasten), with feminine names usually ending in -a or -el. Surnames are common only among the nobility and freemen.
Dejy is spoken by the Dejy people throughout Tellene, but has so many varied accents and dialects that the player must specify which region’s version of Dejy they speak. It does not have a written language, though more civilized Dejy may have adopted the alphabets of their neighbors. The Dejy do not generally use surnames, and may in fact change their names to reflect a change in their lives, as they believe that the name has a spirit of its own. Feminine names often, but not always, end in a vowel.
Fhokki is spoken primarily in the Wild Lands of the northeast. The language uses more hard consonants than others. Fhokki disdain the use of surnames, but may use similar names within a family (e.g., Edok, son of Edorrad, brother of Ederan). Feminine names typically end in -a or -er, though some sound almost masculine (e.g., Rortakk). Fhokki does have an alphabet, and most Fhokki towns have libraries containing the histories of their clans.
Kalamaran is spoken in the kingdoms of the Vast Empire, as well as throughout the Young Kingdoms. Much like Dejy, one who knows Kalamaran must choose the region whose dialect he speaks, as there is a great difference in the dialect of Kalamar proper and that of Korak, for example. Kalamaran nobility always use surnames; other castes do not.
Reanaarese is spoken around Reanaaria Bay in the east, but classical Reanaarian has become so blended with Merchant’s Tongue as to have almost vanished from the mouths of its people. Reanaarians tend to use only a single name, though descriptors are not uncommon (“Liamar the Carpenter,” “Ziliana Jaspereyes”). Only a few of the richest families have adopted surnames.
Svimolzish is commonly believed to be the oldest of the human languages, being the native tongue of the Island of Svimolz, the Cradle of (Human) Civilization. Svimolzi take two or three names: A personal name (chosen for a pleasant or strong sound), a parent’s name, and sometimes a descriptor name. Svimolzi wizards, on the other hand, will take only a single name.
Adureki (Dwarven) is a blunt, gutteral language in which most words have only one or two syllables. Plurals are indicated by stretching out the final vowel of the word. Dwarven letters are made of straight slashes to make them easier to inscribe in metal and stone.
Lathlana (Low Elven) is a beautiful, flowing language with many vowels (few elven words contain less than three, and double and even triple vowel combinations are common). It is complex, but not so much that other races cannot master it. Kialathana (High Elven) on the other hand is such a complex and rich language that it typically takes fifty years of full immersion to master. Where Low Elven uses flowing, phoenetic runes, High Elven uses a complicated hieroglyphic system that even many elves never master.
Gurinian (Halfling) is a thick language that is so heavy on the consonants that many others have difficulty speaking or understanding it. Halfling names are typically softened for the sake of dealing with outsiders. Gurinian has no alphabet of its own, and the halflings typically use the alphabet of the closest human culture for simplicity’s sake.
Most other races and intelligent monsters have their own language, which may also be learned.