Do all languages have a written form?


Rules Questions


As the title states. Some languages have notes that they use the alphabet from language YX (like Orc using the dwarven alphabet) but most lack any info about having a written form.
On earth many languages had no written form.
And I could, for example, well see the elemental tongues having no written form. Why would elementals need to write something?


The only ones I can think of that might not are Vegepygmy, Polyglot, and maybe D'ziriak, since those give descriptions of phonetics that can't be written down.

Scarab Sages

It doesn't make much sense for goblin to have a written form, considering the goblin outlook on literacy.


Elemental languages have written forms. Elementals have enough intelligence to have a culture why would they not have a written language?


I say whatever fits your setting or story.


Imbicatus wrote:
It doesn't make much sense for goblin to have a written form, considering the goblin outlook on literacy.

Hobgoblins and Bugbears are not afraid of writing. They are also a goblin race.

Liberty's Edge

Drow sign language doesn't, I know that'll come as a shock to you.


PrinceRaven wrote:
Drow sign language doesn't, I know that'll come as a shock to you.

That can be written too..

ok maybe not, but I someone would have believed it. :)


wraithstrike wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
It doesn't make much sense for goblin to have a written form, considering the goblin outlook on literacy.
Hobgoblins and Bugbears are not afraid of writing. They are also a goblin race.

Well, with the Hobgoblin nation of Kaoling, they use the Tien alphabet (not sure if that is 'in addition to' though).

So the question is not so much whether they would used the written word, but whether they would bother to make their own system instead of simply adapting another language's system.

Anyway, I found that little tidbit out from this link here, so that seems like a good place to start for this discussion. Obviously, most entries there are too short to give much light on the matter (since the written language might be there, but not mentioned at all), but it is still a good start.

Oh, sasquatch seems like it would not be written. It includes howls and knocking sounds, which would be hard to write out, plus, it seems specifically geared towards blending in with forest noise. So having anything written down would give away their presence.


wraithstrike wrote:
Elemental languages have written forms. Elementals have enough intelligence to have a culture why would they not have a written language?

Its not only fire elementals that speak Ignan, it is the dominant language of all residents of the plane of fire. This includes the Efreeti and the Azers, each with fully functioning societies of their own. The same is true of the other planes.


lemeres wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
It doesn't make much sense for goblin to have a written form, considering the goblin outlook on literacy.
Hobgoblins and Bugbears are not afraid of writing. They are also a goblin race.

Well, with the Hobgoblin nation of Kaoling, they use the Tien alphabet (not sure if that is 'in addition to' though).

So the question is not so much whether they would used the written word, but whether they would bother to make their own system instead of simply adapting another language's system.

Anyway, I found that little tidbit out from this link here, so that seems like a good place to start for this discussion. Obviously, most entries there are too short to give much light on the matter (since the written language might be there, but not mentioned at all), but it is still a good start.

Oh, sasquatch seems like it would not be written. It includes howls and knocking sounds, which would be hard to write out, plus, it seems specifically geared towards blending in with forest noise. So having anything written down would give away their presence.

I dont think that proves goblin is not a written, but the problem here is that unlike the 3.5 book the Pathfinder CRB does not show what alphabet is used to write the various languages.

I would say it does since the goblins are not going to be the ones able to stop it from being made.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

That isn't made clear in the material we have available to us, I'm afraid. In the Inner Sea World Guide, they dropped some of the information about languages that had been present in the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting book. The latter was published under the d20 rules, though, and followed the system for written languages that can be found in the d20 SRD. So the current situation is unclear, to say the least!


There have been lots of "functioning societies" without written languages IRL. And I think the people(s) of those societies had more than int 3, too.

Not without reason there is the saying: When in Africa an old man dies, it's like a library burning out.

And my notion about the elemental tongues was that a lot of stuff you write with or you write on would not work on some elemental planes. Paper on the plane of fire, ink on the plane of water. Because of that I felt them very likely candidates for oral tradition.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Umbranus wrote:
... a lot of stuff you write with or you write on would not work on some elemental planes. Paper on the plane of fire, ink on the plane of water.

That's why you use a chisel on stone tablets or a scribe onto metal plates. Although a stylus on a beeswax tablet might work on the plane of water, you're still SOL on the plane of fire.


IF they could be written in 3.5 I don't see why they are not written in PF. Nothing in PF says they can't, and the linguistic rules say that if you spend a point you learn how to speak and write a language. It does not list exceptions.

Quote:
Whenever you put a rank into this skill, you learn to speak and read a new language

Ok, so read is not "write" but you can't read something without a written form.


wraithstrike wrote:

IF they could be written in 3.5 I don't see why they are not written in PF. Nothing in PF says they can't, and the linguistic rules say that if you spend a point you learn how to speak and write a language. It does not list exceptions.

Quote:
Whenever you put a rank into this skill, you learn to speak and read a new language
Ok, so read is not "write" but you can't read something without a written form.

Maybe it refers to a pheonetic written form designed/used by cunning linguists.

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