Language types: To the educated ear, most languages have at least some similarity (like Romance languages), though some seem different enough that it may simply be wishful thinking. Like a Frenchman trying to understand rapid-fire Portugese, however, hearing the relation does not make for actual comprehension. In reality, every group or species or county-sized region has a unique dialect. For mechanical purposes, however, they break into a small number of broad groups, and the differences in idiom/vocabulary can be roleplayed where necessary.
1. Varsa (VAHR-sah): The trade language. Called Varsa in Europe, it has different names and wildly different forms in other regions, based on the dominant culture (in Africa, it’s more closely related to the elven dialects, while in Europe, it’s clearly a pidgin based off the dialects of men). Mechanically, though, let’s just call it Varsa in each region for ease – each region has a trade language of some kind, that all human (remember the expanded definition of “human”) and some other races will speak at least broken versions of.
2. Woric (WOH-rick): Nomadic tribes, wood elves, forest folk, and some explorers (this is what the Walkers speak).
3. Kistvaen (KISSED-vane): Mountain dwellers, dwarves, underground creatures
4. Umană (oo-MAHN-ah): Monstrous humanoid races, like giants, (hob)goblins, ogres, etc (though they are human, some Uruks speak this as well).
5. Géant (gay-AHNT): Intelligent monstrous races, like bugbears, gnolls, kobolds, lizardfolk, etc.
In addition, there are specialized languages, spoken by unique or isolated cultures and creatures. The only one any of you have heard so far is Vesi (vhey-see), which Tabia knows is the language spoken by the aquatic elves who live at the bottom of the Nile (and may be shared by other water-dwellers, but you have no way of knowing that yet). My notes also reference a language called Ajrit…but more on that when you come across it. :-)
Obviously, this is not a perfect one-to-one mapping – what language do a nomadic tribe of mountain giants who engage in a lot of trade speak? The above are the most common trends; usually, while a group will have a common language, if they rub up against a certain other group a lot, a few members from each side will wind up learning each other’s language (unless they hate each other).