The Speech

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The Speech is an idealized language found throughout modern fantasy/science fiction. It is considered a central language, the root of all tongues, and in some cases the true describing words that made the universe. Unifying characteristics of this language in many books include:

  • Using it as a language root to understand all other languages, including animals
  • Used as a medium for magic
  • Used as a mode of communication for a high class of people
  • Is difficult, or impossible, to lie in.

A popular example of this is used in the Young Wizards series of novels by Diane Duane. All creatures and things understand and, to a degree, can speak the Speech intuitively, but specifically, it is the wizards who use it as their primary language and means of performing their works of magic. It is incredibly detailed and describes things which other languages cannot. Describing something inaccurately in the Speech may result in catastrophic effect (including changing the nature of the thing or being therein mis-described); therefore, wizards are advised to never curse or lie in the Speech. Spells are described in the Speech; the wizard tells the object/subject what he/she wants to happen to it. With a final word, the spell can be let loose to do what it was supposed to do.

Letters written in the Speech have been described in several of the books as Arabic-seeming in nature. In Deep Wizardry, Nita's father mistakes the writing on the title page of Nita's Manual for Arabic letters.

Other examples include the Pellinor series by Alison Croggon, in which the Bards of the land, magic users and Light bringers, use the Speech, and Christopher Paolini's Eragon, Eldest and Brisingr, in which a dead language called the Ancient Language is used for spellcasting and by elves.

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