I’ve decided to do up a more detailed (speculative) analysis of what troll languages might look like phonologically, since isozyme made another great xenobiology post and now I have more to work with.
(Also, she had to go and dare me to do more xenolinguistics with it, and then suggested a giant chart full of coarticulated epiglottals, and there isn’t even a giant chart here, but it got really long anyway, so this is actually just the consonants. I will do another massive post about the vowels later, maybe tomorrow. Also, this is in the queue since my sleep schedule is really fucked now and I might not actually be awake when it posts, but hopefully other people will be.)
There are two points of speculation, here – what actual speech sounds you can (probably) make when you are a troll with nasal-ingressive language and two larynges (short answer: actually, a lot), and then which of these sounds are likely to be recognized as being “different” from each other for the purposes of language. There will be links to places where you can hear pronunciations of the human-analog versions of these things actually sound like, too.
Paradoxcase: this shit is spectacular, I want it all in my brain yesterday.
Everyone else: I expect more hot language barrier fic, starting now.
(also I tend to think up basic conlang-y, semantics-related things whenever I look at a fictional culture, although I’ve never done a from-the-biology-up thing before.)
(I think the Alternian trolls prolly speak one language with minor dialectal differences, given how monolithic their culture seems to be. I also like to imagine that this language has grammaticalized politeness all up everywhere.)
Oh, yeah, I am not usually this biological when it comes to the conlanging either, but isozyme’s biology posts have made it more interesting for me, especially with the dual-larynx thing.
I don’t know how monolithic troll society really would be in practice, though – most of it happens off of Alternia, remember. We don’t even know whether e.g. castes are more segregated off-planet, and canonically there are higher-class and lower-class sets of vocabulary even just among our trolls. If adults spent more time living on conquered planets (as opposed to free-floating starships) you could get more serious dialect differences between planets, probably with influences or borrowings from native alien languages (or approximations of them). Knowing the language of the conquered population (even just a very loose phonetic approximation and the writing system) would probably be a useful skill to have, too, depending on how autonomous that population is and how much of their own culture they manage to preserve.
Beforus, now – they would probably be pretty monolingual.
The grammaticalized politeness would be a nightmare for sure. I’m not sure I actually want to go there…