The Development of the Common Tongue
Date: Wed, September 21, 2005
Ever wondered why the common language spoken in an Oeridian-dominated world is a combination of Ancient Baklunish and an Old Oeridian dialect? This explains it.
The Development of the Common Tongue
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The Common Tongue is the language most often used in the Flanaess between peoples of different nations and cultures. Unlike many lingua francas, Common is a complex language with a rich literary tradition. This is not to say that most current speakers utilize it on this level. Most who use Common today only know enough to convey basic ideas, though there are many among the educated classes who do use it in its full form.
Common's oldest roots are in the Ancient Baklunish tongue. In the early part of the period of the Migrations and the formation of the Oeridian tribal kingdoms in the Flanaess (c. –465 to c. -200 CY), the most stable nation left in the known world was that last remnant of the Baklunish Empire held together by Azor’alq the Knight (-419 CY). In the first half of the next century (c. -400 to -340 CY), the merchants of that land fanned out through the Flanaess to establish trade with the nascent Oeridian kingdoms. With the death of Azor’alq (-340 CY) the Baklunish Empire finally ended and that state split into the nations of Zief, Ekbir, Tusmit, and Ket. By this time many of the expatriate Baklunish merchants had permanently insinuated themselves into the fabric of the Oeridian-dominated kingdoms of the East, making themselves indispensable to any ruler wishing to establish commerce between his nation and others. Though this merchant class adopted many of the customs and values of the Oeridians they lived amongst, they remained essentially Baklunish. Contact between these widely spread groups necessitated a means of communication, which they facilitated by maintaining a form of the Ancient Baklunish language, seperate from the evolution of that tongue in the West into what is referred to in modern times simply as Low Baklunish.
The status and form of their language, referred to by scholars as Old Common, continued relatively uninterrupted until the dramatic rise of the Great Kingdom. Though much can be said of the battle prowess of the Aerdi and the other Oeridians they absorbed to form the core of their conquering armies, their skills at administration and the other everyday tasks needed to run an empire were decidedly lacking. So it was that when the Great Kingdom came to dominate much of the Flanaess, the need for administrators to govern its far-flung provinces was obvious, and who better to serve the needs of the viceroys and governors of that state as secretaries and bureaucrats but members of the established Baklunish merchant class. As time passed some of the bureaucratic Baklunish families rose to high influence in the Great Kingdom, and even, as in the case of the Yragernes of the Province of Selintan, to the post of Viceroy. Along with the establishment of the ethnic Baklunish bureacratic class came the official adoption of their tongue as a language of administration, used to cement the disparate provinces together. It was during this period that the numerous Aerdian influences in Common took root, transforming the primarily Ancient Baklunish Old Common into a form known as Middle Common. Outside of the Great Kingdom, in the western areas of the Flanaess, dominated by Keoland, the Baklunish merchant class continued to use their own language, adopting the changes being made in the East. Middle Common was even adopted by the hierarchy of the Great Kingdom's pantheon as a liturgical language for the ease with which it helped missionaries spread the proper and true faith throughout the empire and eventually, the entire Flanaess.
So it was that with the fragmentation of the Great Kingdom's empire, Common remained as a language of diplomacy, liturgy, scholarship and trade throughout the Flanaess. In the intervening centuries it has remained strong and has evolved further until we have the form spoken today, known simply as Common.