The Language of the World

By James Walker


An Excerpt from a paper presented during a Jeanite convention on the evolution of communication, seized and classified as militarily sensitive by Judgement:

To operate in mortal society, celestials need to speak the local language. Because of this, a change in the lingua franca can cause a huge shift in the balance of power, as Celestials spend months learning a new language. It's no accident that Vapula & Alaemon were promoted when Latin was abandoned, while Fleurity and Nybbas became powerful when French was replaced by English; established Superiors could not achieve as much when their Servitors were busy learning new languages, creating a power vacuum the newcomers could step into.

Of course, Celestials try to manipulate this to their own benefit. Both Dominic & Asmodeus approve, as frequent changes make it harder for the Ethereals to stage a comeback. Of course, both object to working with the other side to foster a new lingua franca.

In theory, Superiors encourage languages which benefit their Words, under the watchful eyes of Kronos or Yves. As an example, Jean is on record as saying that German would make an excellent world language, due to it's technical precision: something that made him unpopular during WWII.

In practice, if a Superior gains the upper hand in a nation, he will want that nations' language to spread, simplifying the spread of his Servitors. This benefits Words which build up a nation, as the increase in a nations' political or commercial power will increase the importance of the language. This is resisted by other Superiors; when it became clear that Britain's power was waning, Servitors from throughout the Empire were sent to the USA with orders to build the new nation up; how much this was responsible for the growth of the new Superpower is still being debated.

Many Superiors are committed to the spread of one or more languages, sometimes even being responsible for reviving a dead language. It is unclear why Yves was so determined to revive Cornish, for example, while it will surprise no one to know that Khalid continues to encourage the spread of Arabic. Others, although openly committed to the spread of one language, have interests in another: Laurence and Dominic have both repeatedly tried to revive Latin; they have either abandoned or scaled down their efforts in recent decades. Why? Well, the revival of Hebrew is likely to be relevant here. To have a Biblical language as the language of the world would appeal to both our Roman catholic Superiors, and the spread of the Jews across the planet makes this plan feasible, especially if supported by Christian scholars.

English is likely to remain the primary language of the Corporeal for some time to come, of course, but the question remains: what will be the next lingua franca? For Servitors posted to the Corporeal, the question is vitally important.

The languages of the European Empires will remain tempting to the established Superiors, of course: every Major Superior has countless Servitors well versed in French, Spanish and Portuguese, while the War Faction is well supplied with speakers of German. However, younger Superiors are likely to resist these languages strenuously. The attempt to make Russian the next lingua franca has failed dismally. The great Asian languages, especially Japanese and Chinese, look tempting, but the difficulty in writing these languages make them unlikely to be successful among a race as inherently resistant to education as humans. I believe that we will finally see determined attempts by both sides to make Celestial languages the norm on Earth.

There have been repeated attempts to make the Helltongue a human language. This would be a major victory for Hell, forcing angels to suffer dissonance before being able to even begin their assigned tasks in the Corporeal, and greatly increasing the likelihood of Falling while posted to Earth. Fortunately, the very hatefulness of Helltongue has restricted it's spread on Earth - although, sadly every human language has incorporated at least a few words of Helltongue: generally blasphemies, curses or insults. Nonetheless, it is apparently becoming a way for Sorcerers of different nationalities to converse; having traditionally used demons as interpreters, many have learnt the Demonic tongue to simplify the task of interpretation. This disturbing trend bods badly for our cause.

More comforting is the spread of Angelic, aided, of all things, by the spread of The Media. Angelic cannot normally be spoken in the Corporeal, which has limited it's convenient spread. It's ability to be 'hummed', has allowed it to be used in the movies. Many of Eli's early movies incorporated the actors' stage queues - in angelic - into the theme music. This trend has spread, and composers are, unwittingly or no - incorporating fragments of angelic into the theme music they write for specific characters. Thus basic words, "good", "bad", "heroic", "liar" are repeated in the refrain, allowing humans to learn a very rudimentary form of angelic. True, a pet dogs will know more English that a human movie goer will know of Angelic, but this is an impressive beginning, especially as this is being aided rather than thwarted by Hell.

What next? Well, it seems unlikely that Eli, an Archangel, could truly be living Outcast on Earth for so long without Dominic taking steps. Although I have never personally met the Archangel of Creation, every record of a conversation with him for the last seven decades includes references to him playing a musical instrument, and using the music to underscore his words.

If, as I suspect, his aim in the Corporeal is to mould human language to incorporate Angelic, we may soon see a day when the harmonics of the human voice resonant with the eternal truths of Heaven - allowing the mortals to see through the lies which they currently surround themselves with, and crippling Hell's efforts to Damn them.


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