I agree with Mystic on this, it gives a good idea that a common language would exsist. In my world I do not have a common language but I do have a Traders Common which is a very limited form of communication existing of approximately 200 to 300 words that can be used mainly for trade and little else. Similar to Chinese Pidgin English except a bit more limited.
Very informative. While I've had a vague notion of what some of those terms meant, it is nice to have it spelled out for me with good examples that really make it easy to grasp.
Having Common in games has always been a useful device for sidestepping problems that could overly complicate things, but it's always seemed a little too generic. But looking at this, I can see how there could be a common language that is based around the dominant political power and give more flavor in the process.
Very interesting indeed.
I used to be a student of Linguistics (well, still am I suppose) and, whilst Ebonics is somewhat more of a dialect, it still holds up to the basic strictures you are trying to explain, so, well done!
Despite this linguistic background, however, I seldom thought about this sort of thing... I've used different langauges successfully in campaigns, but I've never really analysed what "Common" was. Damn my Anglocentric mind!
Thank you for writing such an article to get me thinking!
I actually didn't care for the prose, tone, or voice much. To me, the writing was very dry and reeks of an elderly history teacher droning on about an uninteresting subject. However, the subject was interesting and I felt compelled to finish reading it. I got the feeling of a lot of empty words, as if there wasn't a ton of eagerness and desire to impress an idea in the words. Almost as if it was just being written to convey knowledge. And while this isn't a style of writing I enjoy reading, I was impressed at the way it was delivered.
The overall content itself felt scarce, but was nonetheless intriguing. I like it, and I like it because I want to dislike it for its wording and presentation, which didn't appeal to me yet drew me in and immersed me irregardless.