The Conclave

The Ordos Majoris - Hobby, Painting and Modelling => The Dark Millennium => Topic started by: Zephon on November 04, 2009, 05:01:34 PM

Title: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Zephon on November 04, 2009, 05:01:34 PM
Low Gothic: the related dialects spoken on most Imperial worlds. How different are the dialects of Gothic? Like a strong accent or a related language?
High Gothic: a complex language used when precision is needed. Spoken only by the educated. The importance of High Gothic must depend on the similarities of Low Gothic, because if Low Gothic dialects are different enough to make them incomprehensible to an off-worlder without study, then High Gothic should be vital for all inter-planetary communications and probably be the sole language of the documents of the Imperium.
Local: languages very different from Gothic. Any ideas on how common these are?
Lingua-Technis: whatever the Tech-priests speak. Is this even a written language? Is it  a language at all, or just some kind of code?
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Tullio on November 04, 2009, 06:19:35 PM
I always took Low Gothic to be a catch-all term for human language. Presumably within a sector Low Gothic is at least heavily related in terms of dialect, though I wouldn't expect someone from Cadia to easily follow someone from, say, Macragge. In all honesty I find the idea of countless local langauages rather more likely, given that the population of the Imperium hardly ever move off world.

High Gothic is apparently surprisingly homogenous the Imperium over, though it seems to be a language spoken by the snobby in the same way that Latin is spoken in the real world.

The Lingua-Technis is an obscure one - but if it's anything like the Mechanicus in general, it's probably a mix of techno-babble and legitimate science science turned into a dogma

Tullio
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Ynek on November 05, 2009, 03:24:38 AM
Gothic - Low level common human language similar to English in the modern world. It's the international / interplanetary language. I'd imagine that most worlds speak it, or at least teach it.
Failing that, it could just be a catch-all term for all low-level human languages and native tongues.

High Gothic - Bastardised latin. Common high gothic languages such as "imperator dei" are directly taken from the modern latin.

Lingua Technis - I'd imagine this to be a catch-all name used by those outside the admech to refer to all levels of computer language, from binary up.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: precinctomega on November 05, 2009, 12:10:26 PM
Originally, Lingua Technis and High Gothic were essentially the same language, but lately in background terms the AdMech has moved towards the use of "binary cant" - a highly compressed form of information exchange that lacks emotive expression (although it may permit the use of emoticons, who knows?).

High Gothic does, indeed, bare many similarities to medieval Latin or, indeed, Greek at the time of Christ.  It is a lanugage of trade and of the intellectual elite and, as such, is pretty homogeneous from sector to sector.  Low Gothic is essentially a family of languages that evolved from the pre-Strife language that is today's High Gothic.  Linguists know that the line between a dialect and a language is a fine one and when one becomes the other is often hard to pin-point.  Suffice to say that Low Gothic on worlds with limited off-world contact (feral and feudal worlds, for example) will likely diverge greatly from common Low Gothic, with incomprehensible expressions and idioms ("he was as glip as a wooner's pongo!"), even where the grammar might be familiar.

On worlds with more regular contact, one could expect a degree of mutual comprehensibility to remain in basic communication, but more subtle levels of meaning, body language and social conventions will vary, leading to conflict and misunderstanding.

R.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: N01H3r3 on November 05, 2009, 01:25:00 PM
On worlds with more regular contact, one could expect a degree of mutual comprehensibility to remain in basic communication, but more subtle levels of meaning, body language and social conventions will vary, leading to conflict and misunderstanding.
And that's before you consider the likelihood of a world having both a Low Gothic dialect (likely inherited from crusade forces during the world's pacification by the Imperium, if it's a more recent conquest) and a local language that predates an Imperial presence on the world.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: MarcoSkoll on November 05, 2009, 04:56:11 PM
It's rather hard to know.

Much like films and comics routinely have people who would be speaking a foreign language speaking English (or whatever language) for the benefit of the viewers, it's very probable that what we see in Black Library books - or GW publications in general - is a similar "translation".

These characters almost certainly don't speak English, or anything that bears resemblance. Consider how far language has developed in a few hundred years - a moderner would seriously struggle to get through Middle English (particularly the early variants), and that's less than a thousands years old. Indeed, Early Modern English (think Shakespeare) is work for many moderners to make out.
As an example, "Wherefore art thou Romeo" does not mean "Where are you, Romeo?" as many seem to think - wherefore means "Why". So, the sentence as a whole is therefore a question about why he had to be of a family she couldn't marry.

Now multiply these changes by the linguistic needs of a million worlds and nearly forty thousand years. Obviously, we'll not end up with anything that resembles modern languages at the end of it. (And this leads to some of the odd linguistic jokes I've made in "After Hours".)

This goes for Low Gothic, High Gothic... any of it really. However, from the perspective of what we actually see...

Low Gothic tends to be represented by English, or dialects of it. It's occasionally mixed with words or phrases from other languages, depending on what "country" the character's planet is supposed to be loosely based on.

High Gothic tends to be represented by Dog Latin (although if/when I'm writing it, I do my best to make it honest Latin.)

Lingua-Technis... not really sure. Probably any language you'd use for speaking to or about machines. Could be binary or assembler code for talking to them, and about them... well, anything. Likely a catch all term.

Local: Just like the languages of our word differ from English in so many ways, this can be represented by anything. Personally, I tend to work on the basis that most planets have a language (or languages) of their own, and that many people in the Imperium are bilingual for at least the local dialect of Low Gothic and their own planet/country's language. Which of Low Gothic or the local language is dominant will vary.

Slang: Whatever the hell you want.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Tullio on November 05, 2009, 06:14:41 PM
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Much like films and comics routinely have people who would be speaking a foreign language speaking English (or whatever language) for the benefit of the viewers

Most notably Tolkien, who actually gives a lowdown on the Common Tongue in the Return of the King appendix, but also Orks. Orks do not speak a kind of funny english, they have a language all of thier own. Why they're routinely shown conversing with humans in Low Gothic (Dawn of War) is beyond me.

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Consider how far language has developed in a few hundred years - a moderner would seriously struggle to get through Middle English (particularly the early variants), and that's less than a thousands years old. Indeed, Early Modern English (think Shakespeare) is work for many moderners to make out.

Americans in particular have tremendous trouble learning the difference between some fairly simple Middle English terms. Watch a sitcom (Animated or otherwise) focussing on a Renaissance fair or similar and you'll see what I mean.

Tullio
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: N01H3r3 on November 05, 2009, 08:27:20 PM
It's rather hard to know.

Much like films and comics routinely have people who would be speaking a foreign language speaking English (or whatever language) for the benefit of the viewers, it's very probable that what we see in Black Library books - or GW publications in general - is a similar "translation".
I recall at least one example of that being officially stated in regards to the background, though the only source I can find at the moment that says it is the dubious 'Fluff-bible' that circulates the internet from time to time, which has this to say:

Quote
+++NOTE ON LANGUAGE+++
The common language of the Imperium is represented by English, proper names have been rendered in an Anglicised form. Many of the titles of ancient institutions and organisations are presented as Latinised English (such as the Adeptus Terra). This represents an older tongue, itself a development of Twentieth Century languages, not necessarily Latin as such.
This older tongue is known in the Imperium as "Tech", being a version of the language in which technical rituals and ancient works are recorded. This developed during the Dark Age of Technology (in fact a golden age from the point of view of science - it is only dark in the minds of the men who now fear it). It derives from the common tongue of the time, an assimilation of English, European and Pacific languages which developed over many centuries in the American/Pacific region. This was the universal medium of written record until the Age of Strife, and was spoken as a first language by many and as a second language by almost everyone. Its idioms and vocabulary now appear archaic and mystic, many of its words have acquired religious significance over the years. It is the language of the Tech-priests and of forbidden books.
The common tongue of the Age of the Imperium is spoken as a first language on almost all civilised planets, and is accepted as a second language on planets within Imperial control with the exception of some medieval and feral worlds. This is a bastardised version of Tech, combining additional elements from several of the oriental languages of ancient Earth. Over the millennia it has changed greatly, and now bears almost no resemblance to the tongues from which it derived. Although a common language, it varies from planet to planet (and even from region to region), so that it is not always easy for two characters to communicate if they are from different worlds.
Medieval, feral and worlds suffering from long periods of isolation may have several indigenous languages derived either from Tech or one of the ancient Earth tongues. It was quite common during the Dark Age of Technology for worlds to be settled by small communities of 'isolationists'. These eccentric groups were often self financed and their journals unrecorded, many were of racial minorities attempting to recreate a sense of national identity away from the overpopulated Earth. Some of these groups made a deliberate attempt to revive long dead or moribund languages, perceiving them as a source of national identity and communal strength.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Ynek on November 05, 2009, 08:31:54 PM
Just to clarify one of my earlier points...

When I said that low gothic would probably similar to English, I didn't mean that in quite so literal a sense. I meant it to mean that, like English, it was the common tongue. I didn't meant to imply that the two languages shared any similarities linguistically.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: MarcoSkoll on November 05, 2009, 09:29:06 PM
Most notably Tolkien, who actually gives a lowdown on the Common Tongue in the Return of the King appendix.
I would have said the obvious example was most war films, where the Germans are all speaking English.

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Orks do not speak a kind of funny english, they have a language all of their own. Why they're routinely shown conversing with humans in Low Gothic (Dawn of War) is beyond me.
Artistic license, raw convenience or misunderstanding on the part of the developers.

Either way, we know as much as either humans can understand the Ork language or vice versa, because there have been cases where Ork writing has been read by humans - whether it was Orkish or Gothic writing, I don't know.

So not truly impossible.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: N01H3r3 on November 05, 2009, 09:35:53 PM
Either way, we know as much as either humans can understand the Ork language or vice versa, because there have been cases where Ork writing has been read by humans - whether it was Orkish or Gothic writing, I don't know.
We also know that there are examples of Orks who have learnt to speak Gothic - the infamous Bad Moons Warboss Nazdreg Ug Urdgrub, who allied with Ghazghull Thraka during the Piscina campaign, was known to have been able to speak Low Gothic fluently.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: MarcoSkoll on November 06, 2009, 02:33:41 AM
Either way, there is a precedent for communication between Orks and Humans. How common such communication may be is another matter entirely, but it can happen.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Myriad on November 06, 2009, 02:37:06 AM
Ironically it seems considerably more likely that an ork would learn low gothic to taunt imperial citizens than any human troubling to learn orkish (which would probably be considered mildly heretical).
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Ynek on November 06, 2009, 03:42:37 AM
I don't think that many orks would want to learn gothic. If they did, they would need a very good reason. Obeserve this dialogue between a group of orks of approximately equal standing in Ork society:

Ork1 - I just learned how to speak oomie.
Ork2 - Learnin' ta speak oomie? That's not very orky of ya. Wot are ya? Some kind a oomie grot?
Ork3 - Why would you want to talk to an oomie? Ya don't talk to dem. Ya crump em!

Ork 1 - Well, it's good fer insultin' em.
Ork 2 - Insultin' oomies is a waste of time. Yer better spendin' yer time crumpin' em than talkin' ta dem!

Ork 1 - Why does everything come down to crumpin' wif you?
Ork 2 - 'Cos that's the orky way! Or 'ave you forgotten that, ya oomie git?

Long story short... Orks would be unwilling to learn gothic because it makes them look weak and oomie-like to their peers. Similarly, humans would be unwilling to learn how to speak ork because it would make them look suspicious in the eyes of the Imperial authorities. Inquisitors are about the only people who would get away with learning how to speak ork, as they are above suspicion, allegedly....

Commissar: "Trooper Cleggan, I found these glyph drawings amongst your effects. Would you mind telling me what these are?"
Trooper Cleggan: "They're ork glyphs, sir. I'm learning how to talk to the Emperor's enemies, sir."
Commisar: "I see..." *hand rests on bolt pistol hilt.* "You don't need to talk to the emperor's enemies to kill them, Cleggan..."

Imperial Citizen : I just learned how to speak ork!
Imperial Citizen 2 : HERETIC! CALL THE AUTHORITIES!
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: N01H3r3 on November 06, 2009, 09:29:01 AM
I don't think that many orks would want to learn gothic. If they did, they would need a very good reason. Obeserve this dialogue between a group of orks of approximately equal standing in Ork society:

Ork1 - I just learned how to speak oomie.
Ork2 - Learnin' ta speak oomie? That's not very orky of ya. Wot are ya? Some kind a oomie grot?
Ork3 - Why would you want to talk to an oomie? Ya don't talk to dem. Ya crump em!

Ork 1 - Well, it's good fer insultin' em.
Ork 2 - Insultin' oomies is a waste of time. Yer better spendin' yer time crumpin' em than talkin' ta dem!

Ork 1 - Why does everything come down to crumpin' wif you?
Ork 2 - 'Cos that's the orky way! Or 'ave you forgotten that, ya oomie git?

Long story short... Orks would be unwilling to learn gothic because it makes them look weak and oomie-like to their peers.
As long as an Ork is capable of pummelling naysayers into submission, he can do whatever he wants.

Besides, Orks use humans as slave labour, which requires a certain degree of communication beyond grunting and punching. Nazdreg, who I mentioned earlier, was notable not only for being fluent in Gothic (it's never specified which kind, but it's likely to be low gothic - the idea of an Ork speaking pseudo-latin just seems strange) but for using a system of reward and punishment (instead of simply punishment) as a means of motivating his slaves. Additionally, we have plenty of known instances of Orks acting as mercenaries for humans, and of the agreement between the deposed Commander of Armageddon, Herman von Strab, at the start of the Third War for Armageddon.

And beyond all that, given the Ork mentality, the only other reason they'd want to learn other languages would be so they could learn new swear-words :)

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Similarly, humans would be unwilling to learn how to speak ork because it would make them look suspicious in the eyes of the Imperial authorities. Inquisitors are about the only people who would get away with learning how to speak ork, as they are above suspicion, allegedly....

Commissar: "Trooper Cleggan, I found these glyph drawings amongst your effects. Would you mind telling me what these are?"
Trooper Cleggan: "They're ork glyphs, sir. I'm learning how to talk to the Emperor's enemies, sir."
Commisar: "I see..." *hand rests on bolt pistol hilt.* "You don't need to talk to the emperor's enemies to kill them, Cleggan..."

Imperial Citizen : I just learned how to speak ork!
Imperial Citizen 2 : HERETIC! CALL THE AUTHORITIES!
Commissar Yarrick is known to be able to understand the Ork language. There are Xenolinguists across the Imperium - including within the Ordos Dialogous of the Adepta Sororitas - who have studied Xenos languages of all kinds (there are prime examples of this in the 3rd edition Eldar codex and the original Tau codex).

Whether or not the common masses of society - in either case - would do so is irrelevant. As civilisations, there is a need for the ability to understand the way the enemy communicates, even if it's only a matter of bellowing instructions at slaves or deciphering crude graffiti painted across the walls of a wrecked Hab-building.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: MarcoSkoll on November 06, 2009, 01:10:26 PM
Long story short... Orks would be unwilling to learn gothic because it makes them look weak and oomie-like to their peers.
As N01H3r3 says, as long as they can thump anyone who complains hard enough, then they can do what they like. Hence, most likely, you'd see it being a higher ranking Ork.

Anyway, don't mistake Orks for thick. Some Orks do demonstrate decent tactical intelligence, and would recognise the advantages of being able to threaten or psyche out their opponents.

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Similarly, humans would be unwilling to learn how to speak ork because it would make them look suspicious in the eyes of the Imperial authorities.
Choosing to learn to speak Ork would be suspicious. Being ASKED to learn to speak Ork is another matter, and it certainly happens - there are plenty of reasons to want to understand your enemies' languages.

While a lowly guardsman deciding to learn to speak Ork is definitely suspicious, having someone who can around offers serious benefits.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Zephon on November 06, 2009, 05:58:03 PM
Orkish is presumably genetically programmed into Orks along with all their teknical know-wots, so it doesn't present the same kind of problems as Gothic. An Ork from Charadon probably speaks and writes exactly the same as an Ork from Armageddon. It would actually make the Orks more effective warriors if their language was impossible to understand without being an Ork, but I suppose an innate language has its limits.

The same cannot be true of Low Gothic: the dialect of worlds near the Eastern Fringe would be very different to that closer to the centre of the galaxy. Also, there appears to be no Low Gothic standard, only a series of related dialects or languages. Would a message from one sector to another have to be translated into High Gothic to prevent misunderstandings? Would Imperial Guard commanders have to speak High Gothic to communicate with each other? Regiments from diverse locations have all been deployed together: notably with the Macharian Crusade, in which every regiment with its own figure range took part. Could such a force, gathered from across the whole Imperium, function without using High Gothic, at least at a command level?
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: N01H3r3 on November 06, 2009, 08:17:45 PM
The same cannot be true of Low Gothic: the dialect of worlds near the Eastern Fringe would be very different to that closer to the centre of the galaxy. Also, there appears to be no Low Gothic standard, only a series of related dialects or languages. Would a message from one sector to another have to be translated into High Gothic to prevent misunderstandings? Would Imperial Guard commanders have to speak High Gothic to communicate with each other? Regiments from diverse locations have all been deployed together: notably with the Macharian Crusade, in which every regiment with its own figure range took part. Could such a force, gathered from across the whole Imperium, function without using High Gothic, at least at a command level?
This, really, is one of the purposes of the Sisters Dialogous - facilitating communication between servants of the Emperor.

While dis-unified in general, there is likely an effort to maintain some level of mutual comprehensibility with Low Gothic across wide areas of space. As the Imperium reclaims lost worlds and claims new ones, existing versions of the language spread, both through the conquering forces and through the Ministorum missionaries and preachers who accompany and follow behind those forces. There are likely entire departments of the Administratum devoted to the matter of linguistic uniformity (an impossible goal, but still a useful thing to aim for), further dividing matters into Low Gothic (which may simply be defined as being any variant language deemed sufficiently understandable by another speaker of Low Gothic from elsewhere in the Imperium) and local languages (any native human language essentially incomprehensible to a speaker of Low Gothic unfamiliar with the language). The line between the two will invariably be blurred and uncertain, of course, but there will be a distinction at some level.

High Gothic is maintained in its 'purity' by its necessity in reading standard texts - the Tactica Imperialis, the Codex Astartes, innumerable religious and legal texts, many of which are thousands of years old - and through the Schola Progenium, where High Gothic is taught to all Progena alongside their other studies (forming a widespread standard, presumably alongside their standardised dialect of Low Gothic; given the positions of authority Progena often end up in, this becomes another way of maintaining some level of standardisation).

I imagine that it's something that the Adeptus Terra is constantly struggling to deal with...
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Xisor on November 07, 2009, 02:03:17 PM
My latest approach to the lingua technis/binaric is basically this:
- Imagine something like Lojban, but advanced and basically super comprehensive and extensively modular, including all sorts of standardised scientific conventions
- Simplify its representation down into binary
- Transmit in binary, either aurally, visually etc.

This makes it exceedingly robust and very...mechanical. Very precise. And very far-reaching.

With High Gothic, one simply assume it's an highly evolved language, the sort of 'best' human language we knew. But that it some time, somewhere, died out, became less common out in the colonies. Presumably Dark Age of Technology, that spoken by folks who designed the STC, but that's not at all necessary.

With Low Gothic? I'm stumped by it. Sometimes I like the idea that it's one language with accents. Sometimes I don't. I like a fair few of the ideas folks are discussing here though. Intriguing.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Zephon on November 07, 2009, 02:42:57 PM
I suppose for most of the Imperium Low Gothic works along the lines of the pyramidal system everything else works on. As long as your peers, underlings and master understand you, everything is fine. It doesn't matter if a Hive factory drone is unintelligible to a Spire-dweller, or that the Departmento Munitorium in the Quinrox Sound have to translate everything into High Gothic to send a report to Terra, because they will always be communicating with intermediaries, who receive a message in a 'strange accent' and pass it on in their own. Problems arise with the few individuals (Inquisitors, Rogue Traders, etc) outside the system of the Imperium, who might find themselves on the other side of the galaxy from where they learned Low Gothic, and will have to use High Gothic instead.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: MarcoSkoll on November 07, 2009, 03:11:19 PM
As long as your peers, underlings and master understand you, everything is fine.
Actually, on that note, from the Imperium's perspective, it may be better if ONLY those people understand you...

After all, if you can use the limits of language to keep your peons under control (a bit of a Tower of Babel situation), then all the better.

Obviously, this wouldn't be too commonplace, but I could see it happening in some places - if Department A and Department B have no mutual language, then you can force all communication between the two to go through your translation, and so you can then weed out any information you don't want to get through.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: precinctomega on November 08, 2009, 12:06:45 PM
On Ork language, see below:
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The Ork language is a distinct and ancient tongue in its own right. At least 50% physical, it relies enormously on tone, volume and quantity of spittle emitted by the speaker to convey subtleties of meaning and emphasis.

Orkish was programmed into the early Krork warriors of the Old Ones as a basic battle tongue, intended only for use in combat, as the creatures were intended to be held largely in stasis except when needed. However, with the demise of the Old One culture, the Krork were left to the tender mercies of evolution along with their society, technology and language. Not being blessed with a great capacity for original thought, it was the greater tendency for Krorks - now calling themselves "orks" - to adopt terminology and expressions from their enemies. It may be that this was a deliberate ability and part of their original design, allowing them to communicate in basic and threatening fashion towards their opponents. However, as their principle early opponents were Necrontyr constructs, this seems unlikely.

Nevertheless, the impact of the Imperium upon Orkish language has been immense and Orks have widely adopted a considerable vocabulary inspired and influenced by Low Gothic dialects. As a result, to the ear of the common citizen, Orkish sounds very much like a debased human tongue.

In reality, it is a sophisticated language in its own right that is, nevertheless, peppered with loan words from human and other languages.

The word "deff" in Orkish, for example, does not truly translate as "death" in Low Gothic. Rather, it conveys the sense of the annihilation of ones opponent. "Deff" is something that happens to the enemy, not to an Ork (unless it's an enemy ork!). A "kopta", meanwhile, is a word of uncertain origin that can be applied to a huge variety of ork vehicles, from the one-ork ornithopter weapons platforms to larger - and mercifully rarer - antigravity armoured tanks observed in the course of the Greilos Crusade.

A "gun" is a very subtle concept in the language of orks, meanwhile. Shootas and sluggas, for example, are categorically not "guns" in ork language. Scholars disagree, but it seems that a "gun" is specifically a weapon that makes use of technology cannibalized by meks from their enemies. Most orks look down on such weapons, and generally put their diminutive slaves to work on them. The scavenger clan of Death Skulls, however, thinks nothing of using their enemies weapons back on them - a fact that causes many fights and disagreements with allies from other clans.

[Most of the above is made up on the spot, but you might find it helpful.]

R.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Vladimir on November 09, 2009, 06:15:46 PM
High gothic is very similar to latin in the early middle ages- a language spoken by all members of the upper classes and fairly standard regardless of where the speaker is from. So a medieval noble/scholar/priest/merchant would (probably) know any nessesary local languages, to another  noble/scholar/priest/merchant they would speak latin, particularly if the other party was from a different geographical location. In a similar way High Gothic will be the language generally used for religious ritual and major works of scholarship (NOT science so much, however- that's more the Admech's domain).

Low gothic I understand as being a debased (but very much distinct) form of high gothic. Remember that in the background, guardsmen from different regiments are shown as being able to converse fairly easily in Low Gothic. Certainly there will be a lot of local variation in terms of slang word, figures of speech and accent, but the grammar and core vocabulary will probably be very consistant. Remember that in many cases (the guard and navy, trading vessals, and much of the Departmento Munitorum) there is a lot of contact across the Imperium, and in many cases Low Gothic will be the only language two livestock traders or navy crew will have. The imperium being what it is, I imagine most planets make an active effort to keep 'their' Low Gothic in line with the standard.

Many planets will have low gothic as their standard language, but many more will have another language specific to them as well. This probably happens as much on Death Worlds and frontier worlds as much as low-tech feral/feudal worlds. In many cases this will be based (losely) on low gothic, with significant changes in grammar, vocabulary and intonation. Similarly, some isolated worlds will have their language based on High Gothic, other minor dialects or possibly even Xenos languages, if you trace it back far enough. On many such planets there will be several distinct languages for different geographical regions, castes or even social situations.

All of ^that^ is my own oppinion, but certainly not cannon...

As for the orks, the above post has nailed it, IMHO.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Heroka Vendile on December 06, 2009, 11:58:11 PM
Much like films and comics routinely have people who would be speaking a foreign language speaking English (or whatever language) for the benefit of the viewers, it's very probable that what we see in Black Library books - or GW publications in general - is a similar "translation".

These characters almost certainly don't speak English, or anything that bears resemblance.

In the 3rd Ed 40k rulebook there is a bit towards the back which talks about things like the structure of the imperial dating system, culture and language, on which it generally concurs with the first few replies.
And I'm sure I read somewhere some years ago GW jokingly stating that there is no way in hell that English exists in the 41st millennium, it is just used as a stand in so we poor 2nd millennium folk can understand the background.
Title: Re: Language in the Imperium
Post by: Gnaeus Conlitor on December 14, 2009, 06:48:16 PM
I imagine Gothic has around 30 different words for Heretic.