Emotic Languages

Class of languages that include a complex symbology for denoting emotional states

Image from Bernd Helfert

Emotic languages were initially developed among the early empaths of Sol system in response to the perceived limitations of non-empath languages for conveying emotions. To the empaths, the emotional state of a speaker or character was of tremendous importance and a depiction of an event or conversation that did not include a detailed, and near real-time, description of the changing emotions of the sophonts involved was seen as ‘flat’, ‘lifeless’, and ‘almost worse than useless’. The simplified emotional descriptions common to most writing, in which a few words, punctuation marks, and perhaps use of italics or underlining was all that was used to convey emotions were simply insufficient. The even more simplified descriptions used in conversation (E seemed upset) were even more so.

In response to this state of affairs, most empath communities developed the habit of imitating or ‘projecting’ the emotions of other sophonts they might be discussing, using a combination of words and highly skilled acting to convey the exact emotional state of the entities being talked about. In addition, many communities developed a complex series of symbols and markings that were interwoven with their traditional written alphabets for the purpose of conveying emotional states to the reader at a level more to their taste.

By the time of the Federation, the number of emotic languages had dropped from several dozen to only six, this as a result of various unification and streamlining efforts by the major empath communities, and probably some degree of memetic manipulation by Federation transapients. This relatively low point would be only temporary however, and over the next several thousand years, the number of emotic languages would grow tremendously, often retaining strong similarities to each other, but also diversifying greatly as the various empathic clades spread across the stars. The rise of the Known Net and Nexus and the founding of the Communion of Worlds would act to again consolidate the various languages together, but the use of advanced translation technologies also made it relatively simple for any two or more sophonts to communicate regardless of language, greatly reducing the pressure to settle on any single communication standard.

In the Current Era, there are 142 emotic languages on file, the most common being Communion of Worlds Prime, L’lesh (popular in some parts of the Sophic League), and Edenese Emotic (used among Edenese Superiors with the Empath modification). Even the simplest emotic language contains over 10,000 distinct symbols, each conveying a distinct emotional state or sub-state while a more complex language such as Em-Stat32 (used S2 Empai for casual conversation) contains over a million distinct symbols capable of conveying information regarding nearly a billion distinct (but sometimes simultaneous) emotional states.

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Development Notes
Text by Todd Drashner
Initially published on 19 March 2014.