A Science Fiction Story Idea

It is the future…and the world is now effectively mono-lingual…Standard Web English has become the primary language of nearly the entire planet. Most of our world’s 6,000 languages are now extinct. The only people who pay any attention to other languages are scholars, missionaries (who are trying to translate bibles and eventually convert people to English…which is partly true because missionaries are actually currently one of the dominant forces in the fields of linguistics and translation…can you believe that?)…and….

And also there is this drug…called Linguacine. It’s an hallucinogen that affects the language processing centers of the brain, and so if someone is on it, and they read or hear a passage from a language, their high will be different depending on what language they are experiencing…so there is this subculture of addicts…called Polyglots, who live in these drug-den libraries, where they study and preserve scraps of languages in order to keep themselves high. A little bit of an agglutinating language here, a little bit of Semitic tri-consonantal languages there…and all of it creates a new experience for these people.

Our main character is one of these people…coming from a wealthy family, he’s a bit of a drug tourist…he often hitches rides with missionaries to sneak into indigenous areas and snatch bits of languages from those people…because to hear an exotic language from a native speaker is a delicacy for a Polyglot.

But at some point, in these drugged travels…he encounters a group of deaf people who speak a unique sign language, who are resisting all attempts to extinguish their culture and communication. At first, this character is just savoring his high…but with time he comes to see how this thing that he is stealing from these people, this thing that he is using for himself, is the core of these people’s lives and culture…and he realizes how much deeper language and meaning can go…and so he begins to work with these people, and also with a wider network of linguistic and social rebels…many of whom have been creating their own new languages to counter the dominance of Standard Web English…

Anyway, I thought it would make an interesting story…

Currently Reading:

-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi

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