Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Kukulkan city writing

The written language on a wall in Kukulkan's city

"…the only tool diplomacy has is language."
– Hodin, 2268 ("The Mark of Gideon")

A language was a form of communication developed by lifeforms necessary to collaborate within a society. All intelligent lifeforms have developed some kind of language, usually multiple forms. The study of language was known as linguistics, and the study of alien languages exolinguistics.

A word was a basic unit of language that held meaning. Multiple words could be used to form a sentence. For languages which used an alphabet, words were made out of a sequence of letters.

Languages came in spoken, written, and gestural forms. In most cultures, gestural languages developed first, before written or oral. One exception were the Leyrons. (TNG: "Loud As A Whisper")

Languages were almost always unique to the culture, and one was required to translate a language. More advanced cultures developed universal translators able to surmount the language barrier between different groups, allowing interstellar society to exist. These universal translators were programmed with hundreds of languages. They were not always successful, however. (ENT: "Breaking the Ice", "Vox Sola"; DS9: "Sanctuary")

Often, when attempting to communicate with an unknown race, several languages were broadcast in an attempt to find one that might be understood by the hearer. (TOS: "Spock's Brain")

Children often found new languages easier to learn than adults did. (TNG: "Dark Page")

As the first Kelpien in Starfleet, Saru was eager to be the best example of his race, and learned ninety four different Federation languages. (DIS: "New Eden")

In 2268, the Medusan Ambassador Kollos, newly able to comprehend humanoid existence through Spock, expressed his wonder at the concept of language. He noted that while people depended on it for many things, none had yet achieved mastery of it. (TOS: "Is There in Truth No Beauty?")

In regards to the Medusan Ambassador, Kollos, Kirk stated "the Ambassador will be escorted to his quarters at once," but the premiere episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, "Lost and Found", established that Medusans were genderless beings.

According to Nyota Uhura in 2269, Humans in the 23rd century learned not to fear words. (TOS: "The Savage Curtain")



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