Humans speak Common. They typically learn other languages as well, including obscure ones, and they are fond of sprinkling their speech with words borrowed from other tongues: Orc curses, Elven musical expressions, Dwarven military phrases, and so on.
Automatic Languages: Common, home region.
Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
The native tongue of Calishites is Alzhedo, a language derived millennia ago from Midani (the language of Zakhara) and Auran. Alzhedo is one of the two major root tongues of both Thorass (“Old Common”) and Common. Alzhedo employs the Thorass alphabet, a set of characters used to represent the trade shores of the Lake of Steam. Most Calishites also speak Common, particularly the singsong Calant dialect. Those who trade with or live in the Realms Below prefer Undercommon, the trade language of the Underdark.
Given their extensive contacts with geniekind, Calishites often learn Auran or Ignan. Other common second languages include Chultan, Halfling, Lantanese, Shaaran, or Tashalan, languages spoken by many who dwell along the shores of the Shining Sea. Few Calishites learn other nonhuman tongues.
All Calishite characters are literate except for barbarians and commoners.
Chondathans speak Common and Chondathan, two closely related tongues. Chondathan, one of the root tongues of Common, is the modern form of Jhaamdathan (“Old Chondathan”), which was one of the two root tongues of Thorass (“Old Common”), Chondathan employs the Thorass alphabet, a set of characters used to represent the trade tongue that came into use thousands of years ago along the shores of the Lake of Steam.
As many Chondathans dwell amid other Human cultures (or at least have extensive trade contacts with such societies), many individuals learn the local tongue or the language of their nearest neighbor. Commonly learned second languages include Illuskan if the individual in question lives in the Western Hearlands or the North, Damaran if she lives in northcentral Faerun, Shaaran if she lives south of the Vilhon Reach, Turami if she lives on the northern shore of the Vilhon Reach, or Alzhedo if she lives along the shores of the Lake of Steam. Spellcasters, particularly those who dwell in Cormyr or the Dalelands, usually learn Netherese and Elven in order to acquire magic from old sources. Few Chondathans outside those areas learn Elven, a legacy of generations of conflict and a likely contributor to future conflicts.
All Chondathan characters are literate except for barbarians.
Most Damarans speak Common and Damaran, two closely related tongues. Damaran employs an alphabet of Dethek runes, a legacy of early cooperation between the inhabitants of Impiltur and the dwarves of the Earthfast Mountains. The exceptions are the inhabitants of Aglarond and Altumbel, who speak Common and Aglarondan, a tongue closely related to Damaran that incorporates many Elven words and uses the elven script of Espruar.
Common second languages in Impiltur include Chondathan, Dwarven, Aglarondan, or Chessentan. In Damara and Vaasa, second languages frequently known include Chondathan, Dwarven, Orcish, or Uluik. Many Nars can speak Rashemi or Uluik, and Tuigan is becoming increasingly popular. The inhabitants of the Great Dale are most likely to learn Rashemi, although some learn the Thayan dialect of Mulhorandi In southern Theak, Aglarondan is the most popular second language, while Chondathan and Turmic are the preferred second tongues along the coast around Telflamm. In Aglarond, most inhabitants also speak Elven. Other common second languages include Damaran, Chessentan, Sylvan, or Mulhorandi.
All Damaran characters are literate except for barbarians, commoners, and warriors.
Most Illuskans speak Illuskan, a language derived largely from Old Illuskan (spoken by the folk of Old Illusk) mixed with a smattering of Netherese. They usually speak Common as well, but few are literate. Along the northern coast of the mainland, particularly in the city of Waterdeep, many Illuskans speak Chondathan, the language of their Tethyrian neighbors. Although Old Illuskan had an alphabet of its own, today it is only found in the ancient fragments of lore stored within the Host Tower of the Arcane in Luskan. Although rarely put in written form, the modern Illuskan tongue uses the Thorass alphabet introduced by Tethyrian migrants.
All Illuskan characters are literate except for barbarians, aristocrats, commoners, experts, and warriors.
Depending on their homeland, Mulan speak one of the various tongues of the Rauric language family—all derived, at least in part, from the slave argot of ancient Imaskar. The language of Unther is Untheric, while the language of Mulhorand, Murghom, Semphar, and Thay is Mulhorandi. Untheric employs Dethek runes for its alphabet, suggesting a strong tie between the gold dwarves of the Great Rift and the early inhabitants of Unther. Mulhorandi is rendered in the Celestial alphabet, first introduced by a manifestation of Thoth.
In Chessenta and the Wizards’ Reach, Chessentan, a tongue closely related to Untheric with strong Chondathan and Shaaran influences, has largely supplanted Untheric. The folk of Chessenta have long used the Thorass alphabet in addition to Dethek runes, and Chessenthan is almost exclusively written using Thorass characters. Both They and the cult of Set render Mulhorandi in the Infernal alphabet, consciously repudiating the rule of the current god-kings.
Common is less frequently spoken in Mulan-dominated lands than elsewhere in Faerun, but it is still widely known nonetheless. Mulan who learn second tongues often choose one of the other Rauric languages mentioned above, Aglarondan (among the cities of the Wizards’ Reach), Chondathan (Chessenta), Durpari (southern Mulhorand), Rashemi (Thay and the Wizards’ Reach), Shaaran (southern Unther), Shou (Semphar), and Turmic (Chessenta and Mulhorand).
All Mulan are literate except for barbarians (very rare among this ancient race), commoners, and warriors.
Rashemi speak Common and their national language, whatever that may be. The Rashemi language, derived from Raumvira and the dead language Halardrim, uses the Thorass alphabet introduced by Chondathan traders traveling along the Golden Way. The Rashemi tongue is commonly employed only within the borders of Rashemen. In fact, more Rashemi speak the Thayan dialect of Mulhorandi as their mother tongue than speak Rashemi. Other languages with a significant number of Rashemi speakers include Aglarondan, Chondathan, and Damaran.
The most common secondary languages among the Rashemi are Mulhorandi (particularly the Thayan dialect) or Rashemi, depending on whether they live in Rashemen or Thay, respectively. Those Rashemi who dwell farther west often learn Chondathan, Damaran, Aglarondan, Chessentan, or Untheric.
All Rashemi characters are literate except for barbarians, adepts, experts, warriors, and commoners.
Most Tethyrians speak Common as their primary language, usually a singsong dialect known as Calant that is heavily influenced by Alzhedo and popular along the Sword Coast. They employ the Thorass alphabet. As Talfir and other languages of the original western tribes vanished long ago, there is no ancestral “Tethyrian” tongue. Instead, Tethyrians have always adopted the languages of the latest wave of immigration. Today, most Tethyrians speak Chondathan, a legacy of the mercantile invasion from the east in recent centuries, although a few speak Illuskan or Alzhedo instead.
All Tethyrian characters are literate except for barbarians, commoners, and warriors.