In the sixth world people are less defined by their place of birth and more by their sub-species and the corporation they work for. Coupled with a transient world population caused by corporate resource reallocation and people smuggling, multiculturalism is turned up to 11 but what determines the native language of the average ork on the street?
Corporations have the biggest influence in determining the language a person is fluent in. Saeder Krupp will educate it’s employees in German and Aztechnology employees will use Spanish. As generations of employees pass through the corporation their native language is no longer associated with their birthplace but their corporation. This has created a population of bilingual wageslaves who use the corporation’s official language everyday but speak a limited form of the host country’s language when they hit the streets.
On the street it’s a safe bet that most people in the UCAS speak “street English” – a foundation of English with pop culture Japanese, Mandarin and Hindi thrown into the mix. This is the language the SINless use to survive, using their mother tongue for serious business while adopting other languages for shorthand. Rarely are the SINless truly bilingual, their native language will often be far stronger than the foreign pop culture they have adopted.
Finally, while someone might speak the same language as another, chances are their proficiency will be different. This is where linguasofts come in. Good linguasofts provide near perfect fluency in a language at the cost of sounding like an automated voice system. With corporations mandating a single language for compliance reasons, without linguasofts corporations wouldn’t be able to do business with each other and often a wageslave will salary sacrifice one to get an edge on his peers.
In the sixth world, language is no longer a shared assumption between two people. While corporations educate their employees with their own official languages, the street takes what it needs to make things work. A shadowrunner would be well served in remembering this the next time he needs to meet a Yakuza oyabun.
What’s that guy speakin’ table
15. Mandarin Chinese