The Imperial Language is the sole official language of the Empire and has been so since the state's conception. However, originally, the vast majority of the populace spoke an entirely unrelated tongue (or rather a set of similar tongues), now dead. Only fragmented memories and incomplete records of it survive in the modern Empire, primarily as cultural oddities (most commonly in very old names of people or places) and as a topic of narrow academic interest. Full knowledge of the various dialects and the basic form - especially the grammar, pronounciation and lexicon - no longer exists, having been killed off by aggressive campaigns to solidify cultural unity following the Empire's creation. The whole half-forgotten language group is now just referred to as "The Old Tongue". The new language that replaced it would soon become the universal vernacular of the united Empire and an essential element in the evolution of a homogenous Imperial People. This 'Imperial Language' is entirely synthetic and almost completely unrelated to the "Old Tongues" that preceeded it, being a creation of Markus for the purpose of bringing the inhabitants of his new nation together and forging them a single distinct socio-cultural identity.
In modern times, over five millenia after the Empire's foundation, the Old Tongue is thousands of years extinct - along with the dark-haired, olive-skinned peoples of the Imperial Peninsula who originally spoke it. The Imperial Language, meanwhile, is the sole official language of the State, and has remained completely unchanged and unaltered for the Empire's entire existence, apart from the addition of new words. Most all regions of the Empire have developed their own local dialects of the Imperial language, however. Many regions added later in the Empire's history also retain their original languages. This is also the case with some notable older territories that have held onto their pasts enough to create their own distinctive sub-cultures - most prominently in the West and Southeast.
Alphabet, Orthography, Phonetics & MorphologyEdit
The writing system used by the Empire is complex but very systematic and precise, much like the language it was created to transcribe. Also like the language itself, it was created with a minimum of influence or borrowing from preceeding tongues. Its only real relationship to the family of crude scripts used by other surrounding cultures and languages (including the Empire's own 'Old Tongue') is the fact that it is an alphabet at all. And, indeed, many regional variantions of this archiac alphabet have transformed into abugidas (writing systems wherein all the letters are consonants and vowels are indicated with sub-text annotations, like Hebrew).
The Imperial Alphabet is extensive, with an unusually large multiplicity of characters (compared to, say, the standard English version of the Latin Alphabet in our world). This is because the system is phonemic, with each letter representing one (and only one) distinct major sound the language (contrasting with English, for example - in which the letter 'C/c' can be realized as equivalent to either 'K' or 'S'). In simple terms, each letter in the Imperial Alphabet has only one 'sound'.