Sato Linguistics Institute

Federation Standard

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English (native name as seen)


/ɪŋglɪʃ/ (Help:IPA)


Created by – Not applicable
(natural language)
Homeworld – Terra (Earth),
United Federation of Planets


three major, 60+ minor;
special - Federation Standard (debatable)


SVO; isolating-synthetic hybrid

Writing system


Official Status

Official language in

real world - 54 nations, 27 non- sovereign entities, 12 international organizations; in universe - United Federation of Planets

Regulated by

real world - none; in universe - unknown

Codes and Resources

ISO code(s)

en (ISO 639-1), eng (ISO 639-2, 639-3)

SLI registry


English, also referred to as Federation Standard in some literary sources, is one of the foremost languages of the United Federation of Planets. It is the standard language of Starfleet vessels and officers, and has been featured prominently on later versions of the Federation national flag.


Hwæt we Gardena in gear dagum
þeod cyninga þrym gefrunon
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon
The opening of the epic poem Beowulf. Written circa 1000 CE, it may be the oldest surviving record of the English language.

The earliest form of English emerged on Earth sometime around the first century of the Current Era, when an assortment of Germanic peoples emigrated to the British Isles. The language is notable for being an amalgamation of several different root languages: Germanic from the Anglo-Saxons, Latin and Greek from the Roman Empire, Celtic from the native inhabitants, Old Norse from the Vikings, and French from the Normans.

The modern form of English was established circa 1500 CE, and spread across the planet through the expansion of the British Empire. The empire, in turn, decolonized over the 20th century and was succeeded by the Commonwealth of Nations. It is currently the most widely used language on Earth, spoken by over 1 billion people in nations across all six populated continents.

Known dialectsEdit

Received Pronunciation (RP, also called British English non-academically) is the collective term for a number of geographic dialects, comprising those of Great Britain and its historic territories under the British commonwealth. Accent, mannerisms, and extended vocabulary can vary greatly, but the rules of grammar, spelling, and basic lexicon are consistent.

General American (American English) originates from the United States of America, and is spread across its historic territories. It bears notable differences to RP English in both its written and spoken form; however, the two are mostly similar, and a speaker of one can easily understand the other. As with RP English, American English covers a broad variety of geographic sub-dialects.

Most dialects of English across the world are classified as either RP or American, but a few are not so easily categorized. Canadian English is phonetically and lexically similar to General American, and is often associated with it on this basis; but in written form it is closer to the style of RP English, making an absolute classification impossible. Australian English is also considered an independent dialect.

Federation Standard EnglishEdit

The Midwest American variant of English is the standard in Star Trek television and films, the accents of individual characters notwithstanding. Continuity states that Starfleet Command is headquartered in San Francisco, as is the Federation Council, providing an in-universe explanation for its prevalence.

While English has never been referred to as Federation Standard on screen, it was established in the original series episode “Bread and Circuses” that 20th-century and 23rd-century English are not identical. It is not clear to what degree the language mutated in that time, but modern and future peoples are mostly able to understand one another without the aid of a universal translator.

One possibility is that Federation Standard is a formalized version of essential English vocabulary, similar to Basic English or Simplified English today. Although not technically a dialect, such a version of English would have a standardized lexicon of common words and scientific terms, but not include slang or vernacular speech. This would make English both easier to learn and easier to translate into other languages.



English phonology slightly varies between dialects, especially in regard to vowel sounds. Its alphabet contains 20 consonants, five vowels, and the semivowel 'Y' (which can function as a vowel or consonant). This article uses General American phonetics and alphabet for Federation Standard.

English alphabet and its IPA values
A a /ɑ/, /ɔ/, /æ/,
/e͡ɪ/, /ə/
H h /h/ O o /o/, /ɔ/, /ə/ V v /v/
B b /b/ I i /ɪ/, /a͡ɪ/ P p /p/ W w /w/
C c /k/, /s/ J j /d͡ʒ/ Q q /k͡w/** X x /k͡s/, /z/
D d /d/ K k /k/ R r /ɹ/ Y y /j/, /ɪ/, /a͡ɪ/
E e /ɛ/, /i/,
/ə/, /Ø/*
L l /l/ S s /s/, /z/ Z z /z/
F f /f/, /v/ M m /m/ T t /t/
G g /g/, /d͡ʒ/, N n /n/ U u /ɪ͡u/, /u/, /ʌ/

* Silence; phonologically null.
** In native words, 'q' is always followed by 'u', justifying the transitional /w/ sound.


English is notorious for having one of the most complicated speech-to-writing correspondences of any language. As confusing as the letters can be on their own, their combinations produce such a diverse array of phonemes that to thoroughly explain them is outside the scope of this article. Much of this is due to its ancestral languages having vastly different spelling and grammar rules from one another.

This can make learning English very difficult for the novice, as each new word may present new rules, or a new exception to them. However, there are some basic rules of pronunciation that are more or less consistent throughout the language. For instance, 's' is only pronounced /z/ if it is at the end of a word, and not doubled ('ss'). Likewise, 'e' is only silent at the end of a word, or between a root word and its suffix.

Digraphs that end in 'H' often have a transformative effect on the preceding letter, altering the sound into an entirely different phoneme. These digrams are: 'Ch' (/t͡ʃ/ or /x/), 'Gh' (/f/, /g/ or /Ø/), 'Ph' (/f/), 'Sh' (/ʃ/), 'Th' (/θ/ or /ð/), and 'Wh' (/ʍ/, a short, near-silent /w/). The majority of these digrams are borrowed from the Germanic or Latin language family.


English follows an onset-rime syllable structure. Either the onset, the coda, or both can be dropped from a given syllable; all three elements can be multiphonetic (containing more than one sound). For instance, the word “strength” is one syllable, but the onset has three phonemes (/stɹ/), and the coda contains two (/ɳθ/).

Syntax and morphologyEdit

English is primarily an isolating language, meaning it has a low ratio of morphemes (separate parts) per average word. For example, the word “rice” has a 1:1 morpheme ratio; its only forms are singular and plural, and each form is identical. However, it also has characteristics of a high-morpheme or synthetic language, exemplified in the 6:1 “antidisestablishmentarianism;” thus it is not definitively one or the other, but if measured on a scale between them it is more isolating than synthetic.

English syntax generally follows a subject-verb-object order. In the previous sentence, “syntax” is the subject, “order” the object, and “follow” the verb. However, there are exceptions to the rule; for instance, when posing a question, an auxiliary verb often begins the sentence, as in "Is the sensor reading confirmed?"

Different types of morphemes can also indicate similar concepts. For example, the prefix anti- means the same thing as the words “oppose” or “against,” while pro- is identical to “agree,” “favor,” or “support.” Thus, to say “I am pro- (or) anti-Maquis” is the same as saying “I support (or) oppose the Maquis;” the former method is less formal than the latter, but either variation is acceptable.

Writing system - LatinEdit

The writing system for English is commonly known as Latin, after its language of origin, and is shared with many other Terran languages. Latin is an alphabetic system, written from left to right in descending lines.

The Latin alphabet can vary slightly from one language to another, and depending on the time period it was written. Modern English uses a twenty-six letter alphabet, each letter having an 'upper case' and 'lower case' form, and ten numerals. Words are usually written in lowercase, with an uppercase letter to begin a sentence or the words in a proper name. It is also considered correct form to write entirely in uppercase letters; this style is commonly seen on signage, and Starfleet uses this style almost exclusively.


See alsoEdit


External links and resourcesEdit

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