I don't see any reason why all characters, or most, should be literate. Why would they be? It's an obscure specialist skill in a medieval setting.
The Latin/English thing doesn't really work because High Gothic is supposed to be an older form of Low Gothic, right? Latin isn't an older form of English. It's more like Anglo-Saxon/English.
"or in some cases simplified English (US English)." ooh burn!
I actually didn't mean this in an offensive way, but a factual one. One of the key differences between the Webster dictionary (US) and the Oxford Dictionary (UK) is that UK English tends to keep the phonetic spelling patterns of derived words to show their history and which language they came from. US English tried to move away from this with Webster (which is why we have the difference in spelling between 'Colour' and 'Color') and removed words that it didn't see as necessary (which is why words like 'Learnt' don't appear in US English).
It wasn't intended as an insult, US is a more simplified version of the language if you compare them, but it was made so intentionally.
However, have you tried to read Anglo-Saxon? I studied it at university and its far closer to reading a language like Dutch than modern day English. Take this sentence for example "Hwæt! Wé Gárdena in géardagum, þéodcyninga þrym gefrúnon". It doesn't even use the same alphabet. (That translates roughly to "Quiet! we the spear-danes in the days of yore, heard of the clan's king's glories"). So yeah. Its still not something you can just 'take a guess at' because you know a language decendant.
There is something called Old English though. It was used during Shakespeare's time in which The Canterbury Tales was written in. However, Old English sounds far different than modern English and uses different pronunciation.
Actually it's divided up in Old English (Beowulf), Middle English (Canterbury Tales) and Early New English (Shakespeare), plus modern English.
Old English was closer to the Germanic languages, then the Latin influences came.
Sorry for being a wiseass but I studied English linguistics :)"
You beat me to this one For the record Anglo-Saxon and Old English are the same thing, and technically English is still defined as a Germanic language.
Edited by Cail, 26 January 2014 - 08:29 AM.