I'm not very happy with the way that language acquisition and fluency is dealt with in the core rules. The idea that a character should automatically speak a language with perfect fluency and literacy as soon as he or she gains the skill offends my delicate sensibilities, and I intend to do away with it in my campaigns.

New Skill: Speak Language (INT)

A character must have at least one Skill Rank in a language to be able to speak or understand it at all. Characters automatically begin with 4 ranks in their native language, but (usually) without Literacy.

Characters who start with Bonus Languages convert each bonus language into one Speak Language skill rank. They may, at their option, choose to take each of their bonus languages at a Fluency rating of 1, or they can choose to take fewer languages at a higher Fluency rating.

Note that the Common Tongue is a separate language, and characters who wish to be able to use it will have to devote at least one Skill Rank to it.

Study time required to attain one rank of fluency is (6 - INT modifier) months. This assumes concerted study, at least four hours per day, at least five days per week — it may take significantly longer if study is more erratic.

Speak Language is a Class Skill for all classes.

Literacy is not automatic with the acquisition of a language, but must be paid for separately. Fluency levels are given below:

Skill RanksFluency Level
1Only basic communication is possible. Misunderstandings are common, and much of the vernacular may simply be incomprehensible.
2The speaker is capable of fluent conversation, but has a distinct accent — it will be obvious to any native speaker that he or she is a foreigner, though they may not know just what sort of foreigner.
3The speaker is capable of fluent, unaccented conversation. A suspicious listener will still be able to detect foreign speech patterns with a successful Detect Motive roll, opposed by the speaker's own Speak Language skill roll.
4Utterly fluent. Indistinguishable from a native speaker, even under close examination.
+1Basic literacy. The character can read and write in the language at the same level as his or her fluency in speech. If the language has its own alphabet, the character knows it.
+2Highly literate. The character can read and write clearly and well, and in addition has a general knowledge of the literature of the culture (treat as a Knowledge skill).