The Martian language is the spoken and written language of Barsoom, used and understood by nearly all sapient-beings on the planet. It has a relatively small vocabulary, as Martians have very little need or patience for poetics, with nuances and inflections added via telepathy. This telepathically-enabled universality has the advantage of removing language barriers between the Red Martians and their Green, Yellow, and Black counterparts and facilitating communication between Martians and their trained beasts. But there is a disadvantage of making it difficult for them to lie.
The only place on Mars rumored to have a different language is at the end of the River Iss in the Valley Dor, the Therns and the First Born both use the same language as the rest of the planet, however the First Born seem to be the origin of this other language, as Xodar is noted as speaking in a strange tongue to other members of his race. The Lotharians use a slightly different language, however, it is still entirely understandable by Carthoris and Thuvia and thus likely the rest of Barsoom as well.
It is spoken today by every race and nation, just as it was at the beginning of human life upon Barsoom. It has grown with the growth of the planet’s learning and scientific achievements, but so ingenious a thing it is that new words to express new thoughts or describe new conditions or discoveries form themselves—no other word could explain the thing that a new word is required for other than the word that naturally falls to it, and so, no matter how far removed two nations or races, their spoken languages are identical.
Martian writing is rather difficult to explain to earthmen, it is something of a cross between shorthand and pictographs. It is an entirely different language than the language spoken. Written languages are highly varied on Mars, no two nations share the same written language, and often cities of a nation have a written language that differs greatly from that of the nation to which they belong.
|Dar||A military unit of 1000 warriors.|
|Dator||Prince, term exclusive to the First Born.|
|Jed||A ruler of a city (King?).|
|Jeddak||Ruler of a nation (Emperor?).|
|Jeddara||Female ruler of a nation (Empress?).|
|Kaor||Standard martian greeting.|
|O-mad||A man with one name, used by Green Men.|
|Than||Warrior (Applies to a soldier or sailor).|
|Thorian||Chief of the lesser Therns.|
the below information is not from the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and therefore isn't considered canon
There has been various non-canonical contributions to the spoken and written languages of Barsoom, while none of this information can be considered canon in any way the information is important to note.
- For the Disney film a a linguist was hired to expand the language, and a written language was made reportedly based on actual markings found on the surface of Mars.
- Dynamite Comics Warlord of Mars uses a generic font called Gobbledygook, originally created by Richard Starking's Comicraft back in 2004 for use in Kurt Busiek's Astro City.