SimNation is a massive place. Over the course of the Sims franchise players have been introduced to dozens of its neighborhoods/worlds, from chilly mountaintops to toasty beaches to barren deserts and even across space & time. While we can assume that globalization is thriving in this reality, it’s surprising that Sims from every corner of the world can all speak with each other using a single, unified language. Even the aliens use the language despite the fact that they come from a completely different planet!
Modder and Tool creator Frankk also found this to be a bit peculiar and proceeded to create the Language Barriers Mod, which brings a smart and complex new language system to the Sims 4 that integrates seamlessly into vanilla gameplay!
New Regional Languages
With this Language Barrier mod, players gain access to 7 different languages for their sims to learn & speak:
- Simlish: Spoken by a majority of sims, and the language players are familiar with.
- Windenburgish: Spoken by the sims of Windenburg, based on the German language.
- Selvadoradian: Spoken by the sims of Selvadorada, based on the Spanish language.
- Toki Sulani: Spoken by the sims of Sulani, based on the Native Hawaiian language.
- Komorebigo: Spoken by the sims of Mt. Komorebi, based on the Japanese language.
- Tartosiano: Spoken by the sims of Tartosa, based on the Italian language.
- Sixami: Spoken by all aliens, based on the Planet SixAm.
The Language Barrier mod is Base Game compatible, so any sim can learn any language regardless of the DLC you may have installed!
Sims will automatically be assigned at least one native language based on their location, their parents’ native language(s), and their traits. If sims grow up speaking more than one language, there’s a chance they will become a native speaker of multiple tongues and unlock the Native Multilingual Trait, which makes learning additional new languages even easier!
Sims’ native language(s) will show as traits in their Simology panel and cannot be changed without cheats. You can find settings to change a sim’s native language as well as other options by clicking the sim and selecting the “Languages” menu.
Sims have multiple options for learning a new language. They can study language books, use the app Simlingo/Simlingo Jr., or try communicating with speakers of the desired language for a more hands-on approach. When a sim starts learning a new language it will appear in the Skills panel, and as the sim gains skill levels they will grow more fluent in the language. Certain traits, like Genius or Lazy, will affect how easily a sim picks up the new language.
Frankk went so far as to add “genetics” to his languages, meaning that sims have an easier time learning languages similar to their own. For example, Selvadoradian and Tartosiano are both considered romance languages like Spanish and Italian, and because they share “genetics” a sim who speaks one language will have an easier time learning the other.
Speaking with Other Sims
Though it can be a struggle, trying to speak a new language with a native speaker is a surefire way to learn quickly with the additional advantage of gaining conversational/context use. When two sims of different native languages start speaking to each other the mod will automatically decide which language they will communicate in. A sim can request that the conversation moves to a different language, but their conversation partner can accept or decline the request (unless you use the add-on that makes the success rate 100%).
This feature adds an incredible layer of realism, especially for sims who may be the children of immigrants. They may speak the regional language for the location they’re in but switch to their parents’ native tongue when speaking with just them. It’s also a sensible feature for characters who travel a lot or spend extended periods of time in multiple parts of SimNation.
While talking with native speakers is a helpful way to learn a new language doing so is not without its risks! Language barriers can be an issue, putting sims at risk of saying or hearing something they didn’t mean to. A language snafu will affect the speaker, the sim they’re trying to speak to, and sometimes even other sims who might have been eavesdropping. There are several buffs sims can get from such slips of the tongue!
Take your multilingual sims on a world tour with the SimNation Travel Mod!
Add-Ons & Integration
The Language Barriers mod has several add-on options for customization purposes, and it’s been made to integrate with a couple of other mods (Frankk is happy to work on integration with other mods if you ask):
- Ask to change language always succeeds – other sims will always agree to speak the language you ask of them when talking with your active sim
- Hide all cheats – places all cheats behind the shift+click action on sims to declutter menus
- Hide communication notifications and hide language context notifications – stops notifications from popping up, which can get annoying especially when two sims don’t share a common language
- Hide Sixami from Simlingo – makes Sixami unlearnable by traditional means since it’s a mysterious alien language
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If you want a low-key way to give your sims more of a regional identity by way of realistic skills and language barriers, this mod is a perfect option for you! We love how in-depth the Language Barrier mod goes, how seamlessly it blends in with vanilla Sims 4 gameplay, and that languages aren’t locked to DLC so sims are free to learn any language they choose. It’s beautifully designed and enhances gameplay without adding any bloat, and Frankk the creator is even willing to make it play well with other mods if you ask. This is a quality of life mod that any and every sims player should give a try.