This race of people im writing are completely mute from birth, for religious and cultural reasons. What I have so far is that they dont communicate verbally, instead they 'speak' by plucking strings on homemade instruments. I've had a variety of ideas for what type of instrument, my main thought is that they hollow out a certain type of nut(from a tree that grows wild in their country, and plays a HUGE part in their mythology) , and tie some twine around it a certain way.
Obviously on a planet full of other races and species that speak verbally, they might have some trouble communicating. So at least some people would be forced to break a lifelong vow of silence(even if they dont consider it silence, just a different way of speaking) and learn how to speak verbally.
How hard might this be? They literally don't use their vocal chords (maybe stuff like laughing or crying out in pain, but not a spoken word or intentional sound) throughout their entire lives. Would it be possible? If so how long might it take? What might they sound like at first, or would they sound 'normal' at any point at all? Would they develop the accents of whoevers helping them learn to speak, or might they develop an accent of their own(especially if they teach themselves)?
Also a question a friend asked me that I didn't have an answer to: Would it make sense for them to only understand the nut instruments, or does it sound possible for them to 'speak' or be spoken to through other stringed instruments, or maybe clapping or tapping like a morse code? Honestly I don't think I've developed their 'language' enough to get any solid thoughts on this. I know some spoken languages are VERY reliant on pitch and tone, so they might work they same way. I dunno, thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
I've looked up all sorts of stuff on muteness, mutism and vows of silence but havent really found anything specifically on breaking your vow, or learning how to speak after a lifetime of not using your voice. (Also just a heads up, some of my research led me to really depressing stories of child abuse. I apologize in advance if you come across anything particularly troubling or triggering :c )