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On Mon, 24 Mar 2003 13:14:40 -0500, Sally Caves <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

>This is getting off-topic.  I should never have brought up the secondary
>question about Elves and Ears and Spellings. :) What I want to know from
>those of you who use the term "Elvish" to describe your own languages or
>peoples (that means you, Elliott, and you Joerg) is what you mean by this
>term.  Are these a people like Tolkien's Elves?  I.e., preternaturally
>beautiful, gifted, immortal, the original linguists and artists, the noble
>ancestry of a world which they have left for an Undying Land, and of a
>different race from that of ordinary humans?  Or do you mean something else?

I have to admit that I liked Tolkien's idea of Elves being the original
speakers, and "borrowed" that idea in my version of elves. These elves had
extraordinarily long lives (hundreds or thousands of years), but they
weren't actually immortal. They also had pointed ears, and my early
conception of them was that they were related to cats and dragons. I still
draw them with vertical slit pupils like cats. In the early years, when I
was running an AD&D* campaign and used Elvish names like "Selganor" for my
own characters, the AD&D versions of Elves were probably a bigger influence
than Tolkien.

*AD&D = Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, a role-playing game of the "swords and
sorcery" variety that was popular in the 1980's, which itself was
influenced by Tolkien's creations.

>If you mean something else, why have you co-opted this word, which is now so
>deeply associated with Tolkieniana?
>I.e., what is the popularity of this term?  Its Otherworldliness?  Its
>association with Tolkien?  Magic?  Its association with High Fantasy?  (I
>can relate... I was enamored of the Elves in graduate school when I was
>rereading LotR).

Magic, definitely. Also the pointed ears that are typically associated with
Elves. Now that I'm not so sure if there really is any magic in the Azirian
universe, that'll probably end up being a big factor in the decision
whether to continue calling these people "Elves". For now, I think the best
thing to do is use the specific names for particular species of "Elves" --
the more human-like ones are Nelya, the more insect-like ones Tali, the
small feathery-winged ones Miri, and so on.

>And finally, are Elves associated, in some way, with "Celticity"?  Both
>Elliott and Joerg in their public surveys write that they have taken their
>inspiration for their "Elvish" from Celtic languages, as did Tolkien.

The inspiration for my Elvish languages was mainly from Slavic languages,
in particular Serbo-Croatian. But I did borrow the Welsh "ll" sound, the
initial consonant mutations, and possibly a couple of other things from
Welsh although it's been a long time since I looked at my Elvish linguistic
notes.

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