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Hallo!

On Sat, 31 Oct 2009 14:30:14 +0200, Toms Deimonds Barvidis wrote:

> So, I'm highly intrigued by the thread of Elven languages (ok, mostly 
> Quenya) so that I decided a want to hears
> some answers to my question: What in your thoughts are the features than 
> would/should/could be present in an   
> elflang, and what features wouldn't be?
> Of course, this leads to another question - what would the Elves themselves 
> be?  

Indeed, the question what the Elves would be has to be answered before
making a language of them.  My Elves are humans with a culture somewhat
similar to Tolkien's Elves, but actually based on my personal worldview
(which involves elements not found in Tolkien, such as an early form of
democracy).  They live in *this* world, more precisely in the British
Isles.

This calls for a plausible human language that fits the linguistic
landscape of northwestern Europe; also, the notion suggested itself
that it would be the substratum responsible for the aberrant development
of the Insular Celtic languages.  And the language, being spoken by the
"culture of my heart", would have to appeal to my sense of what is a
"beautiful" and "truthful" language.

> Longrimol, my most-developed elflang, has mostly human language features, 
> but there were few things I thought I  
> don't  want to see in an elflang, for example, noun genders. My Elven 
> Society does not split up by genders, it's not  
> important whether the warrior or king or anyone else is a male or female, so 
> I decided that it would best for  
> Longrimol to have no genders (except for natural, like "he" vs "she", 
> "daughter" vs "son". 
> 
> Another feature I developed in Longrimol - it is relatively easy to express 
> complicated ideas, and it is done by a  
> number of grammatical constructions, like the reflexive dative and 
> accusative, adjectives-agreeing-with-tense and  
> some other.
> 
> If any of you have an elflang, wold you be so kind and share with some of 
> your ideas? 

Sure.  Old Albic is an active/stative language with a system of marking
degrees of volition by means of different cases of the subject.  Gender
is not assigned arbitrarily but semantically, with a primary distinction
between animate and inanimate, and a secondary distinction between
masculine, feminine and common (i.e., unspecified for sex, or where sex
doesn't apply as with collective entities) in the animate class.  As some
semantic roles require animateness, inanimate nouns have a defective case
system.

Also, in the course of my explorations of the history of Indo-European
languages, I found that there is evidence that Proto-Indo-European
evolved from an earlier form of the language that was typologically
very similar to Albic, which brought up the idea that both language
families could be related to each other.

As my Elves are ordinary mortal humans, it is very important that their
language is a plausible human language.  Anything impossible in a human
language would be impossible in Albic as well.

On Sat, 31 Oct 2009 13:41:54 +0000, R A Brown wrote:

> Toms Deimonds Barvidis wrote:
> > So, I'm highly intrigued by the thread of Elven languages
> >  (ok, mostly Quenya) so that I decided a want to hears 
> > some answers to my question: What in your thoughts are 
> > the features than would/should/could be present in an 
> > elflang, and what features wouldn't be? Of course, this 
> > leads to another question - what would the Elves 
> > themselves be?
> 
> Yes, indeed - I do not think these questions can possibly be
> answered until the 'elves' and the milieu in which they
> exist is defined. Until Tolkien published his stories, the
> general perception of elves were as diminutive people that
> appeared in folklore and were inclined to be somewhat
> mischievous. In some traditions they were quite clearly
> malevolent, as least towards humans. But in others they 
> could be positively helpful in doing things like spinning 
> straw into gold.

Right.  And the notion that such elves would speak a language of their
own was, to my knowledge, not widespread, though it would be reasonable
to assume that such languages the Faerie would use among themselves
exist.  Such a language could be very, very different from a human
language, perhaps not even using the vocal-auditory channel but some
means of communication imperceivable to humans, such as ultrasonic or
telepathic.

When the ways the Faerie speak to humans was described, a common notion
was that their language was stiff, formal and old-fashioned.

> Tolkien brought back an older tradition of elves as humanoid
> (or maybe a little taller than average humans) and 'noble.'

Yes.  The Elves in Tolkien's works are based on venerable mythological
traditions which predated the diminuition of the Faerie in folklore in
early modern times.  They are like the Old Norse Ljosalfar and the Old
Irish Tuatha De Danann.

My Elves draw on Tolkien and the mythologies Tolkien based his Elves
on, but in some sense I dig even deeper.  My fancy is that these
traditions are derived from encounters with a sophisticated
civilization in the Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age British Isles,
which could also underlie the Greek traditions of Hyperborea and
Atlantis.  To the less sophisticated people of continental Northwest
Europe, the people of the British Isles with their great cities, their
mighty ocean-going ships and all that seemed like demigods, and hence
the Celtic and Germanic traditions of Elves.

> But until ones 'elves' are defined, the language can't, it
> seems to me, be developed. If your elves are distinctly
> other-worldly, then you may well want to make your language
> as non-human as possible.

Sure.  If I was to design a language for the Faerie as they appear
in Victorian folk tales, I'd do something entirely different from
Old Albic or any other human language.  (A couple of rough ideas
for such a language indeed alreday exist in my mind, but I haven't
done anything substantial about that yet.)

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