|Archaic Wood Elven|
|Extinction:||split into into Classical Wood Elven and Early Orcish around 700 BEKE|
|Language family:|| Torgyrian|
Archaic Wood Elven
|Writing system:||Wood Elven cuneiforms|
Archaic High Elven was the stage of the Wood Elven language spoken between 1300 BEKE and 700 BEKE. During this period of time, the foundations of the Wood Elven literature were laid down, the first written records made their appearance, and the first divergences between dialects appeared as well.
Archaic Wood Elven is not only the first Elven language to have written records written by native speakers, but also the first Elven language to have dialects.
While it may not have boosted as a large collection of famous literary works or famous poets as it's successor Classical Wood Elven, the era in which Archaic Wood Elven was spoken was still an important era for Wood Elven literature, as both early music and works focused on Wood Elven mythology flourished in that era, and their legacy continued to live on, inspiring many poets during the Classical era.
Evolution from Proto-Elven Edit
- Partial depalatalization: the palatal consonants [ɲ t͡ɕʰ t͡ɕ d͡ʑ ɕ ʑ ʎ ɺʲ] dissimilated to /nj t͡sʰj t͡sj d͡zj sj zj lj rj/ clusters. The retroflex series [ɳ ʈ͡ʂʰ ʈ͡ʂ ɖ͡ʐ ʂ ʐ ɭ ɻ] merged with the plain alveolar series /n t͡sʰ t͡s d͡z s z l r/. This shift happened before all other sound shifts mentioned below. Nevertheless, the palato-velar series /kʲʰ kʲ gʲ/ was preserved fully intact.
- Deaspiration: the aspirated /pʰ tʰ t͡sʰ kʰ kʲʰ kʷʰ/ lost their aspiration, merging with plain /p t t͡s k kʲ kʷ/.
- Loss of /l/
- Syllable-onset /l/ merged with /r/
- Syllable-coda /l/ vocalized to /u/, unless it was following a diphthong (in which case it became silent)
- Loss of final /z/
- Loss of /ŋ/
- Syllable-onset /ŋ/ merged with /g/
- Syllable-coda /ŋ/ vocalized to /u/ after back and central vowels and /i/ after front vowels, unless it was following a diphthong, in which case it became silent
- Coda-position /m/ -> /n/
- Consonant cluster simplification: Other than syllables ending with /n/ or /t/ (before consonants beginning with /p t k/, forming /tp tt tk/ clusters), all syllables had to be open syllables. This meant adding "helping vowels" to dissolve consonant clusters, usually /i/ or /u/. For example, /rjak/ became /rjaku/, /krat/ became /kuratu/, etc.
|-||ë /ə̯/||i /ɪ̯/||ü /ʏ̯/||u /ʊ̯/||ŕ /aʁ/||` /ʕʷ/|
|a /a/ [ɑ] > a /a/||aë /aə̯/ [ɑə̯] > aö /aə/||ai /aɪ̯/ [ɑɪ̯] > ai /ai/||aü /aʏ̯/ [ɒʏ̯] > au /au/||au /aʊ̯/ [ɒʊ̯] > au /au/||aŕ /aʁ/ [ɑɐ̯] > a /a/||a` /aʕʷ/ [ɒɒ̯] > a /a/|
|ä /æ/ [æ] > a /a||äë /æə̯/ [æə̯] > yaö /jaə/||äi /æɪ̯/ [æɪ̯] > yai /jai/||äü /æʏ̯/ [æʏ̯] > yai /jai/||äu /æʊ̯/ [æʊ̯] > yau /jau/||äŕ /æʁ/ [æɐ̯] > ya /ja/||ä` /æʕʷ/ [æɒ̯] > ya /ja/|
|ë /ə/ [ə] > ö /ə/||-||ëi /əɪ̯/ [əɪ̯] > e /e/||ëü /əʏ̯/ [əʏ̯] > öu /əu/||ëu /əʊ̯/ [əʊ̯] > öu /əu/||ëŕ /əʁ/ [əɐ̯] > ö /ə/||ë` /əʕʷ/ [əɒ̯] > ö /ə/|
|e /e/ [e̞] > e /e/||eë /eə̯/ [e̞ə̯] > iö /iə/||ei /eɪ̯/ [e̞ɪ̯] > ei /ei/||eü /eʏ̯/ [e̞ʏ̯] > ei /ei/||eu /eʊ̯/ [e̞ʊ̯] > eu /eu/||eŕ /eʁ/ [e̞ɐ̯] > e /e/||e` /eʕʷ/ [e̞ɒ̯] > a /a/|
|o /o/ [o] > o /o/||oë /oə̯/ [oə̯] > uö /uə/||oi /oɪ̯/ [oɪ̯] > oi /oi/||oü /oʏ̯/ [oʏ̯] > oi /oi/||ou /oʊ̯/ [oʊ̯] > ou /ou/||oŕ /oʁ/ [oɐ̯] > oa /oa/||o` /oʕʷ/ [oɒ̯] > a /a/|
|ö /ø/ [ø̞] > yo /jo/||öë /øə̯/ [ø̞ə̯] > yoö /joə/||öi /øɪ̯/ [ø̞ɪ̯] > yoi /joi/||öü /øʏ̯/ [ø̞ʏ̯] > yoi /joi/||öu /øʊ̯/ [ø̞ʊ̯] > you /jou/||öŕ /øʁ/ [ø̞ɐ̯] > yoa /joa/||ö` /øʕʷ/ [ø̞ɒ̯] > ya /ja/|
|ï /ɨ/ [ɨ] > i /i/||ïë /ɨə̯/ [ɨə̯] > iö /iə/||-||iü /iʏ̯/ [iʏ̯] > iu /iu̯/||iu /iʊ̯/ [iʊ̯] > iu /iu̯/||ïŕ /ɨʁ/ [ɨɐ̯] > ea /ea/||ï` /ɨʕʷ/ [ɨɒ̯] > e /e/|
|i /i/ [i] > i /i/||ië /iə̯/ [iə̯] > ie /ie/||-||iü /iʏ̯/ [iʏ̯] > iu /iu̯/||iu /iʊ̯/ [iʊ̯] > iu /iu̯/||iŕ /iʁ/ [iɐ̯] > ea /ea/||i` /iʕʷ/ [iɒ̯] > e /e/|
|u /u/ [u] > u /u/||uë /uə̯/ [uə̯] > uö /uə/||ui /uɪ̯/ [uɪ̯] > ui /ui/||-||-||uŕ /uʁ/ [uɐ̯] > ua /ua/||u` /uʕʷ/ [uɒ̯] > o /o/|
|ü /y/ [y] > yu /ju/||üë /yə̯/ [yə̯] > yuö /juə/||üi /yɪ̯/ [yɪ̯] > yui /jui/||-||-||üŕ /yʁ/ [yɐ̯] > yua /jua/||ü` /yʕʷ/ [yɒ̯] > yo /jo/|
|ŕ /ʁ/ [ɐ] > a /a/||-||-||-||-||-||-|
While the Archaic Wood Elven consonant system was rather simplistic, it nevertheless is unique for preserving all 3 velar series of the Proto-Elven language, the plain velar, labio-velar and palato-velar series. Other traits setting it apart from other Elven languages is the deaspiration of aspirated stops instead of fricatization, lack of full depalatalization (instead of depalatalization, there was dissimilation to consonant + /j/ clusters), full shift of /l/ to /r/ or /u/, and overall simplified syllable systems.
|Approximant / Trill||r||j||w|
It is important to note that the Archaic Wood Elven sibilants /ts dz s z/ were apico-alveolar [t͡s̺ d͡z̺ s̺ z̺] - in sound halfway between the lamino-alvolear [t͡s d͡z s z] and postalveolar [t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ʃ ʒ] (but closer to the latter in my opinion). The rhotic phoneme /r/ was apico-alveolar too, [r̺]. In the successor language, Classical Wood Elven, the apico-alveolar sibilants got fronted to a denti-alveolar position. The shift may have happened already at a later stage of Archaic Wood Elven, as the Old Etrandish /θ/ - which was previously transcribed as it was /t/ by Wood Elven authors - was being transcribed as /s/ from 800 BEKE. Others however are more skeptical about this, and believe that the shift of /s z/ from apico-alveolar [s̺ z̺] to denti-alveolar [s̪ z̪] was in essence a process of dissimilation - retraction to [ɕ ʑ] in a palatal(izing) environment (before /i/ and /j/), fronting to [s̪ z̪] in every other environment - this shift however only happened in Classical Wood Elven, although some dialects could have already made the sound shift before the 700 BEKE.
Northern dialects merged the labio-velar /kʷ gʷ/ with the bilabial /p b/. This divide between Northern and Southern/Central dialects remained even in Classical Wood Elven, when all dialects turned /p/ into /ɸ/, and /kʷ gʷ/ delabiliazed to /k g/ in mainstream speech. This is the reason why the name of the Wood Elven / Orcish general - whose name was originally pronunced /torenkʷa/ - was transcribed as Thorm'fa by High Elven scribes and chroniclers.
The Archaic Wood Elven vowel system have have consisted of only six vowel phonemes with no vowel length distinction (unlike the Proto-Human and Archaic High Elven), but it has preserved most of the distinctions Proto-Elven had - instead of merging the Proto-Elven /æ ø y/ with /a o u/, Archaic Wood Elven diphthongized them to /ja jo ju/. The Proto-Elven schwa /ə/ was also preserved too in Archaic Wood Elven, even though later varieties merged it to /o/.