Language: English

Classical High Elven
Extinction: coexisted with Vulgar High Elven beginning from 600 BEKE until ceased being a spoken language around 200 BEKE, when Middle High Elven arose
Language family: Torgyrian
  Classical High Elven 
Writing system: High Elven alphabet

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Classical High Elven was two things at once. For one, it was a stage in the evolution of the High Elven language, as the intermediate language between Archaic High Elven and Vulgar High Elven. As such, despite being the descendant of Archaic High Elven, it was not the direct ancestor of Middle High Elven.

Classical High Elven - as the direct successor of Archaic High Elven - was the main language of the population between 800 BEKE and 600 BEKE. By 600 BEKE, the differences between the linguistically conservative nobility's and clergy's speech and the ordinary people's speech have grown to the point where the high amount of diglossia warranted the necessity to distinguish between two variants of High Elven - Classical High Elven spoken by the nobles and the clergy and used in royal administration, and Vulgar High Elven spoken by the common folk.

While the language's ancestor Archaic High Elven may have boosted a rather poor section of written secular literature - at least in comparison to Archaic Wood Elven - Classical High Elven has had a sudden spurt of literature, suppressing even Classical Wood Elven in volumes.

In addition to sporting the most impressive amount of literature written in this language, Classical Wood Elven continues to be used even to this day as the liturgical language of the Church of Titanius, as such, while it may be a dead language with no native speakers, there are many well-educated people fluent in the language from Froturn, Etrand and Artaburro.

Evolution from Archaic High Elven Edit

Consonants Edit

  • The word-initial clusters /zb zd zg/ devoiced to /sp st sk/
  • Reintroduction of aspiration via simplification of consonant clusters
    • /pɸ pθ px/ merged as /pʰ/
    • /tɸ tθ tx/ merged as /tʰ/
    • /kɸ kθ kx/ merged as /kʰ/
  • Merger of /ɸ θ xʷ/ as /f/
  • Merger of /ɣʷ/ and /gʷ/ into /w/
  • Shift of /x/ to /h/
  • Hardening of the voiced fricatives /β ð ɣ/ to plosives [b d g].
  • Rhotacism of /z/ to /r/.
    • /z/ was regained from intervocalic lenition of the affricate /d̪͡z̪/
  • Deaffrication of /t̪͡s̪/ to /s/
  • Loss of the glottal stop /ʔ/

Vowels Edit

  • Merger of /ə/ and /a/ into /a/
  • Lowering of short /e/ and /o/ to /ɛ/ and /ɔ/
  • laxing of short /i/ and /u/ to /ɪ/ and /ʊ/
  • The close central vowels /ɨ/ and /ɨː/ were fronted and rounded to /y/ and /yː/
  • The diphthong /iu̯/ monophthongized to /yː/

Phonology Edit

This is about actual Classical High Elven pronunciation. After 200 BEKE, the language continued to be used as the liturgical language of the Church of Titanius, as well as the official language of administration of the Kingdom of Froturn.

However, after 200 BEKE, it would be read and pronunced by High Elves and Humans according to the rules of their own native language.

Consonants Edit

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plain Labial
Nasal <m> /m/ <n> /n/ (ŋ)
Stop Aspirated <ph> /pʰ~pˢ/ <t̩h> /tʰ/ <ch> /kʰ/
Plain <.p̩.> /p/ <t> /t/ <c, k> /k/ <qu> /kʷ/
Voiced <̩b̩> /b/ <d> /d/ <g> /g/
Fricative Voiceless <f> /f/ <.s̩.> /s/
Voiced <z> /d͡z~z/
Approximant <l> /l/ <.i̩.> /j/ <.u̩.> /w/ <h> /h/
Trill <r> /r/

The velar nasal [ŋ] was the allophone of /g/ before /n/ and /m/, as well as /n/ before velar consonants. In other words, the clusters /gn/, /gm/, /ng/, /nk/ and /nkʷ/ were realized as [ŋn], [ŋm], [ŋg], [ŋk] and [ŋkʷ].

The aspirated /pʰ/ was most likely pronunced with a fricative release [pˢ], as evidenced by its later merger with /f/.

/s/ and /d͡z~z/ were likely still apico-alveolar during much of the Classical period, during the end of the Classical period, the pronunciation has shifted to the denti-alveolar place of articulation.

Vowels Edit

Front Back / Central
Unrounded Rounded
Close Long <í> /iː/ (ĩː) <ý> /yː/ (ỹː) <ú> /uː/ (ũː)
Short /ɪ/ <y> /ʏ/ /ʊ/
Mid Long <é> /eː/ (ẽː) <ó> /oː/ (õː)
Short <e> /ɛ/ (e*) <o> /ɔ/ (o*)
Open Long <á> /aː/ (ãː)
Short (æ) <a> /ɐ/
  • The vowel [æ] was the allophone of /ɛ/ before /r/.
  • The nasal vowels [ĩː], [ỹː], [ũː], [ẽː], [õː] and [ãː] were allophones of long vowel + nasal clusters word-finally and before fricatives.
  • The short /o/ and /e/ only existed in the diphthongs /eɐ̯/, /oɐ̯/, /eu̯/ and /oi̯/

The language also had diphthongs as well - /eɐ̯/, /oɐ̯/, /ɪɐ̯/, /ʊɐ̯/, /ʏɐ̯/, /ɐu̯/, /ɐi̯/, /eu̯/, /oi̯/, and /ui̯/. The majority of these monophthongized by the end of the Classical period.