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Classical Wood Elven
Extinction: evolved into Current Wood Elven around 200 AEKE.
Language family: Torgyrian
 Elven
  Classical Wood Elven 
Writing system: Wood Elven cuneiforms

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Classical Wood Elven was the stage of the Wood Elven language from 700 BEKE to 200 AEKE. While most languages at the time had one or a few sudden early sound shifts that marked their evolution, Classical Wood Elven was known or being phonologically rather unstable, with a fluidly and gradually shifting standard pronunciation, sharply contrasting its solid grammar and large amount of written literature.

Unlike in Classical High Elven, Classical Wood Elven did not have diglossia, the vernacular language and the literary language never deviated too much from each other. In fact, written Classical Wood Elven is still intelligible by speakers of Current Wood Elven.

Evolution from Archaic Wood Elven Edit

  • In Late Archaic Wood Elven, the language started having prosthesis - /e/ became /je/ when no consonant preceded it.
  • The real shift from Archaic Wood Elven to Classical Wood Elven started with the shift of /tp tt tk/ clusters to geminated consonants /pː tː kː/ and the fricatization of ungeminated /p/ to /ɸ/ in all environments around 700 BEKE.
    • Around 650 BEKE, intervocalic /ɸ/ became /w/. Around the same time /w/ became silent before all vowels but /a/ and /o/. Hence, /jepu/ would become /jeɸu/, then /jeu/, and finally /joː/ in the later vowel shift.
  • Around 600 BEKE, a vowel shift happened simultaneously along with the palatalization and sulcalization:
    • /au/ became /ɔː/, /jai/ became /jɛː/, /ou/ became /oː/, /ei/ became /eː/, /eu/ became /joː/, /iu/ became /juː/
    • /n t d s z/ palatalized to [ɲ t͡ɕ d͡ʑ ɕ ʑ] before /i/ and the glide /j/. As such, /si/ became /ɕi/. /djɛː/ (originating from /djai/) became /d͡ʑɛː/, etc.
    • /t d/ sulcalized to /t͡s d͡z/ before /u/
  • In Late Classical Wood Elven (around 100 BEKE), several mergers happened
    • /ɛː/ merged with /eː/ and /ɔː/ merged with /oː/.
    • Loss of distinction between voiced affricates and fricatives - merger of /z/ and /d͡z/ into one phoneme, /ʑ/ and /d͡ʑ/ into one phoneme.

Phonology Edit

This represents the pronunciation of Classical Wood Elven around 400 BEKE. Most sound shifts were gradual.

Consonants Edit

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Plain Sibilant Palatal Plain
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop Voiceless (p) t t͡s t͡ɕ k
Voiced b d d͡z d͡ʑ g
Fricative Voiceless ɸ s ɕ
Voiced z ʑ
Approximant / Flap ɾ j w

The voiceless bilabial stop /p/ appeared only in foreign words, or when geminated.

Late Classical Wood Elven (around 100 BEKE) lost the distinction between voiced affricates and fricatives - merger of /z/ and /d͡z/ into one phoneme, /ʑ/ and /d͡ʑ/ into one phoneme.

Vowels Edit

Front Back
Close /i/ /iː/ /u/ /uː/
Mid /eː/ /e/ /ɛː/ /o/ /oː/ /ɔː/
Open /a/ /aː/

In Late Classical Wood Elven (around 100 BEKE), /ɛː/ merged with /eː/ and /ɔː/ merged with /oː/.

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