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Proto-Elven
Extinction: split into Proto-Human, High Elven, Wood Elven and Neressan around 1300 BEKE
Language family: Torgyrian
 Proto-Elven
 
Writing system: various

Template:Infobox Language/IPA notice

The Proto-Elven language was the language of the Proto-Elves. It's descendants are Proto-Human language, High Elven, Wood Elven and Neressan.

Despite being a proto-language, it was surprisingly well-attested, although the majority of written records come from foreign, non-Elven sources, and overwhelmingly attest transitional periods between real Proto-Elven and one of its four descendant languages. Because they come from non-Elven sources, they are very often plagued with inconsistency, loss of several distinctions, and native language-influenced biases.

As such, most of the written records fail to give an accurate representation of what actual Proto-Elven may have sounded like.

Nevertheless, attempts to reconstruct the language date back to as early as just two centuries after it's extinction, and these reconstructions have proven to be accurate enough to make spells written in it stronger - as Arcane Magic is stronger when the spell is written and recanted in an extinct or ancient language, the older the better.

ConsonantsEdit

Labial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Laryngeal
Palatalized Plain Labialized
Nasal m /m/ n /n/ ň /ṉ/ ń /ŋ/ ńw /ŋʷ/
Stop Aspirated ph /pʰ/ th /tʰ/ ch /t͡sʰ/ čh /t͡ʃʰ/ khj /kʲʰ/ kh /kʰ/ khw /kʷʰ/
Plain p /p/ t /t/ c /t͡s/ č /t͡ʃ/ kj /kʲ/ k /k/ kw /kʷ/ ' /ʔ/
Voiced b /b/ d /d/ dz /d͡z/ dž /d͡ʒ/ gj /gʲ/ g /g/ gw /gʷ/
Fricative Voiceless s /s/ š /ʃ/
Voiced z /z/ ž /ʒ/
Approximant l /l/ ĺ /ḻ/ j /j/ w /w/ ` /ʕ̞ʷ/
Rhotic r /r/ ř /r̠/ ŕ /ʁ/

/n tʰ t d/ are actually denti-alveolar [n̪ t̪ʰ t̪ d̪].

It is important to note that the post-alveolar series was special in the allophony involving the place of articulation - they were retroflex before back and central vowels, palatal before front vowels.

As such, /ṉ t͡ʃʰ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ʃ ʒ ḻ r̠/ were realized as retroflex [ɳ ʈ͡ʂʰ ʈ͡ʂ ɖ͡ʐ ʂ ʐ ɭ ɽ~ɻ] before back and central vowels, as alveolo-palatal [ɲ t͡ɕʰ~cʰ t͡ɕ~c d͡ʑ~ɟ ɕ ʑ ʎ ɺʲ] before front vowels. Syllabic /r̠/ was always realized as an R-coloured vowel [ɚ].

The laryngeal /ʕ̞ʷ/ was a labio-pharyngeal approximant [ʕ̞ʷ]. It had the allophones [ɒ̯] in syllable coda and [ɒ] when syllabic.

The laryngeal rhotic /ʁ/ was highly subject to allophony, being realized as a trill/flap [ʀ~ʀ̆] in the syllable onset, vocalized to [ɐ̯] in the syllable coda, and realized as [ɐ] when syllabic.

VowelsEdit

Front Back / Central
Unrounded Rounded Unrounded Rounded
Close i /i/, /ɪ̯/ ü /y/, /ʏ̯/ ï /ɨ/ u /u/, /ʊ̯/
Mid e /e/ ö /ø/ ë /ə/, /ə̯/ o /o/
Open ä /æ/ a /a/

Proto-Elven had vowel harmony, meaning that a word ending with a front vowel would be conjugated by a postfix consisting of exclusively front vowels, and the same rule going for words ending with back vowels - postfixes consisting of back vowels.

The only exceptions to this rule are the non-syllabic glides /ɪ̯ ʏ̯ ʊ̯/, which remain unchanged and unaffected by vowel harmony. This is convenient, considering that unlike /i y u/, /ɨ/ does not have a non-syllabic variant.

The mid vowels /e ø ə o/ are truly mid - neither [ɛ œ ɜ ɔ] nor [e ø ɘ o], but between the two: [e̞ ø̞ ə o̘].

/a/ may be more accurately described as [ɑ], or even [ɒ] between labial consonants and rounded vowels.

IsoglossesEdit

Proto-Human High Elven Wood Elven Neressan
Lateral Rhotacism- /l/ → /r/ NO NO YES NO
Nasal Rhotacism- /ṉ/ → /r̠/ YES NO NO YES
Depalatalization - /t͡ʃʰ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ʃ ʒ/ → /t͡sʰ t͡s d͡z s z/ YES YES PARTIAL PARTIAL
Depalatalization - /kʲʰ kʲ gʲ/ → /kʰ k g/ YES YES NO NO
Retraction - /æ ø y/ → /a o u/ YES YES PARTIAL YES
Fronting - /ə ɨ/ → /e i/ YES YES PARTIAL YES
Fricatization - /pʰ tʰ kʰ kʷʰ/ → /ɸ θ x xʷ/ YES YES NO YES

GrammarEdit

Proto-Elven was a flexible subject-object-verb and agglunative language with vowel harmony. Most root words within the vocabulary had one basic meaning associated with them, which could be altered if the word was used as a verb, noun or adjective.

For example, the Proto-Elven root-word sepph could be modified the following ways:

  • sepphöz/sepphä (masculine/feminine noun) - handsome man / beautiful woman
  • sepphöm (neutral noun) - beauty
  • sepphäni (adjective) - beautiful, handsome
  • sepphätn (adverb) - beautifully
  • sepphiri` (verb) - to make beautiful, to beautify

Nouns Edit

Number Singular Plural
Case/Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Personal Neuter
nominative -oz / -öz -a / -ä -om / -öm -ai / -äi -ï / -i
genitive -oŕn / -öŕn -anai / -änäi -an / -än -ain / -äin -ïn / -in
dative -u` / ü` -anau / -änäu -aŕm / -äŕm -aiŕ / -äiŕ -řï` / -ři`
accusative -oŕnu` / -öŕnü` -anajŕ / -änäjŕ -anaŕm / -änäŕm -ajŕn / -äjŕn -ïrnï` / -irni`
locative -wan / -wän -wanai / -wänäi -wanam / -wänäm -wain / -wäin -wïn / -win

The various cases had the following functions:

  • The nominative case usually marks the subject of the sentence.
  • The genitive case marks ownership. For example, "älböŕn piëmänöz" means "(the) male elf's manliness".
  • The dative case usualy marks indirect objects, similiar to the use of English "to" and "for"
  • the accusative case usually marks direct objects, ones that are being directly targeted.
  • The locative case is used in conjunction with various suffixes, in itself it has no meaning at all.

Pronouns Edit

Person First Second Third
Number Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Case/Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter
nominative aŕgaz aŕgëi phu`z phei khoz ša kom sei
genitive maŕgai maŕgëin phu`n phein khoŕn šanai kan sein
dative aŕgu` aŕgëjr phu`m phei'ŕ khu` šanau kaŕm seiŕ
accusative aŕgajnu` aŕgajŕn phu`naŕm phejŕn khoŕnu` šanajŕ kanaŕm sejŕn
locative aŕguwan aŕgwëjn phu`nam phein khuwan šwanai kwanam swein

Verbs Edit

Simple Continuous
Past -ïlu / -ilü -ïlmë / -ilme
Present -ïrï / -iri -ïrgïë / -irgië
Future -ïńo / -ińö -ïńgjo / -ińgjö
  • The infinitive is marked by -ïrï / -iri, just like Present Simple.
  • Adding an extra -r at the end turns the verb perfect. An example:
    • "sepphiri" means "to make someone/something beautiful". It is in Present Simple.
    • "sepphińö" is the same verb, but in Future Simple instead. For example, "you will make her beautiful".
    • "sepphińör" is the same verb, but in Future Perfect instead. For example, "you will have made her beautiful".

The present simple also has a secondary role - being used for ordering. For example, in Proto-Elven, there is no distinction between stating that someone is doing something and ordering someone to do something. The difference between stating facts and ordering/commanding is indicated by context and tone of voice.

Adjectives Edit

Adjectives have three forms in Proto-Elven:

  • Normal adjective: -ani / -äni
  • Comparitive adjective: -anëri / -äneri
  • Superlative adjective: -anońi / -änöńi

Adjectives Edit

Adjectives have three forms in Proto-Elven:

  • Normal adjective: -atn / -ätn
  • Comparitive adjective: -artn / -ärtn
  • Superlative adjective: -ańg / -äńg

VocabularyEdit

Work under progress

LegacyEdit

Work under progress

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