|Whispered words of the immortals|
An evolution of an older form of elven, the core language was originally taught to the elves by spirits of nature and air, and elves learned language by listening to the sound of the wind in the trees. Their written language shows this origin, as the letters can be seen to look like small trees bent in various ways. A strong sound might be represented by a tree shape with a stronger bent, or breaking. Sharp angles turn into sharp sounds. Modern elven is not as “tree shape” focused as older forms, having changed as the result of formalizations due to formal education, interaction with other races over time, and introduction of new words not in the original elven vocabulary.|
It takes a great deal of time, even hundreds of years, for the “pure” elven language to change, as elves can live to be thousands of years old. This is not stubbornness, but rather a testament to the ability of the language to represent new ideas effectively using old natural forms, for what in the world is not somehow derived from nature? For example, gunpower might be said as “dust-black of/for-fire” (esta-goth tel-agrash). Because of this convention of describing a new form in several words rather than naming it something new, it can sometimes take a long time to hold a conversation in elven. Still, contractions are not unheard of in informal speech.
Prepositions and conjunctions often preceed verbs, adjectives, or sentence subjects. “Tel-Tenauril” means “of-for-by (the) people”, “Tel-Tari” means “of-by-for (the) queen”. A sound or word might have multiple interpritations given context; subtle shifts in inflection can change entire meanings. Given this and the near immortal lifespan of the elven people, the language becomes very difficult to learn. Even for elves, a true mastery of their language may take more than a lifetime of the lesser races.
|Spoken in: Tel-Tenauril|
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Contributor: Shawn Nicolen