Years ago a bunch of Elfquest fans decided to tackle the task of building a "real" EQ language, using character names plus a few hints here and there in the stories as a basis. The project went a little way, then petered out for various reasons. And there it lay until very recently, when I heard from Jeremy Head, the fellow you will meet below. I am excited about this - it may not rival the Klingon Language Project but it could be a ton of fun!
Rather than try to paraphrase his notes to me, I'm going to turn his announcement into one BIG comment following this post. Here we go!
Hello Elfquest fans! My name is Jeremy Head and I have been an Elfquest fan for more than two decades. A while back I came across a thread discussing the idea of creating an elven language for the Elfquest series based on the various language snippets seen throughout the series, as well as based on the names of various Elfquest characters. While some effort was made it seems that the project lost steam. I want to pick up where others left off and I am currently writing an Elfquest language manual and dictionary. Thus far I have identified nearly 300 potential Elfquest words, most of which relate directly to character names. I have also started identifying language mechanics based on this information. It is a long, analytical process but I find it very enjoyable.
While I would continue this project alone I would love for some help! I want to hear from as many of you as possible with regard to your opinions on what certain words and names mean. It would be even better if these opinions were based on evidence found within the Elfquest stories. While I think of myself as fairly knowledgeable about the Elfquest universe I know there are many of you who know much more than me. I would very much appreciate your help.
I am making spreadsheets featuring character names and Elfquest words, and will make them available to view and copy. If you like what you see, use it to make further suggestions on the meanings of yet-unidentified words. If you disagree with translations or meanings I have attempted, write a note explaining why and offer evidence. While I have some background and training in linguistics I am certainly not a master and I would love to hear from others so we can try to get this project moving. Perhaps we can conduct our discussions about theories and opinions in a forum at www.elfquest.com.
I will also provide notes on some language mechanic theories I have collected so we are all on the same page. Again, some of these theories might be right. Many of them are possibly wrong. Many of the meanings I have assigned thus far are simply place holders so I can resort to the old “guess and check” method when no other method is available. If you find some evidence for or against, let me know. You can use my word list to begin your own analysis.
From my list you will see that EK means “ROCK” or “STONE”
From my list you will also see that AR means “SKILL” or “SKILLED”
U means “HIGH”
Therefore UAR means “HIGH SKILL” or “HIGHLY SKILLED”
The meaning of UAR can then be loosely translated as “MASTER”
And this works perfect for EKUAR (ROCK MASTER). Do you agree or disagree?
Now we have the words for U, AR, and EK. So we can continue our analysis on character such as Yurek, Aurek, Aroree, Kureel, etc. From there we can move onto characters such as Reevol. Then we will uncover the meanings of other words and names. And so on…and so on…
Some rules about this project I would like to propose:
• We are all joined by our passion for Elfquest and so we all need to respect the opinions of others at all times. We don’t always have to agree but lack of respect for each other just won't fly.
• Any word, name, meaning or language rule can be changed if evidence is given and the project reaches a general consensus. We are trying to make this language as complete and accurate as possible. If we make a mistake we can always come back and correct it.
• Wendy and Richard Pini hold final approval of all Elfquest words, names, meanings and language rules. Additionally, they maintain all trademarks and copyrights of any final products. This doesn’t mean we can’t be creative, it simply means that our choices need to accurately reflect the language evidence found within the Elfquest series.
So, let’s dive into those Elfquest books again and start finding some meaning behind all of the Elfquest names and words we love. I look forward to hearing from you.
Shade and Sweet Water,
If anyone wants a current copy of the words and names spreadsheets, as well as notes from the current language manual, send me a note. I'll attach them to an email. If you make any adjustments make a note of why so we can discuss it and all be on the same page. Good luck and have fun.
Do you see the elfin language/word formation as alphabetical or phonetics/syllabic -based? How does the fact that elves are also psionic beings play into their language use/creation?
Interesting question, MultiMEDEA. For those elves with the power to "send" I believe their vocabulary is more limited because any confusion in meaning can be clarified. For those elf groups like the Sun Folk I think they will have a much more developed vocabulary as their communication would rely entirely on verbal communication. Also, elf tribes would have more refined definitions for things common in their environment. For example, the Go-Backs may have ten different words for snow to describe various types (pack, powder, dry, slush, etc.) while the Sun Folk may only have one word for snow and it might be a less refined concept (as they rarely see it, if ever). I do not see this as an alphabetic language in regard to a written system (for which there is none, to my understanding). So the language is all verbal and phonetics, syllables, etc. are very important. I am wondering how the elves are influenced by "genetic memory" and to what degree. The fact that the Sun Folk and the Wolfriders both independently gave Sorrow's End the same name might signify that elves will think "no-humps" are "no-humps" because that makes the most sense to the way elves think. Not sure, just something interesting to think about.
A couple "quick" thoughts/questions...
Is this thread to include specific mechanics of language that we remember from the series, as well as derived information logically deduced from what we have read? If so, just wanted to add that indeed, Go-Backs did have a more refined vocabulary for snow, at least compared to the Wolfriders. Not only did they have words for snow the wolfriders didnt (wolfriders referred to it as "whitecold" if I remember, and something like "deathsleep" or something for the season of winter), but used descriptors of snow to describe other things, such as "crustings" for the passage of time.
I also wanted to mention a thought: the basic language is "primal", in that the Trolls, Elves, and Preservers all use the same language throughout the ages, rooted from what was used onboard the shell/"Palace" before becoming marooned on Abode. The Trolls would have little use for the "name-Ability/root" subset of the language as it has magical/spiritual meaning and Trolls are more rooted in function.
Further, it seems to me that while the base language is fixed and the same between all races and tribes, the difference in the range and use of vocabulary between groups could be expressed as dialectal differences, much like how many places in the world speak English, and each can usually communicate fluently with the others, but British english, Austrailian english, American english, and even subgroups of these all have unique ways of expressing similar concepts.
Anyway, what Im getting at is that the Sun Villagers might speak more of a "High Elven", while the Wolfriders might speak a more primal "Low Elven", reinforcing the status differences that some characters impose on the wolfriders throughout the series. This would follow for more that just because they dont send, but that they have an Elder among them that remembers quite a bit of the earlier times, while the Wolfriders have few that were even close to a tenth as old as Savah.
One other note: the elven laguage is nearly impossible for humans to pick up, especially as compared to how easy Elves can pick up human language.
Sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet, Trollhammer. I am going to write a response later this evening. I've been busy with some things. I agree with many of your points and it seems everyone is looking in the same direction on this one so that's great. Talk to you soon.
In regard to the purpose of this thread, its purpose is to discuss any and all aspects of EQ and the elven language contained within its pages. So yes, it will include specific language mechanics found within EQ as the basis for fleshing out all the missing parts of the language.
It seems we agree about the Go-Backs and how specific elf tribes will most likely have a more diverse vocabulary for specific things. As you mention the "white cold" and the "death sleep" I started thinking about Cutter's wolf "War Frost." This name might imply the Wolfriders already had the name for frost (and I'm assuming they would as frost is even more common than snow). However, the Wolfriders did not know the word "war" until Rayek informed them of its meaning in Book 4 (just prior to the war with the trolls). Not terribly important, just interesting how the chronology of naming wolves follows this idea of varying lexicons between tribes.
I think your idea of the "primal" language is interesting and probably accurate (as all further language by all elves, trolls and preservers was based off of this). But yes, function is important for names, regardless of species. For example, FRAK (defined as a fracture, crack, break, etc.) is perfect for a troll but not perfect (probably) for an elf. However, during the Rebel series we hear one of the soldiers say something along the lines of "this computer is all frakked up." So, it seems that this word shifted to human speech though its roots seem to have been lost with the original elf language. I say this because Jink, when holding the small palace, exclaims "High Ones" in a language that is familiar to her but she doesn't know what it means (I'm probably not explaining the scene accurately, but its the basic idea). So, Jink seems to speak only human at that point in time.
I would agree with you about accents. Thought I have studied linguistics quite a bit I have not studied much on how accents develop (or how "pigeon" or argotic languages are developed). Fascinating stuff. An interesting study was done on Gulla Gulla Island but I can't find the specific one I am thinking of. I read it back as an undergrad (which seems like a lifetime ago). You make a very valid point with the idea that those elf tribes with older members (such as Savah) would more likely have a more "original" dialect than those elf tribes whose members have much shorter life spans for various reasons (Wolfriders and Go-Backs). I'll have to add this to my notes. While focusing so much on language mechanics I have given little thought to dialects. We'll call what I am developing "Standard Elvish" or something similar. Perhaps later there will be different dialects. I had problems with this type of thing with Arabic. I learned "Standard Arabic" which everyone could understand. The people I communicated with did not speak in "Standard Arabic" however so I had a hard time understanding them. Frequently this made for very one-way communication. Elves can always "send" and I'm assuming this is not done through..."verbal" messages. What I mean by this is that they didn't send thoughts with language, but with images and emotions. I can find quotes about what I mean if this is unclear.
As for your statement about the elven language being nearly impossible for humans to pick up, I'd have to respectfully disagree. In my experience, language is language. The reason I believe elves speak "human" so much better is that they frequently observe humans while remaining undetected. Almost never do the humans observe elves...either detected or not. So, there is little chance for humans to learn the elven language. Also, humans have a more reduced lifetime so a more narrow window to learn the language. If an elf learned even one human word a year they would amass a considerable vocabulary by the end of their life (information which could then, potentially, be passed on to other elves). Tyleet's adopted son, Patch, spoke elvish fluently (makes me wonder if he had an accent while speaking "human"). Another interesting thing is that Cutter seems fluent in "human" during the era of the first holt and then his understanding and ability to speak the language is significantly reduced during Shuna's era. It seems the human language developed and shifted and Cutter wasn't able to keep up (possibly because he was sleeping in "wrap-stuff").
It's a fine point to argue either way and I think some explanation of this will have to be prepared for the final manual. It even has me scratching my head (probably why I am going bald).
Great questions and points, Trollhammer. Discussing this has been very enjoyable. I look forward to more discussions with you in the near future. All the best.
THERE IS NO CHANCE that the elf-language you made is anywhere near as articulate, plausible, or developed (in the imagination of its fandom's fans) as
1) the made-up ferengy, klingon, or vulcan languages of Trekerrs
2) the ACTUAL language spoken by the elves of mordor
It is one thing to be surmising that the wonderful clan who lives in your imagination HAS a distinct language; it is another thing to discover an elvish lexicon (that isn't some CODE-key derivative of the Romance Languages). I believe that you are wasting your efforts. Please consider that J.R.R. Tolkien had heard, through telepathy, proper chatter and began to decipher an authentic language, unlike STAR WARS and elfQuest races, whose languages are superimpositions of human-like dialects.
Yanclae, thanks for the encouragement. It reminds me only that those afraid of failure do absolutely nothing. I choose to take the path less traveled by...and I'm sure that will make all the difference. It has so far. But to respond to your statements:
Firstly, discussing "plausibility" is really irrelevant considering we are discussing science fiction. Anything is possible in science fiction, probably why we like it so much.
To address how articulate this language is or might be I don't think anyone can judge a thing like that at this point. I'm still writing the manual which I am sure will go through countless revisions. Even the Oxford dictionary does this. Constructing this thing is not an easy process. If it were as easy as saying, "Oh, this word means X" then I would be done by now.
As for this language being as developed as the language created by Tolkien I would have to agree with you at the current time. Tolkien spent years developing his languages and was a professor of linguistics. I have spent less than a month on this currently and I have no degree in linguistics. That doesn't mean this language CANNOT be developed, however. And because I find this work interesting and enjoyable I will continue to develop it. If you consider it a waste of time then I suppose that is entirely your problem, not mine.
In regard to "discovering" an elven language...I'm not sure I totally understand your meaning. Tolkien’s language was entirely fabricated with elements taken from Latin (the root of all romance languages) and other languages. So, his language wasn't "discovered" either. It was entirely fabricated. For this language I am working on I have taken elements from Latin, Russian, Romanian (yet another romance language) and, of course, English. I have also been looking toward Arabic to solve a few structural problems but it hasn't been very helpful yet.
And if Tolkien heard his languages "through telepathy" then I am certainly operating at a great disadvantage because I possess no such wonderful gift. I have to do everything the good, ol' fashion way which is through hard work.
So, thanks for your interest, comments and support. I wish you all the best.
When and where was it ever said or written that Tolkien was a telepath? And if so, who whispered elvish into his ears I wonder? Angels? Or water spirits?
Jeremy, I really like the additions you've made. Rock High Skill. That is a very cool name. And high skill being close to what we would call master. Uar. Ireally like the sound of that.
In your list do you have a word for sun? Not important at all, but when I've been playing with the few words I knew, the idea of calling sun for Shenah, which I think translated into Shiny light apealed to me, and that has been what I've used. Likewise I made gold be shenek (shiny rocks.)
Hello, DJ Immortal Hands. In my list I have Sun listed as "ana" which is close to "ah" (which I was using to express "light"). "Shen" I have marked down as "Lucky". "Ahn" is the word used to express "partially" or "a piece of the whole". In this way Ahnshen is named "Partially Lucky" or "Half Lucky" which I think leads one to wonder about an interesting back story. I didn't select the meaning for "ahn" as it was contributed by another EQ fan in a list I received. I think it works well. I have not yet selected a word for "shine" or any derivative of it yet. "Ann" is close in meaning, meaning "very bright" or "blinding". (ANA [IS] ANN = The Sun is Bright/Blinding). Note here too that there is no definite article (THE). Again, these are just my words and selections. Your meaning for SHEN could work too, so Ahnshen would mean "half shine" or "partial shine" (I think a name meaning "Half Lucky" is slightly more interesting personally, but that's just me). SHENSHEN would then mean, according to you, SHINY SHINY which would be a good description of her personality and there is no reason that it couldn't work. You may be completely right. Let's look for a few more examples and see if we can decide on a meaning. If you like a different word or meaning please feel free to adjust them and explain why (I don't care about personally being right, I only care that the final word list is viewed as accurate). Many of the EQ words I have listed came from other people. I do like the way you are using the words to come up with words for "gold" and "sun". It seems the elves have (and would naturally have) different names for the same thing. The Sun Toucher also calls the sun "the day star" (a meaning which we completely understand). Skywise, in book 1, had never heard this name and so he says (paraphrasing), "Wouldn't it be amazing if all stars were suns?" We are certainly thinking along the same lines. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be sure to get you a full name translation list and word list (as complete as it is). You can go from there. Again, please feel free to tell me I'm wrong if you think I am. My feelings don't get hurt. Just please be prepared to defend the answer with examples from the text (if there are any examples). Accuracy is the only consideration here. Things will naturally progress as things develop. For example, your meaning of "shenek" is great except that I don't think it can be used for a proper name because you'd frequently confuse it with "silver" (which is also a shiny rock). So, you could say "[Gold is] shen ek" (we'll get into adjective and noun placement and language structure later) and that would work perfectly (in my opinion). I certainly appreciate the note and I'll be looking into SHEN as well when I have time. So, email me and I'll get you the lists. From there you can pick words and names and try to hunt down the meaning. One of my biggest challenges right now is the word VOL. Based on language mechanics, "L" at the end of the word signifies the progressive tense/gerund (so, adding "ING" at the end of a word). So, Lord VOLL is LORD VOLing. REEVOL is FLY-VOL and VOL is just VOL. (Also note that ING can also signify ER, the specific rules I have started mapping out but are still rather loose). So, LEETL means "healing" but can also mean "healer". Yeah, I cringe when I think about how imprecise this is (then again, I can't "send" to convey meaning). I was thinking VOL might signify DREAM so LORD VOLL is LORD DREAMING/DREAMER, REEVOL is "FLY-DREAM" or, perhaps more accurately, "DREAM FLIGHT". And VOL is just DREAM. As you see, I don't believe this is right. Just the best I've gotten to so far. I thought it also might mean LEAD so REEVOL means "FLY-LEAD" or "FLIGHT LEADER" so to speak. Still pretty rough and it doesn't seem to be working. Anyway, I look forward to hearing more about your ideas. Gotta go for now. Talk to you soon.
(Please forgive any errors in spelling, no time for spell-check)
Jeb, I remember something along those lines but can't remember specifics. That's why I'm glad I have a whole team of fans available to help solve the problems. If you can provide any "cliff note" type things laying out that bit of information I'd appreciate it. If not, that's fine too. You've at least pointed me in a good direction. Thanks.
Jeremy - you can see the part I'm talking about here: (I don't know how to link it as an image.)
It's from Blood of Ten Chiefs, issue 11.
I'm afraid Yanclae is talking about something very different as you are aiming for, Jeremy.
You want to create a possible elfin language - taking what you find in the names and the stories. An ambitious fan project to add something to the Pini universe that isn't there so far.
Yanclae - as I understand it - is talking about an actual elfin language that would be when Wendy's wonderful creation would exist for real somewhere.
I love your imagination, Jeremy, and the way you are putting this puzzle together! And I hope, that the fun in it will stay with you! Don't let discourage yourself! I'd like to read more about it and be a curious, admiring follower of this thread - doubt to be of any help, though.
About the communitcation sphere the Wolfriders found I remember a discussion some time ago. Were you around and part of it, jeb (too lazy to look it up )?
There were mainly two reasons given for the "not understandable" message:
1. The sphere was damaged - and so was the message, scrambled and mutilated.
2. The message was standardized for the Conheads (and their hive mind) - too "intense" for the recent elves. Too condensed, too loud, too high pitched.
Probably a mixture of both.
About Humans being (un)able to learn the elfin language - I remember Lehrigen was speaking it pretty well, Trollhammer. It was mentioned somewhere in the HY story arc, I guess. When it's of any interest I'll hunt down the proof - or correct myself.
P.S.: A plea. Jeremy - would you mind formatting longer posts with some paragraphs and spare lines? Reading through a huge cluster of text is always hard.
Okay, that's all I remember of threads and contributions in this context
A collection of "elfish" names ... most probably Watershaper has pointed you there anyway:
A soulname list ...
Snippets of original elvin speech:
Blue Mountain Humans
Jeb and Embala, thanks for the help. Yes, Embala, I will start laying my posts out in paragraph form. I have been really busy trying to get responses posted and didn't give it any further thought. Thanks for the input.
Yanclae, to be as clear as I know how to be, the language I am developing is just a fun construction of a language based on elements which have already appeared in Elfquest. I do not think real elves will be speaking this, somewhere in a galaxy far, far away (my nod to George Lucas). I do not have a psychic antenna which receives elf chatter. I do not sit down and have an occasional beer with the Wolfriders. Nor does Legolas send me Christmas cards. This is simply a fun project which will hopefully add a thin layer to the already massive Elfquest universe. Perhaps the completed manual will give EQ readers an additional appreciation of the EQ universe while also teaching them about language mechanics (I was 7 when I started reading Elfquest and would have loved to have learned this type of thing at the same time).
As for any theories you have about me I will leave that to you and you can believe whatever you wish.
On the topic of artificial languages there are several which have been created. Binary code is defined as a language, strangely enough. There are the languages of Tolkien (some of which are rather complete, to be sure, but none of which are organic or independent of all earth-human languages and all of which are completely fabricated). There are the languages of the Star Trek universe ("Klingonese" seems to have pride of place there). These are all non-organic. Fabricated. Fake. Fun. That is the point I believe. And language is only a means of communication anyway, so if I say "the rock is big" in any language (even sign language or through pictographs) and the meaning is transmitted, received and understood then there is communication and the language works. People have taught apes how to use sign language and apparently these apes have then started teaching each other. It is simply a means of conveying a message, regardless of the vehicle. If you find some existential meaning beyond this then I am happy for you but I really think you are making mountains out of mole hills with this project. It's supposed to be fun. It is not supposed to unlock the mysteries of the universe.
Finally, I think I am really going to have to read biographies of Tolkien again because I surely must have missed something about the man that you apparently know.
I think all of this would be better in a private discussion which I am more than willing to have with you but not posted on this particular board where the rest of us are focused on our fun little project and trying to avoid distractions, rants and irrelevant tangents.
Shade and sweet water to you, my friend.
Trollhammer, you explained so many things so well. I'm taking a few notes right now on how to reconcile a few problems (not with the language per se but the chronology and explanations of the development). The fact that communication with trolls and preservers would have had to have been all verbal is probably the only reason why the elves/high ones/coneheads even maintained a verbal language at all. So glad to have all the help. You, Jeb and Embala are all solving problems I hadn't yet realized even existed.
Oh, and Lurking-Vi, DJ Immortal Hands and MultiMEDEA have also been helpful and encouraging. It is all greatly appreciated.
Glad to be a help of some sort. I guess I must have been paying attention to my wife more than I thought...
I married a Speech Therapist so Id have a wife that understands me... Heh heh heh.
(just so others can build on it or fix it where it went wrong if it did, here's an excerpt of an email I sent earlier to Jeremy Head in referance to using his naming conventions as part of the fangame....)
(From Jeremy Head
As for making up a character name, I think it would be a great idea if you could select abilities you want your character to have (tree-shaping, rock-shaping, flight, etc.) and these names would then be translated by the computer. For example, the ability to fly and be a rock shaper (EGG/AUREK type) might be called "REELEK" (FLYING ROCK). So then the players will say, 'Oh, my character's name is Reelek." As character interact with others they may start learning that EK means rock, REE means flying, etc. So after they have interacted enough they can see the name of another character and automatically know that the character has abilities relating to something specific. In this way they might learn some of the language while not doing it on purpose.
(sorry if some of this gets too wierd, I think I might have been half asleep at the end of it)
I was plotting along the same lines as you are for soul name creation... however I had a thought reading your reply: Two characters set up the same way would have the same soul name (and conversely, inputting the same soul name would result in an identical twin or clone). I have a thought to solve this.
Initial soul names are supposedly known to the parent of the unborn child, then lost, then discovered much later... sometimes only when Recognition occurs. There was some discussion about soul names here and there on the forums (recently on Final Quest thread), and some believe that Soul Names can change over time, but there is usually an associated change of character in the individual. So, what I'm thinking is that there might be some finer nuances to naming than simple roots conjoined... otherwise most of the gliders would have the same soul names (or true names, depending on what came you're in as to wether or not only Wolfriders have Soul Names)... I guess to an extent, it might not matter in the case of the gliders as they might have been forged into some new persona based on Winnie's manipulations, sharing many similarities... but at least Kureel and Aroree had different personalities even if they had the same ability. 'REE' might have some referance to gliding, soaring, flying or what have you (that's your department), but KU and ARO or even breakdowns of these portions (or abriviations, as at times in most languages parts of a root are lost when joined with others to make words... in this case maybe KUR might be Cruel, but KUR and REE might have been shortened from Kurree to Kuree... Like I said, that's your department) might be formed from portions of their personality.
Further, what if there were several roots for each concept? Lets say (this is totally bogus and does not directly apply to the word roots you're working on, but gets the point across):
Rock=EK, EL, and TIG
Paper=PAP, PE, PER
Scissors=SCI, SS, SOR, IS, CIS
Hit=HI, TH, POU, KRSH
Find=SER, SOW, LU, OW
Beer=CO, BU, MI, HEIN, IPA, BR, KL
Three rock shapers walk into a bar, and one orders a Bud Light in a paper cup, one orders a pounder of Coors, and one seaches the seat cushons for loose change to see if he has enough for a Coors in a paper cup...
The first two, both rock shapers with an affinity for beer, would seem to have similar Soul Names, however, instead of them both being called "Brek", the breakdown might be:
BU+PE+EL=Bupel for the one who ordered Bud Light in a paper cup
CO+POU+TIG=Poutigco for the one who ordered the pounder of Coors
If the cheapskate that seached for change found enough change for a pounder of Coors his name might be:
CO+HI+TIG=Hicotig (I in HI is flavored "cheap" compared to Poutigco's ability to pay up for what he wants)
Or if he only found enough for a paper cup of Bud Light he might be:
BU+PER+EL=Buperel (since A in this case is more "Oish" and E is more "Iish" by flavor standards)
Thus, Bupel and Buperel seem similar but actually have vastly different ways of wandering through life... but Poutigco and Hicotig seem only like they have 'tig' as a similar root, but the Troll coming in a few minutes later wouldn't know the difference between the two by looking at them.
Anyway, what that long, lengthy and silly illustration was intended to lead up to would be a concept in the game that a Soul Name might be a snapshot of the character's attributes at some critical point (recognition, a life or death struggle, a first crush, a first sucessful hunt... some trigger) and that name is flavored by what the character has done and specialized in. As far as the game is concerned...
Character Alpha might be a male Glider elf that is an extremely good archer. The roots would be something like "flying archer"
Character Delta might also be a male Glider elf that is a good archer, so he would have the same roots: "Flying Archer"
Alpha spent his youth learning to carve his own arrows and bows from wood by hand, without magical aid, and used these for practice
Delta spent his youth stealing arrows from the nearby Human's camp to use for practice... Oh, and he gambled with a Troll for his bow.
Alpha's name would be flavored with Wood (perhaps "wood fairy" instead of "Flying"), Ernestness, precision (due to carving) or whatever...
Delta's name would be flavored with roots leaning toward the Trickster (Loki, luna anyone?), or the Thief, or Luck...
So we might up with "Lucky Flying Archer" or "Demon Archer" (as it would come across in Anime roots) for one and "Wood-Sprite Archer" or "Angel Archer" (another mechanation of Anime, just to emphasize the similarity of flavored opposites... or is it the other way around?)... Or maybe something else entirely as the name-trigger might have been a diplomatic event (Alpha Angel Archer tries to calm the restless Humans when they discover Delta Demon's theft of their arrows) that made Alpha trigger for Diplomacy with his wood carving (the wood carving diplomat? You don't say!), and the event shoves harder on Delta's Luck, so he might become "Lucky Flying Archer"...
Trollhammer, this is a very interesting way of looking at things. The three rock-shapers in the bar made me chuckle.
I personally believe soul names are established...well...even before birth. Eyes High was wanting to take Skywise up to the tallest trees to be closest to the stars since before he was born (so I'm assuming there was an undeveloped ability to "send" while still a fetus or the mother can simply feel what the baby wants). Dewshine took Windkin up to the tallest trees before he was born too, probably for similar reasons.
Your program does present a puzzle. A soul name can't be established AFTER an elf has done certain acts (in my opinion) but your program will need to do it this way as a means of assigning a soul name. So, here's what I would suggest:
Utilize a series of hypothetical questions during the start-up portion of the game (like in Morrowind). It can be the same scenario.
Character selects: elf (perhaps they can choose human, preservers, troll, elf, etc), male, perhaps design their characters physical characteristics, etc. Then, they select basic skills sets (I want my elf to be an excellent archer without rock-shaping ability). These are the basics.
Next the player will be asked a series of questions.
"Your character, being an archer, must practice archery skills and acquire equipment. S/he acquires equipment by:
a.) Building it from scratch
b.) Stealing the equipment from sleeping humans
c.) Winning it in a game of toss-stone with some trolls"
In this way the game could determine a level of industriousness, honesty/integrity and intelligence. These factors will be weighed in some rudimentary way and then a soul-name will be assigned.
These factors could also affect the character throughout the game and determine how much the character is liked, how "lucky" they are (at gambling, bartering, etc.) how quickly they learn skills, etc.
Again, I'm not much of a gamer. This is just a suggestion and perhaps you can build off of this. I do like the idea that you are trying to incorporate the language into this.
I am finding myself with a few hours free before work and I am going through the language manual. One of the headings is "ELVEN LETTERS: READING AND WRITING." Thus far I have not encountered any form of written language and so I am writing a bit about it. However, in the later stories it seems there may be some form of written language (notice the symbols when skywise touches the rock in the link posted by Jeb above). While I am not particularly interested in deciphering a written language at this time (or creating one from scratch) I did want to address this with other EQ fans and get their impression. My knowledge of the later stories is incomplete so I look for some input from the rest of you. Are there many examples of the elf tribes encountering written language (and yes, I know the humans clearly utilize one in the later stories)? Just want to hear your thoughts. We can always adjust it later if necessary.
Note: by "later stories" I mean those written AFTER Fire and Flight, The Forbidden Grove, etc. Some of them are, in fact, prequels. This is just in case there was any chronological confusion.
I cannot remember any written piece of elfin history ...
... the Coneheads had their hive mind and the Scroll of Colors
... the Gliders had Aurek (Egg) and his seven-layered Great Egg
... the Sunfolk have her Mother of Memory
... the Wolfriders have storytellers and dreamberries
... the Go-Backs? I only remember that they count ... possibly storytellers as well
... the Wavedancers - no idea
What I remember is the mentioning of a Troll using sort of a written list about supplies or such stuff. Again I remember neither the thread where this was discussed not the source of the "Troll list" (possibly somewhere in the Wild Hunt storyline). We need Trollbabe ...
The conclusion was that a written language might be rather developed by Trolls then by Elves.
Of course the Coneheads can still have had a written language that had survived from their earlier times. Hardly used, but still understandable - not quite dead so far.
Some thoughts and random knowlege I'd like to add to the discussion with TrollHammer - concentrating more on the "language" topic:
I agree with you that soulnames are established from the very beginning, Jeremy. I remember a discussion (or was it a fanfic) that the soul even exists before the physical body is conceived.
Like: Recogniton - soul is created, joining follows - body is created (very rough shortcut)
But - the Wolfriders do not necessarily know their soulname from the beginning. In former times it was rather commen to go on a soul quest to learn the own soulname (pointed out several times in the prose stories).
Goodtree comes to mind ... and it was stated that there was a case in even younger times.
Another fact pointed out in the BotC novels:
The Wolfriders soulnames are mutilateded compared to the "inner name" of the purebloods. When wolfblooded children are born to purebloods the mother griefs that part of the name is missing. Rahnee's children could be examples (not quite sure about it again :nuhuh, but here are different names/soulnames mentioned:
Mar - Mara
Kreanne - Kree
In this case any Wolfrider soulname would be only part of a the real name, only part of the meaning ... in case it is translatable at all.
This and several discussions about soulnames and the lack of them made me use different terms:
- soulname for the secret names of the Wolfriders
- truename for the elfin (sound names) of the other tribes
In my opinion both have basically the same source (Leet-ah got her name because she IS the healing light), but meaning and function have changed. Purebloods wear htheir name openly - no matter whether they are able to send or not.
Wolfriders have to hide it - the hostile use can hurt them. Probably because of their "split" soul the soulname opens a door to a part of them that should not be seen by anyone. It's their weakness - and their strenght.
Another thought in this context - from the very beginning Go-Back names occured to me very similar to Wolfrider soulnames. Maybe they are ... shown openly because the lack of wolfblood and loss of sending made it needless to hide them?
My general impression--for various reasons--is that the current elves of Abode do not have a written representation of their language, and that symbology isn't at all the same thing as written language. We've had a couple of interesting conversations about the subject on the boards over the years (some of which got wiped out in the hack attack.) Here's an excerpt from one of my posts...
Thanks, guys, for confirming many of my suspicions. Embala, you wrote a very interesting thing about the pureblood mothers thinking part of the name is missing. I don't remember the stories within the novels though I am positive I read them. I remember when I was about 10 years old going on a cross-country road trip to Texas and reading about "spirit quests" or that sort of thing. I'll surely have to re-read everything while I have time. If anyone has any dog-eared copies of the novels and doesn't mind me writing in the margins please send them to me. I'll even pay for postage.
Another interesting point you mention is about Kreanne who has the soul-name "Kree"? I haven't come upon this character yet but, ever so wonderfully, the soul-name fits linguistically. The language manual states that "K" is a prefix to signify the superlative form of a word while "REE" means "flight." So, "KREE" means, literally, "BIG FLIGHT" according to the language manual. As to whether or not this is accurate in regard to Kreanne's character I'll have to hear from other people who know more. It does address the fact that I will have to include as to when there is an apostrophe and when there is not (Dewshine's soul-name "LREE" is offering some difficulty still). K'CHAIYA means "BIG BELOVED MY" or, more accurately, "My Greatest Beloved." In this case there is an apostrophe. I'm glad you noted this or the detail would have slipped right by me (as it currently stands an apostrophe is used only when the K is followed by a consonant which, in this case, is clearly inaccurate).
As for the trolls making a written language I think it makes sense. Without the ability to "send" and wanting to accurately keep track of various things a written language would be desirable. I look forward to reading as much information as possible though I'm sure it will take a while. I already have a Blue Mountain sized pile of information in front of me and I was just offered more.
Thank you all for the tremendous help. This isn't a small project and I think we are just scraping the surface. I'm making additions to the language manual almost daily though I have had little time to continue elf name/word analysis. I will spend some time on this for sure while I am in Hawaii (and I feel all your "sent" emotions of jealousy, har har).
So, the next question:
Winnowill has been the most enigmatic character in this entire Elfquest universe (in my opinion). I have gotten great advice from Wendy Pini in regard to the feeling or meaning behind the name. However, a translation from "elf-speak" has proven difficult because of the linguistic rules involved with the manual. I can change the rules, to be sure, but in this particular case it would start moving into a very gray area and it would not be as user-friendly as I'm hoping to make it (I want even children to be able to use these words and understand them).
Because of the words involved, which I consider to be a transliteration of elven sounds INTO English I am stating that no double letter words will exist except in specific cases. For example, "WINN" would be pronounced just like "WIN" through transliteration. So, because of this, Winnowill's name is seen as three words plus a gerund or progressive tense (meaning the last word ends in "ING"). So, the name is WIN-NO-WIL-L.
I am toying with the idea that "NO" is a type of suffix to a word meaning "ED" or giving it a possible past tense (REALLY hoping to start establishing the rules for past, present and future tense and Winnowill's name could be the key). So...her name means "SOMETHING-ED-SOMETHING-ING". Speaking with "Elf Mom" I was informed that Winnowill was basically an English term, meaning exactly that: a person who can CARVE AWAY another person's WILL.
I think it's also important to pay attention to the fact(?) that Winnowill was not always evil(?). In my mind she attached herself to Lord Voll who illustrated a dream for a group of elves. Those elves then became those who dwelled in Blue Mountain. At that time I believe Winnowill was a muse, a person who gave Voll the confidence and support needed to pursue his goals. So I think her name could not be so obviously malicious. I think she changed with time though her original name might have remained. But with the increase in power she became consumed by it. Perhaps this is the same as Rayek and, perhaps like Rayek, I both love and hate Winnowill. I do see how much good she could do with her power...but benevolence is no longer in her nature. If she could only understand...but she can't....
In book three it seems to take Suntop's mental message to Cutter (a phenomenal piece of art which conveyed what I think a real "sent" message would "look" like) is the first to really identify a sense of warning against Winnowill (yeah, locking Strongbow away and torturing him was a “Black-Snake” move but considered justifiable by some). Because of this I think that her name cannot be too menacing but should hint at power or menace.
So, ______ED ________ING is what I am toying with for the meaning of Winnowill's name. I have a few ideas of my own already written down but I'd like to hear other opinions.
(Sorry for any incomplete thoughts or sentences. It's after 1am.)
I've pm'ed Arill, a member who sort of "lived with Winnowill" in her mind. When she is still around she would be one of the best to give input.
About Dewshine/LREE ... just a sudden thought:
"ree" stands for flight - can it stand for things/animals that can fly, too? And when "K" in the makes sense for "big" - kan "L" stand for "small"? Treestump called his daughter "my little bird", she likes singing, is very gracious and agile - almost able to fly figuratively. And she desperately needs to be free (think of her encaged in BM and an unwanted Recognition). Can her soulname actually point towards a bird?
And consider that in a Wolfrider soulname there is probably missing something, like I stated in my previous post.
Thanks for the note. MultiMEDEA. That would certainly make things easier. Perhaps there is no meaning for Cutter, who is a far descendent of the High Ones while Winnowill is closer and so speaks the "High Elven" some fans have talked about. Just a thought. Not really sure where I should go from here.
Embala, great idea with the "L" meaning "small" (this is the opposite of "K", the superlative, and is called the diminutive). I really like the idea and it fits rather well so I'll probably have to change that.
Currently I have "M" as the diminutive such as MEKDA (M-EK-DA = Little-Stone-?) and M'REN (Little - Ren?). Maybe it could be gender dependent (which I try to avoid because gender just makes things confusing and, in my opinion, as the coneheads stopped reproducing gender would mean very little). "M" could mean something else but I'll have to play around with a few ideas. Still, I really like "L" in his case.
Other than Leetah I can't think of any elf names beginning with "L" except LUTAI.
From the language manual rules, and assuming that L is now the diminutive:
L is the diminutive = Little
U = High/Tall
TA = ?
I = Plural
So, "LITTLE HIGH somethingS"
I have no idea who Lutai is so it would be hard to assign a meaning to the name based on the character. We're just missing the TA here. Anyone a LUTAI expert?
Still loving the L. Now, I just gotta figure out what to do with that pesky "M". Any ideas?
Lutai is the recognized mate of Newstar, father of Kimo. He was a Jackwolfrider who "likes to wear red".
This and the name Lutai itself was revealed be Wendy (in the Ask Elfmom topic?) to answer a fan question about Kimo's father. There isn't known much more about him. And the only picture that shows him without doubt is here:
btw: What have you done with Talen?
YES AND NO
Current assignments for YES and NO are:
DAH - Yes
DEH - (Low elven) Yeah? Right? Won't you?
NAH - N0
NEH - (Low elven) Isn't it?
We see here that there is basically one word meaning yes and one word meaning no. However, as certain groups of elves have moved through the generations we have examples of some shifts in language. We can call this shift "low elven" and is probably more provincial sounding than the original. We have this in English such as when some people use the word AIN'T instead of ISN'T ("isn't" being a contraction and signals a shift, already, from more formal speech patterns).
While some people choose not to use this word it does not affect their ability to understand it.
We can see Treestump use this lower form of elven with the Djun's hounds when he says something and concludes it with "deh?".
I have some other theories involved with the specific usage of these words but wanted to hear some feedback from other fans. Am I "shooting with a well-strung bow" now?
Talen can offer some challenge at the moment.
I need to figure out how to divide the word up. I personally like TA-L-EN. Any ideas?
I'm sorry, but I'm not really buying that there's any such distinction as 'high' and 'low' elven language, or even dialects (as we know them). If only for the fact that when Timmain (the most pure speaker of the elf language on the planet) came out of a 9000-10,000 year period of not speaking elvish at all, the first words she did speak were immediately recognizable and understandable by representatives of three elf tribes (who had no contact with each other for thousands of years), the trolls, and the Preservers. If there had been language shift during all that time, the assembled group would be going, "Huh? What?" Sure, the different tribes might have coined different words for different situations or events, or have slightly different accents; but that would be on the level of jargon or slang, not dialect.
By "low elven" I wasn't meaning a different dialect, just a different means of...accent perhaps. For example, I visit my relatives in Texas and we all speak English. However, they say "y'all" instead of "all of you" or "everyone". Not a different language or even dialect, just...less refined perhaps. So, over time the Wolfriders are using, on occasion, the "deh" instead of "dah" which is more correct. This happens with all languages. In English we say "yeah" instead of "yes" on occasion. In French, the proper "oui" (wee) is sometimes pronounced as "way" which is basically the same as "yeah". So, I'm just laying this out there so readers aren't confused as to the different meanings of DEH and DAH. They mean exactly the same thing...just spoken differently.
Again, I have longer theories which precludes any need for high or low (we'll call this Proper vs. Colloquial or something) but I wanted to hear everyone's opinion first. This explanation was just the easier option, keeping things simple.
The longer version explains that DEH is a question of affirmation and DAH is the affirmative response.
EKI YA, DEH? (MY ROCKS, RIGHT/YES?)
This, of course, is the same with NEH and NAH, but for the negation.
As you see, the rules get more complicated than if we just said "Treestump talks like the lumberjack he is."
So, everyone tell me what you think and I'll get it written up. It's just another page or two of explanations, not really a problem for me.
Thanks for all the help, guys.
Just want to throw a few thoughts in...
The "high" / "low" happes in RL throughout the world in many languages. The two Im most aquainted with that seem to be good examples are Spanish and English.
In spanish, "high" spanish is what is tended to be considered what is spoken in Spain and by the desendants of the aristocracy in Mexico, and (at lead here, at least, where there a lot of immigrants), "Low" is considered what is spoken by others in Mexico. "High", or "proper" spanish is what is most often taught in public schools, but most immigrants speak "low" or "conversational", which results in a lot of frustration. While a 'proper' speaker and a 'conversational' speaker can understand each other readily, they do not readily switch to the other form, as they both feel their way is "right".
In English, you've got British, Scottish, Irish, upper east coast American, lower east coast american, Texan, Northwestern, californian, Austrailian, Canadian, and a slew of other varieties. Nevertheless, we all can understand each other pretty well, even though its difficult to replicate each other's speech readily. When a member of a group moves into another, their accent and 'phrasology' (its a word if I made it up) will morph into the new group's 'norm' fairly rapidly, as they are essentially the exact same language, just with variances between pronuciation and some usage.
The core of these languages are mostly the same, thought. Americans might referance a "Bath Room", while British might call it a "Water Closet", but while the name changes the words are still English and still can be figured out in context.
Battery is going dead. Other thought will have to wait.
I can adjust this as "High vs. Low Elven" as required or I can simply write the rules and let High and Low happen naturally (as will happen if the language is actually learned by various people). It will be interesting to hear people communicating one day at an Elfquest convention entirely in EQ Elven.
In the meantime I encourage everyone to have a "Skywise Moment" and go outside tonight, drink a glass of wine (sorry, no dreamberries) and look at this amazing moon.
A little more work done on this project. Thanks to so much help from others, the diminutive form of a word has an "L" in the beginning. "M" is to signify the short version of "MA" meaning "OF" or "FROM" (similar to the "DE" found in so many Latin languages). The contracted version of "M" or "M' " is most frequently used with names (similar, for example, to the D meaning "of" in the name Don Juan D'Marco). So, the full version of the word is MA with M being the prefix to sigify "of/from".
Because of this, M'REN is "OF REN" (no, I have no idea what REN is or where REN is so this theory might have to be adjusted). For MEKDA (note here that an apostrophe is not necessary due to the fact that "M" is followed by a vowel) I have assigned the name "OF/FROM ROCK ICE". So, this name says that this elf obviously comes from the frozen mountains.
Now we also have the word for "DA" and I just need to see if it fits for every other name. If not, back to square one.
The word/name VOL has been a bit of a challenge but I think I finally cracked this too. VOL means "LEAD". So, VOL is LEAD, REEVOL is FLY LEAD (or Flight Lead) and Lord VOLL, because of the fact it ends with another L and this signifies the progressive tense, becomes Lord LEADING. I think these all work rather well and this works particularly well in the case of Lord Voll.
I'll try to get some more work done today. I have a few other things to try to take care of as well. Again, thanks everyone for so much help and encouragement. Let me know if you can spot any errors or if you can provide a better explanation. Thanks.
Well ... I can follow you, Jeremy. That's the best I can say, considering how litttle I know about language mechanics.
"vol" functions well for Voll and Reevol as "lead" ... at least at their adult age. The Wolfriders (and perhaps the Wavedancers) seem to be the only ones who have cub names that can change at adult age to ft the character.
So - how do you explain that the Gliders got names that point to their adult character / funktion in young years? Is it part of the soulname/true name concept - so the future abilities are envisioned in the child alredy? Or is the connection of name and character/function simply something you presume to be able to build a language at all?
What has Gibra seen in her son to name him Vol? The hope that the baby would "lead" Haken back to the group?
Hm ... when name = function (very simplified) then the Circle of Nine should be very helpful.
You bring up a lot of great questions and these are the types of things which need to be discussed in order to make this as accurate as possible.
As for the Gliders, I can only assume that they originally might have had young names which could change (Aurek became "Egg" and others became "Door" and "Brace" even in adulthood). Not quite sure. I'll just say it's possible.
As for Gibra and Vol, perhaps Gibra knew that their situation on Abode was rather bleak and that hope was necessary and so Vol was named to express this hope and to perhaps lead the elves beyond simply surviving and into a thriving existence. Perhaps "LEAD" has other connotations in Elven and can also be seen to mean "independent". Not sure about any of this but at least we are moving in the right direction.
Making a note to the original High-Ones, I think their names more than any others might possibly be the most rudimentary. According to Timmain in Book 4 (if I am remembering correctly) 'their bodies changed with the only concern being function.' If this is the case then perhaps their names were only a matter of function as well as.
Again, all of what I say is merely a collection of theories. The only way anything can become "true" in this case is what we discuss and agree upon. And these discussions have been tremendously helpful. Without you I'd still be battling the diminutive M and L and not moving beyond that. Now the new rules are laid down (for now, until we encounter the next problem) and we can move onto the next thing.
Little-High-Storm-Plural (Little High Storms)
I have no idea what this means because I know nothing about Lutai other than that little series of frames I was sent. But I needed a word which could serve as both a noun and a verb for TA and STORM fits the bill. This works for TALEN too...kinda:
So, what does EN mean? I know nothing about TALEN either. ;-)
Talen (partly taken from the Wolfrider's Guide):
He is a contemporary of Preypacer, Two-Spear and Skyfire. Rather tall - made me think he's a pureblood. He had a wolf friend, tho ... don't know whether this requires wolfblood. We need someone who has actually read the BoTC novelizations.
He appears in the BoTC comics #3 and #4. Definitely not one of Two-Spear's rough and wild followers; often shown together with Rellah. At the end of #4 he is acting as interpreter between Two-Spear and the Humans.
Hmmm...thanks for the note. So much information. This could really be a full-time job and then some. ;-) Well, we have nothing but time so we'll just continue to work through this.
I found this video of Marc Okrand, the man who invented the Klingon language, and he demonstrates some of the things I have also been doing. He was forced to put a lot of focus on phonetics, something which has not been very necessary for this language yet. However, he also had more freedom because there was much less Klingon already established before he started developing it. This means we have to find solutions to a multitude of problems because of the vast amount of Elfquest Elvish already in existence (but the challenge is part of the fun).
Check out the video at:
The name of Kahvi's name will have to change due to the rules of plural word forms which I can't reconcile. So, her name is:
So far, it means BIG-LIGHT-?(plural?)
This also means that Annahvi's name will have to change.
As it stands now the plural form of a word is signified by adding "i" to the end, unless the last letter is an "a" which then is replaced by the "i". This rule of plural word forms will also probably have to change and VI will become a singular word form with VII becoming the plural. This is because a few words/names end in AI and it is difficult to reconcile a rule for why this happens.
Annahvi and Kahvi? XD Makes me think of bad temper, quick rage, following a sudden mood.
Hm ... and Maalvi? Nothing known about him besides being Hassbet's cousin and mate.
Okay, well there is:
Alekah - ? - Stone - Light
Almeck - ? - ?
Maalvi - From/Of - ? - ?
If we can figure out Alekah then we know the AL for Maalvi (which will then hopefully give us a better understanding of VI).
I want to keep the rule that all plurals are made by adding "i" to the end, including if the word ends with a vowel, unless the word ends with "a". In that case I just want to remove the "a" and insert an "i". This doesn't work for LUTAI though and I don't want to make a rather arbitrary rule that "TA" is the only word that isn't pluralized by making it "TI".
Okay - what is known:
Alekah - granddaughter of Savah, created the Sun Symbol at the Bridge of Destiny.
Almeck - a treeshaper, who created the first Dreamberry bush. When I remember right he sacrificed his life for it - being already very exhausted mentally and physically this creation took all his strength. He did it to give the elves something to remember their past/history - the Dreamberries trigger memory and make the stories keep in mind. (my own memory is wonky, sadly).
Maalvi - one of the founders of Sorrow's End, Hassbet's cousin and probable mate. Not sure whether there was told more in the novelisation.
Creation seems to be a link. Creating something unique/important. Maalvi is a bit of a stretch, but founding a new home and a new folk is creation, too.
Or symbol - the Sun Symbol, the Dreamberry bush as a symbol for memory ... Maalvi?
Just some ideas coming when I wrote down the bit that#s known.
Alekah - Shape-Stone-Light (kinda fits, considering the shaping of the sun symbol which is a "stone" of "light")?
Almeck - Shape Tree?
Maalvi - Of/From - Shape - Vi?
Phew. Just went over about 100 pages of language and Elfquest notes. Lots to work with here. But now it's time for a trip to the gym. Running a few miles and lifting for a few hours will surely refresh the brain.
Back to it.
I've started working toward decyphering the meaning of the various elven sentences we have all enountered. I'll start with the easiest(?) first.
Shreeah olin tyl.
We have seen that "ah" is light and this might be part of the word "shreeah". I'm guessing it means "SOFT LIGHT". This is a form of "good night" used by the Wolfriders and, since the Wolfriders sleep during the day, a wish of "soft light" would be welcome as it is easier to sleep in soft light rather than very bright light.
Tyl is the word for "GIFT".
So, we already see that the sentence involves something revolving around the idea of wishing another elf the gift of soft light.
Olin is the difficult part because whatever this means it must also reflect the same meaning in the names Orolin and Oroleed.
The idea of "sleep" might be implied here though not this is not explicit. However, Orolin was wrapped in wrap-stuff to sleep while controlling the scroll of colors. So, "OLIN" might directly involve sleep.
If OLIN simply means "SLEEP" then the sentence can be seen as:
Remember, too, that definite and indefinite articles are not being used so no "A" or "AN" or "THE".
I was using the idea that "o" at the end of a word might be a suffix to imply "ful" or "fully" at the end of the word. (For example, AR means "SKILL" and, so, "ARO" means "SKILLFUL")
Once we start figuring out the meanings of the words we can determine sentence structure to determine Subject/Verb/Object.
Let me know if you have any ideas.
I agree with you about the preserver speech. However, this is apparently straight elf-speak so there needs to be something more involved with it. Then again, rather than say "good night" we sometimes say "nighty night" so perhaps this could be attributed to the very familiar form (far more culturally intimate and perhaps adds another degree of surprise to the elves when they hear this from a human).
In regard to Preservers, their speech is pretty fun. FLY-HIGH THINGS can be translated as REE-U-ASH-I or, more accurately REEUASHI with each vowel basically being pronounced individually.
I'm toying with the idea that dull/soft/dim/etc. are all the same word (potentially "SHREE") and used as a type of prefix (functioning like an adjective, but slightly differently). It seems many fans want a language as far from English as possible, which is understandable I suppose, but we need to understand that all languages have rules for a reason and we have to base this one off of the language phrases we have seen thus far. If I just wanted to make up a language completely from scratch it would be a much simpler (and certainly less enjoyable) task.
So, according to Preserver speech humans would also be called KASHI (Big Things) while Elves would just be called UASHI (High Things). I may have to change this as I'm sure a more developed word for BIG will probably be involved.
I agree with you. Still, before making any final decisions I want to see if I can find any other potential words for olin. Otherwise I'm more than content to use dream for olin. In that case I would probably also use OR for "long".
So, it seems HIDDEN YEARS might have cracked this code.
During Starfall, Starrise:
Near the beginning of the story it says, "...Wolfriders stir from their peaceful daysleep."
SHREEAH OLIN TYL.
We all know this is some form of expression for a good sleep, perhaps specifically for Wolfriders.
SHREEAH containes the word "AH" which we have determined to mean "LIGHT"
So, SHREE become "DAY"
SHREEAH = DAYLIGHT
TYL = GIFT
Which left me wondering as to what OLIN means. Something like sleep. But also peaceful. Then I got to thinking, as some other fans have mentioned, I'm thinking perhaps A BIT TOO HUMAN!
OLIN means sleep but much more than that. It's almost HIBERNATION. A deep, long, peaceful sleep full of dreams.
DAYLIGHT PEACEFUL/HIBERNATION/SLEEP GIFT!
This is what it means. Perhaps it's a short, more colloquial form of the full expression, but it works. Just like we say " G'night" or "nighty-night" instead of the formal "I wish you a good night."
This also works for OROLIN. (EVERY WORD HAS TO WORK IN EVERY PLACE)
OR = LONG
OLIN = PEACEFUL, DREAM SLEEP
This is a perfect name for the High One tasked with turning the scroll of colors while dreaming for centuries upon centuries.
This does leave me to wonder as to whether or not "O" is a prefix, much in the way of a superlative or meaning "ful" as "O" does at the end of the word. If we were focused on word gender this might be easier. Some words are clearly gender specific (CHEI = Masculine BELOVED, CHAI = Feminine BELOVED) so it will take some more time to figure all of this out.
"Z" is looking like a prefix for something.
ZASH (Shale's Soul-Name) = ?-THING?
Zarhan Fast Fire = Z-AR-HAN = ?-
If this gets too troublesome it looks like the word for thing "ASH" will have to change.
I'm thinking Z is the prefix meaning "UN" or some other form of negation.
Looking at ZARHAN, a character which I know little about, could be seen as "UN-SKILLED-?" HAN might mean "speak" or "voice" perhaps.
I really like the new thoughts/interpretations of the "Good Night" greeting and Orolin's name, Jeremy. For me it sounds comprehensible, harmonic - and with an alien touch.
About the Wolfrider soulnames: I'm going with the assumption that they are incomoplete, multilated - as it is stated in the BoTC novelisations.
This way soulnames would never give a complete information - only one word of several, a sylable or a "cut-out" of the complete word. In example (no "true" meaning intended): As a pureblooded elf ...
Zash would be Za-shen or Cuz-ash or Min-zash
Twen would be Ka-Twen ot Kat-wen or T-al-wen
You get my point? The name leaves doubts ... makes it more complicated - or can be a chance!
Embala, I agree with you about the soulnames being incomplete. However, I'm still trying to see if some meaning can come from the words.
For example, the complete word could be FIRE TRUCK
And a Wolfrider's soul name would just be FIRE or TRUCK rather than FRE or UCK. So, clearly a part would be missing but even the part that remains would have some meaning. Perhaps not possible...but it is the ideal I am working towards. Maybe I'm just tilting at windmills but I have always been a bit of a perfectionist.
As always, thanks for all the help and encouragement. I always await and value your advice.
You need input about Zarhan Fastfire!
He was the youngest of the pureblooded elves at Rahnee's chief time, fitting neither with the Wolfriders nor the Others (the pureblooded elves). He felt himself "the greatest exile of them all".
Gifted with fire-starting magic, inherited by his father Enlet. He experimented with this magic to make glass (he wore a thong of glass beads).
Recognized lifemate of Rahnee She-Wolf - he reveiled her soulname RAHNEE. He sired 5-7 (?) children with her and recognized many others as well.
Zarhan's cleverness was instrumental in helping the tribe to survive. He carved bone into fishing hooks to supplement the meat brought back from the hunting parties, and developed traps and nets.
He was the only pureblooded elf to accompany the Firstborn on their initial hunt after Threetoe the Father and the Hunt disappeared.
He appears in BotC #1 (comic adeption of the novel "Colors"). When Timmorn's struggle between Wolfsong and Starsong was shown, Zarhan symbolized "the endless future/past, the pull of the stars".
(source: mostly Wolfrider's Guide)
Not exactly the candidate who "could be seen as "UN-SKILLED-?"
And when I should choose someone to go with "speak" or "voice" it would be Talen, the "interpretor" or speaker of his Chief Two-Spear when he banned the Humans.
Thanks for the info about Zarhan. So, Z as a prefix will have to have another meaning unless ZAR itself is a word (entirely possible). I will head to the gym and consider this for a few hours. A good place to clear the head. Talk to you soon.
I am so relaying this thread to the conlanger's group...
Hello, all. I am still working on this. This week has been a bit busy though so I have had less time than usual. I'll be leaving for Hawaii Wednesday morning and will hopefully have time to work on this a bit more than normal. I'm still working on some prefixes as well as gender (which I'm hoping to avoid as much as possible). A few other words and names have had to change. I still haven't come up with the new explanation for KAHVI (because I'm still dealing with the rules for plural words).
Im sure a little gender specificness is tolarable and can be expected, especially when referring to animals (buck vs doe, for example), or when referring to an expectant mother (mother and father would still be held in equal standing but referanced, but of course 'Parent' would be gender neutral).
Anyway, my thought is just that its good to not have a gender based language (not appropriate) but gender would naturally be referanced here and there.
Trollhammer, as usual, we are in complete agreement. Thanks for all the encouragement.
Hello, everyone. I got home from Hawaii late last night and now it's a full day of work. I did manage to go over a few hundred pages of notes while on vacation and I added rules for double and triple letters (if they are the same letters). I also reworked some of the word and name spreadsheets so they seem to work a bit better. My next free day and I'll be working on this for a few more hours. I hope everyone is well.
Sounds like you had a busy vacation and made good success I hope you had a fun time too on Hawaii!
Hawaii was okay. Most of the coral I saw was dead. It wasn't all I had expected it to be. Still, I've seen it and I don't need to go back. On the other end of things I am back to work and working 50 hours in four days. So, not much work on the language manual until Monday and Tuesday. Then it will just be sitting on the back patio in the sun, under the shade of the trees and drinking a mimosa and working on the language manual. Classes start in a week so I'm trying to get as much done as possible.
Well, Monday has passed and I made some progress. Most of it was more review of notes as well as cleaning up the current version of the language manual. Primarily this concerned the index (so I can more easily keep track of things I have outlined and things I am missing). I got called in to work today so I will not get another chance to work on this until Thursday. Class starts Monday. Tick-tock. I'm having a real hard time living in the "now" but I'm sure I'll still find some time to continue working on this.
I don't know whether you have the "Wolfrider's Guide'" with all the bios and character descriptions.
Anyway - when you lack informations about characters to make more (possible) sense of the names I'm more than willing to look up whatever I can find. Just ask.
Good luck with the project!
As always, thanks, Embala. A character description will be much more necessary in the near future as I finalize my study of some Elfquest linguistics notes. Once that is done I can get hopefully finish decyphering current Elfquest names and words. This will be followed by translation of the last three Elfquest phrases I have in front of me. I was considering this yesterday and I believe that I am rather close to determining the order for object-subject-verb with this language. Once I have finished another Elfquest phrase or two I will be able to know for sure. After this it will be much simpler, or much more difficult, to construct the remainder of the language.
Hello, everyone. I'm not sure how many people are reading this anymore but I will continue working on this anyway. I have continued wading through a flood of notes provided by Richard Pini from a previous attempt at an Elfquest project. I am almost done reviewing them (there were 700+ pages I think) and then I will continue with additional parts of the language manual.
In regard to Elfquest names, I need some information on the following individuals (as well as any possible guesses as to the meaning of their names):
Ar ri en
As we see there is an "EN" at the end of each name. The fact that "EN" appears only at the end of each name might indicate (and be very strong proof) that this is a suffix (ED, ING, etc.). I have not found any example of an EN name where the EN appears at the beginning or in the middle of the name. This may or may not be significant. I look forward to hearing your ideas as well as any biographical information for each of these characters above.
I've gotten through more notes today as well as revising and editing the language manual. I have started organizing the layout for the conversation guide section of this as well but three more "Abodian Elvish" expressions remain to be translated. After that things might go a little more quickly or they might not. I'll be working on translating some of these today.
Sorry, I'm late - not too late, I hope.
Ar ri en
I found this name on a fan-made name list, but nowhere else.
What I know is that ARRI is a Go-Back girl, who went wth Zey for the war with the Sunfolk. She suggested to use the Troll tunnels to get there.
The name Arri can count as one more hint that "EN" is a suffix.
A Firstcomer and member of the Circle of Nine - the passion, driving them forward (HY #6 and #7).
He is said to be (one of) the last born Conehead(s). Looks pretty much like Rayek and was able to use black sending.
It's fan speculation that Rayek or - even more - Winnowill might be his direct descendants.
Passion indeed he understood. especially in it's darker forms - he was the first to realize that the Proto-Trolls had come to resent the High Ones, and his first response to the WoTMs was one of anger.
Like Timmain he knew that to survive they must kill and consume what they killed. Timmain and Haken were different about the questions of the Humans. He felt that they had to fight them using their rules, perhapps because killing seemed to come easier to him than the others.
Haken's strongest desire was to drive the Humans from the Palace and return to their old way of life; he drew powerfrom the Palace, using it to enforce his will at any cost. He thought that the weaker High Ones deserved to wither and fought his own speces. In the final confrontation with Timmain he lost his arm and disappeared.
(source: Wolfrider's Guide)
A Sunvillager, lifemate of Jarrah and father of Rayek; back hair and amber eyes. Accoring to fan opinion not a candidate for the "Best-Dad-Award".
Like other Sun Folk he toiled in the gardens, and tried to teach his son to be content with the product of such labors. When Rayek brought in his first kill he praised his son, recognizing that Rayek killed not out of cruelty, but hunger.
(source: Wolfrider's Guide)
Talen (probably a pureblood) is a contemporary of Preypacer, Two-Spear and Skyfire.
In the Two-Spear stories BotC #3 and #4 he sticks with Rellah and the "softer" members of the tribe. At the end of #4 he is the "interpretor" or speaker of his Chief when Two-Spear banns the Humans.
I connec thim with "speak" or "voice".
There is one exception to the "ending" rule I found:
Enlet was a High One in Timmain's group (from the BoTC prose novels) and the father of Zarhan Fastfire. He had fire-starting magic which was inherited to his son Zarhan.
There are some more names ending with "EN" - depending how you read the sylables:
... just for completation (...shen and M'Ren and Renn won't count here, I bet)
Sorry, no ideas about a connection and the "EN" meaning at all - possibly I'm too deep into the explicit descriptions. Maybe someone with an open mind and a fresh point of view will have an idea.
There's one thing I've learned, though - when you try to figure out something the exception from the rule often is the clue.
Well I'm a bit late to this discussion, but as a student of language, I think it is a fabulous idea. If for no other reason than because I always felt that creation was a huge part of the EQ world. I would love to be involved. ^-^
The name Arrien has only been mentioned once, in one of the Blood of Ten Chiefs anthologies. At least I assume it's a personal name, not a place. A song named "Arrien's Lament" was mentioned, something the High Ones / Purebloods were planning on singing at a Howl. I don't even remember what time period it was, but something in the back of my head says something about cubling Skyfire in the story, but I may be wrong.
maybe it could be the equivalent of 'er'
Thanks, everyone. This week has kept me busy. A full-time job, a part-time job and grad school have really filled my plate this week. Some other developments have happened as well but I'm hoping to pick this up Monday morning.
In regard to the language itself I've been going through the last bit of notes as well as writing new ones. I'm still working on sentence structure and, as most of you know, I'm more focused on accuracy rather than speed. "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast." That being said I've been spending some time with the French language (had a few epiphanies too, but nothing that helps this project at the current moment) as well as Japanese. This has guided me to the Ainu language which might offer some additional insight.
I'll be sure to post any updates. Thanks for the information about the characters. Lunakat, I'm looking at your idea for "er" and seeing if I can tweek a current rule which I have never liked much anyway (the rule that "L" at the end is a suffix, creating the suffix "ING" and, simultaneously, "ER"). It seems troublesome at times but I'm reminded frequently that I think too much in human terms and not everything needs to make sense but, rather, "just is." Thanks again, everyone.
Take your time, Jeremy - and your speed. That's not a race Thanks for keeping us informed.
Thanks for all the help and encouragement, Embala. I hope we can talk again soon. I'm off to work for another 13 hour day full of fun and adventure.
Late to the party as usual, and I've probably missed this boat, but as I was contacted by Embala to take a look at this thread (what a fascinating topic! :D), I'm tossing in my rambling two cents in.
I also recall Cutter thinking on how Winnowill's name carries no inherent meaning, reflecting that its as empty as the wind howling through the barren branches of a winter-gripped forest.
As someone else pointed out, this may mean that her name has no meaning to a Wolfrider, which is a tribe with its own history and customs, rather removed from the High Ones. I don't think, necessarily, that its a case of High Elfin vs Low Elfin, but rather the idea that 'Winnowill' is a word that embodies an ancient concept that the High Ones had that their descendants don't. Thus the word has fallen out of use, out of memory.
What might this word mean? The very word 'Winnowill' makes me think of 'winnow will', as in the breaking down of another's will. This is essentially what she's done throughout the whole series, but I doubt her parents knew that.
In my little headcanon, Haken was Winnowill's father. He wasn't a peaceful, 'let's live in harmony with humans' kind of guy. He hated everything about Abode, but the humans most of all. I think he gave his daughter a name that embodied his hopes for her; Haken likely knew he would die before eradicating all of his enemies, and he'd want to pass on that legacy. He would want his child to destroy those who had harmed their people, breaking them through her power, subjugating them all. Winnowill, in my brain, means something like 'one who conquers', or describes one who might utterly dominate.
The Wolfriders don't really have a concept of conquest; that's a human idea.
That's just my idea; feel free to disregard! XD
Arill, I enjoyed reading your two cents and that's a great theory: the meaning of Winnowill's name has fallen out of use with the Wolfriders and so they do not understand its meaning. I'll add this to my notes as well. I'm trying to smooth out as many linguistic wrinkles as possible but I doubt this will ever be perfect (English isn't even close to perfect so I guess I shouldn't worry too much). I'm glad to be getting help from such a great group of people. It's 12:30am and I have just returned from work (14 hour day) so I'm gonna get some rest and then get up early to get some stuff done. I do expect to make some progress on some portion or other of this project.
I would be interested in seeing Elfin words for counting numbers, and measurements other than time.
From what I've read thus far, it looks like you are doing the compiling (correct me if I'm wrong!), and I wanted to ask if I could have a copy of what you've done thus far. I may prove helpful in the theory department: my first degree was in English, I'm working on one in Japanese, and I speak a smattering of French, German, Korean, and Latin. I've actually taken a course titled "History of the English Language," although it went back in its theory much further than the roots of English. I might be helpful for things like, "what sort of an ending would a word/sound have" or "why would you find a series of vowels and consonants in a certain order with such frequency," etc. I think this is a brilliant idea, and I'd love to help!
I definitely echo what I've read from others, in that I suspect the Elves that used Sending more than speaking are more likely to have a simplistic, more image/emotion based language. I do think that they must all have a common ancestor, however, much as the Romance Languages all do. ^-^
Thanks, Hannah. Yes, you can have a copy of what I have so far. Please send an email to email@example.com so I can attach the spreadsheets in an email back to you. Neither list is "final" but seems to be in the ballpark. The language manual itself is still rough and I'm organizing that after I finish some more notes (lot of Elfquest books to go through). It sounds like we have a bit in common: I got my first BA in English and I frequently converse in Romanian. I speak quite a bit of standard Arabic (which means all Arabic speakers understand me but I frequently have a hard time understanding them). I have also studied Russian, French, Latin, ancient Greek, Hebrew and Farsi (and perhaps a few others). I'd be happy to give you the spreadsheets and see what you think. After a week or two more of improvements I'll have the language manual in a form good enough to distribute. It's been rough (I work a full-time job, part-time job, go to grad school, etc.). Thanks for getting involved. The more help the better.
Hello, all. I haven't forgotten about this but I haven't been able to put much time in this week. I am nearing the end of grad school (11 weeks or so, then thesis submission) so I have been spending a lot of time reading books that are not EQ related (unfortunately). I hope everyone else has been getting ideas in the meantime. I should have some extra time Monday and Tuesday but I have still been hitting some snags with the sentence translations so I have to keep going back and looking at their original contexts. Anyone have any elf language phrases from the novels? (All of mine are from the graphic novels.) Thanks.
Necessities first, Jeremy - EQ is waiting for you after thesis deadline. Good luck for the graduation
Great to see you look in, tho. It has become VERY silent here lately - people still struggle with the new site layout for various reasons. The side effects of the Uprade are holding my attention captive at the moment. Due to needs I'm actually working on a "project" of my own at the moment.
Even without this I would not be able to contribute ideas and solutions. My strengths are providing character informations ... and asking questions I hope Hannah will provide support on language levels - and will find fun in this project!
Sadly I cannot help much with knowledge about the novels - have never read til now. Lack of time and eye issues ... :/ I'll try to find some people who might know if there is elfin speach included.
Hello, everyone. I'm still waiting to see if anyone can come up with any language examples (words, sentences, etc.) in the elven language (thinking I'll start refering to this as Abodean Elvish though I think the final decision will reside in WARP's capable hands). I have continued on a bit this evening with the short sentence uttered by Clearbrook, thinking I understand it's meaning and now just determining the words and meanings to it all. We've covered Treestump's too but I haven't written a final translation which I am completely content with. The phrase uttered by the human in Blue Mountain will puzzle me for a while because the intent behind the words or the "meaning" still baffles me.
While some have tried to translate this as a question from the human asking where Winnowill is I think, if it were me, I'd be asking why I had been locked up. But that's just me. I'll save that one for later unless anyone else has any ideas as the meaning behind the human's elven words. I have been going over a new Russian language book as it seems I have gotten rusty. They have helped with the articles and verb forms a bit, given me a few new ideas. In the meantime I'm continuing to work on thesis issues (it's perpetually open in the background on my computer). So, I hope nobody is discouraged. I am still working on this, putting as much time as possible into this...I just wish I had more. Take care, everyone. And, as always, thanks for all the help.
GRIF-CUT, GRIFI-CUTS, GRIFL-CUTTING/CUTTER, PLITZ-ONE. So, GRIFL-PLITZ is "One Who Cuts" or, "Cutter." I guess the Wolfrider chief finally has his name translated, according to the language manual rules thus far. I spent about three more hours this evening going over notes, research and the manual. Also, "Ahvi" is the plural form of "eye" and so "Kahvi" means "Big Eyes" and "Annahvi" means "Bright Eyes". U-Ahvi can be translated as "High-Eyes" or "Eyes-High". So even Skywise's mother has an Abodean elvish name now. Previously I had a problem with "EYE" for "AHVA" but I can't remember what it was. Chances are I will have to change it again. Anyway, it's late, I'm tired, going to bed. All the best to everyone.
Personally, I'm pretty glad Cutter wasn't known as Grifl-plitz from the beginning. But it also makes me wonder, isn't there a human character named Angrif? Was there some crossing over of elven-human words?
*chuckles* Grifl-plitz reminds me of Rumpelstilz, a mean gnom in a fairytale
Stop kidding. It's great to read of your progress, Jeremy ... a visible progress for all of us. So all of Timmorn's and Murrel's cubs would have been named "Annahvi* first.
DJIH and jeb have answered my PM about the novelizations ... they don't remember havinr read any elfin speech there. I got two more names to ask about, tho.
Angrif ... hm, now that you mention it, jeb: Angrif is almot identical with the German term Angriff = attack. Coincidence?