Archaic High Elven language

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Language: English
Archaic High Elven
RegionFroturn
EthnicityHigh Elves
Extinctevolved into Classical High Elven around 800 BEKE
Torgyrian
Early forms
Early High Elven alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Archaic High Elven was the stage of the High Elven language between 1300 BEKE and 800 BEKE. Much of the High Elven written records from this time are a mixture of religious literature and chronicling of factual history, unlike Archaic Wood Elven, which has already had established written secular epic literature at the point, rather than just history and religious texts.

The language was also spoken during the period of time in which the Kingdom of Froturn barely existed, and often changed between a unified monarchy to little more than a glorified tribal confederation during time periods as short as decades. Despite the overall lack of political unity - with the exception during the early times (such as the High Elven campaigns against Fathred the Great) - the language remained unified to the end and there were no records indicating fracturing into dialects that differed from each other drastically.

Evolution from Proto-Elven

Consonants

  • Depalatalization: The palato-velar /kʰʲ kʲ gʲ/ series merged with the plain velar /kʰ k g/ and the postalveolar /ṉ t͡ʃʰ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ʃ ʒ ḻ r̠/ merged with the alveolar /n t͡sʰ t͡s d͡z s z l r/ before all the other sound shifts mentioned below.
  • Fricatization: the aspirated plosives /pʰ tʰ kʰ kʷʰ/ became fricatives /ɸ θ x xʷ/ with voiced allophones [β ð ɣ ɣʷ] medially. The aspirated affricate /t͡sʰ/ merged with plain /t͡s/.
  • Loss of distinction between voiced and voiceless fricatives - voiced fricatives are only allophones of their voiceless counterparts medially.
  • The guttural rhotic /ʁ/ - at least in syllable onset, where it wasn't vocalized - merged with plain /r/, the velar nasals /ŋ ŋʷ/ merged with /n m/.
  • /sr zr/ became /θr ðr/ (which later evolved into /fr dr/ in Classical High Elven)

Vowels

- ë /ə̯/ i /ɪ̯/ ü /ʏ̯/ u /ʊ̯/ ŕ /aʁ/ ` /ʕʷ/
a /a/ [ɑ] > a /a/ /aə̯/ [ɑə̯] > á /aː/ ai /aɪ̯/ [ɑɪ̯] > ai /ai̯/ /aʏ̯/ [ɒʏ̯] > au /au̯/ au /aʊ̯/ [ɒʊ̯] > au /au̯/ /aʁ/ [ɑɐ̯] > á /aː/ a` /aʕʷ/ [ɒɒ̯] > á /aː/
ä /æ/ [æ] > a /a/ äë /æə̯/ [æə̯] > á /aː/ äi /æɪ̯/ [æɪ̯] > ai /ai̯/ äü /æʏ̯/ [æʏ̯] > au /au̯/ äu /æʊ̯/ [æʊ̯] > au /au̯/ äŕ /æʁ/ [æɐ̯] > á /aː/ ä` /æʕʷ/ [æɒ̯] > á /aː/
ë /ə/ [ə] > ë /ə/ - ëi /əɪ̯/ [əɪ̯] > é /eː/ ëü /əʏ̯/ [əʏ̯] > ó /oː/ ëu /əʊ̯/ [əʊ̯] > ó /oː/ ëŕ /əʁ/ [əɐ̯] > ó /oː/ ë` /əʕʷ/ [əɒ̯] > ëa /əa/
e /e/ [e̞] > e /e/ /eə̯/ [e̞ə̯] > é /eː/ ei /eɪ̯/ [e̞ɪ̯] > é /eː/ /eʏ̯/ [e̞ʏ̯] > eu /eu̯/ eu /eʊ̯/ [e̞ʊ̯] > eu /eu̯/ /eʁ/ [e̞ɐ̯] > á /aː/ e` /eʕʷ/ [e̞ɒ̯] > ea /ea/
o /o/ [o] > o /o/ /oə̯/ [oə̯] > ó /oː/ oi /oɪ̯/ [oɪ̯] > oi /oi̯/ /oʏ̯/ [oʏ̯] > ó /oː/ ou /oʊ̯/ [oʊ̯] > ó /oː/ /oʁ/ [oɐ̯] > á /aː/ o` /oʕʷ/ [oɒ̯] > oa /oa/
ö /ø/ [ø̞] > ë /ə/ öë /øə̯/ [ø̞ə̯] > é /eː/ öi /øɪ̯/ [ø̞ɪ̯] > é /eː/ öü /øʏ̯/ [ø̞ʏ̯] > ó /oː/ öu /øʊ̯/ [ø̞ʊ̯] > ó /oː/ öŕ /øʁ/ [ø̞ɐ̯] > á /aː/ ö` /øʕʷ/ [ø̞ɒ̯] > ëa /əa/
ï /ɨ/ [ɨ] > y /ɨ/ ïë /ɨə̯/ [ɨə̯] > ý /ɨː/ - ïü /ɨʏ̯/ [ɨʏ̯] > ý /ɨː/ ïu /ɨʊ̯/ [ɨʊ̯] > ý /ɨː/ ïŕ /ɨʁ/ [ɨɐ̯] > é /eː/ ï` /ɨʕʷ/ [ɨɒ̯] > ia /ia/
i /i/ [i] > i /i/ /iə̯/ [iə̯] > í /iː/ - /iʏ̯/ [iʏ̯] > iu /iu̯/ iu /iʊ̯/ [iʊ̯] > iu /iu̯/ /iʁ/ [iɐ̯] > é /eː/ i` /iʕʷ/ [iɒ̯] > ea /ea/
u /u/ [u] > u /u/ /uə̯/ [uə̯] > ú /uː/ ui /uɪ̯/ [uɪ̯] > ui /ui̯/ - - /uʁ/ [uɐ̯] > ó /oː/ u` /uʕʷ/ [uɒ̯] > ua /ua/
ü /y/ [y] > y /ɨ/ üë /yə̯/ [yə̯] > >ý /ɨː/ üi /yɪ̯/ [yɪ̯] > ý /ɨː/ - - üŕ /yʁ/ [yɐ̯] > ó /oː/ ü` /yʕʷ/ [yɒ̯] > ya /ɨa/
ŕ /ʁ/ [ɐ] > a /a/ - - - - - -

Phonology

Consonants

Labial Dental Apico-Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plain Labial
Nasal m n
Stop Voiceless p t̪͡s̪ t k ʔ
Voiced b d̪͡z̪ d g
Fricative Voiceless ɸ~β θ~ð s̺~z̺ x~ɣ xʷ~ɣʷ h*
Voiced
Approximant l j w
Trill r

The glottal fricative [h] was an allophone of the non-sibilant fricatives /ɸ θ x/ after plosive consonants. Therefore, it is likely that /pɸ pθ px/ were realized as [ph] or even [pʰ], /tɸ tθ tx/ as [th] or [tʰ], /kɸ kθ kx/ as [kh] or [kʰ]. However, it is also possible that the aforementioned consonant clusters were realized as affricates [p͡ɸ t͡θ k͡x] rather than aspirated stops [ph~pʰ th~tʰ kh~kʰ]. This is evidenced by the fact that during the Classical Period, the aspirated stops /pʰ tʰ kʰ/ - which by that time have became phonemic - most likely had a slight fricative release, as /pʰ/ merged with /f/ during the Post-Classical period.

Several of Archaic High Elven's consonant phonemes were rather unstable. For example, written records were often inconsistent in distinguishing /xʷ/ and /gʷ/, implying that the letter was likely pronounced as a fricative /ɣʷ/ rather than a plosive. This is reinforced by the fact that in Classical Wood Elven, both /gʷ/ and /ɣʷ/ merged with /w/, while /xʷ/, /ɸ/ and /θ/ all merged into the new /f/.

There is a possibility that the supposedly velar /x/ was already a glottal /h/ in late Archaic High Elven. That would imply that /x/, /ɣ/, /xʷ/ and /ɣʷ/ were actually [h], [ɦ], [hʷ~ʍ~ɸ] and [ɦʷ~w]. While this explains well why Classical High Elven had /h/ and /f/ instead of /x/ and /xʷ/, this was unlikely, as the voiced labio-velar /gʷ/ and /ɣʷ/ were still kept distinction from the approximant /w/.

Vowels

Front Central Back
Close Long ɨː
Short i ɨ u
Mid Long
Short e ə o
Open Long
Short a

The language also had dipthongs - namely /iu̯/, /ui̯/, /oi̯/, /eu̯/, /ai̯/ and /au̯/.

The close central vowels /ɨ ɨː/ were most likely compressed [ɨᵝ ɨᵝː]. They may even have been fronted [y yː], as evidenced by the relatively early loss of distinction between the monophthong /ɨː/ and the diphthong /iu̯/.

Grammar

Archaic High Elven was a flexible subject-object-verb synthetic language. Although the preferred word-order is subject-object-verb, the usage of infections renders word order irrelevant and highly flexible.

Nouns

Number Singular Plural
Case/Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Personal Neuter
nominative -os -a -om -ai -i
genitive -án -anai -an -ain -in
dative -ua -anau -ám -aé -rea
accusative -ánua -anaia -anám -ayan -irnea
locative -wan / -uan -wanai / -uanai -wanam / -uanam -wain / -uain -win / -uin

The various cases had the following functions:

  • The nominative case usually marks the subject of the sentence.
  • The genitive case marks ownership. For example, "albán pímanos" means "(the) male elf's manliness".
  • The dative case usualy marks indirect objects, similar 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

Person First Second Third
Number Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Case/Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter
nominative ágas ágé fuas hos sa kom
genitive mágai mágén fuan fén hán sanai kan sén
dative água ágér fuam fé'ëŕ hua sanau kám séa
accusative ágainua ágaian fuanám feian hánua sanaia kanám seian
locative águwan ágwén fuanam fén huwan suanai kwanam suén

Verbs

Simple Continuous
Past -ilu -ilme
Present -iri -irgí
Future -ino -ingio
  • The infinitive is marked by -iri, just like Present Simple.
  • Adding an extra -r at the end turns the verb perfect. An example:
    • "sepfiri" means "to make someone/something beautiful". It is in Present Simple.
    • "sepfino" is the same verb, but in Future Simple instead. For example, "you will make her beautiful".
    • "sepfinor" 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 Archaic High 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

Adjectives have three forms:

  • Normal adjective: -ani
  • Comparitive adjective: -aneri
  • Superlative adjective: -anoni

Adverbs

Adverbs have three forms:

  • Normal adverb: -atën
  • Comparitive adverb: -artën
  • Superlative adverb: -ang

Inclusive or vs Exclusive or

Archaic High Elven distinguished between the "inclusive or" and the "exclusive or". The earlier means, "either A, B, or both of them", while the latter means "either A or B, but not both of them - never both of them".

  • The word for the inclusive or is 「dzon」
  • The word for the exclusive or is 「há」

Numerical system

Archaic High Elven used a hexadecimal system, meaning that each number from 0 to 16 has its own name. They also used an octal system too, inherited from Proto-Elven.

Numbers larger than 16 would be formed by chaining up multiple numbers and adding a postfix. Numbers larger than 16 and smaller than 256 are divided into two numbers that are smaller or equal to 16. Numbers larger than 256 but smaller than 65536 are divided into two numbers that are both smaller than or equal to 256. Similiar segmentation goes on with numbers larger than 65536 but smaller than 4294967296, or numbers larger than 4294967296.

In addition to the hexadecimal system, an octal system coexisted with it, forgoing the usage of numbers larger than 8, and forbidding going over 256.

Numbers from 0 to 16

  • 0: mër
  • 1: an
  • 2: fán
  • 3: mën
  • 4: nai
  • 5: tsai
  • 6: zoi
  • 7: noi
  • 8: step
  • 9: róan (greater 1)
  • 10: rófán (greater 2)
  • 11: rómën (greater 3)
  • 12: rónai (greater 4)
  • 13: rótsai (greater 5)
  • 14: rózoi (greater 6)
  • 15: rónoi (greater 7)
  • 16: róstep (greater 8)

Numerical postfixes

  • octal up: -up
    • Used to separate the segments of octal numbers. For example, "anup-an" - "1 up 1" - is the octal number 0o11, equivalent to the decimal 9. It is important to know that unlike in hexadecimal numbers, skipping segments is not allowed in octal numbers, so the octal 0o101 (equivalent to decimal 65) would be "anup-mërup-an".
  • hexadecimal up: -ap
    • Used to separate the upper and lower segments of a hexadecimal number larger than 16 but smaller than 256. For example, "anap-an" - "1 up 1" - is the hexadecimal number 0x11, equivalent to the decimal 17.
    • Logic would suggest that that the number 16 - 0x10 - be said as "anap" - "1 up" - but it is actually said as "róstep" - 16. The reason for this is that the word for 16 was carried over from Proto-Elven, which itself had this as a holdover from the octal times. In Proto-Elven, the "invention" of zero coincided with the transition from octal to hexadecimal, which resulted in the continued usage of he greatest number of the base.
  • double: -ip
    • Used to separate the upper and lower segments of a hexadecimal number larger than 256 but smaller than 65536 - both segments being numbers smaller than or equal to 256. For example, "anap-anip-anap-an" - "1 up 1 double 1 up 1" - is the hexadecimal number 0x1111, equivalent to the decimal 4369. Both segments are 0x11, and the usage of the word "double" combines them into one number: 0x1111.
  • quad: -quut
    • Used to separate the upper and lower segments of a hexadecimal number larger than 65536 but smaller than 4294967296 - both segments being smaller than or equal to 65536. For example, "anap-anip-anap-anquut-anap-anip-anap-an" - "1 up 1 double 1 up 1 quad 1 up 1 double 1 up 1" - is the hexadecimal number 0x11111111, equivalent to the decimal 286331153.
  • octa: -ét
    • Used to combine the upper and lower segments of a hexadecimal number larger than 4294967296 but smaller than the second power of 4294967296. Used similarly to quad and double, with both segments being smaller than 4294967296.
  • negative: -nil
    • Used to postfix a negative number. For example, '"anap an" - "1 up 1" - is the equivalent to the decimal 17, while '"anap annil" - "1 up 1 negative" - is the equivalent to the decimal -17.
  • Ordinator: -is
    • Turns a cardinal number into an ordinal number. For example, "an" means "one", while "anis" means "first".
  • Radix point: fyr
    • Literally means "full", it separates the integral part of a number from the fractional part. For example, "an fyr róstep" means 0x1.F, equivalent to the decimal 1.9375.