Classical High Elven language

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Language: English
Classical High Elven
RegionFroturn
EthnicityHigh Elves
Extinctcoexisted with Vulgar High Elven beginning from 600 BEKE until ceased being a spoken language around 200 BEKE, when Middle High Elven arose
Torgyrian
  • Elven
    • Classical High Elven
Early forms
High Elven alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Classical High Elven was two things at once. For one, it was a stage in the evolution of the High Elven language, as the intermediate language between Archaic High Elven and Vulgar High Elven. As such, despite being the descendant of Archaic High Elven, it was not the direct ancestor of Middle High Elven.

Classical High Elven - as the direct successor of Archaic High Elven - was the main language of the population between 800 BEKE and 600 BEKE. By 600 BEKE, the differences between the linguistically conservative nobility's and clergy's speech and the ordinary people's speech have grown to the point where the high amount of diglossia warranted the necessity to distinguish between two variants of High Elven - Classical High Elven spoken by the nobles and the clergy and used in royal administration, and Vulgar High Elven spoken by the common folk.

While the language's ancestor Archaic High Elven may have boosted a rather poor section of written secular literature - at least in comparison to Archaic Wood Elven - Classical High Elven has had a sudden spurt of literature, suppressing even Classical Wood Elven in volumes.

In addition to sporting the most impressive amount of literature written in this language, Classical Wood Elven continues to be used even to this day as the liturgical language of the Church of Titanius, as such, while it may be a dead language with no native speakers, there are many well-educated people fluent in the language from Froturn, Etrand and Artaburro.

Evolution from Archaic High Elven

Consonants

  • The word-initial clusters /zb zd zg/ devoiced to /sp st sk/
  • Reintroduction of aspiration via simplification of consonant clusters
    • /pɸ pθ px/ merged as /pʰ/
    • /tɸ tθ tx/ merged as /tʰ/
    • /kɸ kθ kx/ merged as /kʰ/
  • Merger of /ɸ θ xʷ/ as /f/
  • Merger of /ɣʷ/ and /gʷ/ into /w/
  • Shift of /x/ to /h/
  • Hardening of the voiced fricatives /β ð ɣ/ to plosives [b d g].
  • Rhotacism of /z/ to /r/.
    • /z/ was regained from intervocalic lenition of the affricate /d̪͡z̪/
  • Deaffrication of /t̪͡s̪/ to /s/
  • Loss of the glottal stop /ʔ/

Vowels

  • Merger of /ə/ and /a/ into /ɐ/
  • Lowering of short /e/ and /o/ to /ɛ/ and /ɔ/
  • laxing of short /i/ and /u/ to /ɪ/ and /ʊ/
  • The close central vowels /ɨ/ and /ɨː/ were fronted and rounded to /y/ and /yː/
  • The diphthong /iu̯/ monophthongized to /yː/

Phonology

This is about actual Classical High Elven pronunciation. After 200 BEKE, the language continued to be used as the liturgical language of the Church of Titanius, as well as the official language of administration of the Kingdom of Froturn.

However, after 200 BEKE, it would be read and pronunced by High Elves and Humans according to the rules of their own native language.

Consonants

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plain Labial
Nasal <m> /m/ <n> /n/ [ŋ]
Stop Aspirated <ph> /pʰ~pᶲ/ <th> /tʰ/ <ch> /kʰ/
Plain <p> /p/ <t> /t/ <c, k> /k/ <qu> /kʷ/
Voiced <b> /b/ <d> /d/ <g> /g/
Fricative Voiceless <f> /f/ <s> /s/
Voiced <z> /d͡z~z/
Approximant <l> /l/ <i> /j/ <u> /w/ <h> /h/
Trill <r> /r/

The velar nasal [ŋ] was the allophone of /g/ before /n/ and /m/, as well as /n/ before velar consonants. In other words, the clusters /gn/, /gm/, /ng/, /nk/ and /nkʷ/ were realized as [ŋn], [ŋm], [ŋg], [ŋk] and [ŋkʷ].

The aspirated /pʰ/ was most likely pronunced with a fricative release [pᶲ], as evidenced by its later merger with /f/.

/s/ and /d͡z~z/ were likely still apico-alveolar during much of the Classical period, during the end of the Classical period, the pronunciation has shifted to the denti-alveolar place of articulation.

Vowels

Front Back / Central
Unrounded Rounded
Close Long <í> /iː/ (ĩː) <ý> /yː/ (ỹː) <ú> /uː/ (ũː)
Short <i> /ɪ/ <y> /ʏ/ <u> /ʊ/
Mid Long <é> /eː/ (ẽː) <ó> /oː/ (õː)
Short <e> /ɛ/ (e*) <o> /ɔ/ (o*)
Open Long <á> /aː/ (ãː)
Short (æ) <a> /ɐ/
  • The vowel [æ] was the allophone of /ɛ/ before /r/.
  • The nasal vowels [ĩː], [ỹː], [ũː], [ẽː], [õː] and [ãː] were allophones of long vowel + nasal clusters word-finally and before fricatives.
  • The short /o/ and /e/ only existed in the diphthongs /eɐ̯/, /oɐ̯/, /eu̯/ and /oi̯/

The language also had diphthongs as well - /eɐ̯/, /oɐ̯/, /ɪɐ̯/, /ʊɐ̯/, /ʏɐ̯/, /ɐu̯/, /ɐi̯/, /eu̯/, /oi̯/, and /ui̯/. The majority of these monophthongized by the end of the Classical period.}.

Grammar

Classical 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 -us -a -um -ae -i
genitive -án -anae -an -aen -in
dative -ua -anau -ám -aé -rea
accusative -ánua -anaia -anám -aian -irnea
locative -van / -uan -vanae / -uanae -vanam / -uanam -vaen / -uaen -vin / -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 pímanus" 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 hus sa cum
genitive mágae mágén fuan fén hán sanae can sén
dative água ágér fuam fea hua sanau kám séa
accusative ágaenua ágaian fuanám feian hánua sanaia canám seian
locative águvan águén fuanam fén huvan suanae quanam suén

Verbs

Simple Continuous
Past -ilu -ilme
Present -iri -irgí
Future -inu -ingiu
  • The infinitive is marked by -iri, just like Present Simple.
  • Adding an extra -(a)r at the end turns the verb perfect. An example:
    • "sephiri" means "to make someone/something beautiful". It is in Present Simple.
    • "sephinu" is the same verb, but in Future Simple instead. For example, "you will make her beautiful".
    • "sephinur" 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 Classical 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 in Proto-Elven:

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

Adverbs

Adverbs have three forms in Proto-Elven:

  • Normal adverb: -atan
  • Comparitive adverb: -artan
  • Superlative adverb: -ang

Inclusive or vs Exclusive or

Classical 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 「zun」
  • The word for the exclusive or is 「há」

Numerical system

Classical High Elven uses a hexadecimal system, meaning that each number from 1 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. Similar 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: mar
  • 1: an
  • 2: fán
  • 3: man
  • 4: nae
  • 5: sae
  • 6: zoe
  • 7: noe
  • 8: step
  • 9: róan (greater 1)
  • 10: róbán (greater 2)
  • 11: róman (greater 3)
  • 12: rónae (greater 4)
  • 13: rórae (greater 5)
  • 14: rózoe (greater 6)
  • 15: rónoe (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-marup-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.
  • 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.