Middle High Elven language

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Language: English
Middle High Elven
RegionFroturn
EthnicityHigh Elves
Extinctevolved into Current Middle High Elven around 500 AEKE
Torgyrian
Early forms
High Elven
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Middle High Elven was the direct predecessor of the current stage of the High Elven language, and also was the successor to both Vulgar High Elven and Classical High Elven in the respect that it was spoken by commoners and nobility alike.

The language had sported an impressive section of secular literature, while religious works continued to be written in Classical High Elven, and continue to be written even to this day.

Evolution from Vulgar High Elven

Consonants

  • The clusters /nj lj sj kj gj skj/ coalesced into new palatal consonants [ɲ ʎ ʃ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ʃː]
    • The palatal allophones of /k g sk/ - which were previously pronounced as [k̘ g̘ sk̘], [kʲ gʲ sʲkʲ] or [c ɟ ɕc] - also shifted to [t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ʃː]
    • In other /C/ + /j/ clusters, the /j/ was stretched into a full vowel /i/ (see in Vowels)
  • Reintroduction of the glide /w/ by shifting word-initial /vu/, /u/, and /o/ to /w/ when followed by another vowel.
  • /gu/ was reduced to /gʷ/ if a vowel was following the sequence. This way, the Classical High Elven /gʊɐ̯/ and /goɐ̯/ became /gʷa/ in Middle High Elven.
  • Shift of the velar-alveolar clusters /ŋn gl kt gd/ to geminated palatal [ɲː ʎː t͡ʃː d͡ʒː]
  • Word-initial /j/ got affricated to /d͡ʒ/
  • Intervocalic /h/ became silent (except in a few names), leading to the creation of new vowel clusters (most of which got turned into rising diphthongs later). For example:
    • /iha//ia//ja/
    • /ɛha//ɛa//ja/
    • /uha//ua//wa/
    • /oha//oa//wa/

Vowels

  • Vowel clusters such as /ia/, /ea/ and /ɛa/ collapsed into the rising diphthong /ja/.
  • Vowel clusters such as /iɛ/ and /eɛ/ collapsed into the rising diphthong /jɛ/.
  • The vowel cluster /ie/ collapsed into the rising diphthong /je/.
  • Vowel clusters such as /ua/, /oa/ and /ɔa/ collapsed into the rising diphthong /wa/.
  • Vowel clusters such as /uɔ/ and /oɔ/ collapsed into the rising diphthong /wɔ/.
  • The vowel cluster /uo/ collapsed into the rising diphthong /wo/.
  • In the clusters /mj pj bj fj vj zj t͡sj/, /j/ was stretched into a full vowel /i/
  • The original vowel length distinction was lost and replaced by a system in which vowels are long in open syllables, short in close syllables (if followed by a consonant cluster or a geminated consonant).

Phonology

Consonants

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plain Labial
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ɲ/ [ŋ]
Stop Voiceless /p/ /t/ /t͡ʃ/ /k/ /kʷ/
Voiced /b/ /d/ /d͡ʒ/ /g/ /gʷ/
Fricative Voiceless /f/ /s~z/, /t͡s/ /ʃ/
Voiced /v/ /d͡z~z/
Approximant /l/ /j/, /ʎ/ /w/ /h/
Trill /r/

Vowels

Front Back
Close Long /iː/ /uː/
Short /i/ /u/
Close-Mid Long /eː/ /oː/
Short /e/ /o/
Open-Mid Long /ɛː/ /ɔː/
Short /ɛ/ /ɔ/
Open Long /aː/
Short /a/