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Re: An early conlang

From:Jeffrey Henning <jeffrey@...>
Date:Monday, April 26, 2004, 1:07
On Sun, 11 Apr 2004 16:19:44 EDT, Doug Dee <AmateurLinguist@...> wrote:

>"The twelve-year-old Welsh schoolboy Eliodor, who claimed to have visited the >underworld in the early twelfth century, alleged that he learnt its speech >and used to repeat it to his listeners. Years later, Gerald of Wales recorded >two of his phrases, 'Ydor ydorum' ('Bring water') and 'Halgein ydorum' ('Bring >salt')." > >I presume that would be among the earliest conlangs of which we have some >record.
I don't think you can gloss this as a conlang, since he didn't consciously create it. It was perhaps an example of glossalalia. "This observation respecting the mysterious language used by fairies recalls again the medieval story of Elidurus. The example of fairy words there given by Giraldus is thought by the learned rector of Llanarmon [Rev. Peter Roberts, 'Cambrian Popular Antiquities,' 195. (1815)] to be 'a mixture of Irish and Welsh. The letter U, with which each of the words begins, is, probably, no more than the representative of an indistinct sound like the E mute of the French, and which those whose language and manners are vulgar often prefix to words indifferently. If, then, they be read dor dorum, and halgein dorum, dor and halgein are nearly dwr (or, as it is pronounced, door) and halen, the Welsh words for water and salt respectively. Dorum therefore is equivalent to "give me," and the Irish expression for give me" is thorum; the Welsh dyro i mi. The order of the words, however, is reversed. The order should be thorum dor, and thorum halen in Irish, and in Welsh dyro i mi ddwr, and dyro i mi halen, but was, perhaps, reversed intentionally by the narrator, to make his tale the more marvellous.'"[Supra, p. 67] Other retellings: It's an interesting story, whatever you call Elidor's fairy language. Best regards, Jeffrey