ELVES: was: Elliott's peoplesT
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, March 26, 2003, 13:39|
Thomas Leigh wrote:
> Hi Jörg,
> I've read your posts about your "Elves" with great interest, and I love your
> idea of their being the descendants of the original pre-Celtic civilization
> of the British Isles. Do you have any description or information about the
> language online that I could look at, or have you got anything you could
> post to CONLANG? You have really piqued my curiosity! :)
Unfortunately, I have nothing online, and I don't have my notes at hand now.
Many aspects of the language are not fixed yet, anyway.
But let's see what I can post from my memory.
The phonology is already quite stable. The oldest attested form of the language
had the following phonemes: voiceless stops p, t, c (the latter is /k/),
voiced stops b, d, g, fricatives ph, th, ch (/f, T, x/) and s, h; nasals m, n, ng (/N/),
liquids l,r, semivowels j, v (/w/), vowels a, e, i, o, u, ö, y.
Later changes involved the lenition of stops surrounded by vowels and liquids,
turning p, t, c into b, d, g and b, d, g into bh, dh, gh (/f, D, G/) of which gh
was later weakened to j before vowels and deleted elsewhere.
The clusters mb, nd, ngg became geminate nasals, and mp, nt, ngc became
mb, nd, ngg. The clusters sp, st, sc were simplified to ph, th, ch while
sl and sr yielded the voiceless liquids lh and rh.
All these changes operated across word boundaries in certain contexts,
thus yielding initial mutations similar to those of Welsh.
Old Elvish had an elaborate morphology with six or so cases, three numbers
(singular, dual, plural), a complex tense/aspect/mood system and
agent and obvject conjugatuions on verbs.
In the modern language, the dual is no longer distinguished, the cases are
reduced to two (agentive and objective); I am not yet sure about the verb,
but I think some synthetic categories have been replaced by analytic
constructions as well. Elvish is an "active" language, where the subject
of an intransitive verb is treated like a transitive subject if it is an agent
(as in "The man runs"), but like a transitive object if it is not (as in
"The stone falls").
Elvish syntax is based on an underlying VSO pattern, but usually,
the topic is placed before the verb, leading to SVO and (less often)
OVS sentences. Actually, word order is free. Modifiers usually
follow what they modify. Remnants of an earlier modifier-modified
order are found in the treatment of pronouns which precede the
verb, and in compounds which are head-final.
Elvish shows quite a number of similarities with Indo-European
languages, especially in morphology, and is probably related to the latter.
This is what I can say "off-hand" on Elvish now. I have way too little
vocabulary and way too much unsettled matters to post an illustrative
example of the language. Sorry for that. Also don't expect much soon.
...brought to you by the Weeping Elf and the letter "ö"
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