Where my fascination with language got me

I’ve always loved language.  Well, except in high school when, though I was good at it, I couldn’t wait until grade eleven when French class would not longer be a requirement.  I think that had more to do with my overall dislike of high school rather than any particular issues I might have had with learning French.

In university though, my favourite courses were Old English, Chaucer, and the History of the Language.  I think I had a crush on my OE professor just because of the passion he had for his subject.  He worked up a sweat during his lectures, so enraptured was he with the poetic forms.

I also took Latin for a semester in university and enjoyed that considerably as well.  Plus, during one of my contract jobs at Laurentian, I enrolled in conversational French.  See, I don’t hate it; it’s simply that I have no family and few friends who speak French.  Every time I learn a few things, they quickly fall away from disuse.

More recently, I downloaded a few Oxford lectures from I-Tunes University on Tolkien, and in particular, the linguistic basis for his languages in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  He based his elvish language, in part, on Finnish 🙂  I think I might have mentioned my Finnish heritage once or twice?

Then there’s my husband, Phil.  He started to teach himself Japanese a few years ago, and more recently took some lessons in Chinese through one of the Y’s temporary employees in the Newcomers’ Centre.

Finally, there’s my own fascination with all things Celtic.

So I’m sure it’s hardly surprising that in writing my novel and developing my world, that I’d spend some time on my languages and that a little bit of everything got thrown into the mix.

The old language

This is the language that we might equate with proto-European, a language that we have no way to trace or understand except in its influence on the languages that developed from it.  This is the language that the Tellurin first spoke when communicating with each other, Auraya, and the akhis.

It only survives in the traditional names of the seasons and festivals, the names of the moons, weeks, and days.  It is also the language that the magi use in their rituals, though much of it has been bastardized since there is no written record of the language.

It’s also related to the language of the anogeni, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

I listed all of these, purely made up words, in my world info post.  I’ll just offer a couple of examples for clarification.  “-staya” is the suffix I chose to mean celebration of.  The prefixes combine to explain what celebration.  Kiestaya is the awakening; Anestaya, the engendering, and so on.  “-dranya” means the season of.  Thus, Shoudranya is the season of spring forth; Zaidranya, the season of the baked earth (though most people remember it as the season of the hot sun), etc.

The names of the moons are based on a rudimentary numbering system and you’ll notice the European influence there.

The days of the week are derived from the names of the akhis, which are also words from the old language.  “-akhi” means the spirit of. So Zaidesakhi is the spirit of the earth; Augesakhi, the spirit of the waters, and so forth.

The anogeni language

The anogeni were the special children of Zaidesakhi and Augesakhi.  They never communicated with anyone else and have lived in isolation, so it shouldn’t be surprising that while their language has some words in common with the old language, that it also has many of its own terms.

For their language, some of the words are made up, but others derive from some research into native languages, Ojibwe, Cree, and Oji-Cree, which are all slightly different.  Some Finnish and Japanese influences crept in here too.

Here’s a brief list of some of the words and phrases in anogeni:

  • mejni – eat
  • bizan – be still
  • hine – nothing
  • kabec – wait
  • gajachi – Tellurin (the pale people)
  • dimanzo – sight maker
  • oni – why
  • neesaimeno – prophecy
  • dimanzine – journey (shamanic)
  • mudashkiwine – bad medicine
  • namadiwine – bad thinking
  • bagan – if you/could you
  • gadga – explain, help understand, the ano understand through love
  • nimawe – contents
  • gadashki – love the greatest of the medicines
  • baska – head
  • gada – heart
  • onu mina – little teacher (f)
  • onen mina – little teacher, master (m)
  • no ashkida gadashki – there is no power greater than love
  • sagan nebawin – sword dancing
  • Ashki-Na – Grandmother, Auraya
  • Ashki-An – Auremon
  • Ashki-Nisa – Tryella
  • Namad-Ashki – Yllel, the destroyer
  • anzi – let’s go
  • anzi an dabo – let’s go to the one
  • ish nibi – she tries
  • ni – I am
  • gadana – thank you/I love you (they mean the same thing to the ano)
  • Anoashki – the great mystery (the spirit of the world)

Here is a list of the ashkiwine, or medicines:

agenewa – tea of three herbs; tadawa – cactus; swinnis – mushroom; yudana – woody herb; nabanda – tea again – cleansing; bishido – leafy herb; keshwara – nut (like nutmeg); angali – ground to a paste – placed in the cheek (stains the mouth); guryami – desiccated leaves easily powdered; shouba – like tobacco; nindaya – mushrooms again; gagini – seeds – crushed and held under the tongue.

To find out what they all do, you’ll have to wait for the book 🙂

The eleph language

Latin, Finnish, Japanese, and stuff I just made up.

Here’s another list:

  • finiris – Songmaster
  • sulonis – Dreamsinger
  • kaidin – sourceror/mage
  • damnasca – crazy one
  • shuriah – unwanteds
  • kishida – eleph kata
  • kishan – eleph martial arts
  • kishan-roh – the art of the sword
  • kishani – warrior
  • Felias es durithan – destiny is near
  • Felias es turia – what is your destiny? (formal)
  • Felias mariel es offiri portel – My destiny is to open the way (formal)
  • Tu kolue – I’ll kill you
  • Felarah, dalin – greetings sister
  • astaru – soul mate
  • astara – soul lights
  • umbriel – the shadow court
  • arbraith – special talent with the trees
  • norai, singular noraia – healer, healers
  • anathas – the Council of Elders
  • ardait – bastard
  • Ardai-rhone – the Destroyer – Yllel
  • rhanda – army (rhanda umbrielis)
  • kunia – queen (kunia umbrielis) (kunia me)
  • kaides esse – the powers that be
  • no te agi, astaru me – worry not, home of my soul

So that’s all of the original(ish) languages in Tellurin.  So far.

Next week: world building resources.  I’m certainly no authority.  You don’t have to do what I did, or do it in the way that I did it.  I just like to share 🙂

Have a fantabulous long weekend everyone!

Writerly Goodness, signing off.