Ancient Elven is the language the Elves developed during the second generation of Malin's children. The Elven tongue was almost exclusively spoken. Evidence for this is found in the ruins of Inwe, where the writings of early Dark Elves were in an ancient dialect of the common tongue.
It has been rumoured that Elvish was also the language of nature, which the Elves either learned through study or was taught to them by certain deities. They then had the power to converse with nature directly, allowing them to guide the growth of trees and migration of animals as if by magic. If this were true, Elvish, assuming someone was capable of mastering the long-forgotten cadence of the words, would be a very potent language indeed.
Following the first war with the Dwarves in the early history of Aegis, the use of the language became very limited as many who had spoken it were killed in battle. The younger generations began communicating with other races and the language of Common swept across Malinor. Somewhere between the 7th and 10th centuries of Aegis the use of Ancient Elven became extremely limited and it remains unknown as to the exact reasoning, though common perception suggests that it was outlawed for some reason. There remained only a few texts that contained Ancient Elven spread throughout Malinor.
With High Prince Native establishing the capital of Laurelin and centralising the Elves, these books were brought into Laurelin's library where scholars again became interested in the language of the Ancestors. Through much vigorous study and scrutiny the language was pieced back together just before the Undead declared war on the living, however correct pronunciations were impossible to decipher. Further understandings were made during the investigation of Inwe in the 14th century of Aegis where archaeologists uncovered original texts depicting the language in more traditional uses.
As the populace of Aegis migrated to Asulon the scholars kept careful grasp on all that they had learned of the Ancient Language. Most congregated in Haelun'or with the High Elves where they could be left in peace to shape their collective knowledge into a usable language. The reformation of Ancient Elven started slowly as a few words began to spread firstly within the city of the High Elves, then broader into the populace of Malinor.
Ancient Elven draws almost no similarities to Common except that it is read left to right. Sentences are commonly structured subject-object-verb and words are formed using a seed word and an affix, or by joining two seed words with the use of an apostrophe (').
Some words that have been commonly introduced into every day speech are:
Karin'ayla, Good day
Ker'ayla, Good night/evening
Mali'aheral, High Elf (literally 'blessed Elf')
Mali'ame, Wood Elf
Mali'ker, Dark Elf
Mali'fenn, Snow Elf
Ofcourse there are way more elvish words and phrases too, here follows the entire language for those interested:
This incomplete list is sorted in common alphabetical order. Notations are added where required. Note: Only the stem of a verb is written in this list of words
Affixes served a very important purpose in the Elven language. You are recommended to learn of them and their purpose before anything else, for many words are formed by the addition of affixes to the so-called 'seed words', which are listed below. We further discuss our findings on affixes in the grammatical section of this volume. Furthermore, words deserving extra explanation will be handled in the 'curious words' section.
Note: The dash indicates the location of the seed word to the affix.
ac- (aca-) Honorific for an accursed.
ah- (ahe-): Honorific for reverence. Often used in front of names to denote sainthood.
ael-: Vile, unnatural, beastly.
-al: -Designates the completion of an action
-an: many, full of -Mostly designates plurality
an*h- (a/o/i/e/u): To direct (up/down/left/right/rotate) (more on this in 'curious words')
-ante (-nte): Last
div-: Empty, devoid of (antecendent to -an)
-ento (-nto): next
-ehya: and - used at the beginning of a sentence for 'but...'
el- (ele-): - Changes a noun into a pronoun, making it a title of someone, or possibly something.
fi-: new, anew - Often used as prefix, but not exclusively.
heya- (hey-): what, how, who
il- (ilu-): with
-ii: little Designated the diminutive form. Plural: iian.
-ir: - Designates the purpose of someone
iyl-: this usually a prefix, though not exclusively.
iyul-: that usually a prefix, though not exclusively.
-leh: -Designates affiliation
ma- (mar-): very -Intensifier. More on this in 'curious words'
-n: - Sometimes put behind an adjective or verb to create a noun.
-ne (-ane): not - A suffix used to indicate the negative.
-onn: from, born, kin - Often a suffix, but not always. More on this in 'curious words'.
par- (pra-): before, pre-
res- (re-): wayward, capricious, unpredictable
-sae: Spreading, development management. - More on this in 'curious words'
tal- (tali-): Part (of) - More on this in 'curious words'
u-: or - Always a prefix and always used with apostrophe
-yem (-hyem): again -Can be used to make a 're-' family of verbs
vul- (vule-): clever, intuitive, deceptive.
These words make up the brunt of the Elven language, and may be modified by various affixes to create new words.
acal: valuable, golden, cursed - From ac-al: Completion of the word ac: Cursed. Beware of this double meaning. Because of this double meaning, Elves of old may give those they wish ill a nugget of gold to declare their
hostility. The gesture was often wasted on other races, who considered the gold a tribute.
(a)chikr: (without the a:) ***** - denotes a woman who murders her children (or neglects them to death), which is considered a horrible crime due to the value of fertility and the rarity of Elf children. Without the 'a', the word degenerates into a grave insult. Know that intentional cursing in Elven attracts ill-willing aspects.
(a)dil: needy, desiring, wanton - When one forfeits the 'a' it becomes as of a vice
(a)dont: requesting, awaiting - Without the 'a' it becomes 'demanding', -er makes verb as always
adont’ahern: please - requesting blessing
adri: evil, immoral, hate
(a)elor: abomination, faithless, demon. -Denotes any non-humanoid of intelligence. Without the 'a' the word becomes an insult to call someone disfigured. Know that intentional cursing in Elven attracts ill-willing aspects.
Aengul: Aengul - race of semi-divine beings affiliated with light.
aher: to bless.
ahernan: thank you - blessings
akal: valuable, golden - less ominous
akaleh: wealth, money, valuables - akaleh'ii: worth
akaln: gold - less ominous way to speak of gold.
allim: sin - allimar: to sin; alliman: sinful
ana: to be
annyer: to dance
ata: ugly, tainted
athri: serpent, snake
(a)iler: Wizard, conjurer, heretic -Any wizard or spiritual humanoid that's not a druid. When one forfeits the 'a' in the word it becomes an insult. It should be noted that the word 'Ailer' is not used for your everyday magic user, but reserved for a powerful, exclusive brand of spellcasters.
alor: salmon -aloronn/alonn: salty
annil: guiding -anniler: to guide, direct
arche: infrequent, sporadic, rare
(a)rhil: just fair (without the a:) vengeful, scorned.
asimulum: sanctuary, glade, asylum, dedicated place (esp. one of nature)
aver: to wander, to roam around aimlessly, to be confused
avern: wanderer, confused person
ay(i)lu: liked, likable - may(i)lu: loved. The 'i' is optional, but may not be used if the object is not a person.
barbu: dark, black, hedgehog
bida: to drink
bilok: to create, to make
bilokonn: to fornicate
(a)caele: sky. - The plural, caelan, is used to reference to the Seven skies and with that, God. The lack of an 'a' in front makes the word disrespectful or insulting.
ceru: strong, mighty
chil: descend - chil'ii: descendant(s)
chul: to must
cinh: to stop, to cease
ciw: to sleep
cóon: prince, leader
crua: hurting, suffering - which makes cruan: pain
Daemon: Daemon - race of semi-divines affiliated with smoke and fire.
dagr: war - dagre: fight - dagre'sae: fighting
dant: to fall, to drop
Diraar: Guard/Sentinel - A soldier or guard who's job is to uphold a set of laws and overwatch them.
dion: long - dionne: short
draoi: Evil/corrupted druid. Warlock. Sorcerer.
ehier: to find
ern: to can, to be able to
estel: trust - estelle: to trust
eth: end, to end, to die -word can be a noun, passive verb and active verb depending on usage
evar: to protect, preserve - Evari'ii: protectors
eyr: to use, apply
fer: tool - This word creates a wide array of words for various tools, such as torches and pickaxes. They are discussed further in 'curious words'.
fih: to eat, to feed
fiyem: reborn, renewed, revitalized
haesiea: to forget
haler: to promise, to pledge
heial: circle, council
hileia: Peace. - Has no plural
hiuw: to twitch, to move
hiylu: Healthy / spirited
ibar: white, owl
igne: flame, fire - igne'sae: destruction, war
iheiuhii: voice, breath
ihnsil: spear, lance
ikur: wrought, cold, gray
iller: to give, to grand
ilum: glowing - when something only reflects light. ilumr: to glow.
inder: to read, study, memorize
ito: to, here, within - Can also be a suffix. More on this in 'curious words'
itone: you're welcome - lliterally: to nothing
iyath: to think
iylanh: to place
kalem: Malin's year, - Roughly 26 Anthos years, denotes the length of a High Prince's reign.
kaliri: Event, party
karim: Fortday, - The measure of time from one Dwarven sleeping cycle to the next, roughly 24 Anthos days.
karin(ah): sunrise, - Also used to speak of day
ker: dark, sunset - Also used to speak of night
khel: darkness - Strictly a noun
kina: murdered, killed, death, in mortal danger-a noun used for someone who is marked for death by someone or something.
krey: single. kreyn - pair.
lar: sturdy, steadfast.
lareh: boulder, mountain, rock
laureh: chosen, favored, noble
lent: to (over)grow
lenti: growth, moss.
leyu: graceful, beautiful.
liewyn: smile - liewynh: to smile, liewyn'saer: to entertain, to amuse; maliewynh: to laugh
lle: kindness, good intention
lie: dishonest, untrue, false, deceitful -lien: lie , liear: to lie; maliear: to betray (malieir: traitor)
lin: home, place -linan'sae: town
llum: sorrowful, mourning - llum'saer: to sadden
llyt: aggressive, intimidating, -llyth: to strike
lom: to fragment, to splinter
lomi: fragment, splinter, pebble
luci: grape - lucionn: sour
luer: to imprison, to cage
luth: enchant - luthien: enchanting
lye: we - Used to speak of elves, a people, or even the world as a whole. Often misused.
lyu: silent - leads to the words lyun: silence; lyuer: to silence and lyu'saer: to censor
mabidar: to suck
maehr: wisdom, knowledge
maelu: to know
Mali: elf/elven - Word is both singular and plural, noun and adjective.
Malin: Father of Elves - Literal translation is "King"
medi: helping, helpful
miar: lava miar'sae: griefing, harming, spiting
myumier: to carry, to bring
naeri: devout one, cleric
narn: to walk, travel through
nealu: to teach
nor: land - nor'sae: farming
ohn: like (similar to) - Either a prefix or stand-alone
oment: to meet
okar: to safeguard
orrar: to hunt
pario: to fail
parsaer: to conceive, to kindle. "to have an idea".
perith: to remember
puer: to write, to draw, to scribble.
puerith: to write down (of books), to memorize. to record (more formal than 'puer')
raell: carrot, root, herb. (refers to subterranean parts of plants possessing healing or nourishing properties)
san: word, news - saner: to speak
saneyr: to debate, discuss. - saneyir: debater, public speaker, orator.
salum: to feel, to sense
sew: soup, stew
siol: lone, lonely
sirame: Honor; connection to the forest. - Has no plural
siru: mushroom -siruonn: bitter
siyuer: to play
sohae: devout one, cleric - In a militant or executive sense. sohaer: ruler (through teachings, more positive than uthir.)
suika: sugar -
sul: light - strictly a noun.
sulier: to see
taelu: to learn
tahorran: hawk (plural: tahorranii)
tahn: peak, height
talar: horizon - considered a place between the heavens and earth;
talareh: stone - evolved from the words tali and lareh.
taliyna: body, living being, aspect -'taliiyna' can be used to denoted the physical parts that allow the body to live, i.e. organ, heart, mind and blood
taliiyh: to bleed
Talonnii: family, blood(line) - always capped
tarem: Elven week -Equivalent to 7 'karim'
tayna: life, energy of living
taynuel: vitality, energetic, alive (noun or adverb dependent on positioning)
terh: to grind, process, churn - wehn'tehral: bread; valein'tehral: cheese; raell'tehral: salve, potion), luci'terhal: wine
tir'id: risk, danger
tiuth: triangle - the triangular shape is found as a symbol for oppression, unlike the circle, which is used to describe (just) councils; - taliuth: oppressor
thruer: to explode
thrur: explosive, volatile
thrurn: explosive, dynamite
thill: pure, refined, delicate
thul: raw, unrefined, brusque
thuln: ore, raw material
tilru: serving, submissive
tos: desert, wasteland, barren ground - tos'sae: razing
tufer: to construct, to prop
tuva: everything, all
tuveh: wool, something soft
uhier: to seek
ulln: rot, withering - strictly a noun.
ullr: rot, decay, wither - Often of dead flora.
ullral: monster, undead -lit: decayed. Used for living beings that have severed themselves from the natural way.
uradh: to scowl. - uradir: naysayer
uriar: to shout
urth: to rule - negative connotation to this word. urthir: ruler; maruthir: tyrant
vaedrar: to melt
vallum: crying, griefin
valmir: artist - from purple, the color of art.
van: to fare
Velulaei: moon - Named after the moon goddess worshiped by the dark elves.
vira: vigilant, mournful - Traditionally used for attending the wake of vigil for a deceased Elf.
vull: to deceive, to trick
waleh: to heal
wehn: grass, grain.
welier: to listen, to hear - rewelier: to repeat, to echo
wy: appendage - more useful are the words that can be formed in combination with 'an*h': anah'wy: head; anoh'wy: foot, anih'wy: left hand, aneh'wy: right hand; anuh'wy: hand (either)
yallr: to live.
yuln: gemstone - Used as the seed for many words, including maleyuln: diamond
No doubt you are left with many questions as you skim through the Elven wordlist. Indeed, their mystique and unique language has many intricacies which are not readily understood by those who did not take ample time studying them.
For perusal at your leniency, I have taken apart the words with most reason to spark confusion, and gave them the special attention they require in this section.
ito: This particle is a means to denote location. However, it has many different meanings, depending on its location and accompanying words in a sentence.
The simplest case: ito narne: I/he walk(s) here / I/he walk(s) within.
No ambiguity arises here. However, when we add a noun to this:
ame ito narne: The forests walks here
ito ame narne: I/he walk(s) to the forest.
ame'ito narne: I/He walk(s) within the forest
ameto'eyha narne: And I/he walk(s) within the forest
ame'eyha ito narne: And the forest walks here.
Note that the location of ito becomes crucial here. Putting it on the place of a subject aligns it to the meaning 'to'. On the object's location (to understand this, educate yourself on the elven sentence order), the noun 'ame' becomes the subject instead, and ito regains the meaning 'within' or 'here'.
Ito can also be used as a suffix, which is demonstrated by the last examples. In this case, the addition of ito restricts the noun to an object.
This word is also used to create the elvish equivalent to the words 'to be' and 'to have'. This particularly might confuse a novice to the language. To read up on this, I refer you to the grammar section of this tome.
tali-: This word can do two very different things to the word it is connected to. In the simplest case, it adds the modifier 'part of' to the linked noun. But sometimes, the addition of this prefix creates a whole new word:
talibortu: Part dwarf -> Halfling
talivalah: Part human -> Halfling
tal'uruk: Part Orc -> Goblin.
However, sometimes ambiguity can abound from this word. For example:
tal'ame: Part of the forest.
It would seem that in confusing cases, elves add an apostrophe between to denote they mean multiple words rather than a single noun. However, this is not always a safe rule, as it may clash with other rules for using apostrophes. Caution is urged, and ambiguity may indeed arise.
-sae: This word, meaning the development, spreading or management of something, can be used to create many new words in elvish. Some of these may not seem obvious. Examples include:
nor'sae: development of land -> farming
tos'sae: spreading of desert -> pillaging
The combinations grow even more numerous when we consider that sae can be combined with ir to create sair, lending a word for, exemplum gratia, 'farmer' and 'pillager'. It can also be turned to saean to create a plural (where applicable) and saer, turning the word into the stem of a verb, effectively giving us the words 'to farm' and 'to pillage'.
These further combinations exist almost always wherever a word was created from the suffix sae. Knowledge of this fact will allow the reader much more affluency in this language.
ma-: Apart from being an intensifier, used at your leisure, the prefix ma- often finds its home in places where the intense use of affix would cause the same affix to start.
An example of this is found in the word 'log': The elves would consider a log 'part of a tree' thus 'part of a part of the forest'. However, talitaliame is NOT a correct word to use in Elven.
Instead, the second tali is implied by the use of the intesifier. Thus:
If used in an event where a repeated suffix is used, ma- is placed after the seed word, but before the suffix one wishes to repeat.
Interestingly enough, ma- is one of the rare affixes that does stack on certain occasions, as seen in the word marmatelu.
This word is much like tali, in that it can be used to further define a certain word, as well as be used to create a noun of it's own. Also like tali, the inclusion of an apostrophe in a confusing case will imply the speaker is meaning to talk of multiple words.
ame'onn: Born of the Forest, from the forest.
The suffix will create a myriad of new words for the advanced speaker. Study of its usage will surely be beneficial.
grammatically, nothing is strange about this word. However, its uses in combinations are so numerous that a separate section may be devoted to it.
fer'puer: quill. Pen. A tool for writing.
Other uses can be thought up by the cunning mind. However, bear in mind that the word fer is mostly used to speak of handheld tools, not of crafting tables, anvils or furnaces.
an*h- (a/o/i/e/u): By adding one these five vowels into the place of the asterisk the prefix takes on a new usage. This prefix gains many new meanings when combined with other affixes and relies heavily on context. Sentence order is especially important when using this prefix multiple times.
Elan*h [a/o/i/e]: North, South, East and West respectively. anh'sae: expanding, stretching - replacing the apostrophe with a vowel specifies in which direction. an*h il'an*h: - refers to a diagonal path, defined by the vowel used. ELVEN GRAMMAR
Sentence Order: The common order of elvish sentences is Subject-object-verb.
Plural nouns: indicated by the suffix -an.
The apostrophe: Used in certain cases and possibly dictates a certain pronunciation. Current known uses are: Denoting certain honorifics (such as sainted) Between a modifier and a verb Between a word and its suffixes (more on this below). With the word 'eyha' (and) to connect sentences and and in terms of a list.
Use of affixes: This has shown to be a very important factor in Elven language. Elves, tend to use multiple affixes to further define their nouns and verbs, rather than using separate words. For these, the following rules exist:
Most affixes seems to have two forms, depending on wether or not the word it relates to ends or begins with a vowel Suffixes often get added with an apostrophe between it and the word. If a word has multiple suffixes, there will only be an apostrophe between the full word and its last suffix. The priority in ordering the suffixes remains unknown. If a suffix is seperated by the apostrophe, it inflects as if the last letter of the word it relates to was a consonant.
Recombination of words: When one understands the heavy use of affixes and their combining to forge words, it is not surprising that the elves relied on a dictionary where this recombination was prevalent in creating new words. Their core words were little, but their abundant use of affixes and linking words still allowed them to describe nearly anything under the sun.
Examples of this are:
narn'vallei: travel'water -> swim
narn'acaele: travel'sky -> fly
par'karinah: Before the sunrise -> Dawn
par'ker: Before the sunset -> Dusk.
uvul'igne: Firepowder -> Ash
uvul'thrurn: Explosive powder -> Gunpowder
We also see this occuring a lot when the word tali is involved.
Many more examples may be discovered by the studious scholar soon. Take heed, however, that any particular combination, while perhaps comprehensible, may not be correct. The language of nature seems very particular on what words may coexist in harmony.
Affiliation: The suffix 'leh (note the apostrophe) designates affiliation, the possession of the object by the subject. Note: If no object is present, the suffix is implied to mean something similar to 'lives' or 'spirit'. However, it is not placed in translation Ex: part of a common farewell 'kaean'leh evareh', means 'may (it) protect our spirit' literally, but is translated to 'may (it) protect us'.
Known inflections of the elven verbs:
In this section, the dash indicates the stem of the word.
- -e: First person singular
- -a: Second person singular
- -e: Third person singular
- -ae: First person plural
- -an: second person plural
- -eyae: Third person plural
- -eh: Optative singular
- -erih: Optative plural
The optative inflection changes slightly depending on the ending letters of a verb. Most verbs end in -er, but if one ends in -ar the plural inflection of the optative becomes -arih ( the -ar- syllable is not repeated!). A verb ending in -h will have the -h- replaced by the full inflection of the optative (thus eth becoming eteh and eterih. Other irregular verbs have the inflection simply added to the end. The stem of a verb functions as a singular imperative. The stem of a verb used as a suffix to a noun (apostrophe where required) is a modifier The optative serves as a wish ('may' + verb) in most cases. However, adding the negative (-ne) affix after the verb indicates the lack of permission.
Pronouns as a subject: A pronoun is usually not used to denote the subject of a word, as the inflection of the verb itself would usually denote in which person the verb is denoted. However, on occasion a rather critical ambiguity may arise, like in the following example:
ame ignere: The forest burns.
Should we 'assume' a pronoun here, we can suggest that this sentence may also be translated as 'I burn the forest' or even 'he burns the forest'. This ambiguity is too serious to ignore, and therefore we are expected to place another pronoun here as the subject if we wish to denote an action like such:
kae ame ignere: I burn the forest.
Know that a pronoun used as a subject alone never gains the suffix 'leh' (this is possible when it is an object, making the implied translation "spirit".)
Infinitive: An infinitive can be made by tying two verbs together with an apostrophe and adding an 'o' ('or-') prefix to the second verb (the infinitive). The first verb is usually the assisting verb (possibilities include can, must, will) and needs to be only the stem. The infinitive verb receives the inflections similar to the way to a simple, single verbed sentence would.
ito ame ern'onarna: You can travel to the woods
An infinitve can also occur without an assisting verb. In this case, you shall add an o prefix to the verb, but no inflection. An example of this:
ito ame onarn: to travel to the woods.
Take note that the infinitive must not be used to express a wish, as only the optative form may serve this purpose.
Past and future tense:
To create a past or future tense, we first need to take notice to the time of day. The words an elf uses for tenses depends on whether it's day or night at the time of speaking.
For a past or future tense, we add one of these four words at the very end of a sentence:
karin'ento: next sunrise karin'ante: last sunrise ker'ento: next sunset ker'ante: last sunset
Though elves have taken to shortening this to karinto, karinte, kento and kente in more casual speech.
If it is night, we use ker'ante for past, and karin'ento for future tense. If it is day, we use karin'ante for past, and ker'ento for future tense.
This remains true even if the time period one wishes to denote is more than one sunset or sunrise from the time of speaking.
The verbs 'to be' and 'to have' Before reading this, you might find it beneficial to have read about the word 'ito' in the 'CURIOUS WORDS' section.
Note that: ito kae: To him / on him ito kae'leh: To his spirit / on his spirit ('spirit' being implied)
Now, should we place a noun in front of this: mali ito kae: An elf to him. -In elvish, this is the equivalent of 'He has an elf'. mali ito kae'leh: An elf to his spirit. The equivalent of 'He is an elf'.
It becomes easy to mix these meanings up. After all, kae'leh is the possessive form and seems the logical candidate for the verb 'to have'. However, the implied addition of 'spirit' is very important here. Elves speak of their spirit, or essence, as something deeply intimate. When something belongs to you as a person, you have it. But when something belongs to your essence, you are it.
Elves do not capitalize the word at the beginning of a sentence the way we do in common. Instead, only on a select few occasions are words capitalized, namely:
Names (of persons, places, titles) Races (Mali, Valah, etc.) Objects of worship (Usul, Velulaei), even when the word's not used to denote the divine being tied to the object When denoting aspects of nature (such as Vuln being the aspect fox.) Words of significant concepts are sometimes capitalized, such as 'lye', 'talar', 'acaele' and 'tuva'
Elven Family Words
Elves value there bloodlines greatly, though do not have individual root words to denote most family relations. Most ways to identify familial relations involve adding suffices and affixes to words.
Common words to denote family relations are:
malii’mal: son (elven son, for other races use that root)
malii’lari: daughter (elven daughter, for other races use that root)
mal’maronn: cousin (male)
lari’maronn: cousin (female)
Elves, while their numerical system remains a subject of discussion, were able to write numbers 'in full' like we are. That is to say, they could name numbers of any size in regular conversation.
An Elven number, when expressed in full, consists of multiple words. Each word represents an order of magnitude. They were written in descending order, meaning the largest part of the number came first.
Elves had words for the numbers one to ten, and words for a hundred, a thousand, and so on. To denote multiples of hundred, they would take a number from one to ten, and put it in front of a word denoting an order of magnitude, linking the two with an apostrophe.
Discovered words for elven numbers are as follows:
100: matelu [ma-(mar-) a preffix for 'very']
A full and frequently updated Ancient Elven guide is here.
If you'd rather, here is a list of elven sentences that you can use. Enjoy!