Elder Tongue | Part 1: Phonology & Mutations


Elder Tongue | Part 1: Phonology & Mutations

The languages of the Fae are widespread and unique across the Oak Cross universe. Many of them present themselves as the proto-language of common tongues found today. The Moon Water People found in Agaera speak an early form of Proto-Salishan, and the languages used by other groups often mirrors population of their local territory. This connection to mortals arose because of the need to control the groups they used to build their ancient wonders (especially in Agaera). The Fae that were born in Altear spoke a variety of languages related to the half-bloods that were originally birthed with the mortals brought over to the oldhome.

Elder Tongue is a grouping old languages that are unique Altear itself. Often called the “Elder Languages” (not super inspiring) the language family to say shares a few features relating to its cultural influences. Most if not all Elder Languages possess at least five “genders” of animacy, a means of how the speakers ranked or described things in the world. Usually these were Ice (for living things), Fire (for physical features), Spirit (immaterial concepts), Fate (for time itself), and Thought (to describe broader concepts). These genders eventually embedded themselves into the Fae concepts of identity and led to one of the more complex notions they often do not understand about humans.




p = /p/ – sounds like “pound”
b = /b/ – sounds like “bay”
bh = /w/ – sounds like “way”
d = /d/ – sounds like “dog”
c = /c/ – sounds like “call”
g = /g/ – sounds like “goal”
f = /f/ – sounds like “fair”
th = /θ/ – sounds like “theta”
dh = /ð/ – sounds like “than”
s = /s/ – sounds like “sound”
sh = /ʃ/ – sounds like “share”
ch = /x/ – sounds like “chanakhuh”
gh = /ɣ/ – sounds like a harder guttural version of ch
h = /h/ – sounds like “how”
m = /m/ – sounds like “monkey”
mh = /v/ – sounds like “veil”
r = /ɹ/ – a rolled “r’ sound
rh = /r/ – sounds like “round”
n = /n/ – sounds like “noon”
nh = /ŋ/ – sounds like “sang
l = /l/ – sounds like “lake”
lh = /j/– sounds like “young”
Long Vowels
á = /a/ – sounds like “awe” 
é = /e/ – sounds like “day
í = /i/ – sounds like “steam”
ú = /u/ – sounds like “mule”
Short Vowels
a = /æ/ – sounds like “ash”
e = /ɛ/ – sounds like “check”
i =/ɪ/ – sounds like “pick”
u = /ə/ – sounds like “puck”
o = /o/ – sounds like “mole”
ae = /aɪ/ – sounds like “eye
ao = /i:/ – sounds like “whee”
ea = /æ/ – sounds like “Cat”
ua = /ua/ – sounds like “squall”
ié = /ie/ – sounds like “ee ay
aí = /oɪ/ – sounds like “boy”
ai = /a/ – sounds like “awesome”
io = /io/ – sounds like “ee oh
ui = /wɪ/ – sounds like “win”
A bit like Welsh and Irish Gaelic, Elder Tongue undergoes a series of mutations pending upon the various states the words are put through:
  • The noun or adjective is preceding a genitive is the possessed.
  • The noun or adjective is preceding the particles rhé.
  • When a prefix is applied before a noun.
    • Example: Bis-t’Arail > Viscount
  • When counting personal numbers up to ten.
    • Example: Rhíganánnu Traoth > Three Kings
  • The second final noun is always to mutated with the possess object in complex multi-noun genitive phrases. Genitive case in this respect -does not- activate in the first word of the phrase!
    • Example: Tiolan Dhuall Rhígan > Titan Tribe’s King
  • When nouns, and verbs are negated.

First series mutations are:

  • p = ph = /f/
  • b = bh = /w/
  • m = mh = /v/
  • t = th = /θ/
  • d = dh = /ð/
  • c = ch = /x/
  • g = gh = /h/
  • f = fh = /v/
  • s = hw = /ʍ/
  • sh = h = /h/
  • l – lh – /j/
  • th – rh /

Second Mutation

Secondary mutations occur when the emphatic particle “nu” is applied to the word. Or when demonstrative precedes the noun, only for the noted consonants however.

  • P = mhp
  • b = mb
  • m = nm
  • t = dt
  • d = td
  • f = shf
  • s = ts

The consonant that attaches itself in front of the previous consonant / cluster becomes the sound that is pronounced.

Ti má shá nu mbenai. = /tɪ ma ʃa mɛna/ > I am in the mountains.

For linguists here is the gloss |Be-Temporal 1st-Person-Sing. In-Adjective Indefinite-Emphatic-Art. Mountains-pl|

Because Nu becomes before “ben” the word becomes “mbenai” rather than “benai”.