The Elw language is the national language of Elwynn and the ethnic language of the Elw people. It is an ergative–absolutive agglutinating language. It has several quite diverging dialects, of which Caligaean, Utasian, Alalehzamini and Iserdian are the largest. The written standard uses the Cyrillic alphabet (historically a syllabic script) and is based on the Caligaean dialect with large influences from the other dialects. Considered a language isolate, Elw has, however, a large number of loans from other languages, such as Treesian, Elfinshi, Babkhi, Norse, and Præta.
The modern Caligaean dialect uses more Norse words, Utasian is heavily influenced by Præta, Alalehzamini by Babkhi, and Iserdian by Tapferite and Bovic terminology.
Elw is a dominant language in the arts and social sciences.
Orthography and pronunciation
Elw is usually written in Cyrillic though Latin is a common alternative.
Please note that the legality of syllables under this phonological rulebook generally only apply to native Elw words in their standardized form; dialects and loanwords often violate these principles, and that is perfectly fine. Alternative spellings for people's names and placenames are very normal.
|Cyrillic||Latin||Quality||Really bad Istvanistani approxmate sound|
|А а||A a||a||a in hat, or a in hard, or u in but|
|Е е||E e||ɛ~æ||e in met, ai in air, a in bad|
|И и||I i||i||ea in heat, i in hit|
|О о||O o||o||aw in fawn, o in lock, o in so|
|У у||U u||u||oo in loo, oo in good|
|Ы ы||Y y||ə~ɨ||a in about, e in handed|
Which vowels found when
In Elw phonological studies, Elw is said to only have three vowels, a, i, and u, but as you can see from the table above, that is a simplification. This simplification does hold truth however. These are the main vowels of Elw, and the vowels of every root of Elw native words. As such, it might be helpful to see y as an allophone (alternative sound) to i in certain situations, o to u, and e to i.
i as the first vowel of a word will transform into e, unless the next syllable has a double vowel or diphthong (i.e. combination of two different vowels), in which case it will transform to y.
ii as the first vowel of the word will transform to a simple i, unless the following consonant is q, in which case it will transform to e.
- isluus > ysluus (sluice)
- illu > ellu (house)
- iilu > ilu
- iiqar > eqar
Lonely i, that is with consonants on either side of it, will transform to y, unless of the consonants on either side is q, in which case the lonely i will transform into e, or ll in which case the lonely i will remain i.
- *anira > anyra
- *aniqa > aneqa
Interconsonantal ii will transform to i, unless one of the consonants on either side is q, in which case the lonely i will transform into e, or ll in which case the lonely ii will transform into i.
- *aniira > anira
- *aniiqa > aneqa
AI and UI
The ai and ui diphthong, found in some dialects and in names, is in standardized Elw written as e.
- *inuih > ineh (people)
- *aire > eri (group of lions, lionhood)
U and O
O is thus a rare vowel in native Elw words, found mainly in loanwords, or, when in native Elw words, before n and m. The latter rule is due to um and un being illegal syllabic combinations in standard Elw:
- *Ajumidi > Ajomidi (a name)
- *Kaliriun > Kalirion (a name)
Legal syllables are however:
- *uum (long vowel!)
- *uun (long vowel!)
Moreover, long forms of the on and om syllables do not need to change to uum and uun, as evidenced in the following words:
- erioon (adjective, belonging to group of lions), a standardized spelling of the name Ayreon (in Elw, Aireoon)
- enu Kalirioon ("place of the Kalirions", a settlement in Leng)
|Cyrillic||Latin||Initial||Intervocalic||Final||Comment||Really bad Istvanistani approxmate sound|
|Б б||B b||p~b||–||b as in bob|
|В в||V v||β~w||–||v as in viva|
|Г г||G g||k~g||–||g as in gag|
|Д д||D d||t~d||–||d as in dad|
|З з||Z z||z||–||z as in zoo|
|Й й||J j||j||j||–||y as in you|
|К к||K k||kʰ||kː||–||k as in kit|
|Қ қ||Q q||q||χ~q||k as in kit|
|Л л||L l||ɮ~l||–||l as in low, not as in milk or mull|
|–||ɬ||–||When ll||A Welsh double L, otherwise just say L as in low|
|М м||M m||m||–||m as in mum|
|Н н||N n||n||n as in no|
|–||–||ɴ||Before q, r||n in hand|
|Ӈ ӈ||Ŋ ŋ||–||ŋ||ng in singer', not as in finger|
|П п||P p||pʰ||pː||–||p as in pea and apple|
|Р р||R r||ʀ̥||A French-y R|
|–||ʁ||–||before n, q||A French-y R|
|С с||S s||s||s as in so|
|Т т||T t||tʰ||tː||–||t as in tea and ant|
|Х х||H h||ħ||ħ||h~ħ / Ø||When a final, some people pronounce it /h/, others don't pronounce it at all||h in hunt|
|Ч ч||C c||c||–||Before a, o, u||The "t+y" sound in southern England English, Tuesday, otherwise just say ch as in church|
|ç||–||Before i, e, y||the h+y sound in "hew", otherwise if that's too complicated, just say ch as in church|
|Ш ш||X x||ɕ||ɕː||ɕ||Sh in show|
Long vowels and long consonants
Elw has a system of long and short vowels, though long vowels are not very common in standardized Elw, though they are written with double letters, aa, oo, uu, etc. Long vowels only exist in standardized Elw for those back vowels, though long vowels exist in dialects also for i and e.
Alternative letters and spelling
- F is found in loanwords
- J is sometimes changed to I when intervocalically, for example aia instead of aja, Iaqoo instead of Jaqoo.
- Double-L, LL is sometimes written as Ł due to its unique sound quality
- Ŋ is often written as ng or mn or nm.
- W is found in loanwords
- X is often written as SH
- Final -i is often written as -e in people's names, such as Aiomide (dictionary form: Ajomidi)
- Long vowels are not unusually written with circumflex or acute accent instead of double vowels, i.e. aa is often written as â or á. Linguists prefer macron, ā.
- All letters of the Elwynnese Unified Alphabet may be found in Elw for placenames, people's names, and loanwords.
- Ћ ћ is sometimes used instead of Қ қ, especially in names and old texts, and in handwriting
- Double-L, ЛЛ is sometimes written as Ӆ due to its unique sound quality
- Йа and йу are usually written Я and Ю respectively; with йаа and йуу being written as яа and юу.
- Й is often written as И.