Thoughts on the Nedic Languages

Discussion of Elder Scrolls lore and how it will be used in Province: Cyrodiil.
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Lady Nerevar
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Thoughts on the Nedic Languages

Postby Lady Nerevar » 26 Aug 2011, 20:04

From a thread on the old Storyboard. Again from Subadim and I, and again left unedited.

Lady Nerevar wrote:i've been messing around with creating a fictional nedic language (one of many, many dialects, of course). it started out as an attempt to translate Alessia's "and this thing i have thought of, and i have named it, and i have called it freedom...", which became "nadumatha vesh etu, ii iiyo nosvatha, ii iiyo kayatha numantha." half of it is a wank, the other half is me getting to use sounds that don't exist in the english language, which should screw some people over. anyways.

while considering determiners, i realized that "freedom" (numantha) used a female version of "this." since freedom is "just another word for Shezar who goes missing," this raised some interesting possibilities of Shezzar as a female deity/concept rather than a masculine one. it fits nicely with the idea of it being viewed as a live giving spirit and having created the world. it also adds some interesting, though completely irrelevant, biblical parallels (eve tricking/convincing adam to create (apple as symbol of fertility), causing the creation of the mortal realm, and being punished (cast out) for it).

Lady Nerevar wrote:The greatest challenge in studying early Nedic cultures and their languages is the absence of a written record. Most tribes did not posses a system of writing, and those that did based it more on ideographs than on phonetics. What few records remain are primarily post Alessian documents and the writings of slaves educated under the Ayleids. Most are in a convoluted form of the Ayleid system, and many nuances of pronunciation have doubtlessly been lost in translation. These texts, most notably the cache recovered from the library ruins beneath the White Gold in 2E821, are written in at least 10 separate languages and over 30 different dialects, making establishing a grammar structure or vocabulary increasingly difficult.

The languages of the Nedic populations of modern-day Cyrodiil number in the thousands. Populations living a mere day apart could be so different as to not understand one another. In the north, protonordic washed in waves over the tongues of the land, leaving them forever changed. In the west, tribes encountered the Dwemer and incorporated their cryptic speech into their own. The cats of Nequin'al and the lizards of the Marsh influences the southern populations, giving birth to the most exotic of Nedic dialects. Languages of the Aldmeri family, emanating from Morrowind, Valenwood, and the Ayleid cities, further shaped speech.

Arguably the biggest structural change to the tongues of the Nedes came from their enslavement. Words, phrases, and even whole tenses were banned from use, leading to the rise of an extremely creative use of a very limited palate. Some slaves were not allowed to speak at all, and developed complex systems of body and sign language still in use today. New inflictions and honorifics were invented to honor the Ayleid masters, and have carried through into modern polite speech.

Subadim wrote:"... spoken like the chirps and warblings of Nibenay's indigenous birds. To vary meaning, they raised and lowered the pitch and frequency. The variety of species birthed hundreds of dialects. Of course, writing this was difficult, but not impossible. Only impossible to decipher. Music was the early man's only, universally understood mode of meanings. This subtlety served the humans well, in one's clan, but communication was lost among outsiders. This lead to terrible misunderstandings and distrust among the nedic peoples of Nibenay. To abridge this, clans began gatherings. However, such summons did not avail the disparate clans against the Aldmeri invaders. Their overly complex language became their greatest barrier in resitance. Tribalism at its finest; the breakdown of communication. As generations in captivity passed, the slaves forgot their bird-men heritage. They adopted the language of their masters, in secret, for to speak meant death. So the Ayleids traded their most priceless commodety: a unified, written language. The Rebellion was eminent..."

Lady Nerevar wrote:Upon further examination, I have determined that the song of the inverse-tiger-stone in the Water Getting Girl is written (that is sung, for the story was originally oral) in an Ayleidic dialect, not a Nedic one. This makes perfect sense, as the Nedes would assign the language of their captors -- their enemies from days gone by -- to the tiger -- their enemy at the time of writing. It is however peppered with phrases whose origin is anything but Aldmer, suggesting that it was worn down through the ages or perhaps that it was a combined language which rose out of necesity for communication between the new Alessian empire and the remaining Ayleid city states.

in other words, sounds cool, but too aldmer. it reveals interesting things about ehlnofex and its derivatives, but doesn't really convey what i want in the nedes. they are the subversion of the oriental Other in the race that is most identified with "us." assigning them a language which derives from something known by us just seems wrong. furthermore, it plays up the evolution and cultural distinctions present in cyrodiil until the mid 3rd era: the language of government and academia (that is what we refer to as the "common tongue") arises more out of Elven speech than it does out of Nedic.

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