The races of Koldenwelt have many languages, with many races having their own unique tongue. The evolution of the planet's lanuages are tied to its history, particularly with the emergence of "common tongues" that found widespread use across multiple civilisations. These common tongues are listed here.
“All things have a beginning, I assume? Speech is no exception.”
- - Quelandri Selmaven, Dryadali scholar
One of the most prominent language families in the world spoken among such diverse civilisations as the Klaxxa and the Legion of Shiarchon, the Arkhainic tongues (named so after the prehistorical Arkhainic Era when they supposedly first came into being), while highly dissimilar to each other at first glance, do in fact share a common ancestor, the so-called Primordial Tongue. The origins of this ancient language are lost to history, but the majority of Arkhainic scholars, citing the ancient Orichalcum Elf chronicles, believe it to be the original speech of the Old Colossi such as Soldalatel, Korddraigen or Samayapalaka; from them, it allegedly spread on to the ancients that revered them such as the Ordnung of the Cobalt Kingdom or the Sea Giants, displacing and in some cases fusing with their original tongues.
As no writing existed at the time Primordial was spoken and its only living speakers in the modern age are the Old Colossi themselves, its phonology and grammar have been largely reconstructed from later languages that were descended from it. Among those scholars who are aware of the Primordial Tongue, there is a common belief that it is of divine origin and that its words hold intrinsic magical power, but this is otherwise dismissed as superstition. Neverthless, many modern Source users, such as Saphronian Imperial Mages, often invoke phrases in Primordial to cast spells, though whether the effect they have is because of the language itself or due to placebo effect helping the casters to concentrate is not clear.
“At first it does not seem to be notorious at all. And then a dragon flies at you, shouts "Egredere!" and bah! You'll be afraid of the sound of it for years.”
- - Nazeer Goldstone, Alhassan merchant
One of the two most prominent descendants of Primordial Tongue, Old Tongue was the primary language spoken during the late Adamantine Age, after the Orichalcum Elf Imperium, which itself inherited this language (abandoning their own) from the Colossi, had risen to dominance over much of the main continent of Koldenwelt. Also among its speakers were the Sea Giants and those True Kelodhros races that lived during the Orichalcum Age; their shared influence was so great that, even beyond their empires, the Old Tongue was a nearly universal lingua franca in the surface world. During this time, it was known as lingua aureata ("Golden Tongue"); the name "Old Tongue" was not used for the language until it had become extinct. Many of the modern languages are descended from the Old Tongue, but while some of them are very similar, others now bear very little resemblance to their progenitor.
Today, the Old Tongue persists largely as the language of literature and, in some places, religion, taught in all the academies and universities of the Sovereignty of Dryada (along with High Elven), the Empire of Man (along with Imperial Standard and, in some places, Adamren), the Ar-Klith Sky Empire (along with Eorthisc) and many other realms. Speaking it is typically considered to be a sign of education and culture.
Note: The Old Tongue is represented in fiction by Latin.
“The alleged tongue of the great kobold sagas - and Undertongue's direct ancestor, though I can find little in common within our language and theirs. Not as melodic as the Old Tongue of the elven race, but... as refined and powerful, with its kennings and litotes. Once you speak it, the fury of the Kobolds awakens for a moment.”
- - Lord Larxen-Nak, notorious Klaxxa linguist
Another prominent descendant of Primordial primarily spoken underground, Eorthisc, or the Tongue of the Depths, was the second most widely spoken Koldenweltian language during the Orichalcum Age. Originally the speech of the Ordnung, it eventually spread below the world's surface much like the Old Tongue did above it. Although related distantly, the two languages were quite different from each other: the former was much harsher-sounding than the latter, akin to the dark caves it was born in, and unlike the Old Tongue which was usually written on parchment or vellum, Eorthisc was traditionally carved in stone using runes. Thanks to this, a great deal of Eorthisc texts survived the fall of the Ordnung civilisation, and are now studied by Klaxxa scholars who have deciphered most of them so far.
According to the Ordnung sagas found beneath Ar-Klith, the differences between the languages of the Cobalt Kingdom and the Orichalcum Elf Imperium caused several diplomatic fiascos when the two peoples attempted to forge an alliance against Caligaduro Provectus; supposedly, as both races were too arrogant to learn each other's (clearly inferior) tongues, it took them a century or two to even begin peace talks. Ultimately, it was decided that the negotiations between the Kingdom and the Imperium would be held in both languages: the Orichalcum legates speaking in Eorthisc, and the Ordnung lawspeakers in the Old Tongue.
Note: Eorthisc is represented in fiction by Anglo-Saxon.
Undertongue and Kolden (New Common)
“Speak New Common, have you?”
- - Marcos Ridgewood to Lekren-Lax
“I speak normally. It's you that's got the funny accent.”
- - Lekren-Lax in response to the former quote
Following the fall of the nations of Orichalchum Age, the Old Tongue, Eorthisc and other ancient languages quickly died out, largely displaced by their vulgarised descendants and other tongues coming from elsewhere such as High Elven. One of such languages, used by the Klaxxa, became particularily prominent: the Undertongue, descended from the vernacular form of Eorthisc the dimunitive draconic race had come to speak after being subjugated by the Ordnung mixed with the dialect of the Old Tongue they used before their exodus into Ar-Klith. Thanks to the Sky Empire's colonial efforts, Undertongue was spread throughought the world and eventually became Koldenwelt's language of commerce.
Later, thanks to the processes of pidginisation and later creolisation, Undertongue mingled with other Koldenweltian languages, such as Dryadali Basic or Imperial Standard, and developed into the speech known as New Common, or Kolden, that has since then replaced pure Undertongue as the international language of trade. Although Kolden still remains mutually intelligible with the Klaxxa tongue, the divergences between them mean that the latter's speaker will find their, say, human or elven interlocutor's speech crude and unrefined - and will sound snobbish and sophisticated to the point of arrogance to them.
Note: Kolden is represented in fiction by English, while Undertongue's pronouncation and vocabulary is translated through Recieved Pronounciation and Victorian linguistics.
“It's a complex and surprisingly refined language, but also very simple to learn and pronounce. Not exactly suited for poetry or ballads, but also highly laconic - perfect for making a point.”
- - Unknown
Among the more obscure dead languages of Koldenwelt is Adamren (Alhassan for most ancient, derived from High Elven athas amdena) or the First Speech, the original pre-slavery human tongue mentioned in Alhassan and Mannazian liturgical texts. As all Adamren texts were thought to be destroyed by the Orichalcum Elf Imperium, the language was once thought to be completely lost to history; many scholars (most of them from the Sovereignty of Dryada) even denied the very fact of its existence, doubting that the human race could have ever devised its own form of speech entirely on its own. It would not be until circa 150 BNA, when a group of Alhassan monks and scientists uncovered the crypts beneath the sacred human city of Khardemav in the Sea of Sand and deciphered the cuneiform inscriptions written there, that definite written evidence of Adamren was found. Now, the First Speech is taught in many Imperial academies; although not many humans can actually speak it, they still see it as a symbol of pride, and it is now not uncommon for villages, cities or even newborn to be named after Adamren words or phrases.
Certain elements of Adamren are also present in modern human tongues, including not only its direct descendants such as Kataroçei, Hopedanic and Tenhuan, but also the elven-derived languages of the Empire of Man and the Lunsincth-influenced speech of the Islanders. For example, most, if not all, of the tongues described above share the common word to describe the human species: khanim (reflected in Alhassan q'nim, Mannaz kanaim, et cetera et cetera); most of the lexicon related to religion too originated from the First Speech. Adamren's laconic syntax (allowing for omission of pronouns and prepositions) is also said to have influenced the structure of human languages.
Below are the examples of Adamren words and phrases.
|Khaltran||Mage, sorcerer, elf|
|Askolash||False god, lit. "un-god"; sometimes used to describe Simulacra or Colossi. Interestingly, the word kolash, which would presumably mean "god", is not found in any Adamren texts.|
|Askhemayara||To swear, lit. "to be unequivocal"|
|Ada||To create, to make|
|Dam||Life, earth, clay|
|-anu||Suffix denoting agent nouns; equivalent to English "-er" or Latin "-ator"|
|Adamanu, Addamanu||Unclear. Literal translation would be "lifemaker", presumably describing a creator deity or rather a group of them.|
|Bhenashi||Unclear, but seems to be related the word with Pheonas, the name of the Alhassan chief deity. Presumably a title.|
|Er-||This. Sometimes used as an article, especially if for emphasis. (ex. er-Bhenashi)|
|Esirsh||Magic, malevolence, destruction; related to Isiris. Presumably a loanword from Phoenix or High Elven.|
|Ersirsham Asadanu||Caligaduro Provectus, lit. "destroyer with magic", "destroyer that wields magic"|
|Dam'enon||Koldenwelt, lit. our clay|
|Asarakhin askhemayari asarajam-ras aseva asadu askolash||A pledge. What it means is unclear.|
High Elven & the Dryalic languages
“The tongue itself is as old as the cursed elven race itself, and there is magic in it - twisted and ancient. While I am... acquainted with the language, to actually speak it would require... effort. Both mental and physical. The very sound of the words makes my blood boil.”
Although the Arkhainic tongues were by far the most prominent languages on Koldenwelt during the Orichalcum Age, they were not the only ones used. Among the western elves most of whom would later become members of the Sovereignty of Dryada, another speech was used, unrelated to (though certainly influenced by) the Old Tongue: Thireadal-sati (lit. refined [speech] of the Source-kin), or High Elven. Descended, like the Primordial Tongue, from the languages of various supernatural creatures that inhabited the world in times immemorial and later adopted by the elves, it was later formalised and given a single literary standard during the formation of the Sovereignty of Dryada, and became its first, though not the only, official tongue. Over the millennia that have passed since then, High Elven has developed into the so-called Dryalic languages, which include the ethnolects of the Aithrena, the Vila, the Erylia and other elves, and is as such considered to be dead. Neverthless, Thireadal-sati is still used in the Sovereign as the classical language of literature, poetry and law; due to the long-lived nature of the elven race, their tongues have not diverged greatly from their ancestor (with few exceptions, such as Derevaral, the speech of the Drow), and High Elven, when written, is still mostly understandable by modern elves.
In its purest, original form, Thireadal-sati is said to possess inherent Source power, and is often studied and invoked by wizards whose magical practices are of elven origin. Non-elven races, especially those not strong with the Source such as humans, often find studying the language difficult; although High Elven grammar is not extremely complex in comparison to Primordial or Dark Elvish, actually pronouncing the words can cause dizziness or even physical pain. The language's descendants, especially those who have diverged from it more radically, do not possess the same magical potential.
Below are a few examples of Elven words.
|High Elven||Vila||Aithrena||Common Tongue|
|Io, Ae, Teo, Pheo, Nio, Lio||Iu, Ae, Teu, Pheu, Niu, Liu||Aio, Ae, Theio, Pheio, Nio, Lio||I, You, It (object), It (concept), It (plant or animal), He/She|
|Thiad||Siat||Thaiad||Originally meant "Source" and by extension its users, later displaced by isir; now only means elf|
|Itna||Itno||Aithna||Family, blood, blood relationship|
|Mepho||Mephu||Meipho||Unshaped earth (as opposed to "harmonius" earth, nertho, soil, metaph. (especially in Vila) lack of sophistication, barbarism|
|Isir||Isir||Aisir||Magic (a Phoenix tongue loanwoard)|
|-re-||-re-||-re-||An infix, put between the syllables, that is used to describe races and peoples. E.g thiad (magic) -> thiread (magical race, elves), aithna (family) -> aithrena, mepho (earth) -> merepho (humans)|
|Doma||Domo||Doma||Depths, non-fertile soil, rocks|
|Telnoit||Telnurit||Theilnoit||To unify (from Tel, "one")|
|Inotesi||Inutesi||Ainothuehi||To overcome (from Ite/Inote, go, to go)|
Here is the example of a phrase in High Elven:
Canite, nerthoni, domaa-ri, telnoital inotesial-ri. - "The heavens, the earth, the depths, unify and overcome."
Imperial Standard & the human languages
“My pointy ears feel violated by the sound of that debased vernacular ethnolect of yours.”
- - Lady Lucretia Marzana
“The language is quite hard, I guess. There's a reason why we use the Common Tongues as a lingua franca instead of Dalmiric.”
- - Taihadrae Ashdan
A language of a limited history, Dalmiric is a language spoken within the region of Talmyr and loosely spoken within the Silver Steppe and Highmoors. The native language of the Dalmiric people, the Dalmiric language remains mostly a secondary language in modern society. Due to its identity in possessing an impure abjad writing system, it may have some relation to the Alhassan lanaguage, though in terms of vocabulary, Dalmiric appears very much to be a language isolate.
|tlm.r, dlm.r||Talmyr, Dalmir||Talmyr, Dalmir|
|jdn tlm.r||Jaduntalmyr||Dalmiric Language|
|tlm.r vn, dlm.r vn||Talmyrvung, Dalmirvun||Dalmiri Human|
|ažnssb tlm.rqssk||Azhanassab Tálmyrqassik||Dalmiric Kingdom|
|bsqn .šgnd||Basqan Ishgind||Basqan Ishgind|
|at.rnš m-drks||Ateronash Mordrakis||Caligaduro Provectus|
|xrn||Kheren, Kheirin||Mausoleum, Tomb|
|thdr xs.mq t.ga uyjb š.w.js ašdn||Taihadrae Khasiamaq Tiga Uyajab Shiwijis Ashdan||Taihdrae Ashdan (full name)|
|xadn umanh mxdh s.dhtz bdgyq ad.axm||Khaadun Ummaannah Mukhadhah Siadhittiz Bidhuggiaq Addiakham||Khaadun (full name)|
|ndrthr. atwš ukdn žts-s jwgz axbh||Ndrhthryr Athuush Ukadan Zhatsus Dzaughaz Akhaubh||Ndrhthryr (full name)|
|dzn dgf zwdq.t xta'un ux j||Dhazan Dagaf Zudaqit Khaatta'un Ukhah Ja||Dhazan (full name)|
|aqš bm b.ajtq šayutn zdh. n.'.||Aqasha Bamah Biajattiq Shaayuttun Zadidhi Ni'i||Ahdramilús (original name)|
The Siqis'ari language, which is a close relative to Old Dalmiric is a language spoken solely by the Siqis'ari tribes in northern Talmyr. Whilst somewhat similar to Dalmiric in grammar, Siqis'ari's vocabulary retains many archaic pronunciations and vocabulary of which has been replaced by the Common Tongues in Dalmiric. Because of this, Siqis'ari is not mutually intelligible with common Dalmiric. Orthographically, Siqis'ari is a pure abjad (which is to say, a total lack of consonants in their writing system).
Some comparisons with modern Dalmiric is given below.
|xadn umanh mxdh s.dhtz bdgyq ad.axm||xdwn wmnh mwxdh sdhtz bdgyq dxm||Khaadun Ummaannah Mukhadhah Siadhittiz Bidhuggiaq Addiakham||Khaadun (full name)|
“Click. Click. Long words I don't get. Click. Click. My head hurts.”
- - Pelagrios
One of the most isolated languages on Koldenwelt, Névari is a unique speech spoken by the Néva elves within their own tribal societies. Névari is enigmatic that the language has an unknown origin, bearing no similarities to Primordial Tongue nor Phoenix Tongue. As the Névari tribes have been claimed to be the oldest surviving culture on Koldenwelt, there is much speculation as to whether other northern languages have descended from Névari. Many attempts from scholars from the south have failed due to the extreme lack of communicable language.
There is an exceptionally small amount of vocabulary translated into Common Tongue.
|Néva||Person, strictly refers to Néva only|
|Koǃadbinèvāri||Collective term for all Névari territories on Koldenwelt|
|Ésirkʟ̝̊ʼovmdresíǃevùr||Portmanteau - Night Father i.e. Aethereus|
|Kódovgakā||Kelodhros, more specifically Frost Drake|
|Dreskàvgon||lit. 'He who breaks'|
|Qχʼārtansímōlti||Kartansimal (portmanteau - Ice Prince)|
|Nalùǂeōltikʟ̝̊ʼo||Storm's Throne, holiest site of all Névari cultures|
“It is a rather artistic language of sorts. Difficult on the ears and on the head, but fluid nonetheless.”
- - Scholar
The Orayu language (Satuluiisorayaluuant) is the language spoken by the Orayu people of the Northwest of Koldenwelt. A language surviving tens of thousands of years, the Orayu language has no known relative nor any knowledge of what the language descends from, believing the language to be one of the older surviving spoken languages of the world. Orayu has been documented by scholars for its complicated lexis and long words.
|Uquisatuluiiu||To speak a language|
|Satuluiisorayaluuantuquisatuluiiuvi?||Do you speak Orayu?|
|Equiyailailu||To originate; to come from|
|Teuqualasvalukequiyailailutoiquateuulvasuii.||I think he comes from the capital.|
|Dajatinarsmarosuuluauuvarounamilisuuvariquateuulvasuii.||I think the north is better than the south.|
“Do you desire to break your tongue? The Nhaarash Grammarian Society welcomes you with open arms. Rumours are, to learn how to actually pronounce it, you'll have to become undead yourself.”
“I've heard him speak it a few times. I always thought hearing it would cause mortal heads to explode. But I don't want to tempt fate.”
- - Riad
Believed to be the precursor language to Primordial Tongue, Phoenix Tongue, or ekdrárothrayúntvandirsi in its own language (lit. language of the Echdrarothrayu) is among one of the first languages ever spoken upon Koldenwelt's surface. Whilst the majority of the language is unknown, words which are used in Common Tongues today, most notably Isiris still survive. The first races upon Koldenwelt were believed to have been taught the basis of this language which had eventually formed Primordial Tongue over a period of time. Myths tell that Phoenix Tongue bore magical properties, and that their most powerful instances of magical manipulation - that is, shaping the very fabrics of the universe - was drawn from speech. Modern scholars suggest that Phoenix Tongue and Chaosphere Tongue share similarities.
“EVIL SOUNDS. BAD.”
Chaosphere Tongue is the native language of the denizens of the Void, and the liturgical language of the Legion of Shiarchon. Whilst much of the language has been deciphered through the Shiarchon's own language, Dark Elvish, much of the pronunciation of Chaosphere Tongue is transcribed only. The language itself has been said to bear destructive properties in magic - historical documents suggest that speakers of the language cast incredibly ominous illusionary spells upon simply speaking it, such as a deafening, demonic tone overcoming one's own voice. Whilst not much of the language actually survives in Dark Elvish, vast instances of it - tens of thousands of paragraphs - exist throughout Koldenwelt in inscriptions within Void Fortresses, though deciphering the language has been of interest to the life of Koldenwelt for nearly three hundred millennia, and thus only four or five percent of it has been properly translated.
“Konstā́ntíôs Kástôs Mathiás Lôrenxíôs Aṃveratôr, Adrávǽliisǣvaramrenatorímus príṃa ígô. Ávvíga vír astǽ axudás. [I am Imperator Constantius Castus Matthias Laurentius, first ruler to all Shiarchon. You stand in front of His Scion.]”
- - Imperator Kalarah
The spoken language of the Shiarchon, Dark Elvish is a language that descends from Old Tongue and Chaosphere Tongue. In terms of lexical similarity, Dark Elvish is the last language that bears the closest relation with Old Tongue, though much of the pronunciation has been distorted to better suit the pronunciation within Chaosphere Tongue. The evolution of Dark Elvish began in the last centuries of the Orichalcum Elf Imperium's reign as the religion of the Imperium had began to convert towards the belief in Caligaduro Provectus - Chaosphere Tongue was eventually combined with Old Tongue itself to create a liturgical language - now known as Dark Elvish. Upon the exodus led by Imperator Kalarah, the lingua franca of the Legion of Shiarchon soon became Dark Elvish.