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"Wendarian cwuen Wendori - the Green-Elven tongue & the Green Elves"

by Jonathan Nolan

Language also called: Wendarian, the Feynessei tongue, Feynessei Elvish

During the long hike from Davania to Brun, some Elves crossed the terrifying Black Peaks. They forsook the march to the northern seas, where Protius would change some Elves to wild merfolk at the behest of other Immortals. In High Elven, these Elves who crossed the Black Peaks to settle a fey kingdom were later called the Wendor or "Those who go back", though it seems that none of them actually returned all the way to the ancestral lands of the South; they just stayed behind in the northern realms when other Elven peoples experienced further displacements during the repeated waves of human and humanoid invasion and settlement. Led by a clan leader called Denethor some of the Wendor eventually did enter the islands of Alphatia. They settled in what was then known as Ossiria, which region they renamed Lindaron, and by the Alphatians they came to be called Green-Elves (in High Elven, "Laegil", plural "Laegelrim"). Concerning the relationship between the Green-Elven and Alfheim tongues, it is stated that "although the dialects of the Feynessei Elves, when they again met their long separated kindred, had so far diverged from Alfheim High Elven as to be hardly intelligible, little study was needed to reveal their kinship as Elf tongues" (from Erenthil's 'Leaves of the Tree: Alfenvolk' at p. 257). By the time that the modern realm of Wendar was settled into its present form, the language spoken there was little more than an accented dialect of Elvish.

All that is known of the Wendarian tongue is some thirty words, most of which are found in the Alfheim Blodherien Scrolls. In the words of the great Elf Linguistic scholar Kleinot Erenthil, "Though the comparison of the Feynessei dialects with their own speech greatly interested the loremasters, especially those of Davanian Elvish origin, little is now known of the Feynessei Elvish. The Feynessei Elves had invented no forms of writing, and those who learned this art from the Alfheim Elves wrote in Elven as well as they could".

Some of the Alfheim Elves that came to what is now known as Gylharen's Realm escaping the destruction and chaos at the time of the Fall of Nithia circa 500 BC adopted the Wendarian tongue and took names of Feynessei form and style, just like the Davanian Elves had adapted their High Elven names to Common Elven centuries earlier. These Alfheim Elves "wished indeed to become Feynessei folk and to return, as they said, to the simple life natural to the Elves before the invitation of Ilsundal had disturbed it" ('Leaves of the Tree: Alfenvolk' at p. 259). Yet Elven somehow infiltrated into even the Feynessei communities: "By the end of the third century BC, the Feynessei tongues had probably ceased to be spoken in the two regions that had importance at the time of the War of the Beastmen: Traldara, and the realm that had evolved into Alfheim in the shelter of Canolbarth in northern Darokin. All that survived of them in the annals was a few words and several names of persons and places" ('Leaves of the Tree: Alfenvolk' at p. 257).

Nimurodiel Earthwalker the Champion of Ilsundal would only speak the Feynessei tongue even after it had otherwise fallen into disuse in Alfheim; see 'Leaves of the Tree: Alfenvolk' at p. 241. 'Leaves of the Tree: Alfenvolk' at pp. 252-253 suggests that the name Canolbarth itself may be altered from Wendarian Calórandorin, "Valley of Golden Leaves (or golden light)", or the even older Barath-Calindórandorin "Vale of the Land of the Holy Singers (Cal-Lindar = Bard-Priestess)". According to a footnote in the fragmentary Greywroth Scroll, our only source for colloquial spoken Feynessei, not only "Canolbarth" and its variants but also the names Altan Canolrhon, Amiroth, Treant, Actaeon and Nimurodiel are probably of Feynessei origin, adapted to a more commonly spoken form of Elven speech. Clearly the relatively archaic and insular Wendarian customs and speech were not well-suited to trade and interaction with other races.

There is not much we can say about the structure of Wendarian. Very little grammar can be extracted from the few words we have. An Elven-style umlaut-plural is seen in uruc ("Orc") pl. yruc (Elvish orch, yrch). This umlaut must have developed independently of the Elven umlaut on the other side of the Black Peaks (there is no trace of umlaut in High Elven and the Elves of modern Davania, languages that evolved from Common Elvish after the separation of the Wendor from the other Elves. In "Lindioia", the name the Wendor had for themselves, a descendant of the old Primitive Ilsundal Era plural ending -ioi is still present. Does the ending -rhon of Altan Canolrhon indicate genitive plural, cognate with and identical to the corresponding High Elven ending? This would give the name the plausible meaning *"mountain [or fortress] of trees". Canol "tree" could be as in High Elven, but this language has no genitive endings.

WENDARIAN WORD-LIST with etymological notes

alm "elm-tree"

aerd "holding, enclosed area"
*only known from two usages - Nimuraerdoth, an old form of the name for
*the region of Drenagoth and Wendar, and Yruchaerd, an early form of the
*Common Tongue word Orchard, in its original meaning of "enclosed place
*the Orcs seek"

beorn "man"

Altan "moated fortress, mountain"
*probably to be compared to Elven ("Davanian Elvish") Altan - -
*"a city (built above ground)", derived
*from the stem TAN "make, do" (LR:362);
*the basic meaning may be simply "something rising up,
*construction" (compare High Elven LAN "building, house", ELAN "treehouse,
*home" and ELTAN "treefortress, treekeeper").

andorin, -andorin "valley, vale"

cogn "bow"

cwenda "Elf"

Danas "Green-Elves, Wendor"
*It seems unlikely that the Wendor would have called
*themselves by such a name. They people still called themselves by
*the old clan-name Lindai [= High Elven Lindar], which had taken the
*form Lindioia in their tongue. Danas is probably a memory of a Traldar
*or Nithian word for the Elves and kindred of Wendar.

dar, -dar "land, realm, great valley, encircled"
*suspected cognate of andorin.

Dun-Amiraclincorion "Blackmoor, Darkness at the Rising of the Sun"
*the second meaning given is the literal one, but this title is only
*ever applied to Blackmoor the Lost.

dunna "black"

ealc "swan"

edel "Elder, High Elf"
*Derived from a stem !LED, defined as "Star-folk"

garma "wolf"

gemaet "stronghold, settlement, group of dwellings"

gnolda "one of the wise folk, Hutaakan"
*an interesting possibility for an origin of the Common
*Tongue "Gnoll", adding fuel to the hypothesis that there was either
*much confusion between the origins of the Children of Pflarr and the
*Beastmen or a real link of some kind known to the Elves of antiquity...

hrassa "precipice"

Lindi "The Singers"
*what the Wendor called themselves, a cognate of High Elven Lindar
*The reference was to their love of song and saga

Lindon - region in eastern Alphatia where the Green-Elves settled,
*formerly called Ossiria

Lindorandorin "Vale of the Land of the Singers"

Lorandorin "Valley of Gold (golden light)"

lygn "pale"
*Primitive form given as lugni "blue".

meord "fine rain"

obhytlhon "Hin, halfling, peck"

scella, sciella "shade, screen" (prob. noun)

snaets "spear-head, point, gore, triangle"

spariel "white, wool"

spenna "cloud"

swarn "perverse, obstructive, hard to deal with"

uruc (pl. yruc) "Orc, Beastman"

Utum "The First, Ixion"
*A clearly non-Elfish word, Utum has every sign of being from the dawn
*language of the human race. Further evidence of very early contact
*between Elves of the Ilsundal Era during Ilsundal's epiphanic travels
*and the nascent human communities.

Wendar "The Valley of the Elves"
*from the originally foreign term for the Green Elves given to them by
*their kin from elsewhere. Original Elf explorers and traders renewing
*contact with what we now call Wendar called the place the Green Elves
*had settled Cwendya-Dar, later shortened to Cwendar, "valley of the
*elves". In such a manner did the less numerous Green Elves suffer
*to lose their own complex and lyrical names for place and moiety.