Creating a new language for The Lost Unicorn

hello in other languages.png, Jun 2021

My love of Fantasy started at the age of twelve when I read Lord of the Rings. J.R.R.Tolkien had created a world that has enthralled me to this day. His creation of dozens of languages is truly amazing. The complexity and thought that he put into these languages is truly mind boggling. I am not a linguist, and I would never have the skill to create such a rich tapestry of work as part of the back story for my novel, however, early on in my writing I decided that I wanted to create my own language for The Lost Unicorn. Most of the story is simply set in English, I chose to use telepathy as a major form of communication between the magickal ( and sometimes non magickal) characters. This allowed different races to understand each thought in their native tongue. So if a unicorn spoke to a modern English speaker, that person would 'hear' the thought in English. This works for most of the story and keeps it very simple, however, it did not solve my wanting to have an ancient language for magickal spells. I placed some strange sounding single syllables throughout the novel with a thought that each would become part of a complete language. I did not want to place some random gobbledegook and treat my audience like fools. I wanted the words to have meaning, so if a character used an 'open the door' spell, I wanted the words to say exactly that in my new language. I started working on single syllable words put together in a triad so that the spell would become 1, 2, 3 . I thought about starting with an alphabet, but that seemed too awkward. I wanted my language to be a simple proto language, and to me, that seemed to be more word based. I started with a counting system. Figuring that once I had the numbers 1 to 10, that would be a good start. The numbers developed as a french sounding counting system with some Latin roots to mix it up. Once I reached the number eleven, I had to do something else, as I didn't want the language to sound childish by repeating a sound. I had used the sound 'ON' for the number one, so I decided to swap out the letter o for the letter u. This made the number eleven, 'ON UN'. I repeated this for any number that repeated, like twenty two, thirty three etc. Using this method, I then created a word for one hundred and one thousand. My counting system can currently go as high as ten thousand. At this stage, I then started making a list of the most common phrases. yes, no, hot, cold, sun, moon etc. Again, I wanted the language to be easily learned and understood, so I started looking for Gaelic, Latin, German, and Nordic languages root words. In the context of my story, the languages of our world are based on the ancient language of the magickal world. This meant that I could borrow words from these other languages in a sort of reverse. I have played around with different words and tried to group similar sounding words as part of an overall structure. For example, in my new language, which I have called High Myridian, the word for tree is DRU( like druid), wood became DRI, so then I made DRA - leaf. Currently, I have over two hundred words in my new language, and I am working on more words to add to the list. As well as the more formal language of High Myridian, I have created a slang or workers language called Low Myridian. I have kept it to about thirty, very simple phrases that would be common amongst the working class. All the phrases of Low Myridian are simple forms and are slightly more offensive. There are no swear words in High Myridian, yet there are in Low Myridian. The new language developed around my already written book, so I retro fitted some of the words to suit places I had already created. This gave meaning to some of the places and regions of Alcondrior. For example, I had Neran Dell and Arun Dell. I made Neran the word for East, and I made Arun the word for west. Dell became the word for region. Thus, I now have cities called East Region and West Region based upon their location on the map of Alcondrior. My next challenge is that I want to create a group of written symbols for each of the words in High and Low Myridian. I imagine something akin to a Runic or Hieroglyphics based pictorial script. This will take time and I don't want to copy anything that is already out there, so it will develop over the course of the three books. Overall, my newly created language is a tool to help express some of the more exotic and magickal expressions within my stories and I hope that it adds to the experience of my readers. It has been challenging, time consuming and at the same time very exciting. If you are creating your own language, I hope that this helps in some small way, to at least give you some ideas on where to start.

Tyson.

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