Elven Pidgin

as taken from Dragon Magazine #279 "An Elven Lexicon" by Sean K. Reynolds

Compiler's Note: As a service to D&D players, Dragon Magazine fans, conlangers and fantasy role-playing gamers everywhere, I have codified and reduced the article that introduced this language into the basics. This is not my original work, but a presentation of just the bare essentials and mechanics of this fantasy language.

Alphabet and Punctuation

Mr. Reynolds theorized that the Elven alphabet was influenced by the fact that the Elves record their language on natural materials like bark. He supposed that meant that there were mainly curving lines and gentle arcs.
Elven punctuation looks like a mess to a non-Elf, filled with curliques and scrolling marks.
A comma in Elven is the same as a comma in English.
A period is a vertical line with curves at either end:
An exclamation point is a curved line with a loop: .
Questions are flanked by a pair of parallel curved lines:
Possesives are indicated with a cord-like symbol ( ) after the owner, indicating that the next item mentioned is the item possesed.
One mark used in Elven that has no English equivalent is the "cren" mark ( ), which indicates something of importance.

Basic Grammar

Elven consists of mainly open vowels and soft consonants with few hard sounds. It has lilting flow that is rather musical. Mr. Reynolds wrote that modifying words can be put before, or after, the word they modify, depending on the importance the writer or speaker puts on them.
For example, if a writer wanted to describe how the moonlight reflected a hero's magic sword like "liquid pieces of silver", emphasizing the moon theme, he might write:
Felosia nodel ivae lerret mithral kerym don alus
[Felosia's moon light magic mithral sword silver liquid]

But, if he wanted to emphasize how the light from the sword was like tears ("silver liquid") shed for fallen comrades, he might say:
Felosiamithral don kerym lerret alus nodel ivae
[Felosia's mithral silver sword magic liquid moon light]

Genrally, the Elven sentence follows the order of Subject Verb Object, though the Subject may be omitted if it is understood or part of a command.

Other notes:

Mr. Reynolds wrote in his article that Elves usually use natural materials, like wood and bark, and are prefer to use as much of the surface as possible, while still making it as attractive as possible, so as not to waste any of the material used. Elven calligraphy and painted figures are often found on paper and are as beautiful, if not more so, as their carvings. They aslo use color with their painted characters to make the item even more attractive.

Sometimes extra vowels are inserted at the end of words or between words to enhance the "flow" or keep the "rhythm" of a sentence. The vowel used is dependant on the individual tastes of the speaker or writer. Non-Elves usually forget this habit. That small mistake has often allowed Elves to identify outsiders who have otherwise excellent disguises.

Sample phrases:

The elf says the magic sword we want is in the lich's tomb.
Esir hinual kerym lerret quen teshuel aul morenial mormhaor
[Elf speak sword magic we take in tomb important-undead.]

A red dragon! Scram!
Harsan hakarmaskannarNehel sekkar
[Red dragon! You flee!]

Gimli, hit the orc with your axe!
Gimli, enyor hakavarn faer neheli shaalth
[Gimli, battle orc with you's axe.]


Word List:

Elven Common Part of Speech
ar above prep
atamar adamantine adj, n
deshu after prep
drii air n-element
irasku ale n-food
ent and conj
tarine animal n-creature
hithar armor n
elandi arrow n-weapon
shaalth axe n-weapon
esk bag n
enyor battle n
lani beautiful adj
kesha before prep
lothos behind prep
saaden below prep
ausa beside prep
ary big adj
cerlyn black adj-color
ilphu blossom n
tha blue adj-color
athel bow n-weapon
kathan branch n
kulaa bread n-food
nai breeze n
kukisha bribe v
sain brook n
ieha but conj
sanerek cave n-place
surinya celestial n-creature
benerel city n-place
surnar cleric adj
tenya clothing n
arranaseer courage/bravery adj
reloseer cowardice adj
quar dance n
daquin danger n
nevae dark adj
nevaedarn darkvision n
noresh day n-time
arsurinya deity n-creature
karask demon n-creature
holi dew n
mion diamond n-wealth
mor die v
hakarmaskannar dragon n-creature
erkatam dwarf n-creature
erek earth n-element
kesir elf n-creature
hakar enemy adj
vaarn evil adj
noarun far adj
ennamar few n-number
maskan fire n-element
sekkar flee v
ama flower n
klatha food n-food
nesh for prep
ravan forest n-place
revanthas friend adj
lia frond n
kiir gem n-wealth
yewl give v
sharatam gnome n-creature
shan go v
scient gold adj, n-wealth
thar good adj
chas green adj-color
sherekir halfling n-creature
drag hate v
faenya heal v
meli heel n
enial home n-place
heriryar horse n-creature
bhen human n-creature
aul in prep
scennal inn n-place
mault iron adj, n
cor king adj
anharad leather adj, n
lvae light n
staleen luck n
lerret magic n
rell many n-number
klathmor meat n-food
mithral mithral adj, n
nodel moon n
silath mountain n-place
lahr name n
tham near adj
lo night n
neh no adv
nars nor adj
amne oak n
arta on prep
enna one n-number
quin or conj
hakavarn orc n-creature
adon peace n
xilo petal n
alushtasa rain n
harsan red adj-color
revar rest v
jharren rope n
lersaat scroll adj, n
don silver n-wealth
sarash small adj
kekuel smart adj
desha so prep
hinue song n
quarlani soul n
hinual speak v
stacia star adj, n
maskaulat steel adj, n
diir stone n
neshanas stop v
kessuk stupid adj
kerym sword n-weapon
teshuel take v
leshere theif adj
eshaal through prep
nae to prep
morenial tomb n
belath tomorrow n-time
sehan travel v
lath tree n
avae true adj
biir ugly adj
mormhaor undead adj, n-creature
ernath under prep
keryth war n
alus water n-food
quen we pron
kerymeth weapon n-weapon
gala whisper v
ivae white adj-color
iasa wine n-food
faer with adj
rilis wood n
ashanelath year n-time
thuen yellow adj-color
avavaen yes adv
aeleth yet prep
nehel you pron