THE OLD YLFFER LANGUAGE
Old Ylffer is a language
very closely related to Styrásh spoken by
elves of the
Ylfferhim tribe located at
today's Quallian Forest.
The first notice of it as a distinct language dates from
about 600 b.S., a tongue
from which modern day Ylffer
has decended. Old Ylffer became
obsolete some time between 100 b.S.
as the modern tongue (evolving
during a long period of severed relations with the
elves) came into more common usage. Old Ylffer is still, however, the
language of government and ceremony.
Main Principles. As in Styrásh, nouns which are put together to form a new word are separated by an apostrophe. On the other hand the stress and pronounciation of Old Ylffer is very unusual compared to Styrásh, and the commonness of runes is very different as well. There are three extra runes in the Ylffer alphabet, for Rh, Ff and Yll (or Yl). Later a new alphabet came into being associated with the modern language. Therefore modern usage of Old Ylffer is usually in the new alphabet rather than that of Styrásh.
In general pronounciation is much the same as in Styrásh. However, certain sounds are produced nearer the back of the throat. For example Ll is pronounced Cll (as in CLaw) and comes from the very back of the throat. The double R's are rolled. The letter è is pronounced as the word 'oar'. In Old Ylffer the stress most often falls on the second syllable of a word and is often at higher pitch than the rest of the word. Except in cases where Ff or Yll (Yl) feature in the first or second syllable, in which case the stress falls at the very end of the word similar to typical Styrásh (for example Ylfferhím). Also, as in Styrash, if words are put together the first and the last syllables are stressed.
The pitch of the word is utilised to a far greater extent in Old Ylffer. Raising the pitch at the end of the sentence denotes a question. As a result questions are not often phrased as such. For example in typical Tharian, a question would be "Can I have a buscuit?" In Old Ylffer this would be "I shall have a buiscuit" with a subtle raise on buiscuit to signify a question. This has caused some amount of misunderstanding between the Ylfferhim and the tribes that speak typical Styrásh.
A lowering of tone at the end of a sentence signifies first person. Like in other (human) languages spoken especially in the east, where the word "I" may be omitted and the tense established by the endings present, similarly the words "iu" and "iui" (meaning I or We, see Styrásh) may be absent completly. Verbs appear in the perfect-past form, signifying by the tone of the last word the meaning of the sentence. For example "I went for a walk in the park and saw a butterfly" would be "walked in the park and saw a butterfly", with the pitch on butterfly being lower. Similarly lowering the pitch on the first word of the sentence signifies "You did, you are". Pitch plays a much more important role in modern Ylffer, where it actually affects the meaning of the word.
Rules of uses of feminine and masculine are exactly the same as in Styrásh, however a neutrum does exist. Though rarely used, it is only applied very occasionally to Gods and rocks.
Similarly in Old Ylffer as in Styrásh there are no unpersonal subjects in the elven language (like "it" or "man" in the Tharian tongue). So if an elf wants to express that it's raining he'd say (translated) "the sky gives water" or if it's dark he'd say "the sky negates color".
When written Old Ylffer may take two forms. Ancient texts are written using Old Ylffer words, but with classical Styrásh grammer, and so ignores the use of the tonal speech. However, when Old Ylffer is rendered in the Modern Ylffer alphabet a drop in tone is denoted by line below the second and third letters of the word. A raised pitch is denoted by a line above the second and third letters of the word in question.
Information provided by Wren