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Eldar Language

Since the Star Trek fans have Klingon, the Orky fans have Orcish, and the Imperial players have all the Imperial Gothic in the 40k books, then is seemed only right that the Eldar should get a language too. This guide came out of work I started years ago on the Eldar Language, trying to make sense of the original Codex Eldar and various articles in White Dwarf. For a while I worked with a group of other fans of the Eldar (together we all produced the Codex : Harlequins) and quite a number of articles for GW fan publications. After a while the group dissolved, but the guide has remained, and to this day I get enquiries from people on how to construct a specific sentance, or emails thanking me for making the guide, its a nice feeling.

So I've made an attempt to decipher the Eldar that has appeared in all the WD's, confusing as it is, and put it into some kind of order. This may seem a bit futile, (and pretensious), but I'm a lot better at making up languages than learning them so I thought that I'd have a go.

Version 1

The Eldar Language Guide was one of my first web projects, starting while I was still at University in the 1990's, when I was actively playing 40k with an Eldar army. The original Eldar Codex had some examples of Eldar language (mostly in the form of weapon names) and I tried my best to make some sense of them in the hope of getting some vocabulary for custom units and the like.

Version 1 of the Eldar Language Guide was the fruit of that work. In it I tried to work out the basics of some Eldar Grammar and sentence structure that might be used by other fans seeking to make their own names. It was hardly perfect, especially considering that the Codex made no attempt to follow any actual rules. It was clunky, but it worked.

Version 2

I shared the Guide with the larger online community of Eldar fans and was amazed to see it take off at once. Players began to name their army using the Guide, and even took to using Eldar phrases to sign off their emails! Other fans offered to help me expand the Guide with more words, including those from the Boxtree Eldar novels (actually written in Gaelic), and fan publications. Soon we were contributing work to the Citadel Journal, such as the Harlequin army list, using the Guide for names and translations. The work of those many people came together into version two of the Guide, which expanded my word list from Version one, splitting the fast growing vocabulary into a separate Dictionary (which at that time I maintained in Hypercard!).

Version 2.5

As time moved on I stopped playing 40k (though I have never stopped reading the novels, following the lore and playing the RPGs), and stopped participating in the online community. The players who had helped produce v2 dropped offline one by one, but the Guide itself never did. Over the years I've had a steady stream of emails from 40k players wanting translations, looking for Eldar versions of their Craftworld names, and sharing new words they have made up themselves. Although the Guide itself didn't change I added these new terms to the Dictionary whenever they came up. Hence Version 2.5, with a new Dictionary but an old Guide.

Version 3

Fast forward to 2011. Hypercard no longer runs on any computer I own, and the HTML files making up the Dictionary have become far to hard to edit. What's more the difference between the Guide and the Dictionary has never been larger. For this reason I've decided to revisit my longest running web project and create the Language Guide Version 3! So far the Dictionary itself has been moved to a MySQL database and a search added. Re-writes of the guide will follow!

Version 3.5

Version 3.5 of the guide was a slow incremental process, focussing on re-writes to the main language guide, and formatting improvements. The new guide has much more liberal examples, formatted as coloured tables (for the three states) rather than pre-formatted text.

Version 4

In 2019 I began a project of re-writing the main langauge guide: adding opening quotes; changing the style of the text to reflect its author, the newly created Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Hammadras; adding new sections on tense, numbers, and writing system.

In 2020 I brought the dictionary up to date with recent GW publications, including all the words listed at the 40k wiki lexicon. At the same time I expanded the language guide with sections on conjunctions, time, and seasons, as well as significantly enlarging the treatment of tenses and relational states.