Faelish Language

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This article is about the Faelish Language. For the form of Faelish as it was spoken in pre-modern Faeland, see Vhaetalic Language. For other uses of the term, see Faelish (disambiguation).

Faelish (Vhilonexh) is a pluricentric language spoken in the Valanian Federate (Faelish: Fáel), not to be confused with Faelish English, the local dialect of English. Faelish is a Foidelic language, descended from the ancient Vhaetalic languages (Vhaetalic and Çelathi) admixed with post-Washing languages. An old saying explains: "Faelish is most closely related to Irish, but only by marriage."

History

Faelish is spoken primarily in central Faeland, roughly within the boundaries of the Kingdom of Faeland. It descends from the Vhaetalic language and is heavily influenced by the Celtic languages of the people who settled the islands during The Washing. It became the language of the lower classes beginning in the 17th century, during the period of rule by the British, when the nobility and the bourgeoisie adopted English. For a written language, the Kingdom of Faeland used Latin alongside Faelish, thus adding another influence to the development. There exists a copious tradition of Faelish literature. Some Old Faelish vocabulary remains in the present day as philosophical and scientific terms in Modern Faelish.

The Faelish Monarchy did not concern itself with the minority languages of Faeland. The British period saw the introduction of policies favoring English over the regional languages, such as Vallo. Under the British Duchy and Kingdom, humiliating practices aimed at stamping out the Faelish language and culture prevailed in state schools until the late 1910s.

Today, despite the imperialistic influence of media in English, Faelish is still spoken as an everyday language by about 6 million people. This is down, however, from 8 million at independence . At the beginning of the 20th century, half of the population of the Kingdom knew only Faelish, the other half being bilingual. By 1950, there were roughly 3,000,000 monolingual Faels, and a decline since with only about one million elderly monolingual speakers as of 2009. Despite the increase in polyglots, the language is considered primary by most within the state and is spoken on a daily basis.

The first Faelish dictionary, the Lexicon was compiled by Joahan Lagalm in 1432, it was a trilingual work containing Faelish, Vallo and Latin. Today the existence of bilingual dictionaries directly from Faelish into languages such as English, Dutch, German, Spanish and Welsh demonstrates the determination of a new generation to gain international recognition for Faelish.

Old Faelish

Middle Faelish

Modern Faelish

Status

Federal

Faelish is an official language of the Federated States of Faeland alongside Latin, despite pleas from regionalists and others for official recognition of other languages (particularly Vallo and English).

State

Within the federation, the Page of Faeland uses Faelish as its official language.

Ofis ar Faelonech, the Faelish language agency, was set up in 1959 by the Faelish Kingdom to promote and develop the use of Faelish. It created the Ya d'ar Faelonech campaign, signed by enterprises, organizations and cities to promote the use of Faelish, for example by installing bilingual signage or translating their websites.

Naming Conventions

For a time in 1980's Fáel there was a movement to politically correct various iterations of cultural identification. One linguist suggested taking the geo-politically limiting adjective "Faelish" off the language, and call it "World" or simply "Talk", citing that in the modern world, languages share words and concepts so frequently that delimiting languages was like classifying water. It is a phenomenon universal to all speakers and may be the source of the human condition. The consensus returned that humans define themselves by conditions, and thus the name stayed. "Also," it was recorded at the panel hearing, "Calling it "worldspeak" or "alltalk" flatly disregards the divisions that give us any character in real day-to-day life."

The observation, while astute and expressing concern, fails to take into account the predilection in the Faelish language for bioyer (singular bior) (similar to kennings) in Faeland, which function as a uniting factor always between discrete concepts. The word has no cognate in English, but the philosopher Felip Cardeux wrote: "...the literature of Faeland frolics with idea-engines and idea-objects, depending how much action is infused in the construction. In any case the components are called up and dispersed according to poetic need of the speaker, at times, it could be mere simultaneous interruption of two speakers creates an impromptu hyper-conversation above the first. Faelish poets are known to fracture their works along different faults of thinking but maintain poetic singularity as a hallmark of their craft, maintaining these multiple dialogues in one dialogue between the creations of the poet himself. This alone is considered enough to unite the traditions without calling for any kind of nationalist myth-making on the part of the writers. Often, the poems are regarded as exercising the national character by teaching doubt and curiosity in a positive construction.

Geographic Distribution and Dialects

Knowledge of Faelish

Faelish is spoken mainly in central Faeland, otherwise known as the Midlands, but also in a more dispersed way in Southern Faeland (where Faelish is spoken alongside Galician and English), and in areas around the world that have Faelish immigrants.

The dialects of Faelish fall into two major grouops, High and Low Faelish. As identified by Ethnologue, there are ## dialects in total.

There are two distinct, isolated exclaves of Faelish in Langolm, Valania and the Vinesene Archipelago.

Education

An attempt by the Faelish government to incorporate the independent Faelish-language immersion schools (called Luthih) into the state education system was supported by the Faelish kingdon. The law states that Faelish is the language of public education, which means that English-language schools do not receive funding from the national government, though counties or other public agencies may fund them.

The Luthih schools were founded in 1976 to teach Faelish by immersion. They gained more and more fame due to their high level of results in school exams.

Another teaching method is a bilingual approach by Billinghih ("Two Languages") in the state schools, created in 1979, and Aurur ("Awakening") in the Catholic schools, created in 1990.

There are also schools in secondary education (colleges and universities) offering courses of Faelish (given as either literature or conversational), and there are about 500,000 pupils in the universities who take this option.

Phonology

The local accent has been described as "Mexican speaking English with an Irish accent."

Vowels

Front Rounded Back
High i, ín u, ún ou, oun
Close-Mid e, én eu, eún o, ón
Open Mid a œ á
Low à àn

Consonants

Bilabial Labio-
dental
Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
plain lab. plain lab.]]
Plosive voiceless /p/ /t/ /k/
voiced /b/ /d/ /ɡ/ gw /ɡʷ/
Nasal /m/ /n/ gn /ɲ/
Trill /ʀ/
Fricative voiceless /f/ /s/ ch /ʃ/ c'h /x/ h, zh /h/
voiced /v/ z, zh /z/ j /ʒ/
Approximant central y /j/ u /ɥ/ w /w/
lateral /l/ lh /ʎ/

Orthography

Main article: Faelish Orthography

An example of Old Faelish script.

The first Faelish texts (see Old Faelish Script), contained in the Reinhold manuscript, were written at the end of the 5th century. After centuries of orthography calqued on the Vallo model, in the 1830s Elliot Sebastian created a modern phonetic system which has some currency in media and schools but is not universal.

During the early years of the 20th century, a group of writers known as Vels im Fheloneg elaborated and reformed Sebastian's system, making it more suitable as a super-dialectal representation of the dialects of blank, blank, and blank. This orthography was established in 1912. At the same time writers using the more divergent Highlands dialects developed a system also based on that of Sebastian to represent their dialects.

Following proposals made during the 1920s, the orthographies were merged in 1957 to create an orthographic system that could represent all ?? dialects. One of the most salient features of this Ónsidál ("wholly unified") orthography was the inclusion of the zh digraph, which represents a /h/ in Vannetais, which corresponds to a /z/ in the ? dialects.

In 1975 a new orthography was proposed by Francis Leary and the group Em Fil, which had the aim of using a set of graphemes closer to the conventions of Irish. This Orthographic University, (known in Faelish as Skol ám eschír) was given official recognition by the Faelish royal authority as the "official orthography of Faelish in Faeland's education". This orthography was subsequently adopted by the V.F. as well.

Today the majority of writers continue to use the Sebastian orthography, including most Faelish-language schools.

Grammar

Main article: Faelish Grammar

Verbal Aspect

As in the other Celtic languages a variety of verbal constructions are available to express grammatical aspect, for example showing a distinction between progressive and habitual actions:

h'O lochintan pilsimmecasm mich. "I am talking with my neighbor."
h'O lochir pilsimmecasm mich (pir avhorn). "I talk with my neighbor (every morning)."

Vocabulary

Main article: Faelish Vocabulary

The Faelish vocabulary has changed considerably over the centuries.

Many Faelish nouns are ultimately descended from kennings within the Faelish language itself, often losing their tropic sense and wholly replacing the word in all uses. For example the word used in the example above: "pilsimmecasm", which is a word-phrase meaning "neighbor" is a construct of pils "more", im meaning in or against/near, me meaning my, and casm being the objective form of cahs or house. Affectively the phrase is rendered "(the thing) more against my house"; a neighbor.

Celtic words (generally words of Old Gaulish or to a lesser extent Old Gaelic origin) tend to be shorter than Latinate words, and are slightly more common in ordinary speech, and include nearly all the basic pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, modal verbs etc. that form the basis of Faelish syntax and grammar. The shortness of the words is generally due to syncope in Middle Faelish and to the loss of final syllables due to stress, not because Celtic words are inherently shorter than Latinate words. The lengthier, higher-register words of Old Faelish were largely overshadowed following the subjugation of the Latin Coast after the Roman Conquest, and most of the Old Faelish lexis devoted to literature, the arts, and sciences ceased to be productive when it fell into disuse. Only the shorter, more direct, words of Old Faelish tended to pass into the modern language. Consequently, those words which tend to be regarded as elegant or educated in Modern Faelish are usually Latinate. However, the excessive use of Latinate words is considered at times to be either pretentious or an attempt to obfuscate an issue. Eric Powell's essay "Corruption and the Faelish Language", considered an important scrutinization of the Faelish language, is critical of this, as well as other perceived misuses of the language.

A Faelish speaker is in many cases able to choose between Celtic and Latinate synonyms. In some cases, there is a choice between a Celtic derived word, a Latin derived word, and a Vallo word derived from the same Latin word; or even words derived from Argenteau French, and even choices involving multiple Celtic and Latinate sources are possible. Such synonyms harbor a variety of different meanings and nuances. Yet the ability to choose between multiple synonyms is not a consequence of Vallo and Latin influence, as this same richness existed in Faelish prior to the extensive borrowing of Vallo and Latin terms. Old Faelish was extremely resourceful in its ability to express synonyms and shades of meaning on its own, in many respects rivaling or exceeding that of Modern Faelish (synonyms numbering in the thirties for certain concepts were not uncommon). Take for instance the various ways to express the word "astronomer" or "astrologer" in Old Faelish: . Familiarity with the etymology of groups of synonyms can give Faelish speakers greater control over their linguistic register.