Friday, November 17, 2023

Prika-vlein . . . is Elvish?

Seriously, sync fairies? Seriously?

In my November 15 post "Little Skinny Planet," I posted several excerpts from my unfinished William Alizio story, written in 1997. Included are two samples of a language called Znorg-el-Bop: Vilum-el-Prika-Vlein means "Little Skinny Planet," and Fi-el-krumi prika-vlein bister yorg means "All the animals are little and skinny." So obviously prika-vlein means "little-skinny."

I remember that no deep thought whatsoever went into the creation of these nonsense syllables. Znorg-el-Bop was a joking reference to "language" called Snorglebup which my brother Luther had created, which was inhaled rather than exhaled, and existed for the sole purpose of tricking people. (For example, a Snorglebup phrase that sounded like "You want a penny?" actually meant "Do you want me to slap you in the face?"). Bister, for "animals," was just taken from English beast. Everything else I just pulled out of my lower digestive tract, completely at random. At no point did I pull out my handy English-to-Quenya dictionary and phrasebook, and trying to make Znorg-el-Bop sound "Tolkienian" was about the furthest thing from my mind.

This old nonsense story resurfaced in the context of my syncs entraining with those of William Wright, who often receives "words" which turn out to be Elvish. He introduced me to the Elvish lookup site Eldamo, so I thought what the hell.

The search string prik yielded no results, so I tried dropping the r. Four results, three of which mean something like "little":


Quelle coincidence, non? Now let's try vlein. Zero results for vle, so let's drop the v. Seven results, two of which are glossed as "lean, thin, meagre":


Okay, that's not possible. I swear on a stack of Book of Mormons I didn't do it on purpose. I was literally just making up random syllables I thought sounded "alien." This is freaking me out more than the story synching up with that channeled stuff.

(Lest anyone worry, I should mention that by "freaking me out," I mean "greatly piquing my interest without upsetting my customary sangfroid in the slightest.")

8 comments:

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I should mention that the original manuscript has a generous sprinkling of circumflexes: Vilûm-el-Prîka-Vlêin and Fi-el-krûmi prîka-vlêin bîster yorg. The circumflex appears to be marking the stress in elements with more than one vowel.

My understanding is that, while Tolkien's other diacritics actually meant something, the circumflexes were pure Punctuation Shaker: linguistically meaningless, and serving only to mark a language as NOT Elvish.

WanderingGondola said...

Do you want some more weird?

I'm low-level with things Tolkien, my memory of the LotR books and movies currently a haze with spikes of cultural osmosis here and there. Reading posts on Mr. Wright's blog previously, I'd idly wondered at the similarity between Gondor and gondola as seen in my handle. (For everyone out of the know, I use that word not in reference to the Italian boats or any other vehicle, but to a meme I came to appreciate for various reasons.)

This post pushed me to peruse Eldamo. The whole word produced nothing, so it felt natural to try gond next; the gondola community often uses it as shorthand for the character. To my great surprise, the Sindarin gond means "stone", though specifically in the material sense.

What about ola? Well then. The "to dream" sense is curious for its further description: "This verb says something interesting about Elvish psychology, in that dreams are seen as things that happen to a dreamer rather than an action of the dreamer themselves." Meanwhile, "becoming/growing-up" has been a distinct theme in my own syncs at least since the Zelda stuff came into it. In connection with gond, though, I recalled the third Woodkid video I'd found before, in which one man turns to stone and another (or perhaps the same man in a different position) has the process start just before the video ends.

Figuring it was possible the wandering part of my handle could have some relevance, I entered that too. I was not disappointed. In a previous post, you described coming across the phrase, "No rain, no flowers." Now there are a few more ways you could take that.

(It also didn't escape notice that this post was published at 1:34am, your time.)

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

You might find it interesting to look up words related to gold light, which might appear as a gleam or ray.

All these "X happens to mean something interesting in Elvish" syncs are just normal syncs, though. When two words I randomly made up happen to mean exactly what I intended them to mean, that's another level. If I'd found that pika-thlein meant "land of dreams" or something, that would be interesting -- but of all the possible things it could mean, it means "little skinny."

WanderingGondola said...

Another level, yeah, I definitely get that. Clusters of relevant "normal syncs" just tend to feel significant enough to put out there.

In that vein, here's some other hits; make of them what you will. Naturally there were far more misses.
tim = spark, star
glass = joy, *happiness
qirin = wheel
horn = driven under compulsion, impelled (to do something)
mer- = to hope, wish, desire, want [brings to mind the phrase "if wishes were fishes"]

These searches had multiple results, am listing what clicked:
will = rainë = *peace, good will
wright [also craftsman] = talkō [linking to "Little Talks"]
desert [closest word to Deseret] = eru [in Sindarin; amusing because God = Eru in Quenya]

Martin Luther Bling said...

Elvish languages are not random arisen languages but designed/constructed languages by a philologist with extensive knowledge of foreign languages.  So these constructed languages might have been subconsciously influenced by existing languages.

pico-

word-forming element used in making names for very small units of measure, 1915 (formally adopted as a scientific prefix meaning "one trillionth" by the International System of Units, 1960), from Spanish pico "a little over, a small balance," literally "sharp point, beak," a word of Celtic origin (compare Gaulish beccus "beak").

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Yeah, but how many different words for “small” are there in the world’s major languages, and what are the odds that Tolkien and I would be subconsciously influenced by the same one?

Martin Luther Bling said...

There is also the influence of the Bouba/Kiki phenomenon. My uninformed guess is that the word for "small" in most languages would much more closely resemble "kiki/piko" (the sound a small pebble would make) than "booba" (the sound a hollow vat would make).

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Yes, booba typically refers to large things, kek

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