Near the end of my loooong-gestating novel about the adventures of twin brothers in the TV Universe, I created a race of elves in the Tolkien mode. (But they would be more at home in a magical sitcom similar to those from the 1960s - 'I Dream Of Jeannie', 'Bewitched', 'My Favorite Martian', 'Mr. Ed', etc.)
And for these elves, the Telvish, I created a language. Hey, if I was going to mimic J.R.R., I might as well go whole hog!
The Telvish language will be rooted in the last names of actual people connected to the television industry. Sometimes a person's full name will be used and that would be an archaic term left over from the classic Old High Telvish.
(An example of Old High Telvish would be the word for a huge beast native to Africa and India that has a prehensile trunk and ivory tusks - an allenfunt.)
Almost all of the Telvish words sound like their counterparts in the English language, which will make it easier for the reader to comprehend without time-consuming translations. (Within the reality of the story, the Telvish and their language were created by one of those twin brothers back in the real world on public access television, using the same reasoning.)
Some of the words in Telvish are exactly the same as in English:
Long Black White Garner Light Hole Burns Day Butters
The words are not altered in any way to indicate past or future tense if they are used as verbs. My splainin for that - the Telvish live in the Now.....
Those words could be connected to form another term but there might already be a Telvish term that would better serve the situation.
For instance: a soft white light would be called a glau. And the scientific phenomenon known as a black hole would instead be known as a sharpton. (All jokes aside, perhaps degrasse-tyson might have been better for a cosmic singularity, but that's the Telvish word for really good weed, man..... And except for sharpton, I don't want people to assume the translations reflect on the person supplying the name.)
Only a few Telvish words are actually used in the novel:
- mirren - twin, lookalike
- wendt - to go
- zmed - let's just say you don't want to step in it....
But that doesn't stop me from creating more. Every time I see an off-beat last name in the credits of a TV show, I write it down. I may not come up with a translation right away, but eventually inspiration strikes.
The latest addition to the lexicon is duplass, from Jay Duplass of 'Transparent'. It joins the last name of his co-star Jeffrey Tambor which has been garner a long time ago. Duplass translates to "deceitful". (A tambor is a hand-held percussive instrument.)
Here is a list of some of the Telvish words I've documented so far. I'm not going to supply all of them - the list would go on for a long time and I don't want to lose any followers who got bored!
- arndt - contraction for "is not"
- asner - a real jerk
- beery - a drunk
- burr - cold
- de la tour - a vacation excursion
- duhamel - hoofed desert beast with two humps
- feige - unclear, indefinite
- farwell - goodbye
- fazekas - flippant
- froggatt - amphibious creature
- hamel - hoofed desert beast with one hump
- hartnell - a coronary episode
- ihnat - either "is that not true" (like the British slang "Innit?") or slang for "Are you tapping that?"
- kinsolving - genealogy research
- kwatins - a large amount
- monaster - a holy man
- offerman - assassin
- pertwee - a small child
- rhimes - poetry
- richelmy - the wealthy elite
- snoad - blizzard
- tennant - century
- troughton - to go fishing
- truex - facts
As the book stands right now, the Telvish only make a small cameo at the very end of the book. But I do have plans to jettison two of the main stories in it and use those as the bases for two additional novels, making a trilogy called "The Toobworld Chronicles". The Telvish would be a major part of that third book. (I'd tell you the title, but of the three that's the one I don't want stolen!)
As to when the first novel might see the light of day? The events of 2014, my annus horribilis as Her Majesty might say, have convinced me I have to get cracking on it. And my blogmate Robert Wronski, Jr. is a great inspiration....