That stands for Mirad blended artlessly with Quenya. It’s a working title.
I’ve been meaning to create this monstrosity for a while. I love the semantic ontology of Mirad’s vocabulary, but I can’t bring myself to learn it because the phonology is offensively hideous. As in, uglier than German or Chinese, which I regard as the ugliest natural languages created by men. (They also seem to be the most logical from a psycholinguistic perspective. Such is life.)
On the other hand, I love the beautiful phonology and phonotactics of Quenya and I—well, I don’t hate the labyrinthine semantics. It’s a system rich with parahistorical trivia and a gloriously humbling glimpse into a creative mind whose intelligence, ingenuity, and perfectionism I can’t even hope to emulate within my lifetime. All of that said, I can’t abide trivia in Mirya, because I want a language for describing the world. And that means I need provisions for logic and ontology.
As a starting point, I’m simply going to (attempting to) map Mirad’s semantics to Quenya’s phonology. That is, I’m going to create an injection from Mirad to Mirya, so that if I write a word in Mirya it will always correspond to one and only one word in Mirad. It’s possible to create Mirya so that multiple words (with Quenya’s phonology) would correspond to the same word in Mirad, but I’m going to avoid that if I can. Quenya’s phonology is quite restrictive, so I doubt this will turn out to be a problem.
That’s a fancy way of saying I want to replace the Mirad letters with Quenya letters. It’s a simple replacement cipher, except it’s supposed to look a lot like the original rather than obscuring the semantics. I’ll demonstrate by jumping right in.
Vowels and Diphthongs
The simplest part of this endeavor is to associate each vowel phoneme in Mirad with a vowel phoneme in Quenya. Here are the vowel phonemes in Mirad:
|a||a as in Spanish la (IPA:/a/)|
|e||e as in French thé (IPA:/e/)|
|i||i as in Spanish sí! (IPA:/i/)|
|o||o as in Spanish no (IPA:/o/)|
|u||u as in Spanish tú (IPA:/u/)|
|á||Pre-yodified ‘a’||As in “yacht”|
|é||Pre-yodified ‘e’||As in “yes”|
|í||Pre-yodified ‘i’||As in “ye”|
|ó||Pre-yodified ‘o’||As in “yo”|
|ú||Pre-yodified ‘u’||As in “unit”|
|à||Post-yodified ‘a’||As in “tie”|
|è||Post-yodified ‘e’||As in “fey”|
|ì||Post-yodified ‘i’||As in “see”|
|ò||Post-yodified ‘o’||As in “boy”|
|ù||Post-yodified ‘u’||As in “gooey”|
|â||Circum-yodified ‘a’||As in “yikes”|
|ê||Circum-yodified ‘e’||As in “yay”|
All of the pronunciation guides to Quenya vowel phonemes are imprecise to one degree or another because Tolkien’s guidelines were, in contrast, highly precise. To learn more about that, see lesson 1 of the Ardalambion course on Quenya. At any rate, here are the phonemes:
|a||Short a||*As in Spanish “padre”|
|e||Short e||as in “end”|
|I||Short I||As in “pit”|
|o||Short o||as in “for”|
|u||Short u||As in “put”|
|á||Long a||as in “father”|
|é||Long e||“eh” as in German “Mehr”|
|í||Long I||As in “see”|
|ó||Long o||as in English “sore”|
|ú||Long u||as in “brute”|
|ai||As in “aisle”|
|au||As in “ouch”|
|oi||As in “boy”|
|ui||**Almost as in “ruin”|
|eu||As in upper-class British “so”|
*To explain this vowel, here’s Helge Kåre Fauskanger of Ardalambion:
English does not have anything corresponding to Quenya short a. It is absolutely necessary to master it, for short a is by far the commonest of Quenya vowels. Tolkien noted that it should be more “open” than the long á. What we want is a vowel that by its sound (or quality) is about midway between the a’s of English father and English cat – but as for its length (or quantity), it should by all means be short as in the latter word. The vowel heard in Spanish padre will do. Speakers of English may pin down a short a by isolating the first part of the diphthong ai as in aisle.
**The actual word “ruin” is pronounced with two vowel sounds, whereas the Quenya sound is a proper diphthong.
Mirad to Mirya replacements
Replacing the first 15 vowel phonemes is easy and rather intuitive. I’ve decided for now to use Quenya’s long vowels in the place of Mirad’s pre-yodified vowels because they both use the acute accent. I might change that if it turns out to be dissonant, but at present it seems to be the most intuitive replacement scheme (as I expect none of these “conlangs” to ever be spoken much anyway, I’ll default to making it easier to read and write).
|Mirad vowel||Mirya vowel||Mirad word||Mirya word|
I left the most infrequent Quenya phoneme, “eu”, out of this table. I still have the five circum-yodified vowels to account for and only one Quenya diphthong left, which means I’ll have to get creative.
Later though. This has been quite enough for one day.