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Eldarin Language Resources

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Speaking Without Words

One misconception that is often made, in many ways, is that the Eldar are just like us, even us who live in the Fifth-Age modern world. We act and write as though they would speak like us, think like us, act like us. In truth, even the humans of that time were not like us in all these ways, although they were closer to it in some. One example of what I speak of is in speech. Often writers especially search for words to have the people we write about say, when in truth they would say something altogether different, with different metaphors and such - or not speak out loud at all. One thing that seems to be forgotten is that here is a people who do communicate with words fluidly, but also use sounds and gestures, and even the mind and heart themselves, being a race in which members vary in their strength of mental ability to communicate, but all are empathic.

With all this in mind, here is are some non-verbal communications common in the Third Age, as well as a few older ones that might still be seen used by certain people. This does not include general body language and sounds as would be expected during "normal", verbal communication, but rather is a listing of more specific-meaning gestures.



In lieu of words

You are welcome, It was nothing, etc: The dominant hand begins by lightly touching the stomach, then rotates down and a bit out to end with palm forward beside hip or thigh. At the same time a general sense of willingness, often mixed with warmth to varying degrees depending on the relationship between the two people, is not projected with strength, but made open nonetheless. A tilt of the head in the opposite direction is also common. ("Creoso lle", indeed... whoever decided that Gray-company elvish belonged to Middle-earth? This is a classic instance of a place/phrase where words are *not* used among the Eldar.)

I am frustrated: One hand lifts, usually the non-dominant one. The fingers curl inward, then flick outward, spreading as they do so. The height and strength of the gesture is much determined by strength of emotion. Facial expression and emotional sense usually accompany. Words can also be used, but not as often.

You/he/that/etc disgusts me: One hand lifts, usually the non-dominant one, to anywhere from stomach to chest height. Fingers curl inward fully into a light fist, which is then open forcefully as the hand is swung quickly and shortly toward the object of disgust. Facial expression and emotional projection usually accompany. Words can also be used, but not as often.

I warn you...: Lips pull back to show teeth, just slightly, and body tenses a small amount. Gesture is more pronounced in some cultures and even individuals than others. Emotional projection accompanies. Words can also be used, but not as often.



Sound-communication (used mainly by guards or warriors by the Third Age, but some were more common in older times)

Where are you?: A rising, high, questioning call, accompanied by an emotional projection of question.

I am here: A quick, mid-range call, simple and not much accompanied by emotional projection, merely a general sense of placement.

Warning call, Stay out; also Prepare!, Be ready!: A sharp, quick sound from the throat, almost similar to a cats warning-cough, with voice-tone blended as well

Attack!: A somewhat higher-range yell, loud and usually performed mid-leap or charge.

Help!: A loud, quick, high cry, accompanied by a strong emotional projection of distress.

I have the prey/enemy; come!: A loud cry, accompanied by emotional projection of triumph, though can be mixed with trepidation depending on how much aid is needed.


Also, generally, showing emotion...

I am angry: A deep growl.

Warning: A low hiss, between the teeth, strong and coming from a deep breath.

I am furious; I am about to attack if you do not back down: A loud teeth-bared snarl.

I am very content/happy: A quiet sound from the throat very much like a purr, but lasting for a shorter period of time, usually only a few breaths; not a constant sound like a cat would make.




Respect: The dominant hand touches the forehead with the first two fingers; the head is bowed. Emotional sense also.

Great respect: The dominant hand touches first the forehead, then the heart with the first two fingers; the head is bowed. Emotional sense also.

Reverence: The dominant hand touches first the forehead, then the heart, and finally the lips with the first two fingers; the head is bowed and remains so for a longer period. Emotional projection also.

Full reverence, awe, worship of the Divine: On knees and bent over fully, not looking up, with one arm stretched out in front and the other hand over heart. Mind and heart are fully open but not projecting, in a position of complete vulnerability.

Formal/semi-formal hello/farewell, from the one with the greater position: The dominant hand begins with palm over the heart, then sweeps out so that palm is facing outward. Chin is tilted just slightly down and to the opposite side; eyes remain up and open.

Formal/semi-formal hello/farewell, from the one with the lesser position: The dominant hand begins with palm over the heart, then sweeps out and down so that palm ends facing outward and about at waist level. Chin is tilted a bit down and to the opposite side; eyes usually drop or briefly close.




Comradery/friendship: The dominant hand of each individual clasps the opposite shoulder of the other, and sometimes the other hand grasps the other person's arm; usually emotional warmth is open to be sensed but not projected..

Deep friendship/trust: Fingers touch, spread slightly apart, and hold against the opposite hand of the other person. Palms do not touch. Heart is usually open, willing for contact.

Affection-claim: Bodies are close, one or the other shoulder usually touching the shoulder of a muindor/muinthel or mate, depending on position of the one performing the gesture. Head dips, chin touches the other's shoulder, then jaw is rubbed in one smooth stroke along that shoulder. Often a purr accompanies. It is a gesture of loyalty/love/protection/"mine", but either the more or less dominant, or equals, in a bond may use it. From similar gestures performed by some non-sentient mammals, it is possible that some form of faint scent-marking undetectable to human senses is also involved. An ancient gesture, rarely seen past the First Age but worth mentioning for the occasional exception.

Bonding, whether of mates or muindyr/muinthil: Hand touches and holds, slightly spread and matched fingers and palm, against the opposite hand of the other person. In a deepening of the bond, often fingers will entwine so that hands are clasped palm-to-palm. Minds and hearts are fully open and connected. Warning: To interrupt a pair who are in "the depth of bond" is taboo, understandably so for the first automatic reaction to such is usually violent.