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Eldar Lexicon

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Eldar Runes

An example of the Eldar runes that make up the written form of the Eldar Lexicon

The Eldar Lexicon is the name given by Imperial scholars to the spoken and written language of the Eldar species. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for an outsider, particularly humans, to understand anything but the most basic formulations of the Eldar Lexicon, as many of its references are metaphors that draw directly upon the collective Eldar psyche, incorporating mythical peoples and places and long-lost times and events in its basic structure. The Eldar also communicate with poses and gestures because their senses are far more finely attuned to others' emotional and mental states, as a result of their intensely psychic natures, than the average human; it is possible for two Eldar to have an entire conversation using only their body language. The Eldar written language is equally complex. Each written symbol, whether it is a rune, script or a hierogram, is not simply the letter of an alphabet like the written High or Low Gothic language used in the Imperium of Man. Instead, each Eldar symbol represents an entire concept. Furthermore, even more difficult to comprehend from the human perspective is that many of these symbolic concepts can have a subtly different meaning when committed to usage in Eldar script, another when employed in the runecasting prognostications of the Farseers and yet another when incorporated into the hierograms of the Eldar houses and design schools.

EldarRune

A more complete set of Eldar Lexicon runes

Ultimately, the language of the Eldar is an ancient and complex dialect built upon and refined over many millions of Terran years. Compared to the crude, blunt sounds of High or Low Gothic, its words flow from one to the next, each sentence a complete idea as much as a collection of letters or numbers. Humans can imitate Eldar speech to a certain degree, with sufficient training, but compared to a native speaker they are slow and halting at best. This is largely because, as noted above, the Eldar language is not actually comprised of words alone like human languages, but also accompanied by a detailed set of poses and gestures. The way an Eldar stands, the cast of his features or how he moves his hands can all change the meaning of words, sometimes dramatically. Further complicating matters is that each Eldar word or symbol is as much a concept as it is a name for something. Thus while the Eldar word for "rock" might mean rock, it might also be used to convey permanence or stability, or in a different context lack of life or thought. To a human, words gain meaning from their context and the words around them, while to an Eldar the words themselves already possess infinite meaning, manipulated by a crooked finger or slight inflection when speaking.

The Eldar Lexicon is used by all of the different Eldar factions, including the Craftworld Eldar, the Exodites, the Harlequins and the Dark Eldar, though each faction may have different dialects or particular usages that differ from the others. The Eldar Lexicon can differ from Craftworld to Craftworld, and most Eldar can tell the origin of another member of their race simply by the differences in both their speech and body language.

Transliterated ExamplesEdit

SentencesEdit

Eldar Lexicon Sentence Low Gothic Translation Notes
Shea nudh Asuryanish ereintha Asuryanat. May the blessings of Asuryan protect the children of Asuryan from abomination. Most potent and dire of all Eldar prayers.
Da gceilfi an fhirinne, b'flieidir go neosfai breag -- If the truth were hidden, perhaps a lie would be told -- This sentence may be incomplete.
Bhi se chomh dorcha gur cheapamair go raibh an oichie tagtha. It was so dark that we thought night had come.
Bionn an fear ciallmar ina thost muai ná bîonn pioc le rá aige. Meaning unknown.
Elthir corannir rhiantha en. The Eldar maiden who weeps tears for the warrior-folk in the starlight of Rhidhol during the winter. A more basic translation renders this entire phrase as "mourner" or "widow", though this term represents a much deeper meaning for grief and loss in the Eldar Lexicon.

TerminologyEdit

Eldar Lexicon Term Low Gothic Literal Translation Common Translation
Agaith False face Refers to the face masks worn by Harlequins.
Alai Of the Alaitoc Craftworld
Amon Harakht Eagle Pilot Eldar fighter pilot
Arebennian Harlequin Solitaires
Athair Harlequin Troupe Master
Atherakhia Destruction
Bechareth Spirit on the wind Used to refer to Eldar who died without a Spirit Stone
Beithir Thunderbolt/striking serpent Ambiguous word; usually applied to Eldar Support Weapon Batteries
Brathu-angau Kiss of doom Weapon known as the Harlequin's Kiss
Buanna Reaper Shuriken Cannon / Shrieker Cannon
Ceiba-ny-shak Literal translation unknown Eldar curse
Ceifulgaithann Wind rider An Eldar Jetbike
Creidann Belief-maker Eldar Mini-grenade launcher that fires Hallucinogen Grenades
Dakiilithyli Unknown Jetbike
Dannan Death See Mael dannan below.
Dathedi Between colours Holo-Suit
Distaur Unknown Harlequin Mime
Drethuchii The Shattering of Harmony Symbol of the Dark Eldar Kabal of the Broken Sigil
Druchii Dark Ones One of several terms for the Dark Eldar.
Eladrith Ynneas Unknown Another of several terms meaning Dark Eldar; this one was first used openly by the Kabal of the Black Heart.
Esdainn Unknown Harlequin Shadowseer
Eshairr Unknown Fourth of the five words for an outcast; it is the only term meaning above the level of a true outcast; it is considered a deadly insult among the Eldar.
Fhaisorr'ko Unknown A decisive point in the future for which the Eldar Seers cannot predict the outcome.
Fian Dialcaman Unknown Dire Avengers
Fian Siispeiraigh Unknown Swooping Hawks
Fir Caurifel Unknown Eldar Titan Clans
Geirgilath Unknown A Harlequin Flip Belt
Haranshemash World of Blood and Tears Present name of the Exodite World "Haran"
Ilmaea Black suns The dying stars held in sub-realms of Commorragh that provide energy to the Dark City
Kaelis Ra The Destroyer of Light The C'tan known as the Nightbringer.
Kilithikadya Near-future-to-come The near-future.
Lann Caihe Water Bringer An executive officer who is the second-in-command of an Eldar starship. It his duty to "bring water" to "quench the fire" of his superior and relieve him or her of command if necessary. Extremely rare, such an act is a disgrace to the captain in question who has no choice but to leave his or her Craftworld afterwards, becoming an Outcast.
Mael dannan Total and merciless extermination No quarter for the enemy.
Marathag Face of death The term for the fear-inducing Rictus Masks worn by Harlequin Troupe Masters.
Margorach Harlequin Troupe Master Harlequin Death Jesters (means "death fool" in real-world Scottish Gaelic)
Marsgrech Screaming death Bio-explosive shuriken ammunition
Maugan Ra The Harvester of Souls Name and title of the Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra
Maugetar Harvester The weapon of the Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra.
Menshad Korum Hunters in pursuit of themselves Eldar lost on the Path of the Warrior, means Exarchs of two or more Warrior Aspects.
Mile'ionahd Warrior of wonder; warrior of surprise Eldar name used by the Callidus Assassin Meh'Lindi.
Mon-keigh Unknown. Any species deemed inferior to the Eldar; it is most often applied at present to humans. The term is derived from the legendary cannibalistic misshapen monstrosities that invaded and subjugated ancient Eldar lands until they were cleansed from the galaxy by the hero Elronhir.
Murehk Sting of the wasp Shuriken Pistol
Rhana Dandra Unknown. The cataclysmic battle where the entire Eldar race will face Chaos for the final time; essentially the Eldar Apocalypse or Ragnarok.
Saedath Unknown. Allegorical strategic plan for a battle, taken from the mythic play of a Harlequin masque.
Saim Snake; secret knowledge This word has a double meaning -- in Eldar culture the snake is the creature who is supposed to know all the secrets of the universe.
Seachmall Unknown Illusion.
Seachran Unknown. A delusion.
Sha'eil The place where daemons are found; hell The Immaterium.
Shelwe Song When used as a suffix for Eldar names, the meaning is "Song of [name here]"
Shlaereen Unknown. A silent death.
Sierbahn Unknown. A Scatter Laser.
Slavhreenur Salvation Same meaning in Low Gothic.
Suin Daellae The doom that wails The weapon wielded by the Avatar of Khaine, regardless of its actual form.
Tranglam Unknown. The "Doctrine of Tranglam" seems to equate to the Eldar term for the branch of mathematics human savants call Chaos Theory
Tuelean Unknown. A Shuriken Catapult.
Uigebealach Unknown. The term for the Eldar theory of interdimensional or hyperdimensional physics that describes the functioning of the Webway.
Yngir Unknown. The term refers to giant, demigod-like beings; it is usually used to refer more specifically to the C'tan.
Ynnealidh The necropolis below. A direct refernce to Low Commorragh and the other slumlike regions around it; it is a specifically Dark Eldar pejorative used to express contempt for their fellow citizens of the Dark City by those in High Commorragh.

TriviaEdit

In keeping with the fey-inspired theme of the Eldar as "space elves," the structure and pronunciation of the Eldar Lexicon is heavily inspired by real-world Celtic tongues from the British Isles, particularly Welsh, Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic.

SourcesEdit

  • Chaos Child (Novel) by Ian Watson, pp. 142-143, 159, 161
  • Codex: Craftworld (4th Edition)
  • Codex: Craftworld Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 3
  • Codex: Dark Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 35
  • Codex: Dark Eldar (7th Edition), pp. 10-11, 19, 48
  • Codex: Eldar (3rd Edition), pp. 42-43, 49
  • Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 42
  • Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pg. 37
  • Codex: Harlequins (7th Edition), pg. 14
  • Codex: Necrons (3rd Edition), pp. 28, 63
  • Codex: Titanicus (2nd Edition), pp. 38-39, 48
  • Farseer (Novel) by William King, pg. 134
  • Harlequin (Novel) by Ian Watson, pp. 131-132, 137, 231
  • Path of the Eldar (Omnibus Novel) by Gav Thorpe, "Dark Son" (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe, pg. 765
  • Rogue Trader: Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pg. 44
  • Shadow Point (Novel) by Gordon Rennie, pp. 42, 44, 49, 52, 53, 56, 219, 221, 244
  • Tales from the Dark Millennium (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn and Marc Gascoigne, "Vindicare" (Short Story) by C.S. Goto, pg. 58
  • Warhammer 40,000: Compendium (1st Edition), pp. 185-187, 191-192
  • Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pp. 31, 53
  • Warrior Coven (Novel) by C.S. Goto, pg. 97
  • White Dwarf 127 (UK), pg. 25, 32, 191
  • White Dwarf Weekly 53 (2015), pg. 31

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