Druidic

Druidic is a natural language spoken in the Eirean Walls. Although it's not a secret language, most of its speakers are Druids. This language is well-known for its simplicity and versatility, but especially for the many ways in which one can communicate a message in it, including humming and colorcoding.  

Use and social perception

Druidic is the language of the Druid communities of Eirean, made up by Druids who have retired to live in communion with nature, true to the traditions of old. The language has several dialects spread through its territory, but they are all mutually intelligible.   The unusual characteristics of this language have inevitably caused rumors and stories about this supposedly "mysterious code" spoken by Druids so they can hide their secrets from the rest of the world. In truth, anyone could learn Druidic if they joined one of the communities for a time. However, this rarely happens, as joining one of the communities means abiding by their rules, which may seem very strange from foreigner's eyes.  

Communication systems

Druidic has a total of 5 systems through which the language can be communicated, depending on the context and situation. All Druidic speakers know all five systems, and all Druids trained in the Eirean school can read colorcoding and understand humming.  

Auditive systems

 

Humming

Humming is the traditional way in which the language is communicating. It is used in small-scale situations, such as conversations between a small group of friends. In this system, tone, volume, and duration have meaning. For the sake of simplicity, this article uses European notation to explain it. The tones are the twelve notes (from C to B), volume is forte, mezzo-forte and piano, and duration is either short (one beat) or long (two beats).   If the message needs to be communicated to more people at the same time, or if the two people communicating are far apart, they can alternatively sing out loud or whistle using the same rules.

Drumspeech

When someone wants to communicate a message to a lot of people at the same time or at great distances, a pair of drums can be used. The drums must be tuned in two different notes, although the specific tone does not matter. The lowest drum marks the beginning of each work, while the higher one plays the words themselves. This is a simple system that does not include grammar. So, while being effective, it can't communicate as much information as humming or singing.   More details...
 

Visual and tactile systems

 

Colorcoding

Color coding is the common name for Druidic's "writing" system. This system makes use of twelve different colors to code the twelve tones, as well as various shapes for grammar. If the background has a similar color to one of the characters, it is outlined in either black or white.   More details...

Druidic Signs

In silent environments, two Druids might communicate using signs to avoid disturbing the nature. A hand, generally the dominant one, expresses the word roots while the other simultaneously conveys grammatical meaning. This should not be confused with sign languages; Druidic Sign is just a complex way to codify humming.   More details...

Tactile Signs

Tactile Signs are a set of one-handed signs that are performed on the skin of another person. They can be performed anywhere on their body, although their palms are the most common place. In this system, pressure and movement of the four fingers (excluding the thumb) codify the twelve different sounds of humming. Meanwhile, the thumb and wrist convey the grammatical meaning.   More details...
 

Variants

Thanks to the simplicity of these systems, other ways of communicating the language have appeared. Needlecoding is a writing system based on both Tactile Sign and Colorcoding for blind or deaf-blind people, which consists in creating small bumps on a flat surface arranged in a precise way to represent a certain phoneme. Drumspeech has evolved to a point where it's possible to communicate long-distance messages using light signals.   Additionally, some Druids have taken advantage of their magical abilities to express themselves in more subtle ways. For example, an air elementalist might apply a light air pressure on certain places of the skin of another person in order to use Tactile Sign from far away. A fire elementalist may instead create flames of different colors to communicate messages using a simplified version of colorcoding.  

Main linguistic features

Druidic is a synthetic language with three grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, and genitive), two numbers (singular and plural) and three tenses (past, non-past and imperative). It has a flexible word order, although it usually is Subject-Verb-Object (SVO).   Because of the way it is communicated, it does not have a traditional phonemic inventory. This article uses both colorcoding and humming tones to represent words.  

Cases

Case is a grammatical category of nouns and pronouns that reflects its grammatical function inside its phrase, clause or sentence. Druidic has three cases: nominative (subject), accusative (direct object) and genitive (possession and noun modification). The following table explains each case in more detail.   Show table

Grammatical case


CaseFunctionHummingColorcodingExample phrase
NominativeSubjectforteCirclesThe tree is tall
colorcoding B

(CED# D#E CB)
AccusativeDirect objectmezzo-forteSquaresHe builds a world
colorcoding B
colorcoding B
Colorcoding square B
Colorcoding square A

(FB GBC CEF#BAG#)
GenitivePossession/ noun modificationpianoLigatureWorldbuilding
colorcoding B
red-red ligature
colorcoding B
colorcoding A

(GBC-CD#FBAG#)

 
 

Numbers

Number is a grammatical category of nouns and pronouns that expresses count distinctions. Druidic has two grammatical numbers: singular and plural. The following table explains each number in more detail.   Show table

Gammatical number


NumberHummingColorcodingExample
Singular--A world
colorcoding B
colorcoding A

(CE#FBAG#)
PluralLast note of the word is two beats longHyphen at the end of the wordWorlds
colorcoding B
colorcoding A

(CE#FBAG#—)

 
 

Tense

Druidic verbs have three tenses: past, non-past and imperative. Tense is the only grammatical feature of verbs; they don't express person nor number. The following table explains and gives an example for each of the tenses.   Show table

Verb tenses


TenseHummingColorcodingExample
PastpianoOverlined in first colorI built a world
Colorcoding square B
Colorcoding square A

(FG GBC CE#FBAG#)
Non-pastmezzo-forte-I build a world
colorcoding B
Colorcoding square B
Colorcoding square A

(FG GBC CE#FBAG#)
ImperativeforteUnderlined in first colorBuild a world!
past F
past B
past C
Colorcoding square B
Colorcoding square A

(FA GBC CE#FBAG#)

 
 

Glossed examples

The following are two example sentences in Druidic, using colorcoding, with their translations into English and a gloss.  
My friend builds worlds.  
Orange-purple ligature
colorcoding B
Colorcoding square B
Colorcoding square A
  friend-nom 1sg.gen build[npst] world-acc-pl
 
World Anvil is a worldbuilding toolset  
colorcoding B
colorcoding A
colorcoding B
Orange-purple ligature
colorcoding B
red-red ligature
colorcoding B
colorcoding A
  worldanvil-nom be[npst] group tool-gen.pl for build world-gen
 

Appendices

Drumspeech

The following table shows the correspondence between notes and drumspeech rhythms. A dot represents a short beat, while a dash represents a long one (two beats long).   Show table
Note Drumspeech
C •—•
C# —•
D ••
D# —•—
E •——
F ••—
F# —••
G •—•—
G# —•—•
A •——•
A# —••—
B

 
 

Druidic Sign

Druidic Sign uses both hands to represent both each of the tones and grammatical meaning. While the dominant hand of the signer performs a sign for each of the tones or colors of the word, the non-dominant hand represents the grammatical properties of each word (case, number, and tense), both with shape and movement. The following tables, hidden behind a button, shows a picture of each sign with its meaning.   Show tables

Dominant hand




A




A#




B






C




C#




D






D#




E




F






F#




G




G#


 

Non-dominant hand




Nominative




Accusative




Genitive






Non-past




Past




Imperative



 
Additionally, the plural is marked with a vertical movement of the non-dominant hand.

 
 

Tactile signs

Tactile sign is a system used to communicate in Druidic using touch only, and single hand. All fingers, except the thumb, press and hit the skin of the person receiving the message to represent the different 12 tones or colors. Additionally, the thumb and the wrist press and rub the skin to convey the grammatical meaning. The following charts, hidden inside a button, show these movements.   Show tables
The first chart shows all twelve phonemes. Red means that the finger presses against the skin, while green means that the finger is raised from the skin and then pressed ("hits") against it. Fingers without marks, rest on the skin without pressure. Starting from top left to bottom right, it represents the phonemes in its traditional order, starting with C and ending with B.  
  This second chart shows grammatical case, tense and number. The meaning of colors is the same, arrows show the direction of the thumb rubbing. From top left to bottom right: accusative, genitive, imperative, past and plural. Nominative, non-past and singular don't have specific signs. In these cases, the thumb rests on the skin without pressing against it. The wrist can either rest in the same way or be raised.  

 
 

Colorcoding

The following table shows the correspondence between notes and colors. If you want to see the correspondence between IPA sounds (i.e. regular oral language sounds) and colors, see the conversion chart in the sidebar.   Show table
Note Color
C Red
(#e6194B)
C# Green
(#3cb44b)
D Yellow
(#ffe119)
D# Blue
(#4363d8)
E Orange
(#f58231)
F Purple
(#911eb4)
F# Cyan
(#42d4f4)
G Magenta
(#f032e6)
G# Lime
(#bfef45)
A Pink
colorcoding A
(#fabebe)
A# Teal
(#469990)
B Maroon
colorcoding B
(#e6beff)

 

IPA-Humming conversion

You can use this table to "translate" IPA sounds (i.e. the sounds of "normal" human languages) to Druidic humming and colorcoding. Note that the table is not complete and does not include all possible sounds. If the sound you want to translate does not appear in the table, try to find a similar sound that appears in it.  
IPA Humming
[m], [n], [ɲ] C
[k], [g], [h], , [ɣ], [χ] D
[s], [z], [ʃ], [ʒ] E
[p], [b], [β] F
[t], [d], [ð], [θ], G
[f], [v] A
colorcoding A
, , [ɾ], [ʎ] B
colorcoding B
[a] C#
[i] D#
[u] F#
[e] G#
[o] A#

Basic words

Hello
EC
Goodbye
C#C
I/We
FG
You
FA
colorcoding A
He/She/It/They
FB
colorcoding B
Person
AC
colorcoding A
Tree
CED#
Flower
CEF#
Song
DAG
colorcoding A
Druid
DAGAC
colorcoding A
colorcoding A
Place
BAG#
colorcoding B
colorcoding A
World
CEF#BAG#
colorcoding B
colorcoding A
To build
GBC
colorcoding B
Worldbuilding
GBC-CD#FBAG#
colorcoding B
-
colorcoding B
colorcoding A
To be
D#E
 

Names

World Anvil
F#A#BGC#CAB
colorcoding B
colorcoding A
colorcoding B
Dimitris
GD#CD#GBD#E
colorcoding B
Janet
EC#CG#G
Ondo
A#CGA#
 
Eirean
G#D#BG#C#C
colorcoding B
Einya
G#D#CD#C#
Eimai
G#D#CC#D#
Successor Languages
Druidic slang
Language | Nov 21, 2020

Lights! That's the most rottingly rainy language in Einya!


Articles under Druidic


Comments

Author's Notes

Try to guess the meaning of the cover image :)   Show translation

It means WorldEmber


Please Login in order to comment!
8 Dec, 2018 14:13

Okay, I love conlanging, so this is gonna be a hefty comment.
1. I love how flexible your language is. This makes a lot of sense for a synthetic language, especially since druids are known for being wise.
2. You said that colors that were similar to the background would be framed black or white. I'd love to see that done for the light green in the numbers and in the cases spoiler.
3. Your color-to-tone coding seems pretty arbitrary. That could make it hard to make words which are both easy to pronounce and easy to read, because it increases the chances of two words being next to each other in either similar color or similar tone drastically. Is there a reason to the mapping as it is?
I really adore some of your choices in vocabulary, like making flower and tree similar and making song a part of druid.
Is the cover image "World Ember"?

8 Dec, 2018 16:12

Thanks for the feedback! :D   2. Yeah, that light green-ish can be difficult to see in a light green background. I'll keep it in mind for when I continue developing the language. 3. Yes, color-to-tone is arbitrary. There's a logic behind Druidic Sign, Tactile Sign, and Drumspeech, but I didn't know how to map the colors logically. Any suggestions?   Yes, the cover image is World Ember! Thanks for reading, I appreciate it <3

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
8 Dec, 2018 16:17

You could start by putting similar colors next to one another on the mapping. You could try to go in order of the rainbow as well (which would be another possibly mythological symbol): All the reds, then magentas, blue, cyan, green, yellow, orange. And, if you want to keep the notation of pitches in the European style, you could map dark color-variations to the black keys on the piano.

8 Dec, 2018 16:18

P.S.: Great idea putting some stuff in the Side Bar!

8 Dec, 2018 17:15

Mmh, yes, those are definitely great suggestions. I'll keep them in mind, let's see if I can do them before New Year. Thank you!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
8 Dec, 2018 15:48

This is such an awesome idea and the amount of work you've put into it is incredible. I just wanted you to know that <3


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
8 Dec, 2018 16:08

Thanks for reading <3

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
15 Dec, 2018 11:15

Oh boy, this is a hefty language and I love the way it is used. From the color coding to the sign language to even used drums and hums to communicate with one another. It makes the language very dense and well done. I'm getting dizzy just trying to understand it.   You do say "dominant hand" with the sign language, yet also "left" hand to be used for grammatical meaning. I'm actually dominant in my left hand, so what would that mean for me? Do I just use my right hand to sign, or actually switch hands? Does it matter which of your hands actually signs which part of the sentence? Also are there shortened hand signs for druids to more quickly say words? Like bird, tree, machine, or something? I feel like spelling out big words may take a while.

15 Dec, 2018 11:58

Dang, this was a typo. The non-dominant hand is used for grammatical meaning, no matter which one it is.   Druidic Sign is not a full sign language, only a code, so no, there are no signs for words. It's just a code used in places where humming is not appropriate, so it's normally used with short messages only (like Tactile Sign). Deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind Druids have their own sign language (which I have not developed. Not yet, at least :P).   Thanks for reading! <3

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
16 Dec, 2018 00:12

This is amazing! I especially love the fact that there is only past, non-past and imperative. Is there a societal reason? Like, is the future less important to druids? Or is future and present maybe fluid in their conception? Would love to learn more about that aspect of the language!

16 Dec, 2018 10:54

There are many languages in the world without a specific future (or past) tense. Chinese and Japanese are examples. My local sign language does not have grammatical tenses at all (instead, it uses aspect).   I wanted a verb system with three tenses only, and I thought that having a third tense outside the actual "time tenses" would be a good idea. I chose to not include the future for the Traditional Druidic philosophy. They think about the future like us, but for them the present does not exist as a static thing. I'm not sure how to explain it properly (I haven't fully developed it yet). But, for example, the sentence "I'm cooking" does not sound natural to them. Instead, they would say "I will be cooking for a while" (which is the same tense, but as an example. Hope that makes sense :P   Thanks for reading!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
16 Dec, 2018 14:37

That makes a lot of sense actually. So it's not the future that's missing but the present. Very interesting concept! Thank you for explaining!

16 Dec, 2018 00:14

I absolutely love the amount of work that has gone into this, your language seems so fleshed out and incredibly detailed, especially with regard to a sign version of the language!

18 Dec, 2018 08:36

This is admittedly over my head in a lot of parts, by my lawd is probably my favorite example of a conlong use of the language template to date!

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

26 Dec, 2018 16:44

This was an intense piece of work, I am not much of a conlanger so many of the more technical aspects went very much over my head. I can however appreciate the amount of time it must have taken to get through all of the aspects of this and write out the examples.   Extremely impressive work. There is a missing space in the first paragraph, but other than that a typo clean article.   I love the invention of essentially Braille or at least what sounded like it. I enjoy all the different mediums in which conversation is made.   What would you think about someone writing an in-world document about learning this druid language? How do you plan on using this in your wider world? I'm curious!   Keep up the great work!


Check out my worldbuilding in the Ethnis Universe!
27 Dec, 2018 11:18

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it!   An in-world document is planned... once the language is actually usable. The current vocabulary is basically what you saw in the sidebar, and it's not enough for writing a text or speaking it. I don't understand what you mean with "someone" writing it.   As for the second question, well, I plan on using this world for both stories (novels maybe?) and an RPG; using it in both could be fun, specially the humming part. In a writing I can't write the notes each time someone talks, but it can be a fun way to make their culture feel very distinct.   Thanks again! I hear there's a certain ancient society of hunters and protectors that needs reading... :P

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
3 Jan, 2019 12:36

The cover image seems to be 'uortenda' which I'm assuming is WorldEmber?

3 Jan, 2019 13:37

It is! Good job ;)   English has more sounds than Druidic has letters, so it's a bit tricky.

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
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