Proto-Elvoz

Proto-Elvoz is the parent language group from which Eliov and Vozendi derive. Its root language, also known simply as Proto-Elvoz, is one of the earliest known languages spoken by humanity in the Manifold Sky setting, with no records of previous dialects surviving into present day.  

Vozendi-Eliov Split

  The Proto-Elvoz language group includes five closely inter-related dialects which arose on the Medial A cube layer in the millenia leading up to the Old Voxelian Conquest. During this period, human tribes spread from Medial A1 to the adjacent cube faces, becoming isolated by the intervening edge mountain ranges. This relative isolation allowed for a degree of linguistic speciation, though occasional trade and warfare among the nations slowed the process down somewhat.   In the centuries preceeding the Conquest, the tribes remaining on or near Medial A1 became more and more expansionist. The surrounding tribes began to seek cooperation with one another in response, thoug they remained divided by geography, dialect, and ideals. This increased the level of cultural separation between these two groups, with the tribes which remained on or near Medial A1 eventually becoming the Old Voxelian culture; the remaining human tribes which were not subsequently reduced to Lost Tribes would eventually become the Elovisian culture, though this cultural unification would occur much later (after the conclusion of the Conquest).   In contrast to their peers at this time, the Old Voxelians hewed especially closely to the written letter of the Incunabula of the House of the Unexpected, penned by Sokalyx the Learned in the 42nd Century after the The Curved Time. As a result, the Old Voxelian peoples took on many of Sokalyx's personal linguistic idiosyncracies and turned them into the basis for the nascent Vozendi language. Vozendi had the benefit of standardization and a written (as opposed to oral) corpus from which to derive its vocabulary, grammar, and idioms.   While Vozendi would survive the Conquest, becoming the language of the New Voxelian culture which arose in the aftermath thereof, the dialects of the exiled pre-Elovisian tribes would continue to drift from the Proto-Elvoz until the eventual reunification of the Medial A diaspora populations in and around population centers in Medial C. By this time, the Proto-Elvoz-derived languages of each group had diverged from one another to such an extent that they were almost unintelligible to one another. However, a shared historical enmity against the Voxelians and a mutual interest in staking claims over the distant lands of Medial C meant these early Elovisians had every reason to engage in trade and alliances once more. The pidgin which developed from these new cultural connections would eventually evolve into Eliov, the language of the Elovisian peoples.  

Legacy

  Despite the rise to prominence of Vozendi and Eliov, Proto-Elvoz survives among isolated pockets of Freelanders into the modern year of 10,000 AR. Because Groundlings in the Manifold Conservation Society are exposed to both child languages, they sometimes speak in a pidgin which closely resembles Proto-Elvoz as a result of convergent linguistic evolution - despite the fact that this pidgin is, in fact, several steps removed from the original source.   Proto-Elvoz remains an important topic of study among human academics and classicists in the Manifold Sky setting. The language serves as an important cultural touchstone for both the New Voxelian and Elovisian peoples, a piece of both ethnicities' heritage hearkening back to a time before the acrimony which still divides them came to pass. Indeed, a person versed in Proto-Elvoz susually has an easier time learning any of the descendant languages than those seeking to learn them without such a background, and knowledge of either descendant language makes learning Proto-Elvoz easier as well.   While languages like Guild Pidgin take little in the way of inspiration from Proto-Elvoz in terms of vocabulary, grammar, syntax, or sentence structure, the older language's influence can still be felt in Guild Pidgin's phonological inventory via the contributions of the descendent Vozendi and Eliov languages.  

Controversy

  Proto-Elvoz is sometimes found at the center of modern political discussions.   Conservative elements of both Voxelian and Coalition political life sometimes use surviving Proto-Elvoz epics and orations as a way to express sentiment against the War of Reunification on the grounds that these pieces of shared cultural history show that humanity was greatest when it was still unified. Human identitarians - often members of the Manifold Conservation Society pro-segregation faction or Craterhold Creeping Lichens conspiracists - go much further in suggesting that such a peaceful reintegration should take place not only on shared cultural grounds (with a hypothetical "New Elvoz" language at the center) but because doing so would help hedge out 'alien' Rostran, Verdial, or Ovinex influences. Opponents to these points of view note that most known conflicts (whether historical or ongoing) in the Manifold Sky have been fought over resources rather than cultural divides; merely sharing a language or history with an invader does not make them any less of an invader which must be beaten back with force. Furthermore, opponents note that isolating humanity from the other sentient species would serve to thwart important economic, technological, and cultural exchanges.   On the opposite end of the spectrum, some point to the tortured, fractious history of Proto-Elvoz as proof that humanity can never truly be at peace with itself. It is true that Proto-Vozendi shows evidence of changes made as a result of the brutal Old Voxelian Conquest's influence on the language's speakers, with many idioms featuring vivid references to violence, disease, famine, and death. Those who express such views often find themselves negatively associated by their opponents with this belief's most infamous proponents: the violent anti-establishment extremists known as 125 Hands Opponents to this point of view note that, despite major political differences which transcend shared ethnicity, the member states of the Coalition of Breakaway Colonies manage to work together just fine. Therefore, a shared purpose or shared enemy might ensure peace among humans - if only on a temporary basis.   In contrast to views which center Proto-Elvoz as a key to pan-human peace, some suggest that efforts to create logical, inclusive languages shorn of most Proto-Elvoz influences (i.e. Guild Pidgin) would better serve to promote global peace. Biocosmist covens are the most prominent proponents of such non-Elvoz interlangs. Opponents of this point of view note that, though humans have a long history of violence, there is little evidence that the other species who would be speaking such interlangs have fared better in terms of resisting periods of violence (i.e. the Rostran-Ovinex War, ancient Ovinex slave-raiding practices, or the Cull of '64). Therefore, there is also little evidence that a simple change of language could erase what appears to be an inherent violent streak among extant sentient life forms.

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth

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