Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Languages Of Other Times

The Eloi language is:

 "...a strange and very sweet and liquid tongue."
-HG Wells, The Time Machine (London, 1977), Chapter 5, p. 29.

The artificial language of the Time Patrol, Temporal, is:

"...a miracle of logically organized expressiveness."
-Poul Anderson, "Time Patrol" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, NY, 2006), pp. 1-53 AT p. 12.

The Exaltationists' birthtime language comprises euphonius, precise and concise trills and purrs.
-Poul Anderson, The Shield  Of Time (New York, 1991), Part Two, 209 B.C., p. 83.

Neither Wells nor Anderson imparts a single word of these languages. However, in any authentic screen adaptations of their works, we should hear the languages spoken. Because the Time Traveller does not understand the Eloi, their converstation should not be subtitled. However, Time Patrolman Manse Everard eavesdrops on Exaltationists conversing in their birthtime language so, in this case, we should hear their dialogue and read English subtitles.

Everard, speaking into a Patrol communicator, says in Temporal:

"'Unattached Everard. Come immediately. Combat.'"
-The Shield Of Time, Part Two, 209 B.C., p. 113.

We should hear that while reading a subtitle.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And how different would the Anglic of the Terran Empire of Dominic Flandry's time be from our English? It was different enough that Flandry had to read a translation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "A Musical Instrument" (mentioned in A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS). I do wish Poul Anderson had given us a paragraph or two Anglic!


  2. L. Sprague de Camp did an extrapolation of English that makes a lot of sense, "Language for Time Travelers".

    1. Mr Stirling,
      Thank you for your continued contributions which enhance the blog no end.

    2. Dear Mr. Stirling and Paul!

      Mr. Stirling, I looked up your link about how languages changes, very interesting. And I can imagine the spellings of many words changing: kwack for quack, kween for queen, kwick for quick, kwiver for quiver, etc.

      Paul, I agree! I'm very glad S.M. Stirling drops by so often!