Okay so I recently got into a discussion about elves and the use of their names.

A lot of people believe that the words Elvish/Elfish/Alvish and Elven/Elfin/Elfen/Alven are interchangeable. This has been used by many modern authors who are writing fantasy.

Well, stop it! No, I’m serious, for your own good, stop it. In the end you’re just going to confuse yourself and wind up using elvish at some points when you’ve used Elven at those exact same points. This can cause some readers to disengage or become equally confused.

So how do you decide which is which? Well two ways:

1. Look at the way things are categorized today. I’ve heard people in the past who speak Spanish and are from a Spanish country be called ‘Spanish.’ The correct term, albeit a little out of date, is actually Spaniard.

The same goes for a ‘Gaulish’ person, whom should just be referred to as a Gaul. (Can you tell I’ve been listening to Eluvietie a little too much recently?

So here is the ‘correct’ way if you want to play by the established rule:
Elvish= Language

Elven= of Elves/Elfs/Alves.

2. You can throw my advice out the window and just say ‘Okay, Elven means one thing while elvish means the other.’

 

That’s all, catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

5 Comments on “Writing Elves… #Writing #Author #Advice

  1. I love it! This reminds me of people of African and Spanish decent living in Louisiana calling themselves creole. I will not get into the specifics of it but creole is a language not a race or ethnicity. Good job clarifying.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess I’m guilty of this, and I’ll have to check my WIP before I finish it – as a second-language writer, some of these finer details might elude me in the rush to get my thoughts out and may not be obvious enough when editing… I hope your explanation will help me remember this.

    Like

  3. Skyrim for the elves?? O_o (the picture 😀 )

    Writers and everyone else seem obsessed with reinventing the wheel nowadays. Trying to replace meditation with mindfulness is a great example. I’ve always stuck by Elven and Elvish.

    Like

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