The language of the Feacthengead is often called Fionnáre, the Fair Tongue (or, more accurately, Maiden-Tongue), by its speakers. Of its origins it is said that, when sapienkind first encountered the Fae, they were so enamored by the words that those beings spoke that they attempted to emulate them. When Daran Ravenhelm came to Dearviél, he was so bewitched by the beauty of the island’s inhabitants’ speech that he famously remarked that “Every word is as sweet as a thrush’s song,” and he made it into his empire’s official language.
Sweet though that language may be to some ears, it is notoriously difficult for outsiders’ tongues to masters, due in no small part to its plenitude of grammar and syntax rules, a legacy of having been influenced by the languages of the Winterborn and mainland Kintaran and likely the ancestral language of the Darandingaí. It also presents several pronunciation challenges, especially since (a) the ancestral script of the Feacthengead is seldom used in official documentation, replaced largely by that of the Belochyar, which has only thirty-five letters versus the forty-eight of the Vacids’ alphabet, and (b) there are numerous regional dialects, accents, and suchlike, even within such a small geographical area as Dearviél. This guide is based on the dialect spoken by the families of eastern Wyrduil, such as Cathanda Mana.
Pronounced as the aw sound as in awning.
Pronounced like the a in cat or math. An archaic and uncommon element in Vacid names, as it is thought to sound harsh and uncouth.
Pronounced like the ay in lay or as the Canadian eh.
Pronounced like the English word eye.
An archaic suffix, pronounced roughly like Yale. In some dialects and accents, it is broken into two truncated syllables. Sometimes transliterated in modernized form -iél.
Voiced by pronouncing the English b and f sounds simultaneously. (Best accomplished by speaking the b sound with the upper teeth on the lower lip as if to pronounce the f.)
Always pronounced as a k sound.
Spoken as a heavily phlegmatic h sound, as the Cyrillic letter Х is pronounced or like the kh in khan.
In most dialects, spoken as a sharp th as in the English there; in some northern speech, pronounced as the English j sound.
Pronounced as a slightly truncated ya sound.
Similar to ai as described above, but held slightly longer.
Slightly elongated version of the short e as in bet or lend.
Silent; indicates a slight lengthening of the preceding vowel sound.
As a standalone letter, pronounced like the ee in beet or seen.
When found at the end of words, such as the tir in tir-carima, the r is voiced by speaking the English sound of the letter while shaping the mouth to pronounce a zh sound (in essence, pronouncing the two simultaneously).
Pronounced roughly like the English v sound. (The equivalent character in the Vacid script is transliterated as mh rather than v to reflect the very slight fricative difference used in most dialects; the sole exception is the name Dearviél, an Anglicized form of “Dearmhaillh” used herein for the sake of convenience.)
Typically pronounced with the g taking on a truncated y sound; as in the Russian nyet.
Long o sound, as in the English ocean.
Denotes rolling of the r, which is otherwise atypical of Vacid speech.
Silent on its own. Voiced as a glottal stop when positioned between two like consonants (e.g., Borthrealda), and as a truncated h when between two vowels. In rare occurrences when it appears as the first character in a name (e.g., Thencaida), it is voiced as a heavily aspirated h sound.
Pronounced like the oo sound as in too or crew. Note that úi is not a diphthong in the Vacid language; where it appears, the ú and i are always spoken as separate syllables.
Pronounced like the wi sound in win or twig.
Pronounced like the wee sound in tweet or Swede.
As a suffix in Northern names (e.g., Feathwe, Prangwe), pronounced as a sharp uh.
Another distinctly Northern suffix; pronounced roughly as one.
When two consonants appear simultaneously (e.g., Dúlmeannath, Fuiltheanna), the sound of that consonant is slightly extended, though never to an exaggerated extent.
Note: This guide refers solely to the language of the Feacthengead; for Winterborn pronunciation, vowels with acutes typically follow similar rules, and an umlaut over a vowel indicates a very short y sound before the short form of the vowel (e.g., ë would be pronounced as the ye in yet). Belochyar words are pronounced the same way they would be in English.