Writing Elves…

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 The correct term, albeit a little out of date, is actually Spaniard.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!



5 thoughts on “Writing Elves…

  1. dxmonroy says:

    This is cool. Elven protocols matter in areas of daily human translation.
    We do our best to honor elves and their kith.


  2. shanechall says:

    Sounds like reasonable English rules to me. I’ll be doing a post on elves soon as well. Keep an eye out!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. K. Caffee says:

    Of course, you can avoid the issue entirely by just eliminating the racial name, and inserting your own. But, that takes a bit of thinking ahead of time, or else you trip yourself up with “blah, blah, blah” X said in elvish (instead of what ever your racial name is.)

    Thanks for the post, though. Now, I finally have the right spelling that I’ve been hunting for!


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