Eldraeic: Degree Quantifiers and Antonyms

As was mentioned before, the use of degree quantifiers in Eldraeic in some cases makes unnecessary, or redundant, the use of antonyms.  One example which was given, and in which there really aren’t directly cognate words in the language, are “full” and “empty”, expressed as:

quor olmanár


ulquor olmanár

respectively.  Another is the question of moral goodness and evil, in which the latter concept – in accord with its philosophical status as a defect or absence rather than a force in its own right – has no corresponding symbol of its own (although its aspects do), being expressed as

ulquor teirquelár

which one could reasonably gloss as a Newspeak-style “ungood”.

But Eldraeic not being a Newspeak-style restrictive language, it’s worth pointing out that there are plenty of cases, unlike these, in which both halves of an antonym pair persist in the language by inheritance from its predecessor languages, and both remain in use.  The nuances of such usages vary, of course, and to illustrate this, I’ll give you three examples: big/small (zahúën calma), true/false (talis urlis) and light/dark (aril dúran).

In the case of the first, either may be used without distinction.  There’s no real difference in sense between saying for something small

calmavár / ulquor zahúënár

(small/unbig), or for something big

zahúënár / ulquor calmavár

(big/unsmall).  The difference is merely one of emphasis, and you can choose whichever suits for taste and meter, etc.

The second pair is a little more interesting; while technically there is no difference in meaning when the same transformation is done, the subtextual implications are rather different.  To claim that something one is told is an

ulquor talisár

an untruth, has the implication that the speaker believes the teller to be incorrect, misinformed, miscalculating, or is otherwise acceptably wrong.  To claim, on the other hand, that what they have told you is an


a falsehood, is to implictly accuse them of deliberate deceit, falsification or wilful miscalculation; in short, a lie.

The last pair is perhaps the most interesting.  In all cases, light is simply


but the common usage for darkness, in the sense of the mere absence of light, is exactly that – “absence of light”:

ulquor arilár

To say


Is to imply not merely the absence of light, but darkness with a sense of presence, or malice; it might well be used for such things as the Shadow of Sauron, the environmental conditions of Z’ha’dum, the palpable darkness of a thick forest at midnight in deep winter with the howling of unfriendly wolves all around, the lights going out in Rome, or the long cold darkness preceding the death of the universe; very much not a word used for simple low lighting conditions.

Likewise, its ulquor-converse very much implies Light with a capital L, in an almost religious sense; that light which burns away the darkness in the dúran sense.  Also not a word for common, turn-on-the-lights usage.

Eldraeic: Degree Quantifiers

To expand a little on the degree quantifiers mentioned in the previous post, these are a set of words which permit the Eldraeic speaker to quantify the degree to which a particular predicate applies with reference to its subject argument.  There are six of these in common use:

nonexistent, absolute absence, zero


to a small degree

to an average/usual degree

to a large degree

absolute presence, completely, extremely

The definition of qaneth is, of course, somewhat subjective; a coffee cup or drinking glass which is qaneth olmanár is rather more than 50% full!  One can also use qan as a prefix with the syllabic numerals 1-11 to specify a particular degree, by twelfths, of a predicate’s applicability before having to resort to the more precise quantification systems in the language.

This also reduces linguistic redundancy in some ways.  As seen in the previous post, something which is full is quor olmanár (“containing as much as is possible”), and something which is empty is simply ulquor olmanár (“containing absolutely nothing”), and that’s all the linguistic expression those concepts need.

This applies equally well to most other concepts.  Good, in the moral sense, for example, is expressed by the predicate teirquelár (“be ethical, be honorable”); a good man in the common sense is simply described by teirquelár, or qaneth teirquelár; the uncommonly virtuous by qanlin teirquelár; and a saint by quor teirquelár; but equally, a common villain may be described as qané teirquelár, the uncommonly bad as anqan teirquelár, and cosmic evil as ulquor teirquelár.

There are, of course, an adequate quantity of specialized terms to properly taxonomize evil in both terms of practical result and in terms of motive, but I take a moment here to consider and note the way in which the language reflects the eldraic conception of evil as flaw, defect, or absence (evil as entropy, or miscreation) rather than as an entity due consideration in its own right.

(Even if some of we earthlings might find it a little creepy to discover that their word for evil is, quite literally, ungood.)