Sunday, November 27, 2005

Songs from la-la land

So, okay, let me just come out and say it - I think Enya is bit nuts and all her songs with that intense Celtic swirliness make me laugh. But you've got to hand her the prize this week for best story about language. Because the Irish songstress (ooh, look, that's weird, I used one of those gendered diminutives...) is busy touting her new album, in which she uses Loxian, an invented alien language. Cooool.....

Enya has long been a bit of a linguist, singing in English, Gaelic, Latin and Japanese - er, and in Elvish on one of the Lord Of The Rings films. But this is a whole new departure, so check out the very interesting article in the Times, linked below. As my secret fantasy (apart from becoming a cookery teacher) is to be transported back to the 1940s to become a top codebreaker at Bletchley Park, I'm off to buy this album quick so I can crack the Loxian lyrics for myself and become a fluent translator should the aliens arrive with the snow today.

What's curious is the reason Enya gives for why she NEEDED this language. She says it's because the sounds of English (and presumably all the other languages she sings) are too obtrusive for the music. I wanna know more about that. Is that true? How different is the phonology of Loxian both from English and Enya's other languages? What new sounds and sound combinations are possible in Loxian?

The Times' visiting English professor doesn't cover phonology in his analysis. But his analysis is very interesting in other regards: he identifies lexical components from Anglo-Saxon, Hindi, Welsh - er, and Siberian Yupik. A rip-off?... Or a point about the connectedness of all languages?... Whatever you think, it points to the very considerable difficulty of creating a new language, and also the phenomenal achievement of Tolkien in creating his. Sounds like Enya's got a bit of a way to go on the grammar yet...

Enya sings in a tongue from a 'distant planet'

Interactive Elvish Translator
(because Xmas is coming and novelty toys are de rigeur)


At 1:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Julie, Loz here. Well, i am a massive enya fan and always have been. when i found out that langauge she sings in is Loxian, of course, being me i wanted to learn it. So i searched the net and it led me to you!! where can i get some info on how to speak it!!! Any help would be great. Thank yoooou. loz


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