Old Solar

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Old Solar
Timeline and Universe: The Space Trilogy
Species: All non-terrestrial beings:
  • Hrossa
  • Venusian humans
  • Eldila
  • Séroni (as second language)
  • Pfifltriggi (as second language)
Spoken: Field of Arbol (the Solar system)
Total speakers:
Writing system:
Morphological type:
Morphosyntactic alignment:
Basic word order:
Creator: C. S. Lewis
Created: 1938, 1943

The Old Solar language (Hlab-Eribol-ef-Cordi) is the language of the Solar system in C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy. It is the language in which most of the conversations in the first two books of the trilogy are ostensibly conducted; much of the dialogue is given in slightly stilted English to represent being translated from Old Solar, and only a few actual Old Solar words are given.

The fragments of the language given are described as being observed by philologist Elwin Ransom, who learned the language on Mars (Malacandra) in the early 20th century. Before learning of its relatively universal use, he refers to the language as Malacandrian or by the name used for it on Malacandra, hressa-hlab, which means "the language of the hrossa".

The language is based on consonantal roots. For example, the most frequently attested root contains the consonants (h)ndr and underlies:

  • handra - land; ground; planet
  • harandra - highland; mountain
  • Tai Harendrimar - Hill of Life (name of a mountain)
  • honodraskrud - groundweed

Lexicon (incomplete)

  • Arbol - The Sun.
  • Arbol hrū - Gold. [Literally "sun's blood".]
  • crah - The last part of a hrossian poem.
  • eldil (pl. eldila) An immaterial being, corresponding to an angel in Christianity.
  • Glund or Glundandra - Jupiter.
  • handra Land; ground; planet.
  • handramit - Lowland, valley, what we would call a Martian canal; where the hrossa live.
  • harandra - Highland, mountain; where the séroni live.
  • hlab - Language.
  • hluntheline - To long for something (cf. wondelone)
  • hmān (pl. hmāna) A human. (The hrossan rendition of the word 'man'.)
  • hnakra (pl. hnéraki) A kind of dangerous aquatic animal native to Malacandra.
  • hnakrapunt (pl. hnakrapunti) One who has slain a hrakna.
  • hnau (pl. hnau) A material, thinking creature, such as a human or a hross.
  • honodraskrud - Groundweed; an edible pinkish-white kind of weed, found all over the handramit.
  • hressa-hlab - The name for Old Solar used on Malacandra. [Literally, the language of the hrossa, as the other people of Malacandra use their own languages.]
  • hross (pl. hrossa, f.pl. hressni) A race of Malacandrian hnau, described as "something like a penguin, something like an otter, and something like a seal." They enjoy poetry, and have a complicated art about it. [Lewis probably took the word hross from Scandinavian cognates of English 'horse'.]
  • hrū - Blood.
  • Malacandra - Mars.
  • Maleldil - A supreme immaterial being, corresponding to God or Jesus in Christianity.
  • Oyarsa (pl. Oyéresu) The eldil ruler of a planet. The Oyéresu bear similarities to the Greco-Roman deities associated with each planet, with the exception of Earth, whose Oyarsa corresponds to Satan in Christianity.
  • Perelandra or Parelandra - Venus.
  • pfifltrigg (pl. pfifltriggi) A race of Malacandrian hnau. Rather frog-like in appearance. [Given the shape of the word, it is likely a borrowing of the pfifltrigg name for themselves.]
  • sorn (pl. séroni) A race of Malacandrian hnau.
  • Sulva - Earth's moon.
  • thulc - Silent.
  • Thulcandra - Earth. [From thulc + handra, hence the name of the book Out of the Silent Planet.]
  • Viritrilbia - Mercury.
  • wondelone - To long for something.

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