Of Loxian and Other Invented Tongues.

Of Loxian and Other Invented Tongues. Although there are 6,500 or so existing languages, some imaginative singers and writers invent new ones. Earlier this month, the band Sigur Rós released new songs in the imaginary language Hopelandic , which is only slightly more obscure than their native tongue of Icelandic 🙂

The tradition of singing in invented languages dates back to the 12th century mystic nun and composer Hildegard von Bingen, who even designed a new alphabet for Lingua Ignota .

Although Irish singer Enya has sung in English, Gaelic, French, Latin, Spanish and Japanese, her song writer thought to add one more. Having just written in Elvish , for Lord of the Rings , lyricist Roma Ryan felt a lack of existing languages befitting Enya so she created Loxian. Helpfully, Enya’s website explains that Loxians are very much like us, “They’re looking out, they’re mapping the stars, and wondering if there is anyone else out there.” Right.

So why sing in a nonsense language? Back to Sigur Rós, whose drummer explained that this allows listeners to decide for themselves what the song means. So to all Enya fans, here is an offering in Loxian.

I don’t know what she is saying, but it makes me want to dance in a tropical thunderstorm!

For Simon Skiles , Bailey Roe , Martha E Fay , Peying Fong, Anony Mole , Shah Auckburaully , Satu-Marja Salmi

For more inventiveness, check out Slate’s culture blog: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2011/11/29/invented_languages_in_music_a_brief_history.html

http://schott.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/questions-answered-invented-languages/

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14 Responses to Of Loxian and Other Invented Tongues.

  1. Anonymole says:


    I was hoping there’d be subtitles so we could sing along…

  2. Rajini Rao says:


    Anony Mole , I think we’ve been given artistic license to make these up as we go along 🙂


  3. Fascinating post. Invented languages are usually beautiful in music because the singers or lyricists do their best at matching syllables to notes and link the sounds to the powerful emotions of music. And the fascinating part is even though the language is invented, emotions and syllables still fall into semiotics. I do not believe that music should have a lexical and propositional meaning so long as emotions are harnessed to the tune.


    E.g. Loituma TECHNO! – it’s Finnish, I believe. From my point of view, the lyrics mean nothing. The emotions and syllables match the notes of the tunes.


    There are a few interesting papers which are worth reading on the matter.


    Mithen, Steven. 2006. The Singing Neanderthals: the Origins of Music, Language, Mind,


    and Body. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.


    Sacks, Oliver. 2007. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. New York: Alfred A.


    Knopf

  4. Rajini Rao says:


    Awesome, thanks Shah Auckburaully ! Know the Oliver Sacks book..”Singing Neanderthals” sounds interesting. The ultimate master of constructed languages must surely be Tolkien who made it his life’s work. He said, “the ‘stories’ were made rather to provide a world for the languages than the reverse.”

  5. Peying Fong says:


    I wonder how this translates into the language of dance?


    Enjoyed the video and the images.


  6. He said, “the ‘stories’ were made rather to provide a world for the languages than the reverse.” – beautiful and brilliant!


  7. Sigur Rós has some really great stuff! Here are two of my favorites, with some Vonlenska (Hopelandic in Icelandic) thrown in: Hoppipolla (Hoppipolla music video by Sigur Ros with lyrics) and Ágætis Byrjun (Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun (HD))


  8. Hantanyel! Thank you, great post! I´ve always loved Enya and this song creates a picture how ancient priestesses are celebrating The Day of Light, dancing and telling children how the universe was born.


    There is something very interesting and satisfying in creating a language and many children are very keen on inventing their own argot – I´d be happy if I could learn Quenya..


    Loituma makes music in finnish and this techno-piece (I only understand four words of techno-version…) is a new arrangement of a very old traditional song, Ieva´s polka, that is originally sung in one of the Finnish language dialect.


    Original version where there is a short example of techno-lyrics in the middle (1:17- 1:50) : Loituma – Ievan Polkka

  9. Rajini Rao says:


    Satu-Marja Salmi , I read somewhere that Tolkien was influenced by Finnish when creating Quenya. The script is lovely, too..there is now a font like that for MS Word!


    EDIT: Both the polka and techno versions are so charming, thanks to you and Shah Auckburaully !


  10. Yes, it´s told that he read our national epic, Kalevala, in finnish! So, why is it so hard to learn Quenya…

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    haha, Satu-Marja Salmi , Tolkien worked on it for 6 decades or so..give it some time 🙂

  12. Joan Hogol says:


    It’s not a ‘invented languaje’, just words and syllables, but sound nice too…


    Adiemus – Adiemus

  13. Martha E Fay says:


    Thanks Rajini Rao I’m an Enya fan, though have not kept up with her lately. This indeed a great song. Definitely a Gaelic tune & rhythm – but definitely not Gaelic lyrics! Will have to download some of her later stuff.

  14. Yorgos Sots says:


    Joan Hogol Αctually it is indeed an invented language, called Loxian. 

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