What language does one use when casting spells?

Magic spells are the “bread and butter” of any fantasy author. There isn’t a person out there doesn’t know words like “Expecto Patronum” or “Avada Kedavra” and what they can do. The power behind d the magic is in the words. The question is, what words do you use to enchant those spells.

When I first started writing Forever Avalon, I had to come up with a plan since, in my world, everyone could use magic in some form or another. The world of Avalon came from our world, so the easiest think to use was one of the oldest languages of man… Latin.

It made sense to me to use. It is one of the oldest languages in human used, known across multiple cultures. Why not make it a source for magic. Besides, between Google translate and a great online program through the University of Notre Dame, it was easy to use.

Unfortunately, my new story is taking me in a whole new direction. After I finished book four of the Forever Avalon series, I started planning book five, when I got an idea for another series. This would take place in a whole new fantasy world, completely original. So now, I needed another language for magic.

I’m not a linguist, so it’s hard enough doing Elf, Dwarf and other verbiage in my stories. For example, I use Norwegian and German for the Dwarf language, since those countries are where the legends come from. But to create something new for magic, I used a shortcut again. Hello Google Translate.

This time I went on a different direction… to Corsica. According to Wikipedia, “Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 18 regions of France. It is located southeast of the French mainland and west of the Italian Peninsula, with the nearest land mass being the Italian island of Sardinia to the immediate south. A single chain of mountains makes up two-thirds of the island.”

I picked Corsican for the language of magic in my new story because it seemed to flow properly, especially for single word spells. It’s closely related to a the medieval language of Tuscan (Toscano) which fits with a medieval fantasy world. In addition, I created a whole new style of magic casting along with it. You see, I figured spells could be cast using long, drawn out phrases as well as single words of power. This gives the magic caster options for how powerful they want their spell to be. For single words, I use Corsican for the spells. I have to be a little creative in the long phrase spells, mixing a little bit of poetry with my magic. For example, this is a concealment spell in my new story:

“Whispers in the darkness, silent as the wind, bend the light to my will; Cast your shadow around me, hide me from my enemy, conceal me while I remain still.”

It’s not my best prose, but magic is coming from a different plane. You are talking about something of complete fantasy and trying to make it real is what a writer is supposed to do. It’s times like this I wish I had the linguistic skills of a J.R.R. Tolkien.




Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

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