The Imperial Colleges use a tonal[2a] language commonly referred to as Magick (or less frequently lingua praestantia) to enunciate their spells. Lingua praestantia is said to have been developed with and for them by none other than Loremaster Teclis of Ulthuan himself.[1a]

Though it is said to be an even more complicated language than the tonal language of distant Cathay, Magick is still only a simplified version of the High Elves’ own language, Eltharin, mixed into a kind of dialect with the academic language of Old Reikspiel. Eltharin, though incredibly more complex in structure and massive in vocabulary, is fabled in High Elf culture to be a devolved and very simplified version of the language spoken by those ancient, Godlike beings the High Elves remember as the Old Ones. When the High Elves enunciate their own spells of such magnificent power and breadth, they do so in their own arcane language, Anoqeyån, which is the closest surviving mortal language to the words spoken by the Old Ones.[1a]

Many blasphemous texts, written in centuries and millennia past, share vocabulary and grammar with the arcane language of the High Elves. Indeed, there are similarities between many of the oldest arcane languages, the languages of some elder races (like the Dwarfs and Elves), and the corrupt and caustic languages spoken by the shaman and Sorcerers of the Daemon Gods. The Witch Hunters would be even more concerned than they already are if they learned that the language the Empire’s sanctioned Magisters use to cast their spells is related to both the language of the Fey Elves of Ulthuan and to the hellish languages of Sorcerers and Daemons, most commonly referred to as the Dark Tongues.[1a]

Many scholars use this example to argue that all the various tongues of the Old World are descended from the speech of the Old Ones. The “prime language” theory has many adherents—for many are quick to point out, the various languages of the Old World are so closely related they can scarcely be defined as separate tongues, more as highly developed dialects of a single “Old Worlder” tongue. Thus a Reiklander can make himself at least basically understood by a Bretonnian, Tilean, or even Estalian (though why he would want to is another matter). However, there is considerable debate amongst the scholars of the Colleges of Magic as to whether the prime language of the Old Ones existed at all, or even whether the Old Ones existed![1a]

The inner circle of Magister Lords at the College of Light hold the great Old Ones were the first and only beings to fully identify and quantify everything. That is, they catalogued every single thing, state, and process within the mortal universe, and almost every single thing, state, and process that was possible through and in the Aethyr. In addition to this, the Magister Lords also believe that the divine tongue once spoken by the Old Ones now has a life of its own, expanding with every dream and every thought of any and all mortals and immortals.[1a]

It follows that if there was a prime arcane language, from which even Anoqeyån descended, it would supposedly have a word or phrase to express every single concept and possibility, and every combination of concepts and possibility, that exist within creation without regard for temporality.[1a]

Naturally, few outside of the White Tower of Hoeth could comment with even passing authority on these theories, and they have never chosen to. Just as Eltharin is a simplified version of the Elves’ arcane language, Anoqeyån, the arcane language of the Imperial Colleges is a devolved form of Eltharin. Yet possessing knowledge of even a simplified version of Anoqeyån would denote an ability to grasp and verbalise concepts and processes that are otherwise inexpressible through any other Human language. Magick’s the pre-eminent language of spellcasting in the Empire precisely because it is exhaustively specific.[1a]


  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery
    • 1a: pg. 49
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4th ED -- Core Rulebook
    • 2a: pg. 125

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