Why Gaelic?

What language did you use for the Wingéd? Why not use Latin?

There are a few things that contributed to me picking Irish Gaelic as the Wingéd language, although most of those things were either by accident or ignorant, not properly by design.

1) Latin isn’t pretty. As wonderful as the romantic languages are, Latin itself isn’t pretty, and I needed the Wingéd language to almost be like the elven language that Tolkien created from Finnish. I wanted it to be ethereal and beautiful sounding to the ear.

I did briefly entertain the idea of creating my own language, but I quickly realized what a huge undertaking that would be. I just lacked the patience and the knowledge in order to pull it off as effectively as I wanted. So another language was chosen.

2) Gaelic had síneadh fada/diacritical accent marks. It was very important to me that the audience read the word “Wingéd” as I intended it, as “Wing-ed”. I couldn’t bear the idea of them just being “Winged” like a winged fish. So, I took a page out of Shakespeare’s book. When he wanted the word “blessed” to be pronounced “bless-ed” he placed an acute accent marker there. And this diacritical coincided with the fada already present in Gaelic.

The best part is… this didn’t work at all. At all.

3) Harry Potter used Latin. This was during the huge Harry Potter boom or directly after it, and I couldn’t just use Latin. It seemed like such an obvious choice. Need an ancient language? Use Latin! I wanted to be original.

4) My misconceptions about Gaelic. So… I believed Gaelic was a dead language when I started. Oh yeah? Well, tell that to the 80,000 native speakers still over in Ireland. So, while that’s one of the reasons I picked it, I was wrong, wrong, wrongity-wrong. This is related to another reason: Latin is hard. I had a lot of friends who had taken Latin in high school, and I believed that there were fewer people in this world who could look at my butchered Gaelic phrases that I’d strung together out of the dictionary and say, “That’s bad Gaelic”, than there were people who could say, “That’s bad Latin”.

I discovered my error shortly after I’d decided on Gaelic, but by then it was already entrenched in the story. Wingéd wasn’t Wingéd without it, so I kept it. It was wrong, but it was right.