Linguistics of Spellcasting

written by Professor Everby

If you're interested in the theory behind compelling charms, spunky spell-casting and the intrepredous incantations, join me on an exploration of language and how it shapes both magic and the mind. Magilinguist Quinndolyn Everby examines the intimate relationships of words and intention behind some of the world's most beloved charms and teaches you the tips and tricks to master even the the most stubborn of spells. Discover the secrets of success in her latest novel, Linguistics of Spellcasting.

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Chapter 1

Welcome to the linguistics of spellcasting. My name is Quinndolyn Everby and I am a classically trained magilinguist from the Maritime Institute of Higher Magical Education, also known as MIHME, in Prince Edward Island, Canada. As a magilinguist, I have traveled to magical institutions around the world, studying the history and language of more than two dozen cultures. This text has been collected and curated to explore the similarities and differences between these cultures and how they have impacted the manifestation of magical language and specifically spellcasting across the globe. I am excited to share what I've learned and I hope you find it as instructive as I have.

What is Linguistics?

For those who may be unfamiliar with the concept of linguistics, it is essentially the study of languages and how they work. Language, from a technical perspective, represents the symbolic relationship between form and meaning. Writing is just lines on parchment and speech is simply sound, but how we come to use and agree on those lines and sounds give them purpose and power. It is important to note that these decisions are arbitrary and say less about the symbols themselves and more about the people who use them.

Language is fundamentally a tool that allows people to work together to accomplish things they would not be able to do on their own. In this way, language is a window to the mind, allowing us to navigate complex concepts in order to share our beliefs, intentions and motivations with others. We refer to this process as translation and it occurs not only between two differing languages, but even between two different individuals within the same language. When I say "summer" I'm referring to the hottest season of the year between the months of June and September. When an Australian refers to "summer" they envision the hottest season from November to February. The efficacy of our communication therefore depends upon how much common-ground we share and how well the intentions of our words maps onto the comprehension of our conversation partner. If the ultimate goal is to be understood, then linguistics describes the road map to get there.

The world is full of languages that look and sound completely different and yet are able to accomplish many of the same things. Linguists strive to understand the functional similarities and differences between these languages by studying how and when language is used, what it sounds like, how it changes, and who changes it. They do this by categorising and classifying languages across a number of different dimensions and testing potential theories across language types to find universal principles.

Why study Linguistics?

Personally, I have always been personally fascinated by the concept that language is a mirror to our inner selves. We cannot discuss language without discussing cognition, as thought is intrinsically tied up with our ability to express thought. The muggle world often cites this perspective in the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis which stipulates that language influences how we think and vice versa, and while this basic tenet of the hypothesis is widely accepted, it is largely debated to what extent.

If language is connected to our thoughts and intentions, we may begin to grapple with what it means to think or speak, what it means to be human, and what makes us different from other creatures and even other people who don't think or speak like we do? In short, language helps us understand more about ourselves, the ways we think, and the choices we make. If this field of study interests you, you may find a future with cognitive linguistics. I will not be paying much attention to said field in this novel, but will stress that it is fundamental to understanding the connection we are making to the magical world.

What does this have to do with Spellcasting?

As you may be familiar, spellcasting comprises the following central elements; concentration, will, incantation, movement and category. I will not attempt to explain the full depth of magical theory, but I must draw attention to the connection between mind, mouth and magic.

When we think of words and magic, we may comfortably rest on runes and incantations, but what I found much more interesting was the intimate connection between our mind and our words. How does incantation shape concentration and vice versa? By understanding and further harnessing this connection, I wanted to prove that magic could be more powerful, more predictable, and easier to control.

Just as the Egyptians believed in communing with Heka, a divine force that created the universes, linguistic principles can inform the ways we interact with mystical entities and the most powerful ancient forces known to the magical world.

What can I Expect?

In this book we will be exploring the fundamental principles of linguistics and how they apply to the complex form of spellcasting. We will try to cover the most fundamental principles through an investigative history of ancient languages, how they inform the use of incantations as well as the evolution and construction of charms over time. This is intended to give you a good understanding of both general linguistic and magical theories in preparation for further study.

The text is divided into the following areas of linguistic study for a comprehensive and instructive analysis of spellcasting lore and the rhetoric of incantation.

  • History, Etymology & Typology

  • Orthography, Runes & Scripts

  • Phonetics & Phonology

  • Morphology & Syntax

  • Prosody & Perception

  • Gesture & Movement

  • Semantics

  • Pragmatics

  • Dialogue & Duelling

I hope you find this book helpful and supplementary to your studies in Charms and History. This text is in no way meant to replace or undermine a foundational understanding of spellcasting principles and safety should always be top priority when practicing and experimenting with new spells. These theories are meant to assist in understanding and conceptualizing advanced principles. They do not replace the integral exercise of practice and meditation.

With all that being said, I do hope you enjoy discovering new things as you read and I wish you the very best of luck in your magical studies!


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