At about the age of 11, I was captivated by “The Lord of the Rings,” and especially by Tolkien's “invented” languages. I went on to study Latin, French, and Latin at secondary school, and a little Welsh. During this time, I corresponded briefly with Richard Adams regarding the “Lapine” language, fragments of which were presented in his novel “Watership Down.” At Cambridge University, which was an immensely important and positive part of my academic and social education, I studied science and maths, but was also lucky enough to be able to pursue my more open-ended, artistic, creative interests, with the support of three Trinity College scholarships.
Since then, I have spent 12 stimulating years lecturing in applied maths at Northumbria University (the languages were used in parts of my teaching). I have also attended several seminar courses in Advanced Latin at Swansea University, and in Summer 2014 gained a Distinction in the exam for an intensive course in Introductory Ancient Greek, and also in Egyptology.
I absolutely love the Welsh language, which I find beautiful, magical, and modern, all at the same time. I began to learn properly as an adult when i returned to Swansea in 2012, and couple of years ago I gained a Distinction in "Welsh Second-Language: Higher Level," and won the Chair for poetry in the local Learners' Eisteddfod run by Swansea University, as well as the Learners' Prose medal in the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
I am now a Tutor in Welsh for Adults with Swansea University's Academi Hywel Teifi, and I am enjoying this new role immensely. I was nominated by four separate students for an "Inspire! Tutor Award" in 2021. I have written around half a million words – bilingually, in both Welsh and English – for the pioneering website "Parallel.Cymru", as well as doing a great deal of editing and translating. I won the "Learners' Prose Medal" in the National Eisteddfod 2016 in Abergavenny, and the Chair in the "Eisteddfod Dafarn" for Learners organised by Swansea University Academi Hywel Teifi in 2018.
I also run the Study Help UK Educational Consultancy service which provides help and support to learners from KS3 to Masters' level throughout the UK (primarily in science and maths, but with some English and Welsh as well, if the "fit is right" for the learner!).
Since my first attempts at creating a language (a process Tolkien called “subcreation”), I have woven the basic fabric of Lapine into my own experiments, although this forms only one part of a much larger sequence of languages.
My aim was to give free reign to my creativity, to enjoy the playfulness, and to investigate and demonstrate in as much detail as possible how a family of complex, interrelated, invented tongues develops, giving rise to syntax, a lexicon, scripts, and so on. My creative language play (a process I call “aleolinguistics”) is still going on.
The prefix “aleo–” is derived from a combination of the Latin verb, “alō, alere, aluī, altum” (“foster, nourish, feed, maintain, develop”), and the Latin noun, “ālea, āleæ” (“die, dice game, game of chance”). It is meant to signify the continuous interactive growth, coupled with mutation, within the system of languages. Various stages of the language (or, indeed, the separate languages), have names such as “Sivrolutínu Dalathanír” (proto-Language); “U Taalthil ‘Shiilvahweeth” (neo-orimo-Language: “Lapine Proper”), and “Ai Houn ifa ai Thari ina pe i ai Silifuithe” (neo-telo-Language). These all mean “The Language of the Burrowers.”
Full details are available here.
If you are interested in any aspects of this, I'd love to hear from you: please feel free to get in touch!