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The Experimental Linguists' Club (or "ELC," for short) was founded in LY 135 by Perryh (the club's first chairperson). While the abbreviation of the club's name is pronounced by saying its letters, E-L-C, a member of the club is called an "elc," pronounced as an acronym. The basic idea behind the club's existence stems from the fact that all Landians possess an innate sense called subwords, which allows them to realize the meaning of any new alien word they hear, with just a little thought. The sense can also be used to try to think of alien words they've never heard before, in order to name new things they've discovered or new ideas that have occurred to them. Most commonly these alien words come from Earth, but the subword sense can be used on words from any alien world in the Universe (it cannot, however, be used for any words that already existed on the Land, since the time God first introduced language to Connor and Brigid). Most Landians only rarely utilize their subword sense, when a particular situation calls for it. However, Perryh and a few of his friends had always been more interested than most in exploring the possibilities presented by the subword sense, and actively tried to think up as many alien words as they could, on a fairly regular basis.

The inspiration for the club's founding came when one of Perryh's non-linguist friends, a spirit-talker named Blynn, created the Land's first batch of Irish Cream. This was an alcoholic beverage that originated on Earth, which Blynn was taught to make by one of the spirits he knew. Perryh was among the group of friends with whom Blynn shared the new beverage, and by coincidence, he had recently discovered a new meaning for the long-familiar word "toast." Of course the word applied, as a noun, to a heated form of bread (and by another coincidence, one type of toast was called "French," which, like "Irish," referred to a certain nationality on Earth); it also could be used as a verb, to name the process of heating bread or other things, not necessarily foods. But the new meaning Perryh had recently learned for the word "toast" was, as a noun, a few words spoken in honor of someone or something, just before taking a drink (usually alcoholic); or as a verb, the act of speaking and drinking a toast. Just before Blynn and his friends drank their first round of Irish Cream, Perryh explained this new concent of "toasting" to them, and made what is believed to be the Land's first originally created toast, "To Blynn!" (Though in the years to come, toasts which originated on other worlds were learned, and gained some popularity among Landians.) Of course, not all toasts have to become traditional; they may simply apply to a specific event and never be used again. But it has become a common tradition on the Land to say "To Blynn!" before drinking Irish Cream. (As a side note, over four centuries after the introduction of Irish Cream, there was a playwright named Tooblan who founded an acting troupe called the Tooblan Company. In a story the veracity of which is uncertain, it is said that one night a member of that troupe made a toast which was a play on "To Blynn": He exclaimed "Tooblan!" before taking a drink of Irish Cream, and the pun has become a common joke among many theater troupes in the centuries since then.) In any event, the day after Perryh first made the toast "To Blynn," he met with his linguistically-minded friends, to whom he explained the new meaning of "toast" as he had to Blynn's friends the night before. It was at this point that he came up with the idea of actually forming a club, and gave these friends and himself the name "Experimental Linguists' Club."

Even before the founding of the ELC, Perryh and his friends had for several years been keeping notes of all the words they learned (originally on parchment, until paper was invented in 170), and when Talon of Pritt invented the printing press in 390, the club's current chairperson, Lewis of Pritt, spearheaded a project to compile a dictionary of all the words (and their definitions) that had ever been learned by the ELC, as well all the words that had been introduced by God to the Land's first generation. (The word "dictionary" was itself a subword that occurred to Lewis soon after hearing of the invention of the printing press.) Another subword that occurred to Lewis, in 392, was "library." Of course, until the invention of the printing press, all literature or reading material of any kind was handwritten, and there were very few copies of any written work, anywhere in the world. Even after Talon's invention made the production of books in greater quantities easier and faster, books were still prohibitively expensive enough to make it uncommon for most people to own more than one (though all children on the Land have always been taught to read and write, and it was common for people to lend each other books). But it occurred to Lewis to create a place that would collect many books, which could be rented out to anyone. The first library was built in Pritt in 392, upon the completion of the first dictionary. The library was owned and operated by the ELC, but its success led other villages to open their own libraries using public funds. There was talk of simply lending books instead of renting them, but it was quickly realized that this would not have been financially feasible. However, while it cost a small fee to borrow books, they could be read for free within the library. When the Second Order was established in 904, it was announced that one of the public services provided for by the tax law would be the funding of libraries so that books could be lent out for free (subject to stiff fines if they were not returned).

In 395, an elc named Dorothy of Frinn (who would replace Lewis as chairperson in 400), came up with the idea of publishing a newsletter, which would be distributed to all elcs around the world on an annual basis. The newsletter would be compiled by the chairperson, including new words submitted by elcs of every village. In 900, during the Coming of the Order, Sorreters began selling various spell devices to people around the world, though at the time such items were so highly priced that they could only be afforded by the rich. In 905, the prices dropped significantly, and the ELC began using t-mail rather than postal services to communicate with the club's chairperson (at the time, Giac Thesaurus). The vastly improved ease and speed of communication between villages led to changing the newsletter from an annual to a bi-monthly publication. Copies of ELC newsletters have always been available to be read at libraries, though they cannot be borrowed from the library.

See alsoEdit

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