I just saw your post about demons, and I have a follow-up question (sorry it got kind of long).
It makes total sense that the elves of Arlathan would understand demon as anything that can pierce the veil, and wouldn’t have a word for demon as we understand it, since to them spirits aren’t intrinsically “good” or “bad”.
However, wouldn’t it stand to reason that after generations of cultural oppression and later chantry propaganda, in a time when the vast majority of elves have lost the ability to do magic - and thus can’t study the Fade first-hand to challenge misconceptions -, that the elves of Halamshiral - and therefore the Dalish - would have long since conformed to the human views, changed their definition of “demon” to something evil or corrupted, and invented a proper word for it (like elvar'nas'elgar or something)?
The idea spirits aren’t inherently good or evil may be as foreign to modern elves as it is to humans. Solas always seems surprised if you agree with his views on the topic even if you are Dalish, Merrill was kicked out of her clan for blood magic and consorting with demons… And there are tons of examples of Dalish speaking of demons in the human way - Marethari among them -, so if they make distinctions between “(benevolent) spirit” and “(evil) demon” in the common tongue - and probably most other human languages -, wouldn’t they naturally translate that when speaking elvhen?
Short answer: No.
You are wrongly assuming that “because a equals b, therefore c must equal d.”
Firstly, the Elvhen language was rediscovered, not created by the dalish. During the earlier days of Halamshiral, it was most likely a dead language, similar to Latin. This means that in order to understand it, in order to dissect it, those rediscovering the language would have to look at it through its implied meanings. They would learn how to separate that language, from the common tongue. Therefore, it is unlikely that they wouldn’t have made the distinction between what ‘demon’ means in Elvhen, and what ‘demon’ means in common. These distinctions in language are important if you want to use the language correctly. They would have had to conform to the language in order to learn it to fluency, even semi-fluency, especially given that it was a dead language at the time.
Also I never said that the language would view all spirits, demon and ‘spirit’ as neither good nor evil. Not would they view them as not dangerous. As Merrill states in DA2, “All spirits are dangerous.” This is possibly the definition the dalish took from the original Elvhen, and interpreted the lack of differentiation between demons and spirits to mean that the ancient Elves viewed both spirits and demons to be equally dangerous, only in different ways.
In terms of the language, you would have Elgar which means all spirits. Demons, spirits, etc. Daris which means demonic, but refers to something that has pierced the veil, or has the ability to pierce the veil. It is a category. For example, Elvhen wouldn’t call a demon of pride a ‘pride demon.’ They would simply call it ‘pride spirit,’ as pride would automatically be recognized as a perversion of wisdom. Elgar’solas. A ‘demon’ does not become a ‘demon’ as far as the language is concerned, until it has either pierced the veil or has the obvious ability to pierce the veil.
The terms as they are used in the language have nothing to do with the intent of the spirit, or how good or evil the spirit is. For example, a spirit that was cruel, regardless of whether it was a demon or not, would be called Eglar’elvar’nas. While this may be used by some clans as a placeholder for the common idea of ‘demon,’ it would mean “cruel spirit.” An unfeeling spirit can just as easily be elgar’elvar’nas as a desire demon can. A benevolent spirit would be called elgar’tundra, and a desire demon could just as easily be elgar’tundra as a spirit of wisdom could. So while a few clans might use elgar’tundra as a placeholder for a benevolent spirit, and elgar’elvar’nas as a placeholder for demons, given that Elvhen is a second language for most dalish, they would understand the difference in semantics between the two languages, and know that ‘demon’ doesn’t mean the same thing in Elvhen as it does in most common languages.
Remember that I was talking about how the language views demons, not how the individual clans would view them. Those are two completely different things.
Hope that answers your question.