(As promised to the anonymous poster of the earlier ask, here’s a quick worldbuilding post reprint on the nature of the Eldraeic possessive and memetic imperialism.).
The Eldraeic possessive also goes into more detail than the possession functionality of many known languages. Specifically, there are three types of possession recognized by the Eldraeic language using separate grammatical structures: the intrinsic, the associative, and thepropertarian.
The first of these, the intrinsic, is used to identify entities which are possessed by you because they are intrinsically part of you. It is, in turn, separated into first- and second-order intrinsic possession:
First-order intrinsic possession is used with those entities which are not merely intrinsic parts of you, but are necessarily so. Examples would include “my thoughts” and “my consciousness”, or indeed “myself”; these are necessarily part of oneself, otherwise one would not exist to make such a statement.
Second-order intrinsic possession covers the remainder of the intrinsic realm; “my hand”, “my hair”, “my liver”, etc. As a historical note, “my body” is now an example of second-order intrinsic possession, despite originally being first-order. The invention of uploading conclusively demonstrated that a specific given substrate was not, in fact, necessarily required to support a specific given mind, and thus invalidated the case for “my body” being first-order.
The second of these, the associative, designates entities which are “yours” because they choose to associate with you in some way, and vice versa, rather than being either intrinsic or property. Examples from this set would include “my wife”, “my children”, “my friends”, “my coworkers”, “my concredents”, etc.
As a further linguistic note, one can generally identify the current Imperial stance on animal intelligence/prosophoncy with how domesticated examples of the species are referred to in the possessive. For example, the brighter dog breeds would be referred to with the associative, whereas cattle would be referred to with the propertarian.
The third and final form of the possessive, the propertarian, is used with property over which the speaker actually holds present property rights, whether direct or delegated, except those things for which intrinsic possession is used instead. (While one does possess property rights over one’s second-order intrinsics, alienating them is generally more complicated than those things for which one would use the propertarian.) Examples are virtually limitless: “my car”, “my book”, “my lunch”, etc., etc.
This is, of course, another example of Imperial memetic imperialism – in this case, embedding epistemological, logical and metaphysical claims into the structure of the language – in practice. Leaving aside the separation of related but non-identical concepts in the interest of encouraging (if not quite enforcing) clarity of thinking, the need to use the associative vis-a-vis the propertarian in the examples above is a little embedded moral lesson on not owning people (for those who need it) every time they speak; conversely, making the Freudian slip of using thepropertarian in place of the associative (or even the intrinsic, outside some very specific metaphorical contexts) is an effective declaration of your lousy, stinking slaverosity to all with ears to hear you.
Some other examples1 of the Empire’s memetic imperialism, as embedded into the structure of the language by the Conclave of Linguistics and Ontology, are these:
- The explicit support built into the language for propositional, probabilistic, and inductive logics, and devices of grammar designed to make it as difficult as possible to phrase muddy or fallacious statements in grammatically valid Eldraeic.
- The slant in the definitions and structures of descriptive predicates to encourage precision; even where ambiguity is permitted, precision is also permitted and encouraged, along with statement of the standard by which a given property is judged.
- The requirement that metaphoric uses of language be explicitly marked in the grammar.
- The difference between the imperative and the requestive, explained in a prior article, and the circumstances in which it is appropriate to use each.
- The use of the word daráv, literally meaning “sophont”, to perform double-duty as the word for “person”. The Alphasian metaphysical rule that any sophont entity is necessarily and intrinsically a person for all other purposes is thus made implicit.
- Verbs such as séssqár (to have sex; of sophonts) and sétavirár (to converse) taking a set as a subject and no object; i.e., being linguistically defined as mutual activities, rather than activities performed by one to/with/of another.
- While the ten available assignable Eldraeic pronouns and the 36 letter-variable pronouns canbe inflected for gender, status, animacy, and half-a-dozen other qualities if the speaker desires so to do, by default, the Eldraeic pronoun doesn’t mark any of these qualities, or indeed any qualities at all.
- The presence, when one does wish to use gender-marking, of six grammatical genders (male, hermaphrodite, female, neuter, prenuptial catalyst and postnuptial catalyst) and three classes of gender (genetic, phenotypic, and personalic).
- Likewise, nomenclature for parenthood comes in three classes (genetic parent(s), birth-parent(s) and family-parent(s) – i.e., the ones who raised you) additional to a generic word, none of which are explicitly gender-marked.
- The Eldraeic language possesses only one word per genital organ and secondary sexual characteristic, which must suffice for both vulgar and technical usage, and no sexual expletives at all. (Just imagine the fun the English->Eldraeic translator programmers would hypothetically have, given English’s most common noun-verb-adjective-interjection-conjunction-vocative-adverb.)
- On the other hand, it does have a very fine set of scatological expletives, including extras formed by generalization to waste and entropy in general, and more ways to call someone an idiot than any language this side of Yiddish. Possibly even beyond.
- The entire taxonomy of Eldraeic words for government types begins with a division of elén móníë’ (polities) into elen telelefmóníë’ (oath-consent states, more freely glossed, “Societies of Consent”) and elén korasmóníë’ (force-states), the latter themselves divided into elén talkorasmóníë’ (true-force-states) and elén sémódarmóníë’ (mutual-slave-states) along lines roughly determined by their hierarchical vs. peer-to-peer organization and perceived internal honesty. This top level of their taxonomy captures the philosophical underpinnings of Imperial political thinking very effectively2.
1. Not, by any means, all of them; just all those I have documented so far.
2. Hint: There is not a single polity on Earth which they wouldn’t consider one kind or another of el korasmóníë’.