Eldraeic Word of the Day: Zakhrehs

(I realized upon using the word in a comment thread here that I’d never actually given the full definition, so…)

zakhrehs: “barbarians”; specifically those sophonts who are alien to the Imperial ethical and moral traditions, in re libertism, negentropy, and gentlesophly behavior.

It should be noted that this term does not refer to those who merely come from foreign lands/strangers (Eldraeic qildaráv, “persons-from-yonder”), or those who do not knowingly subscribe to the Fundamental Contract (Eldraeic ulvaledar, “unbound-people”); rather, it refers to those who reject the core precepts of the Imperial ethical and moral traditions, whether or not they are aware of them in the first place. In particular, it does not carry any implication of primitivity or undevelopedness.

Anyone, regardless of species or ethnicity, who lives by the core rules of these traditions is “civilized”, and will be treated well. Even an honest effort by the ignorant will be looked upon favorably. In the areas within the Empire’s sphere of influence, autochthones who adopt Imperial ways — or seem to – will be treated with respect, perhaps to the annoyance of their neighbors. Intentional rejection of the core Imperial traditions, however, is nearly equivalent to declaring oneself a barbarian.

It is neither a direct cognate for any of the classic Imperial insults – i.e., “Defaulter”, “choiceless”, “slaver”, “parasite”, “dullist”, “cacophile”, or “entropic” – nor a direct reference to foundational concepts such as the Fundamental Contract, the Code of Alphas, the Nine Excellences, the Five Noble Precepts, etc. Rather, it is a general implication that the referenced person or society, while not technically and to-a-legal-standard provably guilty of specific and enumerated acts of coercionism, infiduciarity, theft, mooching, razorwalking, willful culture-lack, destructionism, disharmony, and chaos, is nevertheless in the speaker’s opinion a repulsive, nauseating mass of all, or at least many, of those things, and deserves to be treated accordingly.

It is no less insulting for all its generality and implicitness.


Eldraeic Words of the Day: Talisqor, Aelvaqor, and Alathqor

talisqor: (from talis “truth” + qori case tag: standard): the perspective of truth; objectivity, science, and mathematics; reality-as-it-is; existence; history; positive claims.

aelvaqor: (from aelva “beauty” + qori case tag: standard): the perspective of beauty; ambijectivity, art, and the numinous; reality-as-it-ought-be; creation; mythology; normative claims.

alathqor: (from alath “wisdom” + qori case tag: standard): the perspective of wisdom, that attained by the simultaneous affirmation of both talisqor and aelvaqor in fullness, dwelling in the eye of the paradox; see also tarev i-alathqor, “the task of wisdom’s perspective”, the Flamic challenge to bring about the perfect marriage of the two in an unflawed universe, the March of the Flame Against the Fall of Night.

(I must at this point acknowledge a great debt to Scott Alexander and his own worldbuilding project, Raikoth; those familiar with it or his blog posts about it on Slate Star Codex will no doubt have felt a sense of familiarity on reading the words above. The ideas expressed in that particular link helped greatly to clarify some ideas on the shape of the Imperial noösphere I’d been kicking around for a long time without fully congealing, arising from my own ruminations and various inspirations – notably, for one, Pratchett’s Hogfather – so all credit where it is due.)

Eldraeic Word of the Day: Daríë

daríë: (a respectful title for) one whose accomplishments are known and admired, but do not extend to those of an Excellence or Exquisite; could reasonably be glossed “lord” or “lady” in the nominative (rare usage), and “ser” or “sera” in the vocative (common usage). In the modern era, with the obsolescence of the servile darëssef, functions as a general-purpose term of address for any sophont whose competence and worth is known or politely presumed.

from daráv (“person”), and íë (honorable affix).


Circumlocution: A Way Of Talking Around Something

Among the things I am kicking around today are future possibilities for the Word-of-the-Day feature. I’ve got some interesting ones in the form of words which have distinct values implied – say, “greed” – which necessarily require multiple translations – “ambition”, for example, or “compromise” – or whose closest equivalent have very different nuances and whose literal meaning can only be expressed by rather awkward circumlocution – such as our “professional”.

And then I thought of one real fun job to translate into their language. How, exactly, would one translate “social justice” into Eldraeic?

(Bearing in mind that the literal gloss, tramoníë saráv, lit. “a society-kind-of-justice”, would actually mean “international arbitration”.)

So let’s have a little informal competition, here. The best circumlocution, using only the sorts of concept which are native to the language, is an awkward phrase that comes out as, roughly, “the coercive enforcement of a sophont-owner’s preferred group-level outcomes upon the involuntarily coadunated”.

Think you can do better? Offer your best circumlocution in the comments, and we’ll see if it passes the Conclave of Linguistics and Ontology.

(But remember, and this is important now: the aim here is to provide the translation that a charitable translator working around the constraints of a language that doesn’t have a background tradition of compressed euphemisms would come up with. We’re not going for “the Worlds’ snarkiest value judgement”, nor are we going all-out to offend people in the real world, here, especially any who might find squeezing the concept into an unhelpful vocabulary an interesting game; it’s supposed to be a fun little conlanging exercise. Don’t let me down here, folks.)

Eldraeic Word of the Day: Ulquordaëälathdar

ulquordaëälathdar: (lit. “impossible-knowledge-person”, derog.) Agnostic; (Flamic) an adherent to the Agnostic Heresy; one who holds that certain or all knowledge cannot be known, i.e., is intrinsically unknowable, rather than simply unknown, or circumstantially unknowable due to lack of necessary epistemic tools or cognitive capacity.

from ulquordaëlin (“impossible”, itself from ulquor, the degree quantifier of absolute absence, and daëlin “probability, chance”), alath (“knowledge”) and dar (“person”).