The Pronouns of Pros

(Loosely inspired by a G+ post in which I contemplate trying to phrase Eldraeic self-concepts into Japanese pronouns and honorifics: I went with a baseline of watakushi-sama, if you’re curious.)

Did you know (you did not) that archaic – or bearing in mind that it’s a deliberately designed language, prototype – Eldraeic had no first-person pronoun? All self-references had to be done through illeism, with name, title, epithet, or some combination of the former.

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The Great and Powerful Trixie approves of this!

“I” was just too damn self-effacing, don’ch’know; a puny pronoun unsuited to the truly magnificent magisterial awesomeness of – well, any one of us, really. Pronouns, after all, are substitutable; individuals are very much not.

(It’s also handy when it comes to matters of valëssef, since your choice of name, title, or epithet to use lets people know which of your facets you are manifesting at the present time, without resorting to wearing masks Chresytanri-style.)

Even third-person pronouns were typically replaced by names when referring to people, for reasons of respect and because by the same principle, it lets the person addressed know which of their facets is being addressed.

Second-person pronouns were… best avoided, really.

Modern Eldraeic, however, does have a first-person pronoun (val), usable in casual speech to save time, but much like the third-person, it’s an assignable variable; it’s customary to illeize when you first speak, and on all subsequent valëssef shifts, to let people track the changes. Third person usage has tracked this change in approximately the same way.

No-one will find it particularly strange if you go full illeist, though. It just moves you into an extra-formal register.

 

Eldraeic Booze of the Day: *alír

A quick word or two for your pleasure:

deshalír: beer, encompassing non-distilled brews made from grain- or grain-analogs, literally “grain-water”.

delékalír: wine, encompassing all non-distilled brews made from fruit, literally “pleasing-water”.

qerachalír: distilled spirits, literally “lightning-water”. (andrakalír, “fire-water”, had already been taken. By naphtha.)

…oh, and who could forget…

xindaralír: literally “explorer-water”, could be translated “scout brew”, and refers to whatever was cooked up by the first-in team out of stuff that looked fermentable. May or may not be delicious, hallucinogenic, toxic, or explosive, but hey, that’s why they’re doing science to it to find out.

Zymology is so a science!

(And yes, this taxonomy does imply that, so far as Eldraeic-speakers are concerned, rice wine is a kind of beer and cider is a kind of wine, while mead isn’t either. They don’t make the rules, they just enforce ’em.)

 

Eldraeic Word of the Day: Cagál

cagál (n.): faeces; excrement; shit; solid animal biowaste.

Note for translators: This is the word you’re looking for, which serves equally for technical, medical, and casual usage. It is not considered pejorative or vulgar per se, but certain comparisons or equivalencies may be depending on context.

Variants include tracagál hanat (shit-house, an outdoor biowaste disposal facility); tracagál neth (shittery, an indoor biowaste disposal facility, as distinct from the customarily separate lavatory [washing room]); mézcagál ([metaphorical] shit, archaic term for a useless substance, no longer in common usage due to its high value in ecopoesis and closed life-support systems); and traäshíël mézcagál (starshit, colloquial term for iron, and by extension, any common and mostly useless waste product).

Eldraeic Phrase of the Day: Tramézashíël Eslévár

el tramézashíël eslévár (n.): Empire of the Star; the largest and oldest eldraeic polity.

Broken up, this phrase reads: tra (DESCRIPTION OPERATOR) – méz (METAPHORIZATION OPERATOR) – ashíël (star) — eslév (empire) – ár (PREDICATION OPERATOR), which is to say in long-gloss, “the empire which is like unto a (metaphorical) star”. Replacing this with the English “of” is acceptably inaccurate for such an imprecise target language.

It should also be noted that eslév is linguistically unique, appearing only in this phrase (and abbreviations thereof: el eslév unambiguously refers to “the Empire”). It is not used to represent any of the other possible meanings of “empire”; the technical meaning of a union of multiple peripheral polities beneath one metropole, for example, is el vielmóniramóníë (loosely, “a commanding country-of-countries”).

It has no strict root-based etymology; rather, eslév is a nonce coined for its conceptual resonances: it resembles, for example, proto-Cestian words for “created” or “our creation”; Selenarian terms for “lunar crescent”; various Silver Crescent words with meanings approximating to “celestial”; a Veranthyran term meaning “propriety” or “high culture”, and so on and so forth.

Eldraeic Word of the Day: Serev

serev (n.): Blood, or other primary life-fluid (e.g., myneni crystalplasm, codramaju suspension, mezuar sap, etc. – even, to stretch a metaphorical point, digisapience electricity.)

A word notable for its use in many metaphor-based compounds and etymological cousins, notably seredar (“blood-person”, or paramedic); seredhain (“blood-war”, or war of extermination/genocide); seredáné (“blood-precursor”, or genetic parent); sereglés (“blood-key”, or biometric security system); sereqártill (“blood-price”, or weregeld); seredelefí (“blood-oath”, a contract secured on one or both parties’ lives); and saráv (justice).

 

Eldraeic Word of the Day: Deléhain

deléhain: A direct translation of the kaeth word harghcha, literally meaning “pleasure-fight”; physical combat in social situations for the enjoyment of both the participants and any onlookers, which is a common feature of the kinesthetic kaeth culture.

Note that neither the Eldraeic hain nor the original cha define a scale without further qualification; the term deléhain can be applied equally well to two children roughhousing, or to Paltraeth’s annual Feast of the Blooding, a tradition compared by most visitors to a planet-wide civil war, albeit one conducted without modern weapons.

 

Eldraeic Word of the Day: Valëssef

valëssef (n.): a principle of Imperial culture, valëssef is literally translated “I-am-ness”, the particular aspect of oneself that one is manifesting at any particular time, or to put it another way, who one is in relation to present circumstances and present company.

This peculiarly eldraeic concept is tied strongly to their capacity and cultural inclination towards complex, multidimensional social arrangements. One adept in managing valëssef is capable of easily switching between multiple social personae for different situations or relationships – employer, father, positions of wildly differing ranks in branches, and so forth, even when connections between the same people are involved – and holding them separate from each other when acting in one particular one.

Failing to properly manage valëssef – mixing elements of one relationship into another, such as permitting a family relationship to affect a professional relationship – is considered most improper.