líänd-khadár: vampire (lit. “flame-stealer”); mythologically, a malicious, semi-corporeal creature which drains its victims of volition and the capacity for choice, before going on to consume the remainder of their thoughts and memories and leave them empty. In the modern day, considered a metaphor for entropy-as-depression.
caülgyrelef: compromise; agreement in which neither party receives what they want (from tratracalma traülgyr elefí, lit. “least worthless/unfavorable contract”, i.e., a bad deal but the least bad deal possible).
sédelélef: mutually beneficial agreement; agreement in which both parties succeed (from trasédelékith elefí, lit. “mutually pleasing contract”.)
Traditionally, a caülgyref is what you end up with if you are unable to make a sédelélef; which may not be the result of one party being an obstinate idiot, but usually is.
traäzik ulalath: literally “stony ignorance”, (or for the convenience of Tellurian readers, “stone stupid”, even though the backing metaphor is entirely different), the very special kind of stupidity self-inflicted by and on the extremely loyal, be it to contract, person, cause, or necessity, characterized by making extreme deeds and ludicrous plans appear logical, sensible, and sane.
See azkith, “loyalty”, from azik “stone” + ankithel “emotion, passion”.
(Incidentally, for the MLP:FiM watchers among my readers, Tanks for the Memories is pretty much exactly what an episode of traäzik ulalath looks like.)
xatírár el rótaní: (“do the needful”)
- (common) A request to do that which is necessary or required in a given context, with the respectful implication that the other party is trusted to understand the needful and operate autonomously.
- (rare) A request to do that which is understood without being spoken. Used in situations requiring deniability.
- (rare; ISS) An instruction to arrange a cauterization.
demév: (from old Cestian deméthír, “wizard”) skilled practitioner, professional, one of notable expertise in a given area.
Casual descriptions of such expertise can be given using tra- compounds; however, various formalizations of these exist both general, such as alathdemév (loremaster), eléfdemév (obligator, “oath-master”), haindemév (warmaster), and mahademév (craftsmaster); and specific to individual professions.
Examples of this latter include alételídemév (pilot, “master of winds”); brandemév (blacksmith, “iron-master”), a specialty of nistrademév (smith, “forge-master”); riandemév (blademaster, meaning by extension a master of the martial arts); sashírdemév (fashionista, “master of glamor”) and leirdaërdemév (manipulator/intriguer/diplomat, “master of mist-games”).
This wasn’t what I intended to post next, but I’m still working on the “fleet carriers” post. In the meantime, have some more words.
So, among the basic words in a language, certainly for chemists, are those for various substances, and this is as true in Eldraeic as it is for any other language.
If we are to begin at the beginning, it would be with the classical elements, which in the Old Empires region were usually held to be six: air, fire (andra), water (alír), wood, metal, and stone (azik). But that is not quite enough to describe anything but what were, in the ancient days, considered the most fundamental substances, it being their combinations that gave rise to all the myriad components of the world.
And so, in the next step down, the first eldraeic alchemists divided substances into airs (gases), clays (“woody earths”, of which there seemed to be rather a lot), crystals (“metallic stones”, likewise), fires, metals, oils (“fiery waters”), salts (“stony waters”), waters, woods, and stones, thus:
- aessoth: a (type of) crystal; any crystalline (to the eye) substance
(from aesa “crystal” + oth “substance, stuff”)
- alíroth: a (type of) water; any watery substance
(from alír “water” + oth)
- azikoth: a (type of) stone; any stony substance
(from azik “rock, stone” + oth)
- claithalíroth: a (type of) oil; any oily substance
(“dark/shadowed water”, from claith “shadow” + alíroth)
- ésaeroth: a (type of) salt; any salt or similar substance
(“many little crystals”; from é [diminutive prefix] + aesa + oth)
- múszikoth: a (type of) clay; any clay-like or earthy substance
(from músel “soft” + azikoth)
- nistraöth: a (type of) metal; any metallic substance
(from nistra “forge” + oth)
- teliroth: a (type of) air; any airy substance, or gas
(from telír “sky” + oth)
- lethroth: a (type of) wood; any woody or fleshy substance
(from leth “life” + oth; note that lethroth includes both wood and meat, as the classical element does)
There is also:
- andradoth: a (type of) fire; any fiery substance
Resulting from the common ancient confusion that fire is an element, rather than a process. Although while not substances, it is still possible to consider various different types of fire (i.e., different combustion reactions) and arguably plasmas as subcategories of andradoth.
To provide a comprehensive list of substances would of course be a virtually endless task, but let’s simply start with the metals, of which there were a pleasantly limited number known in ancient days:
- andralis: uranium (“fire-metal”; it’s warm to the touch)
- arídanis: gold (“sun-metal”; from the color)
- ashínis: silver (“star-metal”)
- brans: iron; also bransael, steel, and telbrans (“sky-iron”), meteoric iron.
- glénis: tin (“key-metal”, so called because it unlocks the potential of other metals, such as copper and lead)
- morins: copper (“red-metal”; from the color)
- púlnónis: lead (“mass-metal”; obviously, it’s heavy)
- traäshínis alír (“star-metal water”): mercury
And there you are. Go forth, and talk about stuff!
lechné: sweat, perspiration; technically, lechné refers to any fluid intentionally used to carry heat away by evaporation, and so cooling water for planetary power reactors, liquid hydrogen coolant used for evaporative hull cooling, and so forth, can all be described as lechné, as well as the original referent, biological secretions used for this purpose.
leirlaras: (lit. “mist-word(s)”). A term referring specifically to words, phrases, paragraphs, or even entire works deliberately so constructed as to be void of meaning, misleading, or obfuscatory. Depending on circumstances, it may be pejorative (when used to describe a collocutor’s evasions, for example), or complimentary (describing a skillful piece of adversive diplomacy, likewise).
The etymology of leirlaras was, of course, deliberately selected in honor of Leiríah, eikone of mists, illusions, deceptions, trickery, wit, and intrigue.
trakháln ulalath: (lit. “painful ignorance”); the things you don’t know that can hurt you. Originally Military Service slang, before entering into general usage.
(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.
“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.
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.)
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).
sashír: Most usually glossed “glamour”, sashír refers to a willfully accepted ambijective illusion embracing and enhancing beauty (aelva) and attractiveness/pleasingness (delékith); a concept foundational to high culture (meressif), fashion, and the personal arts.
raïthal: The plenum; the “universe”; the cosmos as a whole. Literally “all objects/entities”, it conveniently expands to encompass all new discoveries that broaden the scope of existence; other terms are required, for example, to designate one particular universe-manifold and its adjacentia.
And somewhat inspired by a discussion on the Discord concerning demonyms:
eslév es raïthal: Difficult to gloss due to most languages’ lack of a commutative equivalency operator – perhaps “Empire :: Universe” – this slogan beloved of such Ecumenical Throne adherents as the Above All, One Imperium Movement, Society of the Golden Chain, and Architects of the Cogs of Utopia, implies that the Empire is/belongs to/is a property of the universe, and vice versa, and that each shall transform the other.
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.
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).
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.
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.
(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.
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.)
Language Drift: Sort-of averted for Eldraeic, due in equal parts to its origins as a designed language intended to communicate precisionist-grade thought and to its ongoing tending by the logotects, et. al., of the Conclave of Linguistics and Ontology, who are prescriptivists nonpareil. Only sort of, however, since their department of Worthy Innovations routinely combs the language as it is spoken for, well, worthy innovations to be taken up into the canonical version.
Since they’ve been doing this for a long time, and since almost nothing can ever be thrown out due to the obvious need for backwards compatibility in language design, the result tends to be — well, if it were English, they’d be like this (courtesy of xkcd):
Played rather straighter by most other languages of the Worlds, although both the influence of Eldraeic via Trade and that of the pervasive communication networks of starfaring cultures do tend to slow it down a bit.