Trope-a-Day: Insistent Terminology

Insistent Terminology: Happens fairly often, because nomenclature (among other things) is Serious Business, and one therefore – when dealing with people – should know that people earned those attributions, dammit, and that therefore not using them (or misusing them) amounts to a deliberate insult.  They would not, after all, presume to insult you by believing that you’re that socially incompetent.

And even when dealing with people’s property/inventions/jobs/works, while they do prefer to avoid euphemisms – because “refuse collector” is a perfectly honorable job that needs no excuses made for it, and the guy doing the SecDef’s job is the straight-out “Warlord of the Empire” even if his primary title is “First Lord of the Admiralty”, and “differently abled” is best avoided unless you want to experience the “what special powers did you think I got from losing a leg, you moron?” rant – a good politeness tip is to avoid all diminutives period.  Don’t use them on other people, because they’ll be interpreted as insults (and there’s no such thing as a friendly insult); don’t use them on yourself, because if it’s anything, it’s a weird species of self-hating fraud.

The ur-example of this, of course, is that while the runér will tolerate the name of their darëssef being misglossed as “noble” (after all, it’s a quality of character, as well as a feudal class), neither they nor the Senators or local Assemblymen or anyone else involved in government at any level will tolerate being referred to as a “politician”.  While that’s not a strict cognate to korásan either, it’s close enough – and with plenty of other undesirable and rather slimy overtones – to qualify as a fighting-words level insult and almost certainly a verbal Berserk Button.

The Empire doesn’t have politicians.  It has harmonizers, coordinators, synarchists, and maybe even managers, but no politicians.  Do not forget this.

All That Makes Gold Does Not Glitter

“Me?  I’m a logotect.  I make words – well, there’s lots of kinds of us, some specializing in ordinary words, some in jargon, or in seals, or in meaningful names, or whatever.  Technically, I’m a euphemigen.  I’m the opposite of a normal eonymic; I make words that sound unlike the thing they name.”

“Some that you’ve heard of?  Spend any time in finance?  I’m most well-known for the division names I cooked up for Asymptotic Alpha, a couple of hundred years back: Suprapolitan Facilities, Sovereign Liability Management, Legislative Combinatorics, and Indirect Freight Services.  Not my best work, but they’ve become quite popular in the industry.”

“Well, some offworld investors get quite skittish when things are called what they actually are.  My terms sound so much nicer – or easier to just quietly slide past and collect your dividends – in the annual reports than ‘company habs, tax avoidance, regulatory manipulation, and smuggling’ would be.”

“So, what do you do?”