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Titles in conlangs (was: Re: "Madam"/"Madame" Chair/man/person (was: Umlauts))

From:Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
Date:Friday, October 31, 2003, 17:45
>To try and bring this back to Conlanging, anyone have titles in their >conlangs that can/can't get pluralized? That have no equivalents in >English or other natlangs?
No, usually I've been able to make a translation that is good enough, but I have one very annoying case where a truly proper translation cannot be made into English. Trehelish judges are called by a title that roughly translates to "Lord." So far, so good. The problem is that Trehelish civil servants can be female as well as male, and there are female judges (one of whom figures prominantly in my story.) So what do you call a female judge? In English, the feminine of "Lord" is "Lady," and that does not give quite the effect that I was going for. The actual semantic content of the title is really along the lines of the Latin "Domina," the feminine of "Dominus." (And I am aware that the Latin can mean Master/Mistress as well as Lord/whatever.) I use "Master" as the translation of what are probably two different Trehelish titles. One of them is the the person that you are apprenticed to, as per ordinary English usage, and the other is a military title encompassing a number of high-ranking officers. Now that I actually think about it, I cannot imagine that the language could possibly use the same title to refer to both. I may have to do something about that and break it up into two terms. Not long ago, when discussing the "Lady" issue, my husband suggested that I might need to use the native word for the title. I would rather not do that, because it would be likely to cause the text not to flow so well and be an extra bit of confusion for the reader. If I can do all the titles in English translation, the reader has a more intuitive sense of what is going on. At least the military are all men, so I don't have the problem of needing to use the feminine of Master. The femine of Master is Mistress, and that word carries some connotations of its own, which were not at all what I had in mind. If you say "his master" and then say "his mistress," the second will not generally be perceived as being the feminine of the first; it will be perceived as being something entirely different. This could be a problem in my non-military usage of "master," if there are situations where women take apprentices, which there probably are. I haven't yet decided whether the "sir" that civilians use in order to be polite to each other is the same "sir" that soldiers use when addressing a superior. I had been assuming that they were the same word, but I can see now that they needn't be. Does anyone know whether it would be at all likely that the native forms of these titles might have only one, gender-neutral form rather than having separate forms for addressing males and females? Does any culture do that? The Trehelish language has two grammatical genders, but they are not in the least perceived as being masculine and feminine. Isidora


Adam Walker <carrajena@...>
John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>Titles in conlangs (was: Re: "Madam"/"Madame" Chair/man/person(was: Umlauts))