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OT: Corpses, etc. (was: Re: Gender in conlangs (was: Re: Umlauts (was Re: Elves and Ill Bethisad)))

From:Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
Date:Monday, November 3, 2003, 21:18
>\> One additional piece of > > information that might possible figure in or > > might not is that somewhere > > between 1500-2000 years ago, the ancestors of > > the Cwendaso/Tovláug were > > anamists and ancestor worshipers. This might > > possibly affect how human > > remains are seen today, > >Sure. If you have a great respect for your >ancestors, I'd think you might tend to continue >personalising their remains.
That's quite possible. What I haven't figured out yet is if they are in the habit of going to the barrows and talking to departed friends and relatives, or if they believe that their spirits cannot possibly hear them or perhaps no longer care about things in the land of the living. If there are any reflexes left from the old religion, then they would expect the departed to still take an interest in this world, even if they can no longer affect things here, therefore, they might go out to the graves and talk to them when there is something on their mind.
> > but that seems unlikely to me, because there > > was a > > sharp split between the people who kept the old > > religion and the ones who > > accepted the new religion and became the > > Tovláug/Cwendaso. The Tovláug > > essentially rejected the entire religion of > > their forfathers and migrated > > and became a separate people. It seems > > unlikely that too many relics of > > the old religion would have remained. > >Possibly. Even so, there are a lot of Jewish and >Pagan elements that live on in Christian >religions, even though they are changed somewhat. >It is certainly possible that some important >aspect of the old religion survived.
One survival (in addition to the possibility mentioned above that they might be in the habit of talking to their dead, not expecting any answer, of course) may be that they have absolutely no fear of handling human remains and no concept of the spirits of the dead as being anything frightening. (They also have no concept of the spirits of the dead having any sort of power, and that is a complete break with the old ancestor worship.) When they worshipped their ancestors, they were in the habit of having and handling their bones, and I think that this much carried over. There are only a few days of the year when the bone barrow is open, but, when it is, everyone takes the opportunity to go into the barrow, and they do touch the bones, especially the skulls, which are all set apart in the room nearest the door. This custom is probably some sort of reflex left over from the old religion. This attitude towards human remains is in stark contrast to that of their southern neighbors. The Trehehish are incredibly frightened of uncremated human bones, due to their cosmology. The Trehelish believe that the spirit of the dead person is still tied to this world until the body has been cremated. They also believe that ghosts are dangerous to the living, so it is necessary for them to cremate the dead in order to prevent the world of the living from filling up with ghosts. The other option available to them is to perform certain religious rituals that will keep the ghost tied to the grave-site and prevent it from wandering and harming anyone. But it is still not safe to enter the gravesite itself, except wearing special talismans, and no one enters graveyards except the gravediggers and the priests. The only reason that the Trehelish even keep graveyards is that is is an attempt to punish executed criminals even beyond death - by refusing to release their spirits through cremation to go where they ought to go. (The same rituals used to "bound" a criminal graveyard have also been used on all of the Cwendaso barrows in Trehelan. These barrows are left over from the centuries before the land was taken over by the Trehelish.) I think that I will probably give the Cwendaso language two words for "bone." One will refer to animal bone, which they carve into various implements. The other will refer to human skeletons, which they are very careful with, because they do not allow human remains to become defiled. The bone of a living person (e.g. I broke a bone in my arm.) will be referred to with the same term used for animal bones so that, if you break your arm, it doesn't sound like you are defiling human remains. Now that I think about it, the Trehelish, with their pathological fear of uncremated human bones, may need more than one term corresponding to "bone." I suspect that I can get away without creating specialized lexical items, though, if I simply use a set of idiom such as "charred bones" and "uncharred bones." The only reason for caring whether bones are charred or uncharred is if they are human bones, so the "human" part of the semantic content takes care of itself.
> > (And in case you were wondering, the > > two names are because the Trehelish, their > > southern neighbors, call them > > "Cwendaso" i.e. "the people of the Cwendas > > Mountains," and they call > > themselves "Tovláugad," that is, "The > > Instructed." The singular is "Tovláug.")
That -ad ending, by the way, is not a plural marker but a multal marker. Cwendaso has four grammatical numbers: singular, paucal, plural, and multal. So "Tovláugad" indicates that we are talking about a whole lot of them together, more than just plural. (I don't even know what the plural ending is yet...I should do something about that. I think I did make up a paucal affix at the same time as I made up the multal, but I'll have to check my notes to be sure.) And, by the way, the name Trehel that the Trehelish call themselves means "emmigrant." The Cwendaso/Tovláugad simply call them "Southerners." They came up from the south and conquered the land that they now live in, but I think I talked about that some weeks ago. They also currently live to the south of the mountains where the Cwendaso relocated to following the Trehelish conquest of their lands, so the Trehelish have always been southerners as far as the Tovláugad are concerned.
>Ah, interesting! "The Instructed" meaning what? >What are they instructed in?
They were instructed by "The Instructor" (Tovléis, tovl - 'to instruct' + pres. act. part.), who came to them. He didn't tell them who he was, but they believe that he was either one of the gods or a messenger of the gods. The first thing that he told them was that the spirits of animals, which they worshipped, were not divine, and neither were the spirits of their ancestors. That shook them up a bit. He proceeded to instruct them in how they should live. Most of Tovléis' instruction of the People is preserved in a brief work called Tovlm (meaning "The Instruction" from tovl - 'to instruct' + -m, nominalizing suffix.) Tovlm in English can be found on my website, at the bottom of the Cwendaso section. Tovlm in any diachronic variation of Índumom Tovlaugadóis does not yet exist because the conlang is not sufficiently developed to translate it into the original. (And, in order to translate it into the modern-day original, I am going to have to translate it into Proto-Cwendaso first, since that was the language of its original composition, then take the Proto-Cwendaso text through the phonological and syntactic changes that will render it into the syntactically (but not phonologically) conservative "ceremonial" dialect of modern Cwendaso.) Tovlm is the oldest "poetic" work in the Tovláug oral corpus and the only one which must be memorized by every Tovláug child before s/he can become an adult. Not all of the People received The Instruction. They all heard it from Tovléis, but many refused it and maintained the old ways. Within 80 years, the lack of religious unity was causing extreme tension between the Instructed and the Uninstructed. The tension was exacerbated by the natural warlike tendencies of the People. It was common at that time for one village to raid another one and return home with the spoils. Tovlm forbids all but defensive warfare and also forbids the killing of noncombatants. Within another 100 years, the Instructed all migrated east over the mountains, leaving their Uninstructed kindred behind forever. Incidentally, the Tovláugad began their reckoning of years with the year that Tovléis came to them. I think that I am going to have to start with that year and create an outline of their history moving forwards (or is that forward?) from that time, because they have a rather unusual method of reckoning units of time longer than a year. They reckon in "lifespans." There is a celebration, the centerpiece of which is a recitation of their entire history as a people, at the beginning of each lifespan. Each lifespan ends when the last person alive at the beginning of it dies. This means that each lifespan is a different length, and that the length of each lifespan must be memorized by historians. The cannonical formua for giving the year is "in the nth year of the nth lifespan." I have no idea what lifespan they are currently in. I do suspect that the first year of the first lifespan was much closer to 1500 than 2000 years ago, though, especially as I have positioned their initial migration early in their history.
>I don't think I ever said, but "Daine" is the >native name and means "People" (s. Tana);
Before they became "Instructed," and identified themselves as such (Tovláugad, from the stem tovl - 'to instruct' + aug - perf. pass. part. + ad - multal number), they called themselves "The People," although I do not exactly know the native term from that era. The modern Cwendaso word for person is éimikh, so the modern Cwendaso call their ancestors Éimikhad, but that is certainly not what the word would have been in Proto-Cwendaso, some 1500-2000 years ago. Those of The People who remained Emitovláugad, that is, Uninstructed, as the Tovláugad call them, I assume still live west of the western mountains to this day and, I assume, still call themselves The People.
>Wildings is what most Men call them. "Daine" is >often prefixed by some other name element and is >used to distinguish amongst the various >ethnicities and races of Daine. Such as >Sharrundaine (Sun People, who inhabit >Westmarche); Troaghladaine (Slave People, who >live all about); Hautheredaine (Boat People, who >sail upon the seas). > >I mentioned long ago that Talarian comes from >Talar + Arias, "Lords of the Land".
This is all interesting information. It's always interesting when the two of us end up talking about Daine and Cwendaso/Tovláugad. BTW, how do you pronounce Daine? I have assumed that it is [daine] with the stress on the first syllable. (BTW, the accent marks on the Cwendaso words - and, boy do I hate typing them - indicate stressed syllables, so every word of more than one syllable should have one. If you don't see one, it is for one of two reasons: either I forgot it, or, more likely, the stress is on a syllabic sonorant consonant, such as the <l> in <tovl>, and I can't indicate it because I am not Unicode enabled, although I am working on that. Isidora


Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>TECH: Unicode email clients (was Re: OT: Corpses, etc. (was: Re: Gender in conlangs (was: Re: Umlauts (was Re: Elves and Ill Be
Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>
Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>