Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

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

From:Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 11, 2003, 0:08
At 05:00 AM 11/10/03 -0800, you wrote:
>--- Isidora Zamora <isidora@...> wrote: > > >:) Note the capital M! I was going to ask how > > the > > >Cw and Tr differ, but you answered that.
The one thing that slipped my mind to mention about physical appearance is that the Cwendaso are very nearly beardless. Their men grow fine, dark hair on their faces, but the hair of their beards lies down flat against the skin and never grows long enough to need any sort of trimming or shaving, sort of like very dark peach fuzz. Trehlish and Nidirino men, on the other hand, do grow beards, some of them more thickly and some of them more sparsely, but they will all have beards if they do not shave. I haven't decided exactly what the current fashion in facial hair is. I think that a lot of men shave and a lot of them don't, and it may depend a good deal on social class, with men from the upper class more likely to shave. I think that, generally, a man either shaves or he doesn't; they don't wear just moustaches or anything where only part of the beard is shaved off, although I might be wrong. I believe that soldiers are allowed to wear beards, but they must be kept neatly trimmed and relatively short. If a soldier isn't capable of growing a neat-looking beard (and remember, Trehelish become adult when they turn 15, so you have some young soldiers whose beards have not finished growing in yet), then he will be required to shave to maintain a neat appearance. It may also be a generational issue, with older men (at the present moment) more likely to shave than those a generation or two younger. It's probably a combination of social class/profession and age (and your wife's preference.)
>Ah. Is it uncommon, then, for people to learn >other people's languages?
Very uncommon, except in the case of Nidirino learning Trehelish. Some Nidirino are monolingual, some are completely bilingual, and some speak Trehelish with varying levels of proficency. Some Trehelish people who live in areas of mixed Trehelish/Nidirino population learn some Nidirino, especially if they marry a Nidirino or have close friends who are Nidirino, but few ever become fluent. One reason for this is because they don't have to become fluent. Another reason is that Nidirino is a tone language, and that gives them fits. There are only two tones, high and low, plus some derived rising and falling tones on the diphthongs and geminate vowels, but it still gives them fits not knowing whether they have just said "lily" or "cucumber" when all the sounds are the same. (Both words are /katale/, but "lily" is LHL, and "cucumber" is L.) They're also not fond of the geminate vowels, since Trehelish doesn't have any geminates. (Oh, dear. Have I been conlanging? On this thread...please forgive me.) Some Cwendaso in the southern portions of the mountains near Trehelan learn a small amount of *very* rudimentary Trehelish in order to make it easier to travel south and trade for things that they want. A few Cwendaso traders, the ones who earn their living primarily by trading, learn more extensive Trehelish, but they generally do not become truly fluent. There is one Cwendaso family that I can think of, about half a century ago, who lived in Trehelan for at least several years and became fluent in Trehelish (at least one of the children learned to read and write) and taught the Cwendaso language to a wealthy Trehelish girl. (And this girl became very important to both Trehelish and Cwendaso history as a young woman because she could speak Cwendaso.) I don't know what became of the Cwendaso family; this is a gap that I need to fill in. There is one other bilingual household, located in the northeast of Trehelan. This is Jostei Tatwcenstob Shohon's family, and they own a large farm. They are Cwendaso, but it's a strange situation. If you remember from one of my previous posts, Shohon (and his siblings, of course) has a Cwendaso mother and a father who is half Trehelish and half Nidirino. The father looked entirely Nidirino, and he was culturally Cwendaso, because he had been abandoned by his father when he was seven, and Cwendaso found him and adopted him. Tatwcen (Shohon's father) ended up inheriting his father's farm, so he moved his Cwendaso family down to Trehelan. That was a unique situation. There weren't any other households like that one in all of Trehelan. Tatwcen (I don't know his Cwendaso name) managed to cause a stir locally by throwing down a pare altar on the land he had inherited (if you want to know what a pare is, parein are at the bottom of my page on Trehelish religion), and even the Death priests are sometimes afraid to dismantle a pare altar. Shohon managed to create another stir years later by building a bone barrow for his parents (and for any other Cwendaso in the extended household.) These are the only two instances I know of of Cwendaso taking up residence in Trehelan. Oops. I do know of one other family that lived in Trehelan for a few years and will mention them below. Mostly, Cwendaso don't even go to Trehelan, and the Trehelish never go into the mountains north of their border. Trehelish almost never learn the Cwendaso language at the present time. I know of only four. Only two of them were fluent, and only one of the latter was perfectly fluent. The one that was fluent was the wealthy Trehelish girl mentioned in the above paragraph. I don't know her birthname or patronymic, but her adultname is Amwendove. She learned Cwendaso as a child and remained fluent thoughout her life. Amwendove's nurse also learned some Cwendaso, but she is now dead. A soldier in Sovchilen, who knows Lady Amwendove, took an interest in learning Cwendaso, but so far as I know, he never became fluent, although he did learn a good deal. The only Trehelish person who became perfectly fluent in Cwendaso is the main character of my story. Jevet/Khedyosu fled Trehelan (for very good reasons) when he was 28 years old and ended up among the Cwendaso. Returning to his native land was not an option (he would have been killed if he had), so he learned to speak Cwendaso, and eventually married a Cwendaso woman. He came to think of himself primarily as Tovláug, rather than as Trehelish and the Tovláugad around him also treated him as one of them. It is his family that are the only other Cwendaso family that I can think of who ever took up semi-permanent residence in Trehelan. So that is the long answer to your question. No, they generally don't learn each other's languages.
> A Daine at that time >would be mistaken for the worst kind of >streetlife, if you could only hear him speak and >not see him. It wouldn't be immediately apparent >that he's not human. The more a Daine talks, >though, the more convinced an upper class human >would be that he's no more than some Eastsider. >On the other hand, the more a Daine talks, the >more convinced a LOWER class human would be that >he is actually a Daine. They can tell because, >though the accent is kosher, the lexicon is more >varied. Daine still carry (apart from a few >native words) lots of 500 year old slang. >Naturally, an educated human wouldn't pick up on >that.
That's very interesting that some people can tell and others can't, and why. It's rather like the Trehelish not being able to tell a half-Cwendaso when they see one, but Cwendaso can frequently see the difference. (Not that there are many half-Cwendaso in the first place) Shohon was always perceived as being a Cwendaso who spoke Trehelish (and in some ways he was), rather than as half-Cwendaso. I have a fairly clear mental imange of his face, and the features are not really correct for a full-blooded Cwedaso. His facial features are too sharp, and most Cwendaso would know by looking at him. Not that they'd care, though. Cwendaso aren't racist. They were perfectly accepting of Shohon's father as a blue-eyed blonde Cwendaso and as Jevet/Khedyosu as a light-skinned, gray-eyed Cwendaso. Tovláugad do strongly believe that they are more civilized than the neighboring cultures, especially the Trehelish, but that is due to culture, to being Instructed, and a person can easily be one of them wihout having been born one of them. Upon meeting Jevet/Khedyosu's family, one of his (Trehelish) friends asked him what it was like to have children who didn't look like him. (Yes, I know that the question was tactless, but the Trehelish and Cwendaso each have their own ways of being tactless, with Trehels generally being the more tactless of the two by far.) Jevet smiled and responded that they did look like him. He also translated the question for his wife, who agreed that the children, except for one of the daughters, did look like him as well as like her. They had his nose, and their faces were more angular than a Cwendaso's would normally be. One of his sons looked especially like him. But all that his Trehelish friend could see was the skin color. Some of this is also because the average Trehel doesn't see that many Cwendaso, so, when they see that distinctive gray cast to the skin, they immediately know that someone is Cwendaso without knowing that there are other typical physical characteristics.
> > In daylight, > > you can't fail to know which race someone > > belongs to. In strong enough > > moonlight, you would still be able to tell > > which race someone belonged to > > by how light or dark their skin and hair are > > and by the facial > > features. There are certain types of facial > > features strongly associated > > with each of the three races. Cwendaso, for > > instance, tend to have round > > faces, and Nidirino faces tend to be long and > > often oval. > >Hm.
And I think that there is a good description of typical Cwendaso features on the website and a less full description of what is typical of a Nidirino. Trehelish people are more varied, partly because they have intermarried so much.
> > >For reasons not entirely clear, copying by > > >hand > > >doesn't have this side effect. > > > > My world doesn't have that sort of problem. > >Lucky bastards!
For some reason, you can use that particular word, and Eudora doesn't flag it with a pepper (indicating spicy content in the message), and you've used, or we've quoted, that same word about three times earlier in this thread, and my mail client wasn't bothered by it. However, one of your earlier messages in the thread did get two peppers, and I absolutely couldn't figure out why until I reread the message very carefully and found that you had stated the Daine wings were probably originally sexual attractants. I think that it must have noticed the word "sexual" and rated the message with two peppers because of it. (I am testing out that theory here by using what I think was the offending word in this message. If it arrives in my mailbox with two peppers, I'll know what did it. There are a couple of funny stories that I could tell about perfectly innocent content that got messages labeled as spicy, but I can't tell them in this message, because it would invalidate my test.)
> > Trehelish books are not exactly cheap, but they > > are affordable. A lot of > > individuals or families own small or large > > private libraries. > >What sort of books are in their libraries?
What's in a library depends highly on the tastes of the owner of the library, or on the tastes of the owner's predecessor, since libraries are accumulated over the course of generations.
> How do >they categorise books?
This is not the sort of thing that I have really thought of before, so it is a very good sort of question for me to have to answer. There are medical books, but those are for physicians, although there might be one or two written for laymen. There are probably also books of specific interest to people in certain trades. Of more general interest are books on history and philosophy. There are probably books on science and natural history for those interested. There would also be books on religion, telling the stories of their gods. They write poetry of more than one genre, historical epic being one of these. I don't know if they write fiction or not, but I suspect not. I expect that there is a book or two out there written on rhetoric and on composition, as well as on educational philosophy. And of course there are primers for learning reading. There are also textbooks on basic arithmetic as well as works on more advanced mathematics. I don't know whether there is a Trehelish equivalent to Vitruvius' Ten Book on Architecture or not. The Trehelish are not the architects that the Roman's were, but the public buildings in Sovchilen are fairly impressive stone edifices. (And Vitruvius, by the way, contains an absolutely charming proof of how wind is produced by uniting the elements of fire and water. It's priceless and makes you question how much of what we think we know today will later be disproven.) I'm not certain whether there are any books specifically written for reading aloud to children or for children to read, but I rather suspect not. I expect that they read historical or religious works to them. I do know that children do not begin to learn to read until at least age 7 (although I do know of one exception to this rule.) There are probably collections of miscellaneae along the lines of _Noctes_Atticae_, and I think such books would be quite popular (I know that *I* greatly enjoyed the selections that we read from _Noctes_Atticae_.) Some cultures have been in the habit of individuals publishing their diaries or private correspondence. I don't know whether the Trehelish do that or not. Cicero's speeches were published, but I don't know whether the Trehelish do anything similar. They might, because the government is centered in Sovchilen, and that is a long way away from some other parts of the country, and there would be interest in knowing what is going on there, and that would be one way to track events. I don't know whether they write biography or not; I expect that they do, to some degree. I'm sure that I haven't exhausted the possibilities yet (there might be books on the principles of art and music), and any further suggestions would be appreciated. (I'm not certain that I have exactly answered the question that you asked about how *they* categorize books, but at least I've told you what sort of books there might be.)
> Libraries in the World are >largely confined to monestaries and schools.
There aren't any monateries, just temples, and there would be some books there, but probably not vast quantities. Schools would have libraries. There are schools where one can learn basic literacy, and I think that there is at least one institute of higher learning in the country. Most education is handled by tutors.
> Very >few individuals own books, and those that do are >doctors or other highly educated persons.
Doctors have books, especially medical texts. Wealthy landowners or merchants are generally educated themselves to varying degrees and will try to have their children educated as well as possible. Printers learn the trade by apprenticeship, and frequently become quite well-educated by reading a lot of books. Printers also compose works (especially news) for printing, and so have learned the art of composition. (Jevet's a printer, which is how I know what I do about the role of printers in Trehelish society. Jevet also learned another profession, which was the reason that he fled his country and couldn't return. That's how I know much of what I do about the criminal justice system in the Trehelan.) There are a large number of well-educated individuals in the country, and they all have books. > Your mention of body hair reminds me of a
> > question...I remember from the > > portion of your webpage that I had time to read > > that Daine men often do not > > wear clothing above the waist (and I can > > understand why not with the > > wings.) Does the same go for Daine women? > >Yes.
I suspected as much.
> > And how do Men take that? > >They take it very happily, thank you! ;)
I suspected that, as well.
> > >Hm. We haven't talked about actual corpses for > > >a while. > > > > Well, we do need to make an effort to keep > > threads on topic, even OT ones :) > >Yes. We might get booted otherwise!
Oh, c'mon! If they haven't booted us yet for having an extended concultural discussion on the CONLANG list (and I would feel bad about that, exept that it seems to be the only thread on the list today and the major one yesterday), then they're not going to boot us for not keeping it on topic.
> > The > > braid for a dead person starts out with many > > small braids that begin at the > > edges of the scalp and at the midline, moving > > toward each other > > (perpendicular to the midline of the scalp.) > > Where the braids meet, along > > each side of the head, they are grafted into a > > braid that runs along the > > side of the head from front to back. When > > the neck is reached, the rest > > of the hair is just braided normally and tied > > at the end. This leaves two > > free braids hanging down in back. When the > > dead person is laid out, the > > free ends of the braids are brought forward > > over the shoulders and run down > > the chest. > >Oo. Interesting!
That particular braid that I described has never been worn by a living person - with two exceptions, both of them special cases. There are a number of traditional braids that are worn only for certain occasions and which denote certain things. The braids worn during a wedding are of this sort, but I do not know what the wedding braids look like. Eventually, I will invent them and write a description of them. Cwendaso like to braid their hair very inventively in general, especially for special occasions, but participants who have a special role in certain ceremonies (such as bride and groom, widow, etc.) will wear their hair in the prescribed braid for the occasion. Isidora


Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>
Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>