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Phaleran Imperatives and Politeness markers

From:Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Monday, August 27, 2001, 15:10
In the last post, I touched on Phaleran imperatives, inasmuch as the
Swallow Song is about requesting and demanding.   To understand
Phaleran imperatives and politeness, some background in Phaleran
social structure is necessary.

Phaleran society (by which I mean all those societies on the planet
Phalera that speak the language of that name or some variant thereof)
is rigidly divided into at least six main social castes:

    Caste:                                        Percentage of Population:
    'Inveterate' Nobility                                 0.01%
    'Noviate' Nobility                                    3.0%
    Philosophers and Scientists                      6.0%
    Bourgeoisie                                            33.0%
    Urban Proletariat                                    42.0%
    Rural Peasantry                                      16.0%

These castes are a result of a complex history of colonization, desolation
and reconstruction that happened over several millennia of time.  The
'Inveterate' nobles are those that can prove a direct patrilineal ancestry
back to Earth, while the 'Noviate' nobles are those who can trace their
patrilineal ancestry back to the founding of the first colonies on Phalera,
or such as those who are granted novitiate status by the ruler at the time.
In both cases, nobility is heritable, and intermarriage is, in most states,
legal.  It is frowned upon, but is somwhat common due to the fact
that many Inveterate families have long since become quite poor, while
Noviates often hold immensely vast estates.  In lands subject to the
governor of Twolyeo, however, Inveterates are uniquely able to buy and
sell property independently of the Imperial authorities -- all others, whatever
other class, are theoretically only temporarily tenanted on the personal property
of the Governor, and can be removed on a whim.  With other castes, the manner
in which they are treated varies somewhat from land to land.  In theory,
philosophers and scientists exercise privileges only for the duration of their lifetime;
this is especially the case in Twolyeo, where they form the bulk of the Imperial
bureacracy, the positions of which are obtained by comprehensive examinations.
In practice, it is exceedingly difficult to move up in society, even if one does well in
examinations, which are open to all, except the nobility, who automatically get
sinecures from the government.  For these reasons, the position one has in
society is jealously guarded, and neglecting to observe the correct codes of
politeness can be a pretext for enduring feuds and even warfare.

Politeness Clitics

That having been said, the grammaticalization of politeness works from the
top down:  one only need use a politeness clitic if one is speaking to someone
from a higher social caste. If the difference between the addresser and the
addressee is two classes or less, the second person plus the appropriate clitic
is used;  if the difference is three classes or greater, the third person plus the clitic
is used with second person meaning. A 6 x 6 matrix of these clitics can be formed:

d            1            2            3        4        5        6
d   1        -            -             -        -         -        -
r    2        -ya        -             -        -         -        -
e    3        -eilu      -tañke     -        -         -        -
s    4        -arsâ    -c|a         -c|hu   -         -         -
s    5        -hailo    -xoru      -ssa    -ena    -         -
e    6        -krû      -wenas    -aña   -erhu  -elpha -


Imperatives are somewhat less baroque.  Firstly, there are morphological
imperatives only for groups of classes, or for those of the same class, not
for each individual class.  These groupings go back to a time when the
number of distinct social classes was smaller, and therefore there was less
need to distinguish between them.  Unlike the politeness clitics, these are
relative constructions.  Another difference is that the morphological imperatives
exist only in the progressive and perfective aspects.

                                                      Progressive                      Perfective
First Person Imp. Plural               *-skhga > -s.ka                *-nkhga > -ñ.ga
Second Person Imp.
   - same class (*yei)                    *-sšyei > -š.yei                 *-nšyei > -n.tšei
   - 1 or 2 class below (*sni)        *-sšsni > -š.ni                   *-nšsni > -n.tšni
   - 3 or more (*hwa)                   *-sšhwa > -šwa               *-nšhwa > -n.tšwa
    - same class                             *-slyei > -s.yei                  *-nlyei > -n.drei
    -1 or 2 class below                  *-slsni >                    *-nlsni > -n.tri
    - 3 or more below                    *-slhwa > -hlwa               *-nlhwa > - n.hlwa
    (Phaleran has no third person imperative.)

As I mentioned in my last post, if you are speaking to someone of a higher rank
than yourself, then you do not use a distinct morphological imperative at all, but
rather use the verb in the irrealis mode, plus the politeness clitic, with the imperative
particle _ga_ in sentence final position.

Any questions or comments?

Thomas Wier | AIM: trwier

"Aspidi men Saiôn tis agalletai, hên para thamnôi
  entos amômêton kallipon ouk ethelôn;
autos d' exephugon thanatou telos: aspis ekeinê
  erretô; exautês ktêsomai ou kakiô" - Arkhilokhos