|From:||Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 10:07|
For some reason, my conlangs always accrete vocabulary items that are difficult
to translate into real-world languages. People may recall old threads about
Tairezan political terms.
Now, this is usually not because I consciously set out to divide semantic space
in foreign ways, or due to my concultures being very alien. It just "grows" out
of seemly obvious etymologies and usages.
Latest example is the Meghean word _moear_ [mo'jar]. It used to mean "sword",
but thanks to among other things _catearan ben moear_, etymologically "sworn
ones under sword", refering to members of a camath (Elvish feudal entity)
called in to serve their lord/lady as soldiers (in opposition to professional
household troops and to mercenaries) it has come also to mean "weapon"
or "weapons" in general, since the typical equipment of catearan ben moear has
changed from swords to bows (which in turn has various socio-military reasons I
shan't here detail - explanation is addictive, I'm afraid). To top it off, the
old word for "weapon" has gone out of use. So the present situation is that by
its own, _moear_ typically means "weapon", but in derived forms typically
still "sword", eg _moearbho_ "swordsman, fencer".
_Catearan_ is a bit troublesome too - I above translated it as "sworn ones",
since the root is the verb cat- "to swear (someone) allegiance". _-ear_ is a
more or less agental ending, and _-an_ the pl, so more literally something
like "swearers of allegiance", but with the lexicalized implication that they
are in the position of having sworn someone allegiance, not that they currently
are so swearing.
Then we get the same with a negative prefix; _achatear_ "someone having
renounced allegiance". The exact meaning of this involves the Elves of the
Chamant's rather inflexible concepts of loyality and honour. Whether you openly
renounce allegiance to your lord/lady, or just silently betreys him/her, he/she
has every right to have you executed in a maximally painful way, but only in
the later case does he/she have any right to look down on you. In the former
case you're an _achatear_, with your honour intact, in the later a _goembho_
['gwemBo], something like "traitor", with your honour lost. Can anyone think of
a convenient way of making the distinction achatear~goembho in English?