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Re: Personal Conjugation based on Closeness

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 26, 2003, 22:31
On Wed, Mar 26, 2003 at 01:28:13PM -0800, Arthaey Angosii wrote:
> As a side effect of being telepathic, Cresaeans "bond," with varying > strength, to the people around them. Cresaeans see their bondings as a > sort of network, centered at the self. The 3 people closest to you, that
[snip] Cool! You won't believe this, but you've just explained something about the Ebisedian pronominal system that I didn't quite have the words for. Only, in Ebisedian there are only 2 "rings", the "intimate" and the "distant", and the rings aren't really fixed (they fluctuate depending on the speaker's mood). The intimate pronouns are always used to refer to people the speaker regards as close to him (in terms of relationship, not physical distance), on his side, in his "inner circle", etc.. The distant pronouns are used for everyone (and everything) else. Ebisedian has no concept of 2nd or 3rd person; the exact same words may be addressed to you, or be referring to you but addressed to someone else. You have to rely on body language to know which is which. (A bit of etymology here: the Ebisedian pronouns arose from original terms of address, similar to how in Japanese, students always refer to the teacher as "teacher" instead of using a pronoun. The original meaning of what are now the intimate pronouns was "friend" or "close one"; it still retains this meaning in some contexts.[1] Similarly, the original meaning of what are now the distant pronouns was "stranger". Over time, the pronouns in the original language were lost, and these became pronouns in their place.) [1] One such context which arises frequently is the idiomatic term of address which suffixes a person's name with a corresponding pronoun; for example, _`ylii' `yjubi'_ [Hy"li: HydZu"bi] (Ylia the Close One). It is roughly equivalent to saying "my dear Ylia" in English. The corresponding address with a distant pronoun is _`ylii' `yjhiti'_ [Hy"li: HyZi"ti], "Ylia the Distant One". It carries a less personal, more formal tone, which may be better translated as the formal term of address "Miss Ylia". Another context is when the intimate pronoun is used as a term of adoration: _co'mi. co'mi._ "my dear, my dear". Strictly speaking, _co'mi_ is a pronoun; but it'd be very odd to translate this as "you, you" --- totally different connotations in English! [snip]
> These terms describe the ring itself, not the person in them. That is, my > best friend is _in_ my aejhel, she is not the aejhel itself.
Cool, I'll have to coin words to describe the "intimate" and "distant" ring-equivalents in Ebisedian. [snip]
> These pronouns are now reserved for things which are not telepathic -- that > is, the ring-scheme conjugations are only for telepathic beings (kinda like > the distinction we make for sentience). A telepath can be intentionally > "downgraded" to the non-telepath pronouns as an insult.
The Ebisedian pronouns have nothing to do with telepathy, but an analogous insult exists: if you suddenly start addressing a close friend with a distant pronoun, it's an insult, or a hint that that person has offended you. On the other hand, if you start addressing strangers with intimate pronouns, it can cause them to wonder if you were an unknown relative, or you were being flirtatious, or perhaps dishonest and trying to sweet-mouth them into a scam. [snip]
> One last note, and then I'll leave you alone (if you even got this far > <grin>, in which case I thank you).
I did get this far. :-)
> For me personally, living here on Earth, a planet noticeably > telepath-deficient, I use the telepath pronouns for sentient things and > non-telepath ones for everything else. If I were on Cresaea, I'd have > to change my deviant ways. :)
[snip] I unconsciously use intimate pronouns as 2nd person and distant as 3rd, but they are really independent of person. T -- Don't get stuck in a closet -- wear yourself out.


Arthaey Angosii <arthaey@...>