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Re: Personal Conjugation based on Closeness

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Thursday, March 27, 2003, 16:02
On Wed, Mar 26, 2003 at 03:42:18PM -0800, Arthaey Angosii wrote:
> Emaelivpeith HS Teoh:
> >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). > > At what point do the Ebisdeians[1] draw the line?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^ !!!! *cringe*
> Would it break into "initimate" { aejhel, scadhel, chisél } and > "distant" { geithe, nimordh }, maybe?
Perhaps, although there is a difference between acquaintance as in "I don't know him that much but we're in this together" and acquaintance as in "I don't know him that much and I'm not sure I want to". So I'd say, the line is somewhere in the middle of your _nimordh_. Also, the division is hardly restricted to the 20 people you know; people with familial ties are automatically in the "intimate" category. (Unless they've been disowned or involved in something so dishonorable the family is too embarrassed to acknowledge the relationship.) So the intimate category might also include dojhel, sajhen, and chijhik as well. Having said that, though, the precise distinction between intimate and distant also depends on the speaker's mood and (possibly changing) opinion of a person. Two people in the same immediate family can have very different ideas about who is "intimate" and who is "distant". A classic example is in the Ebisedian entry for the 4th(?) Relay. The woman's son refers to his friends as _3jumii'_, plural epicene intimate pronoun; but the woman refers to them as _3jhidii'_, plural epicene distant pronoun: clearly, she wasn't particularly happy with their noisy playing.
> [1] Or is Ebisedian only used as the language name? And the people > would then be the Ebisedi?
That's right. And mind you, "Ebisedi" is a plural noun... the correct singular form is "Bisedi". Please, no "ebisedians". :-)
> >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. > > Exactly! How cool that we ended up with such similarly weird stuff! :)
Must be the conlang equivalent of anadewism. :-)
> Except in Asha'ille, you can use the non-telepath pronouns in > conjunction with the telepath ones to clarify.
There are no other pronouns in Ebisedian, so clarification is done using either demonstratives ("this he" vs. "the next he" vs. "another he") or something called "noun association". Noun association is a syntactical tagging mechanism in Ebisedian, where you "tag" a particular noun referent with one of three possible "associative tags", and then use the same tag on your pronoun when you're referring to that referent again. This is used to disambiguate situations where otherwise identical pronouns would be used to refer to two different things. E.g., consider the following passage: He was walking with his father and another man, and he told him that he will visit him again. This passage is highly ambiguous: does the "him" in "he told him" refer to the father or the other man? who does the "he" after that refer to? who does the last "him" refer to? In Ebisedian, however, this is completely unambiguous: kich3'm3 cup33'd3 ropii'z3d3 l3li's Ke. <1>He <2>father <3>man walking on-the-one-hand kichi'd0 tww'ma rochi'du t3, isu'i cuch3'd3 luy's kichi'du. t3m3. <1>he speak <3>him that in-future <2>he go <1>him. - Here, <1>, <2>, and <3> indicate which associative tag is attached to each noun and pronoun. These correspond with the prefixes _ki_, _cu_, and _ro_, respectively. In the second sentence, these tags make it very clear who is being referred to: <1>he --> the son, the "he" in the first sentence; <3>him --> the other man; <2>he --> the father. Here, all pronouns are intimate. Presumably <3>he is related to <1>him and <2>him, or is a close friend of <1>him; so <1>he would not use the distant pronoun on <3>him; however, <2>he might, depending on how <3>he is related to <3>him. ;-)
> For example, plain |shaveith| could mean any of "you speak," "he > speaks," "she speaks," "they speak," or "y'all speak", and could be > addressed to anyone. (Note that for the plural translations, it's > required that either all the people are in your geithe or that the > closest one of the people are only as close as your geithe -- meaning > the people can only be in your geithe or nimordh; none referred to by > the -eith could be in any of the inner circles. I'm not sure yet how I > want to handle the various "we" forms.)
In Ebisedian, there being no 2nd person plural, handles inclusion and exclusion by explicitly listing the parties involved. For example, _eb3' 3jwm33'_ "I and you(intimate)", i.e., exclusive "we"; _eb3' 3jh3d33'_ "I and them(distant)", a sorta reverse-exclusive "we", _eb3' 3jwm33' 3jh3d33'_ "I, you(intim) and you(dist)", i.e., "we all", inclusive "we". Note that the intimate plural pronoun does NOT include the speaker.
> If you want to narrow the meaning down without resorting to body > language or context, you can _add_ a non-telepath pronoun. So long as > you conjugate by telepath-style, you can freely add a non-telepath > pronoun without being insulting. So |shaveith aet| would settle down to > the single meaning "you speak", specifying that the "you" in question > belongs to my geithe and not some other ring.
Nice idea of swapping conjugations. :-)
> |Shaveith ar| "he speaks," |shaveith ah| "she speaks", |shaveith airim| > "they (unspecified genders) speak". (One could rightly conclude that > Cresaeans mostly care about gender only secondarily, as a means of > clarification.)
In contrast, the Ebisedi are extremely pedantic and snobbish about referring to people with the right gender at all times. When one is unsure, the epicene must be used, but only as long as the relevant party's gender remains unclear. One is expected to pick up hints and switch pronoun gender as soon as the information becomes available. Failure to do so at the right instant labels one as an ignorant outcast who does not know the rules of society. The rules are rather convoluted and very pedantic; I won't bother expounding it any more than this. :-)
> On the subject of calling them "rings" or "circles" or whatnot... The > Cresaeans don't really imagine the networks as being electron rings the > way I initially suggested. Instead, each people you have bonded to is a > _direct_connection_ to that person.
Whereas in the case of the Ebisedi, it all just depends on the speaker's mood and what he thinks of you.
> They visualize it as the length of the bond being inversely proportional > to the closeness of the person to you. So it looks more like spokes > than circles. The people with the three(-ish) shortest/closest bonds > make up your aejhel, and so on for the others. Only the nimordh is seen > as an amorphous ring circling at distance from you and the rest of your > bonded people.
Oh, so the size of each "ring" is not fixed? I thought it was fixed, for some reason.
> >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". > > How interesting. It works exactly opposite in Asha'ille (although I don't > know if that's historical-linguistically likely...). The conjugation for > the closest ring, |-ejh|, became a term of endearment[2], |ejh|. The > "nimordh's nimordh", aka |cresón|, became usable in a second sense as a > regular word meaning simply "stranger".
That works too. :-) For Ebisedian's descendent langs, I'm probably going to discard the intimate/distant pronouns and introduce colloquisms(sp?) like _odi'n_ (gender prefix + (misused) substantive particle). So you have _`ydi'n_ "female one" = "she", _edi'n_ "male one" = "he", etc.. Just an idea that just occurred to me. :-)
> [2] Actually, I'd independently created the identical term of endearment > _months_ ago. When I realized the striking similarities, I knew I'd found > the correct conjugation. :)
> >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! > > This is like my |ejh|, ne?
Not sure, here the pronoun is used more like the regular noun that it used to be than a pronoun. [snip]
> >I unconsciously use intimate pronouns as 2nd person and distant as 3rd, > >but they are really independent of person. > > That must be all that bad Terran language influence we got as children. ;)
[snip] LOL... T -- Roasting my brains over a slow fire. Please do not interrupt this process.


Arthaey Angosii <arthaey@...>