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CHAT: International relations in concultures (Was: Re: CHAT: University Advice (was Re: A bit of advice))

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Monday, September 11, 2000, 16:35
On Mon, Sep 11, 2000 at 09:17:42AM -0400, Yoon Ha Lee wrote:
> ObConLang: international relations in *your* concultures/conlangs: lingua > franca? Pidgins/creoles? (If I ever *have* enough languages sketched > out, I'd *love* to do a pidgin! I've always thought they sounded Really > Neat.) General hostilities? Host country or dominant country's language > for any given encounter? No or limited history of diplomacy? Special > forms or registers for diplomacy?
Hmm. I haven't really thought that much about IR in my conculture. But there have been interesting changes in how people related to each other through the history of my con-universe: Era of the Wanderers: The earliest eras in my con-universe basically had a bunch of randomly wandering nomads. Sometimes they fight with each other, sometimes they join forces. Soon, slight technological advances enabled many nomadic tribes to find a more-or-less permanent settlement, and so the Era of the Villagers began. Era of the Villagers: Travel was pretty hazardous back in those days; so after the nomadic tribes settled, there wasn't much communication / encounters between them except for the bold few who still preferred to live (or risk!) their lives travelling. Travellers are often regarded highly by the less courageous villagers, and sometimes, they became the messengers between nearby villages. In this era, many different languages developed, most of which are very divergent from each other because of the lack of mutual influence. Era of the Kingdom: I'm skipping the details of how the Kingdom came about, but basically, my current conlang is positioned in the later parts of this era. This era brought with it vast technological breakthroughs pioneered by the Experts (see my previous post). The Experts are a semi-exclusive group that developed their own language based on their philosophies and their interpretation of the physics of their universe. Because of their great influence in this era, towards the end of the era this language has been adopted as the Official Language of the Kingdom. Also during this time, the Kings actively searched out distant communities (here's the IR part :-) and basically recruited them into the Kingdom. As I've mentioned before, there are three main sections in this con-universe, and the unified Kingdom has to keep the officials in each of the three domains happy. As far as creoles/pidgins are concerned -- these are basically kept to a minimum by the widespread teaching of the Official Language in all parts of the Kingdom. There *are* stubborn remnants of local dialects that remained in the background of the scene throughout the Kingdom Era, which would emerge after the Fall of the Kingdom: Era of Scattering: I'm skipping the details of the demise of the Kingdom here, but basically, it involved a widespread mass-destruction and when it was over, all the peoples were scattered; the three main sections of the con-universe lost communication with each other. As a result, the local dialects that remained throughout the Kingdom Era began to re-emerge, and merge with the Official Language. Because of the strong influence of the Official Language which still carried over after the collapse of the Kingdom, however, most of the language changes here are additions of local dialect elements into the language -- there was no conscious effort to leave the Official Language and go all the way back to the local dialects. Towards the end of the Era of Scattering, commerce emerged, and in each of the three main sections of the con-universe (which remain disconnected from each other) the various divergent dialects that have developed from the old Official Language were merged back into a common language of trade. I could go on further, as I've sketched out two or three more Eras after this, but that's wayyy too far into the future as far as my current conlang is concerned, so I'll skip that for now (unless people are actually interested in this stuff). :-) As far as special forms for diplomacy are concerned... in the Era of the Kingdom, the forms of the Official Language *is* the special forms used for diplomacy. "Unofficial" forms are basically pidgin-like derivatives of the Official Language from the original local dialects. However, education in the Official Language is strong enough and pervasive enough that these pidgins aren't very different from each other, and could be considered as mere dialects of the Official Language. (Dialects, of course, as in the difference between British English and Texan :-P not Chinese "dialects" which are properly completely different languages with the same writing system -- at least as far as mutual intelligibility is concerned.)
> (That *is* a bit of a stretch from the above to this, but hey--I like > stretching.)
[snip] You're awesome. You managed to bring a wayyy off-topic thread back to something about conlanging ;-) (Though I might've brought it off-topic again since this stuff is more conculturing than conlanging :-) T