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CHAT: Phaleran society [was Re: The [+foreign] attribute]

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Friday, September 6, 2002, 15:00
Quoting Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>:

> Thomas Wier wrote: > > > > > There seems to be some evidence that for speakers of a language, there > >is > > > some other specific language that all foreign words are assumed to be > >in. > > > For English, it's French. > > > > > > A lot more on this at > > > > > > > > ObConlang: how do people's conlangs handle foreign words? > > > >Overwhelmingly, most of the foreign loans into Phaleran are > >from the C'ali languages (especially Classical C'ali), which > >together comprise an impact on Phaleran's lexicon something > >analogous to the Latin and Romance languages on English. > >Although Classical C'ali provides the largest number of loans > >and constructions, the language that is actually referenced for > >[+foreign] pronunciations is Trans-Aliderian C'ali, one of its > >daughter languages. > > Slightly OT, but to my knowledge you've never elaborated anything the > sociopolitical interactions of Phaleran and C'ali speakers over time. > You you care to give some basic info? Why has C'ali have such extensive > influence on Phaleran, and why, if Classical C'ali carries such prestige, > is Phaleran now apparently the language of the powers that be rather > than some decentant of C'ali?
When the planet was first settled by humans, most of the settlers spoke languages descended from present day Sino-Tibetan and Indo- Aryan languages. These first settlers were essentially independent of their homeworlds, and evolved socially, politically and economically independently of them (the First Wave). After some hundreds of years, interstellar trade increased greatly, and trading settlements grew explosively in foreign population in a short period of time (the Second Wave). These Second Wavers were typically poorer and came because Phalera was labor-poor and therefore wages were notably better than elsewhere. The second wavers were also set apart by being mostly speakers of Tlaspi, which had by this time become established as an interstellar trading language. The old established First Wave elite encouraged this in-migration, because although the Second Wavers got paid higher wages on Phalera than elsewhere, their rootlessness and poverty made them easily manipulable politically, and the old elites took advantage of this to impress them into a kind of permanent servant underclass. This underclass soon came to vastly outnumber the original elite classes, and increasingly more repressive measures were required to prevent wide-scale revolution. Now, approximately 1100 years after the first colonies were settled on Phalera, a series of economic crises created immense social disruption throughout most of settled space, and in the ensuing political chaos was born one of the first interstellar empires. Most planets were integrated into this empire by force, but the Phaleran old elite had a problem on their hands that could be easily solved by open invitation of the Empire. So, unlike most other planets, whose native elites were dismembered by warfare or internecine conflict surrounding the Empire's wars of conquest, the native elites, whom by this time we may assume were speakers of Proto-C'ali, remained largely intact, and used the proceeds of this relative wealth and power to enhance their political image by artistic and cultural patronage. Later ages of Phalerans consider this the first classical age of Phaleran culture, much in the way we look back on the raw despotism of New Kingdom Pharaohs, whose monuments inspire awe in us even if we deplore their social system. Now, this cozy system of mutual-backscratching lasted for about half a millennium: though dynasties rose and fell, it remained in the self-interest of the C'ali to repress the masses, and in the external powers to possess Phaleran mineral and trading wealth. The last and greatest of these stellar Empires, which pompously called itself the Empire of Man, collapsed spectacularly when an alliance of renegade worlds smashed a series of asteroids into Earth, Venus and Mars, rendering these worlds almost uninhabitable. Historians still debate the exact cause of this collapse; some attribute it to accumulated failures of inefficient government economic policies of centuries prior, while others claim that the Federal structure of the Empire was proven for the sham it had become, and that the large scale and recurrent civil wars were the result of widespread resentment of the concentration of political power, which was inevitably manipulated by the military. Whatever the case, conflict had so weakened the Empire by the time of its official demise in 6241 (in the C'ali reckoning) that on most worlds, human achievement was set back hundreds or thousands of years, in many cases to pre-space travel levels. The Collapse was every bit as meaningful for Phalera as it was for the Empire as a whole*. Taking advantage of the internal weakness of the central government, in the year 6234, revolution broke out in many of the major C'ali centers, including Q'alitë, the residence of the Governor, lead by Cuwannes Eiltai, a half-literate day-laborer of the Xosûni Clan which lived near present day Twolyeo. Though in later centuries he was elevated into a near God-like figure (and indeed was the first ruler in Phaleran history to whom a ruler-cult was instituted) by the new Phaleran elite, his successes are clearly the result of a combination of native military genius, a keen sense of public suasion, and a good dose of good luck. After sacking Q'alitë and other C'ali centers, enslaving their populations, imprisoning the Governor, and forcibly marrying two of his daughters, he returned to his center of operations in Twolyeo, about a thousand miles to the East, and proclaimed himself the legitimate representative of Imperial stewardship on Phalera by crowning himself the new Governor (or _Ahra_ in Phaleran). So, rather than fundamentally changing the way affairs were run on Phalera, he redefined the old power relationships in such a way that his ethnic class came out favorably rather than unfavorably. Among his innovations of governance is the dual Chancellery of C'ali and Twolyeo affairs, by which he sought to govern C'ali speaking regions and his own without his intendants becoming wholly assimilated to C'ali culture, and the establishment of the Gubernatorial Academy of Twolyeo, which began the process of standardization of the Xosûni tongue. (Due to a quirk in the administrative machinery of the new regime, the ministry of propaganda was situated in the same building, and as a result the Xosûni tongue, a Tlaspian language, came to be called Phaleran, and has with much argument remained so every since.) Although later generations failed to maintain his military conquests in full, his regime based in Twolyeo to this day is by far the most powerful Great Power on Phalera. *(The Tlaspian speakers use a separate calendar from the C'ali, based on the date of their claimed liberation.) ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637