The Dailies. March 29
Did you work on your language today? Create any new rules of grammar or syntax? New progress on a script? New words in your lexicon?
On the other hand, do any excavating or reading or enjoying stuff you’ve already created? Do you have any favorites to share?
How did you conlang today?0
2 thoughts on “The Dailies. March 29”
Hello again! Today I’d like to talk about just one word, or at least one root, and its different meanings in Beldrēni. I discovered it when thinking further about the naming conventions of the people.
Starting with the root: rēn (present tense neutral style), which is now archaic as an active verb. It originally meant something like ‘direct, steer’, and later took on a meaning of ‘assign, delegate’, before it was supplanted by other words and fell into disuse.
The perfect participle rēnö [‘re:nø], however, lived on in several forms.
min rēnö originally meant ‘assigned person’, meaning someone directed by a person in authority to work alongside a third person in a professional sense, whether as an assistant or a supervisor (and frequently something a bit of both: someone who helps out but also reports back to the person in authority who assigned them this duty).
This concept still exists, but now it’s more often covered by pana rēnö, which also means ‘assigned person’ (as both pana and min can be translated with ‘person’ in English: they have slightly different connotations in Beldrēni on their own, but can often be exchanged with one another, too). This is often written together as panarēnö.
Meanwhile, over time the rēnö of min rēnö came to be understood as meaning something like ‘connected’ rather than ‘directed, steered’, which eventually led to a secondary meaning of min rēnö being developed. This new sense began as ‘acquaintance I’m not related to’, but later grew into ‘friend who’s not from my clan’ (and who might in fact be from another ethnic group as well). This is today the dominant meaning of the phrase.
(Note that the existence of this phrase should not be taken as to imply there is another out of commonplace or remarkable about such friendships. They are very common. For one reason or other the Beldrēni simply felt the need for a distinct word for them.)
Now then to the naming convention! While it’s not terribly common, sometimes a Beldrēni will pick a name from another language as their official coming-of-age adult name. (It’s more common for such names to be assigned to children as their first ‘town name’/’winter name’; or to be nicknames for adults.) When this happens, the name gets –rēnö tacked at the end, officially, otherwise it somehow doesn’t count.
Say for instance that a young Beldrēni man who in wintertime lives in the city of Jalbena wants to pick Kasi, the name of a folk hero from the region, as his adult name. He can do so, and if no prominent nickname arises he may find himself addressed by everyone he knows as ‘Kasi’ from now on, just like he wanted. But the name in the official clan records and city census will be written as ‘Kasirēnö’.
This ending, unlike the rēnö of min rēnö and panarēnö, is often realised as “rēne” ([‘re:nə], [‘re:nɛ]) in speech, and sometimes spelled that way by mistake. The ending, like most Beldrēni nominal endings, is gender neutral.
Finally, rēnö may even be involved in the name of the ethnicity itself. It is generally believed that the first part of the name for the Beldrēni people comes from the small town of Belda on the eastern side of the North-East Continent. The second part is very uncertain, but it’s possible that it comes from rēn, although the -i ending is hard to parse. Perhaps it meant ‘those who direct/steer Belda’, i.e. the rulers of Belda? Perhaps instead it meant ‘directed by Belda’, thus designing a subjugated people? Or maybe something like ‘assigned to Belda’, which could possibly point to a loose confederation of tribes who might not originally have been related to one another. But this is all wild speculation and there could well be a completely different origin.
I absolutely love all of this, not least because secondary meanings, semantic change, and names in particular are some of my favorite things!