The Dailies. April 5, 2023

The Dailies. April 5, 2023

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?


6 thoughts on “The Dailies. April 5, 2023

  1. New words for Beldreni and related customs. Note that in Beldreni the /k/ always remains the same hard [k] sound regardless of whether it’s followed by a front or back vowel.

    hēzumetti (n) ‘household’. From hēzum, ‘hearth, fireplace’

    ankö (v) ‘greet’. Formal style anköya, familiar style anko. Infinitives are anköso when used on its own, ankönan when used with an auxiliary. (The stress moves to the penultimate syllable for ankönan but not for anköso. -so is one of a handful of Beldreni suffixes that don’t change the stress.)

    ankötti (n) ‘greeting’

    ātekankötti (n) lit. ‘threshold-greeting’, as ātek means ‘threshold. See commentary further down.
    ranekankötti (n) lit. ‘family altar greeting’. Also the phrase ranek di anköso/ankönan
    hezum di anköso ‘to greet the hearth’, expression describing a Beldreni tradition. See commentary. When used with an auxiliary verb, it’s hezum di ankönan.

    anköira (v) ‘to introduce, to present’, transitive verb formed with the causative suffix -ira. Gulka do gulmin di anköira = ‘To present/introduce someone to something’. Gulmin do gulmin di anköira = ‘To present/introduce someone to someone’.
    anköirö (n) ‘person who has been made known to someone/to some specific circumstance’, ‘familiar person’, ‘person in the know’; ‘initiate’

    kinon (adj) ‘inner’. From ki, postposition meaning ‘in’, ‘inside’ (and also a prefix that can turn nouns into adjectives, e.g. aki, ‘happiness’; ki’aki, ‘happy’).

    ātek kinon ‘inner threshold’; alternative term ātek jen, ‘second threshold’
    ātek pakon ‘outer threshold’; alternative term ātek vas, ‘first threshold

    Commentary: When you visit a traditional Beldreni household in a town or city for the first time, after being let in through the outer door, you would first wait in the shoe removal area to be invited in over the inner threshold (regardless of whether you come invited or on your own initiative). Someone from the household will welcome you in, usually with a few words and a simple gesture, which you answer in a similar brief manner. There are a handful of set phrases used for this.
    If you are only there for a temporary errand and don’t plan to come to this household again, that might be all that is necessary. You go to the next room in the house, convey your business (for instance handing over a letter or telling a piece of information you have been trusted with), then you depart again with another brief polite phrase and gesture. For any kind of social call, though, your host is expected to guide you further into the house to the room where the main hearth of the house is located. This is usually regarded as the heart of the household. (Although the family altar in the inner courtyard can be seen as the household’s “second heart”, and some families place it even higher than the hearth.)

    In front of the hearth your host will use more elaborate words and gestures to introduce you to the spirits of the house, which are echoed by the guest as well. This is to make sure that your presence will not introduce disharmony and impurities into the household. These specific ritual words and gestures vary not just from town to town but from clan to clan and even from family to family, so the host is expected to coach the guest into saying and doing their part correctly.

    After this ceremony has been gone through once, the guest is now seen as a proper visitor who can go anywhere in the house at least when it comes to religious/spiritual purposes. Obviously the next time the guest visits, they’re still expected to politely wait to be let in, but they can walk past the main hearth with only a small polite gesture. And usually the same is true for when they go into the inner courtyard where the family alter is, though some families insist on a second (but briefer) ritual for that purpose.

    The hearth introduction ceremony might still need to be repeated in the future, if a long time passes – like a whole long Summer – between the guest’s visits. But even then the second introduction is usually a somewhat shorter version of the first one.

    For smaller, poorer households, there might just be one main room and so the guest will pass before the hearth immediately after crossing the second threshold. In such cases the elaborate ceremony takes place right away by the threshold instead.

    In rural houses, Summer or Winter, most of the above still holds but the initial wait might be after crossing an outside gate, and the ‘threshold greeting’ might then be performed as the visitor enters the house proper instead.

    (Other ethnicities often have similar customs, though many place greater importance on greeting the family altar than the hearth.)

    If a new visitor for some reason – like an emergency – runs into a house including passing the main hearth without doing the proper ceremony, he or she is expected to return at a later date and perform a rite of expiation and purification to mollify the spirits, performing humble words and handing over a gift to be sacrificed to the altar. Should this not happen, an actual priest might need to be called for, depending on how devout/superstitious the members of the household might be.

    1. I forgot to say that non-traditional homes (for instance boardinghouses, student housing…) would usually have their own versions of the greeting ceremony, but there is less clarity and more uncertainty when strangers visit such homes for the first time… especially since not everyone in the house might be Beldreni, and while as noted it’s common overall to have some kind of greeting ceremony of this kind, it’s not universal for all ethnicities. Also the way the Beldreni divide up house spirits into three kinds (ancestral, tied to the house as location, or tied to the household as activity) is actually a little unusual.

      A brand new building which is shared by several families and/or single people might not even be assumed to have any guardian spirits in it yet, although one would hope to attract them. In such cases perhaps there might be a particular object in the building or courtyard that is used for ceremonies instead of the central hearth or altar – an object that’s donated to the building and which is (believed to be?) infused with sacredness.
      I could see how this could be a fine source of income for priests actually, to provide new non-traditional homes with such sacred objects.

    2. So first of all, I love all this! Including the terms and the variations on practice and how they view the hierarchy of importance to this stuff. My immediate question that sprang to mind, is do all guests observe this? If someone is rude or threatening or otherwise adversarial, are they still motivated to show proper respect to another’s home?

      What is the difference in pronunciation between ö and o in this language? I’m sure you mentioned it waaaaaay back when but my brain is not recalling.

      1. Oh sorry! Should have used the IPA. I’m using the Swedish orthography here where the letter ö stands for the sound [ø] . (Well, and in Swedish it also stands for [œ], when spelling out letters and when followed by an /r/… but the /r/ thing definitely doesn’t happen in Beldreni, and I haven’t fully settled yet if [œ] occurs phonemically in any other contexts. Leaning towards [œ] being a regional variant of [ø].)
        The letter /o/ signifies [ɔ] for the most part, sometimes [o].

        Regarding rude visitors – excellent question! The most obvious type of occasion where I can see someone flaunting the ceremony rules entirely would be when a callous bastard of high status visits someone of lower status. As usual, such people find it easy to lie afterwards and often be believed, as long as they treat their peers according to the rules. Understandably, such wanton disrespect towards your household’s guardian spirits tends to engender a great deal of anger, perhaps even more than when the actual purpose of the visit was bad enough (to demand a loan be paid back immediately, for instance).
        But much more commonly – and this might happen between social peers as well – would be when a rude guest would perform the ceremony but in a perfunctory, careless, and graceless manner that would irk his host while still retaining deniability on the guest’s part.

        The flipside of this would be that there are sure to be hosts that demand overly much deference and extra complicated rituals of their visitors, as if they think they’re high priests on a particularly important festival. Then they would take (or pretend to take) great affront if the poor visitor refuses to perform the ceremony perfectly. Exaggerated versions of this phenomenon would be a popular comedic trope in fiction.

        (Really good question, thank you!)

        1. No worries! I fail to give anyone IPA myself and I 100% do not stick to the same romanization schemes every time, bad me.

          I love both sides of this! The comedic trope of extra fussiness, as well as the the rude side. I love your worldbuilding so much. (send up smoke signals if you ever do publish this stuff)

          1. Thank you so much!

            Sticking to the same romanization is sooo tricky! I have deliberately gone with different schemes for Beldreni vs Nahul, to provide visual variety… but I still keep changing my mind just within each language! Especially for long vowels, my beloved linguistic feature I simply cannot do without in my conlangs, but find so hard to represent consistently and pleasingly…

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