literature

The language of the Stonemen

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From the perspective of I, Duahledro a historian, a Sangite hailing from the Marsehlo Hall for our leaders who wish to associate with our Northern neighbours, the Stonemen. To our North, a border not terribly coherent behind natural barriers: hundreds of Stonemen tribes lie. I have written guides to dealing with them that I hope may address the nobility of Sang. (The Myrcaeiin can do as they wish, it is their grave to dig) Below I document: the language and name-language of the Stonemen. Even the nobility speaks simply, there are no conjunctions between words and one is meant to make these connections in your imagination. They are no less cunning however, and smart chieftains have been known to trick our diplomats into believing they are simpletons easy to conquer or out-bargain. Though they live in low-walled huts with straw thatched roof for the most part, It is unwise to value them at this. The Chieftains greathalls are masterworks by comparison, but foremost is their metalworking and decorating of the nobility, for which I have found few peoples of this world can compare. One can not approach them with the same low-brow attitude that Sangites away from this shifting border bestow unto them. Any of the unsuccessful punitive raids by my previous lordly forebears can attest to this mistake. The base language is not terribly difficult to learn, the regional accents outside the major tribes will give one trouble, but it is likely you will not be dealing with them. Far more complex is famed Stonemen "Name-Language" (a separate tongue unto itself) it is used only for titles of the individual. Though one might hear words from the common tongue, they tie several words together to form one single name, so it quickly becomes confusing to the non-native. One can know the language well, but when introductions come, it is an alien jargon. If the person is of high standing in society they will have a longer name with many individual words tied together, and it is disrespectful to not say it in its entirety (Though often only when introduced and then simpler pronouns are used for the sake of brevity) or give the proper response to one that is long. For the weak of stomach or prudish this is not a language one will want to learn, as the values of Stonemen are: drinking intoxicating beverages, warfare (foremost of these), and copulating. Forever chasing "Vittur" (the Stonemen word for a magical energy which enters you when doing something honourable, upstanding, or important to the gods of which Rix is foremost). Therefore, male names are admonishing of an act usually done in battle, and they spare no detail: “One who cuts men in half with an axe”, “blood-soaked by means of spear punctures” etc. These names are meant to be a true act, are difficult to attain and are given by a chief or someone of exception within society. All acts on the battlefield if extraordinary enough must be vouched by a fellow warrior of reasonably high standing. So a good name (by Stonemen standards) is a great prize, for with it flows status and wealth. A man who guards the chieftain's hall is already a noble of the warrior class, but if his name is something particularly brutal (akin to the ones mentioned before) then it can be easily assumed that this act happened in vivid horrible detail. Names can vary greatly in detail, so I will narrow down the list to the two most important. “-rix” is the most important suffix, It always comes last and is spoken loudest, it is the title of chief, taken from their archdeity of the same name. You will know the chief of course, but never forget to end his name with “Rix”. Boiotilt, is the other, and means Grey of Hair. It is assumed that if you have grey hair you are wise, and it is likely so. The average age in Stones is quite low due to the amount of blood that is shed here. Any one who passes the age of 35 is considered a miracle, any man or woman they would consider elderly is therefore honoured like a noble. Disrespecting these in any way can lead to severe repercussions, and you can read more on this in my other annals on Stonemen culture, it is a sensitive topic for them and there are many rules to interacting with the elderly. In short, give them plenty of room, help them when you can, and use Boiotilt if you do not know their full name. Sexual or dietary names are generally the most in question of seriousness, "of many conquests" is used sarcastically towards men who are braggarts about sex. Any name pertaining to feasting is also meant as a jibe to one's rotundity or inability to handle liquor. Names given to females have evolved greatly and are even more complicated than male due to the social implications and shifting roles. Women are not meant to be associated with war, and yet they are the ones who fire the arrows or stones in battle (a weapon considered too cowardly for men) or valiantly defend the homestead when the men are off to war. Additionally their role varies by tribe, and certain tribes accept women like we do (See my writings on the Golden Steeds) while most are strictly male-centric. A battle name is not unheard of and often given to one another between women, as they serve in the same group of archers or slingers, she will go by another name among men. The most common names are associated with virtues not associated with fighting: crafting, working, how well they keep the home, or take care of the children. About half of the women stay within the villages and take the jobs that are left behind or are less honourable for men, many widows exist and end up being responsible for teaching their children how to fight. There is no shame for a woman who does not want to fight yet the culture is so attracted to warfare that it is not possible to not be drawn into it. It is one of the most contentious issues among Sangites attempting to trade or travel within these lands and one that has gotten many of us into trouble. Names of babies are very simple and never meant to be kept for too long beyond childhood, they can pertain to their appearance, the time of day, or season they were born. Adults in their 20s and higher of both sexes whose name is something simple are well known to be dishonoured members of society. "Glass skin", "Tattooed", "Spiked hair". Names that we might use would be boring to them and not really worthy of dignity. These can be given as a slight, or they are a coward or someone not of note, perhaps a man who seeks wealth or fulfillment through acts that are not associated with warfare or honouring the warrior aristocracy. These dishonoured folk are of the greatest danger to a traveler as they have nothing more to lose, do not deal with them and do not be seen associating with them. I thank my lords for commissioning this work, and hope it finds them well before their journey to visit the Stonemen. It is however one small step in understanding, I have written and my servants have copied many more of my works concerning their culture, please review them if one is to be serious in our dealings. We are of the Blood.

I know there are those that enjoy the snippets of lore associated with my fantasy universe, so I took my notes I have written down and did them more colourfully albeit when I had the time to do so. I have a rather monumental amount of writing concerning each of my cultures and am adding to it so I decided to pick a small thing and give you the perspective of a Sangite historian. Because a Stoneman historian woudl likely just talk about how great they are (unless you're from that tribe over there) (as much as I love them).

Something I have grappled with a lot when I write my lore is forcing myself to subject my creations to things I don't agree with. I felt like if there were going to be cultures that do not accept women as equals then it would be the Stonemen (it's okay there is one major tribe that does).
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Chrispy92's avatar

Interesting indeed. Do you think they'd identify by their clan names as well? Like "of [clan name] Clan?"

deWitteillustration's avatar

For a more detailed description of you as a person eg: daughter/son of, belonging to Firebreather tribe would come after your given name, there are no surnames.

Chrispy92's avatar

Makes sense. I was guessing as much, although I wasn't sure there was a difference between clans and tribes. Thanks for that.

deWitteillustration's avatar

A Stonemen clan would denote a sub-tribe, small group of homes, or a family, living independently or under the protection of a larger tribe.