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Speaking Beladanese, Chapter III

by Lexi Summer Hale (@velartrill)

Time to take a well-earned break from grammar and focus on some nouns and pronouns. So far, the only pronoun we've learned is is [is], which is one way of talking about yourself. But is has a dark secret: it can only be used between certain people!

Belad has a strict distinction between slaves and freefolk, as well as between women and men, and this is very evident in its language. Slaves are expected to maintain a certain sort of decorum in how they speak, and using the wrong pronoun, whether you're free or a slave, can cause all sorts of trouble. Is can only be used when:

Men can't use is at all, because Beladanese has gendered first-person pronouns! The male first-person pronoun is cuala. Let's practice some sentences from a male perspective.

  1. I am fashionable.
    Cuala cardastache.
  2. My uncle fucks goats.
    Ramma te tira cuala cha gabra.
  3. My trees are on fire.
    Panchem cue cambe cuala.
  4. My uncle is on fire.
    Puenche te tira cuala.

Men always use cuala between each other, regardless of status.

Now, what about when women are talking to men? Or to women they aren't close to? Here's some examples:

This can be thought of as a continuum of self-aggrandizement. Ranked from most-submssive to least, they are inochandi, asmari, is, enna, and iranda. The rules for men are much simpler.

Phew! Let's try some practice.

That's enough for pronouns right now, don't you think? Let's finish off this chapter by practicing some new vocabulary.

  1. te fena sister
  2. te tama brother
  3. bosta to have
  4. tamande to steal
  5. te bostagan* slave
  6. te cambescan forest
  7. te tig boy, son

*Any word that ends in "(a)gan" doesn't obey the normal stress rules! This is a leftover from Old Beladanese which had a much more complicated stress system. Basically, the "(a)gan" suffix doesn't count for stress calculation like "(a)che" does, so work out what the stress would be if it wasn't there - in this case, BOS-tagan [ˈbos.ta.gan].

From now on, in exercises where it matters, we'll specify the gender of whoever is speaking as the Beladans would perceive it. We'll also try to give some hints about formality, but English is spoken by people with very different ideas of social hierarchy than the Beladans, so don't feel bad if you can't guess which level of formality is meant.

  1. (f) My brother's stealing a slave, ma'am.
    Tamande te tama asmari te bostagan.
  2. The thieving boy is in the forest.
    Ramma te tamande tig te cambescan.
  3. Iranda bosta te gabra.
    I have the goat.
  4. Ascarna cardastache.
    I am fashionable, mistress.
  5. (f) Slave, I'm on fire!
    Enna puenche!
  6. (m) I'm fucking an elf, ma'am.
    Ascuala parna te hali.

Don't miss the next chapter, where we'll talk about negatives and second-person pronouns!