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:
- You're a freewoman talking to another freewoman in your family.
- You're a freewoman talking informally to a friend who is also a freewoman.
- You're a freewoman talking to a slave you want to show particular respect.
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.
- I am fashionable.
- My uncle fucks goats.
Ramma te tira cuala cha gabra.
- My trees are on fire.
Panchem cue cambe cuala.
- 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
- A freewoman talking to another freewoman she does not know uses the respectful pronoun
asmari to talk about herself.
- A freewoman talking to a female slave normally uses enna, but may use is or on
rare occasions asmari to show particular respect.
- A freewoman talking to a member of a ruling clan, a priest or inquisitor of the High Church, or
the Assembly in Rosamár uses inochandi, a very submissive pronoun.
- A freewoman of a city's ruling clan will use is when speaking to women from other clans.
- A female slave will use inochandi when speaking to a freewoman, asmari when speaking
to other slaves and men, and is when speaking to friends.
- A freewoman speaking to a male slave uses iranda.
- Female priests of the High Church always use asmari for everyone, even male slaves, when acting in an
- Inquisitors of the High Church, regardless of gender, use enna when speaking to most people, and iranda when
- People will often use iranda or enna when angry, regardless of normal social boundaries.
Young people may use inochandi in a mocking way.
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.
- A freeman speaking to a freewoman in his own family or a female slave will use ascuala.
- A freeman speaking to a freewoman outside his family will use ascarna.
- A male slave will use ascarna with everybody but friends.
- A man speaking to any other man or to a friend will always use cuala.
Phew! Let's try some practice.
- A freewoman is walking home from inspecting her mother's holdings. A slave tries to sell her a newspaper,
and refers to herself as inochandi. The freewoman responds using enna.
- A mildly annoyed woman refers to herself as enna after another freewoman accidentally
trips her. Apologizing effusively, the perpetrator refers to herself as inochandi.
- A slave is outside a house and sees a freewoman about to fall from a ladder. When she catches the woman,
she refers to herself as inochandi, but the freewoman uses asmari
to show her gratitude.
- A woman goes to a brothel with some friends. She uses is to talk about herself.
- A freewoman furiously denounces a rival clan to their face, and uses iranda to refer to
That's enough for pronouns right now, don't you think? Let's finish off this chapter by practicing some new
- te fena sister
- te tama brother
- bosta to have
- tamande to steal
- te bostagan* slave
- te cambescan forest
- 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.
- (f) My brother's stealing a slave, ma'am.
Tamande te tama asmari te bostagan.
- The thieving boy is in the forest.
Ramma te tamande tig te cambescan.
- Iranda bosta te gabra.
I have the goat.
- Ascarna cardastache.
I am fashionable, mistress.
- (f) Slave, I'm on fire!
- (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!