Language Play: Goddess blessing

When Naj meets his fellow dancers, he uses a traditional pri’mn greeting. “Li’Daea’mn yt ki’n, ÿ’arieÿ’ehna.” Immediately afterward in the text, I offered this loose translation: May the Goddess’s blessings sing to your souls. As you might have suspected, it’s not quite that simple. Let’s break it down.

Li’Daea I’m hoping by now you’ve all come to recognize this one. Li’Daea, from Li and Daeos brought together in a more poetic form to be a specific goddess’s name, rather than just “Light God”. She’d pretty much “The Goddess” of serpent mythology, though she’s recognized in many other shifter pantheons too. But if a serpent is talking about deity, they’re most likely talking about this one.

mn yt ki’n With it’s little apostrophe attaching it to Li’Daea, the pri’mn word for music is given specificity: Li’Daea’s song. In this music worshiping culture, “song” carries a lot of weight with it, especially as it’s followed up with a mention to ki’n, an artist’s passion or inspiration. In serpent terms, mn yt ki’n could be translated to mean “heart and soul”.

ÿ And this is where things get messy. You might remember from the forms of address video the a’ e’ o‘ and eij‘. These are gonna color pretty much everything else you hear in pri’mn, because they set the tone of what’s being said, and can sometimes drastically change the message’s meaning. English doesn’t always have a tidy solution for pri’mn grammar (seriously, all these apostrophes and dashes drive me crazy, cause they don’t always mean the same thing) and the divine mode of address is one of these messy places. eij has that funny j in it because that’s how my brain tried to related the character to me. The ÿ seen here is another such attempt. I’m not totally clear on what makes this reference gods and the lesser eij simply reference super respect, and I’ve honestly not pestered my characters about it too much. Deity address will happen so rarely, and there’s so much else about this language that I barely grasp, that I decided it wasn’t too important. Just know that when ÿ shows up, it means the most serious of business.

’arieÿ arieÿ is a conjugation of aria, which is a verb that loosely means “to sing into being”. It’s the m equivalent of aret, to dance into being. While the serpents who speak this don’t know it, the fact that this blessing uses aria instead of aret shows that it comes from a culture when song magic was just as prevalent–or maybe even more important– than dance magic. In our modern era, that would point to the avians. Hmmm….

’ehna And lastly, the receiving end of said blessing. Since Naj is using ehna, it tells us he’s either a) Not deviating from the standard usage as it’s most likely to be recognized that way or b) isn’t comfortable using a more familiar ending like ohna, indicating closeness while maintaining a “proper” form, a more relaxed but still respectful e, or the  most relaxed, a simple o.

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