Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Language Lesson: Pofnu

Mirrored from Sythyry.

Pofnu is what they speak in Hajina. It is sort of like Ketherian, but, like all divergent languages, tosses out some useful and important things, and elaborates the impedimentia beyond all reason. Or beyond all chance of memorization.

Unlike our trip to Srineia, we don’t have anyone on board from a Pofnu-speaking region. We have some energetic linguistic students, like Strappie, and some experienced linguistics students, like Hrone. So we had a study group a few times, before it sort of fell apart due to a general lack of interest.


Strappie:My absolute favorite part about Pofnu is that it’s very very precise! Like, ‘padi’ is thick cloth, like felt or something, and ‘dejing’ is thin cloth! So far that’s just an important distinction we don’t have in Ketherian! It’s important! You won’t be trying to buy thick pajamas in Hanija and buy thin ones by mistake!”

Me: “A mistake I have never managed to make, even in deficient Ketherian.” What I really meant is, I don’t go looking for ‘thin cloth’, I will go looking for ‘aerophane’ or ‘cambric’ or ‘grenadine’ or what have you.

Arfaen: “That’s because you sleep in the fireplace when you’re sleeping alone. No pajamas there!”

Nalche: “I’ve never bought pajamas. Stolen them from my sister a few times though.”

Strappie: “But! It goes beyond more than that! When you fold that cloth, you ‘geno padi’, but you ‘geyi dejing’! See, it’s two different verbs too!”

Nalche: “And this is a good thing?”

Hrone: “For the employment prospects of language teachers, certainly.”

Me: “Anyone who wants a few extra weeks to try to memorize all those verbs before we get there, see me in my laboratory after class.”

Arfaen: “Especially cute Orrens! Hey! Sythyry, what’s that vicious look for? I’m just trying to help you out here!”

Caste Markers

Hrone: “Now, different sorts of people will use slightly different vocabulary when they talk to each other.”

Jyondre: “I read about this! The good news is, it’s easier than Srineian. The bad news is, it’s different from Srineian.”

Hrone: “I don’t know about Srineian…”

Jyondre: “Srineian is very simple! We have status markers on pronouns, mostly. So Sythyry used I-nob to imply that zie was a noble…”

Me: “Falsely!”

Hrone: “Well, Pofnu doesn’t do that. You don’t say you’re a noble — you say you’re higher or lower status than the person you’re talking to.”

Jyondre: “That is so obnoxious! Suppose I say I’m higher-status than you, and you’re really a Great Baron but I don’t know it?”

Hrone: “I believe that the Guild of Administerers of Social Correctives can be called in that sort of case. You might call them hired torturers.”

Strappie: “No! Don’t call them that! They will torture you for it!”

Jyondre: “I think this completely proves my case. You can’t be tortured for missing status markers in Eigrach or Heleshario!”

Hrone: “Foreigners probably won’t be tortured in Hanija either. Not for that anyhow. Just use the neutral markers and you should be fine.”

Me: “Very good. What, then, are the neutral markers?”

Hrone: “Well, that depends on what sort of a question you’re asking. For a ‘where’ question, the marker is ‘kuza’; for a ‘how’ or some ‘why’ questions, it’s ‘tasapahu’, and for most other questions it’s ‘ropaf’.”

Jyondre: “What about for statements and commands?”

Hrone: “You can’t give a command without knowing the status of the person you’re commanding. That’s not Hanijan, that’s just politeness.”

Me: “And statements?”

Hrone: “Oh. Statements. That’s in the advanced book. I didn’t get that far yet.”

Phaniet: “We’re going to be so very, very rude.”

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.