Sunday, 24 December 2017

24th Lexember Word

urmésko [uɾˈme̞ˑɕkə̆], nominalisation: “named person, child, boy, girl, teenager”

So far we’ve been so busy talking about namelessness and how nameless children are referred to despite their namelessness that we haven’t talked about what happens afterwards, when they have actually been named. How do you refer to them once that’s happened?

Now, we’ve seen that for nameless children, we have words like turáppo, ussáppo (rarely), and things I’ve not mentioned yet like poyá (“child”, i.e. offspring of someone), hóm (“son”) or tán (“daughter”). For adults (i.e. people who have come of age), kár (“person”) does nicely, or more rarely urák (“human being”, used to refer to Mountain Folk only). But for people that have received a name but haven’t yet come of age (i.e. between the ages of about 3 to about 16), the Mountain Folk prefer not to use any of the options I just gave:

  • Ussáppo is just not valid anymore for named children, and it is insulting;
  • Turáppo is only usable for nameless children, except in certain specific contexts (it could still find its way on school reports for instance :-) );
  • Poyá, hóm and tán simply feel too “childish” to be used on children older than 3, except when the speaker is a parent of the child in question;
  • Kár and urák, on the other hand, feel too “adult” to be used on children that have yet to undergo their coming of age ceremony.

So, what’s a good Haotyétpi speaker to do in this situation? In this case, a common way is, rather boringly, to use the nominalisation of urmés. And indeed, urmésko (“one who is named”) has become so associated with children and teenagers that it’s never used of adults, despite the fact that adults have names as well.

from Tumblr

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