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On Sat, 14 Oct 2000, Adrian Morgan wrote:

> Yoon Ha Lee wrote:
>
> > It *is* a neat idea. I have to join the club, though. The worldview in
> > Chevraqis is so different I'd make Utter Hash of anything Biblical, and
> > while God might forgive me, I wouldn't forgive myself.
>
> Not having the vocabulary is such a 'purer' excuse :-)

<laugh>

I probably don't have a *lot* of the vocabulary, but with 50 morphemes
that Do Strange Things in verb/adj/3-kinds-of-noun forms, I don't have
much excuse on that front.

> I've not developed much of a culture around my lang, but there are a
> few hints here and there.

I had the culture *before* the lang.  The lang is really an aid for a
fantasy novel-in-progress, _Origami Souls_.  (Hey, it's up to 14 chapters
and some 20,000+ words).

If I ever get around to designing Meep there will won't be an associated
culture per se unless you count that of hungry and sleep-deprived college
students.  ;-)

> I took the name from stories I have written, so they might shed some
> light. In "The Clawmark", which I wrote when I was 16/17, the Gzarondar
> Mountain is central to a lost civilisation, and inside its caverns lies a
> strange mind-influencing force. The 'Tester' tests the strength of mind
> of people wishing to venture into the caves, to discover if they are
> strong enough to withstand the power, but since he is blind (a
> necessity), his services are in fact optional. The legends of the people
> describe the force in terms of a legendary giant eagle as it punctures
> the flesh of its victim. Actually it's something of an analogy for human
> sexuality, and there's no WAY that I'm going to explain where I got the
> idea (let's just say I wrote the story to take my mind off certain
> things, and also as a communicative measure).

<g>  I've destroyed most of my earlier stories, especially the ones I
couldn't figure out how to salvage anything useful from.  Anything that
survived from high school or earlier usually gets mutilated terribly when
I try to turn it into a viable story.

With the giant eagle I would've thought of Prometheus, myself.  =^)

> In "The Cries of an Injured World", a project currently on hold, I
> re-use the 'Gzarondar' to mean the planet that my hero, a wizard, comes
> from, and the name of the wizard is the same as that of a lesser
> character in 'The Clawmark'. There's not a lot of theology there apart
> from the responsibilities of being a wizard, which are considerable.

Magic exists in my conculture but is generally regarded in an animistic
sort of fashion.  What theology there is didn't really come from the
magic system, but from my memories of folk religion and Buddhism and
what-have-you in Korean.  I've *tried* portraying
institutionalized--la-Catholicism (my knowledge of which ends shortly
after the Protestant Reform--what I get for focussing too much on
medieval history) religion, but I can never get it right.  :-/  At some
level I fundamentally don't understand that sort of ritual and culture
well enough to attempt to write about even fictional versions thereof!

> In the language (not necessarily connected to either of the stories) the
> culture is basically monotheist. The word for 'God' /roKi/ is a
> contraction of a phrase meaning 'Master of Time' /rOno KOn ji/ and 'time'
> is often used to mean Reality. For example the word for 'true' /ijIn/
> means 'coming from time'. Also note that God is living gender, not
> masculine or feminine. However, the language associates the past tense

As a female, I rather appreciate that.  =^)

> with the masculine and the future tense with the feminine, which implies
> a former association with a god and goddess. This implies that life on
> earth is (or was) associated with the journey of sperm before conception,
> which in turn implies that considerable emphasis on the afterlife should
> be expected.

Very neat!

I still haven't figured out completely how sex fits into the conculture.
It's a subject that fictionally I detest dealing with.

The gods "currently" worshipped are vestiges from older cultures in most
cases: the Shatterer, a trickster-god, and the Horned Mare, a
death-god(dess, but the language doesn't distinguish between male and
female anyway) who is also regarded as the older and more compassionate
deity, and both come from the steppe horse-peoples.  The Horned Mare with
her crescent horn probably had fertility connections that I need to work
out someday.  She is also regarded as partly responsible both for the
both of the world and the bringing of death (in the sense of souls going
Beyond--a sort of afterlife, though the belief is that a soul in some
sense persists if it is remembered, instead of being lost to oblivion
once killed, as happened before the Horned Mare opened the Gate Beyond).
I should post the first part of the creation myth sometime.  :-p  The
Shatterer is much more capricious, responsible for both good and ill, and
is associated more directly with the shadow-void from which the world was
born.

> If I were to develop a culture seriously, I would include elements from
> my own faith, particularly those that are analogies or images that I find
> useful as opposed to universal representations of Christianity. For
> example I would develop a philosophy along the lines of the 'Game of
> Signatures' as defined at web.netyp.com/member/dragon/god_signatures.htm,
> possibly using the name 'Players' to denote a prominent religious
> movement.

<wry g>  When culture-building occasionally my own beliefs filter into
the culture's belief-system, but I don't specifically set out to design
them that way.  OC, I belong to the semi-perfectionist-wannabe school of
worldbuilding.  It would be neat to try something like what you've
described, though my own faith is so messed-up and uncertain it'd really
come out confused!

More kudos to you.

Cheers,
YHL