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On Mon, 26 Jul 1999, Nik Taylor wrote:

> Tom Wier wrote:
>=20
> > At any rate, I think it would be interesting to investigate what would
> > happen to just such a conculture, one which is under the thrall of
> > some overwhelmingly dominant foreign influence and is in the last
> > stages of social and/or cultural death.=20
>=20
> Or better yet, IMHO, a conculture refusing to assimilate, as in the
> later stages of my Kass=ED (which stages I've only looked at briefly).=20
> They were conquered, deported from their homeland, persecuted, and yet
> retained their culture.  That kind of resistance has always fascinated
> me.

Gosh I wish I had peeked into this thread earlier!  In the Province of
Duneint, Kemr has cultures at both extremes of the assimilation
continuum.=20

[A quick geography and cultural lesson: the SE border of Kemr (and also
the Province) with Saxland is a mile or so east of the Avon R.  that comes
out at Bournemouth, follows north to Pewsey then strikes out NE to the
head of the Ock R. then NW for about 5 miles to the Avon R., from here it
breaks away from the national border and follows that Afon west for about
3 miles then meanders off WWNW to yet another Afon R. (which empties into
the Sefern at Martenspont (east of Lydney)). The rest of the border is the
Sefern R. out to the Atlantic Sea (encompassing Lundy) and around to the
British Sea (encompassing the "Holy Isles", i.e., the Scillies and the
Bill of Portland).  Many on both sides of the British Sea consider Little
Britain as part of the Kingdom of Dumnonia, though the legality of the
claim could probably best be described as "tenuous". But one has to fream,
eh!? The Province itself is an ancient political unit (Kingdom of
Dumnonia), which is divided into four underkingdoms, Kernow in the West,
Dunnow in the middle, Dewrow in the SE and Belgeow in the East;  which are
named for the tribes which anciently lived there, and roughly correspond
to the old tribal lands. The political structure is a complicated mess of
Celtic, Roman, Medieval and Modern strata where most of the major
functionaries bear the title "reys", or king.  They're all elected, but
most run in families, especially in Kernow, Dunnow and Dewrow.  It's
something of a backward province concerned mostly with textiles and
agriculture in the east and mining elsewhere with fishing and trade all
around. Paved roads are rare west of the provincial capital (Esca) and by
no means up to Interstate System standards in the east, but railways go
most places.  Dumnonia was an independant country until the eighth or
ninth century, at which time they entered a Union with northern Kemr.=20
This has been a reasonably happy and unshakeable Union; only seriously
undermined in 1806 or so when Kemr, Scotland and Kemr's Archenemy England
entered their own Act of Union, forming the Federated Kingdom.]

In the east of the Province, in Kingdom Belgeow, the dying end of the
continuum is met.  The native language and culture of this part of the
Province are nearly dead.  Only a few thousand elderly speakers of Belgeu
are left in a couple of out-of-the-way corners of the kingdom.  A
particularly vigorous variety of Brithenig (Paesan) spread into Duneint
starting in the 12th century or so and has become the language of the
kingdom by the 16th century.  The native culture is also extinct,
including peculiar musical instruments, local lore, ceremonial dress and
foodways.  The Paesan (Brithenig) cultural forms are now considered normal
in this region.  There has never been a centralised nor strong cultural
revival organisation: within 20 years or so, Belgeow will have more in
common with the rest of Kemr than it has historically had with Duneint.
Most inhabitants think assimilation is a Good Thing, as it means orienting
themselves with Kemr and the FK and the Future.  More than half don't even
know that there _is_ a native language or culture pertaining to the
kingdom.

The West exhibits precisely the opposite attitude.  The average westerner
is either resentful or extremely mistrustful of external "control".  They
fear that Cas Gwent (the National Govt.) will march south and take all
their goodies away.  They are quite proud that their little corner of the
Roman Empire is kept neat and proper, the lingo is kept alive (Legal
Latin), are resistant to modernisation (and especially Vulgarisation) of
the Church.  (Granted that church membership has dwindled over the last
century...)  On the one hand, they are 100% behind Britain (and have been
ever since the 5th century) and have fought with vigour and distinction
wherever the Kemrese High King has sent the Armed Forces; they have been
at the van of Kemrese explorations and etc.  On the other hand, they have
a sense of perfect entitlement to settle their own affairs without the
assistance of some "For'n Bugger from Up North", and precious few attempts
of any class of reform instigated at Cas Gwent have met with success (One
I know of were the three separate times that Royal Academy have tried to
get Dumnonia to go base 10 in counting.  All attempts have been ignored.).=
=20
Linguistically, Kernu (the language of the common folk) has been in a kind
of limbo since the 11th century or so: the language of Cross and Crown was
Latin, while the language of commerce and the wider world and even native
literature was Brithenig.  Up until the last century, Kernu was regarded
as a "poorly devised Brithenig dialect, undoubtedly the product of a poor
and backward race."  The culture was never in great danger of collapse,
but was in grave peril of synthesis with the dominant culture.  A cultural
revolution of sorts [happily instigated by a philologist :D ] overturned
850 some years of looming dominance from the north, swept away the old
ideas of "Kernu dialect", and pushed back the Northern Hegemony.  The
result is an odd combination of relentless patriotism, etc. with an
equally ardent attitude of "Keep off the Grass".  The overwhelming
majority of inhabitants of Kernow, Dunnow and Dewrow see assimilation as a
Dreadfully Bad Thing; they have reluctantly resigned themselves to the Act
of Union.  Near unanimity is found with respect to participation in the
local languages and cultures (including the many immigrant peoples:
Gypsies, Spaniards & French, especially); as each of these have have
melded nicely with Dumnonian culture.  They tend to sadly shake their
heads and cluck their collective tongues with respect to Belgeow and the
sad state that things are in there; and are bloddy determined not to let
it happen here.=20

Padraic.

>=20
> --=20
> "[H]e axed after eggys: And the goode wyf answerde, that she coude not
> speke no Frenshe ... And then at last a nother sayd that he woulde haue
> hadde eyren: then the goode wyf sayd that she vnderstood hym wel." --
> William Caxton
> http://members.tripod.com/~Nik_Taylor/Conlang/W.html
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> ICQ: 18656696
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>=20