Hello Cruel World
Monday, February 06, 2006
English has several words for different types of cattle ...
I'm repeating this post below, which comes originally from the blog's beginning, in 2002, because it's still relevant, and has been discussed again recently by people around me.
One of my reasons for reading science fiction/speculative fiction (as opposed to sword & sorcery style fantasy or space-located varieties of westerns, &c) is that it can deal with all sorts of ideas & speculations about humanity, society, reality, &c. This edited extract deals with a subject that's been discussed very many times.
From "Inheritor" by CJ Cherryh (p 365 of my paperback edition): Third in a series set on an alien world where stranded humans are co-existing uneasily with another race who are said not to have emotions in the same way as humans. CJC tends towards the 'higher' end of 'space opera' — lots of action & excitement, but reasonable characters and touching on bigger themes — tho' she also does other sub-genres. The protagonist is a translator.
"Not love, he thought to himself. And then thought, ... maybe they'd had such rotten luck with the love and man'chi aspect of relations because that word in [English] blurred so many things together it just wasn't safe to deal with.
They were lovers. But Ragi said they were sexual partners.
They were lovers. But Ragi said they were associated.
They'd made love. But Ragi said there they were within the same lord's man'chi.
They'd made love. But Ragi said there were one-candle nights and two-candle nights and there were relationships that didn't count the candles at all.
They'd made love. But a Ragi proverb said one candle didn't promise breakfast. ...
He was quite out of his depth trying to reckon that. But with Jago he certainly wouldn't count the candles. Whatever they could arrange, as long as it could last from both sides, that was what he'd take."
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