Zebesian forms of address
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This public article was written by cemeteryghoul, and last updated on 30 Aug 2020, 05:54.
2. Chozo LoreThe Zebesian language and Chozo culture as a whole places a very heavy emphasis on respect and honour. As a result, there are many different ways to refer to and address someone respectfully. This is not optional, and it is even expected among close companions and lovers.
An important thing to note is the existence of "spiritual classes". They are considered the most valued members of society. The spiritual classes are the tueska, tueska/prophets (which includes both tueska'ŋg, tueska'ŋg/prophets, and s-ska'kīłaje'ŋg, s-ska'kīłaje'ŋg/priests, typically shortened as just kīłaje, kīłaje) and ʘētor-ska, ʘētor-ska/warriors. Those not belonging to the spiritual classes are referred to as žʰnha, žhn·ha, which roughly translates to civilian but honestly means anyone not part of the spiritual classes. For some time there was a push to also include eḍč-ska'ŋg, eḍč-ska'ŋg/scientists, in the spiritual classes, but while this did take hold on some Chozo colonies, it is not in common practice on Zebes specifically.
Now let's look at forms of address.
There are four ways to refer to someone depending on the circumstances.
- If you know nothing about a person, specifically neither their name nor their job/profession, you can call them tór'ār, tór'ār/honoured one. Once a person gives you their name, it is no longer proper to use this.
- If you know the person's job/profession but not their name, you can refer to them by that profession with e', e', in front. This is essentially like vocative "O". So if you meet someone who is clearly dressed as a prophet, you can refer to them as e'tueska, e'tueska/"O prophet".
- If you are very close with someone, you can use the second method, e', e', but instead of their profession, you use their relationship to you. So you could refer to your significant other as e's-skāda, e's-skāda/"O lover".
- If you do know their name, you refer to them by an honorific that indicates their status or age relative to your own. There are three of these honorifics: ina-, ina-, for someone older or of higher status, ʘisa-, ʘisa-, for someone the same age or status, and keγu-, keγu-, for someone younger or of lower status. So, if you meet someone named koe-šūhegʰiṇ, Koe-Šūheghiṇ, and he is older than you, you call him ina-koe-šūhegʰiṇ, ina-Koe-Šūheghiṇ, or just ina-koe, ina-Koe, if you know him better. This is also where the spiritual classes become relevant. You always refer to a member of the spiritual classes as ina-, ina-, regardless of their age relative to yours. Members of the spiritual classes always refer to each other as ʘisa-, ʘisa-, regardless of internal rank.
Note that keγu-, keγu-, is never considered demeaning unless used improperly. It is not offensive to state that someone is of lower status than yourself. For example, calling a student keγu-, keγu-, is in good form, but calling a prophet keγu-, keγu-, is highly offensive. It is also in proper form to default to ina-, ina-, until you know better what a person's position is relative to your own, as it can be hard to tell on first impression. Changing the honorific you use for someone is not disrespectful.
These honorifics are also used outside of when you are speaking to the person. If you are talking about koe-šūhegʰiṇ, Koe-Šūheghiṇ, to tōṛi-neji, Tōṛi-Neji, you still refer to him as ina-koe-šūhegʰiṇ, ina-Koe-Šūheghiṇ, even if he is not present.
It is expected that partners of members of the spiritual classes who are not themselves part of that class to instead use the third method, as it is improper form to call your partner ina-, ina-, but you cannot call them ʘisa-, ʘisa-. Frequently, someone who is the partner of a member of the spiritual class will refer to them in conversation as s-skāda'γá'k, s-skāda'γá'k/"my lover" to avoid calling them ina-, ina-, as well. Of course, other pet names and methods of clarification are common also. If a name must be clarified, however, ina-, ina-, will still be used.