Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Suzette Haden Elgin and Láadan

Here's an article about a language created by and for women's perspective. I knew Suzette; she was one of my first famous writer-friends. I wrote college papers about her work. We actually connected when I mentioned that I was doing one on women's invented languages. She handed me her then-unpublished manuscript for a sequel to Native Tongue so I could copy precise quotes from it.

I'm one of the people who has kept that language alive and in use. I'm not fluent -- few people are -- but I own the dictionary/grammar and I taught a class on it in the Grey School of Wizardry. That included me adding a few suggested augmentations to make the language more useful to spellcasting, because if you look at the grammar, you can see how well it lends itself to certain locking and unlocking features.

I also use certain words whenever I need them. Radíidin  is certainly one of them, but so is ranem (nonpearl: an ugly thing such as a festering hatred to which one pays attention).  I use the emotion grids to explain why people feel the way they do, based on reason, blame, and futility; or the quality of reason behind it.  

There is so much in this language that speaks to things that people are just now beginning to discuss in public, in large numbers, rather than a handful of us canaries saying, "Hey, y'all, might could be you'd want to pay attention to this fire over here before it spreads."  Not just vocabulary, but grammar.  Grace and efficiency and power.

In a word, super-gizomology, and Suzette would dislike me saying that because she was a very unassuming person who avoided being made much of.  Sorry, old friend, I call 'em like I see 'em.  Like Nikola Tesla, you built something ahead of its time, and it's going to take a while for the rest of the world to figure out how it even turns on.  But linguistic super-gizmology it is, because it's full of fresh encodings, and those are rare as hen's teeth.  <3
Tags: gender studies, history, linguistics, networking, reading, writing
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