Monday, October 31, 2011
More on the Language of the Shshi
I've mentioned that the Shshi speak by transmitting electromagnetic signals between their antennae, which contain nodes that act as receivers and transmitters and are connected to special centers in their brains that decode the signals. Therefore, no sound structure is involved in their language. Kaitrin merely assigns random syllables to certain waveforms on the spectrograph and the pronunciation is no different from her native English. This enables her to pronounce the language aloud so her transmission device can project the appropriate EM signals. As Kwi'ga'ga'tei the Seer, who serves as her principal informant, realizes with much wonder, "The Star-Beings keep their antennae in a magic box!"
If writing were invented by a native speaker of such a non-vocalized language, it couldn't have an alphabet, which by definition images sounds. It would have to employ pictographs or ideograms or syllabograms or logograms. Now, I'll tell you a secret -- in a later trilogy which I have not yet mentioned on this blog (entitled "The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head"), Di'fa'kro'mi the Remembrancer (the fortress's Bard) invents writing. At the very beginning of the first volume, he is in his old age and he is dictating the memoirs of his adventures with Ki'shto'ba to a scribe. He rambles on a bit about how he invented writing. I'm inserting a section of this as a separate page entitled "Shshi Writing." It will also give the reader an amusing glimpse of what the Shshi are really like.