the Song to the Earth

Ten years ago, at a conference in Maastricht, I ran into an American fan of my work who asked me if I would put some examples of Quyan speech on my site. I told her that I would…. soon…. Well, this isn’t really ‘soon’, but here it is (at the bottom of the page) nonetheless.

Forming part of the ritual of the Apotheosis, I have – rather melodramatically – added reverb to indicate something of the acoustics of the Pyramid Hollow. I’m afraid that it’s not very well ‘acted’ – but it was hard enough for me to speak it at all!

The Song to the Earth actually predated the writing of the Stone Dance. I didn’t fully understand what it meant at the time, though I did feel that it needed to go at the beginning of the trilogy. Later, I came to realize that it was the key that unlocks the puzzle that is the Stone Dance…

15 thoughts on “the Song to the Earth

  1. It does sound great – very coherent. I do wish we hadn’t made it so horribly complex though. Every time I had to translate a chapter title it felt like doing the Times crossword (I blame Ricardo’s insistence on building some of the theology into the grammar combines with my naive thinking that I may as well just chuck in all the weirdnesses about human languages that I could think of and fit in!) For those interested, I borrowed the connective clitics idea (all the xu’s) half from proto-Indo-European and half from Mayan, and the verb initiality is also Mayan, while the laterally releasd (tl) stops are aztec and the nasally released ones (tn) are an extension of that.

    1. *grin* now that you mention it, I do remember inserting theology into it on a rather deep level… I didn’t realize where you’d got the clitics… You didn’t mention the rather fascinating business of noun incorporation!

      Nevertheless, fascinating as it is, I don’t imagine that it’s likely that anyone is going to learn the language and assault me with it at some convention *grin* Of course, such an event would be flattering, but my inability to respond in kind might be a tad embarrassing :O)

  2. Do I notice the influence of the pre-Columbian culture again? 🙂 I really like the sound of it and I’m happy to know that the Portuguese also had a little influence in the Quyan.

    1. there’s a little pre-Columbian influence – that final “qányátla” very much so – using the phoneme that appears in Nahuatl (Aztec) in such words as ‘atl-atl’ – a spear thrower. I also fancy – purely from intuition – that many of the “óke” and”que” sounds (to mention just a few) seem to me Amerindesque… As for the influence of Portuguese – my linguistics collaborator friend told me that the phonemes I chose for Quya lay mostly halfway between Portuguese and English – which is hardly surprising considering that so do I *grin*

    1. very interesting! As I think I’ve written elsewhere, when I became even only a little acquainted with linguistics, I discovered that, when it came to languages, I had been seeing in black and white… Human languages form a rainbow of astounding variation and scope… Sadly, many of these wonders – that give in the most subtle form deep insight into the lives and way of being of the people who speak them – are disappearing from the Earth… Human civilization is exterminating languages as we do other species :O(

      1. I’m quite proud that I’m a dialect speaker, even though:
        – I’ve got a severe lack of practice (nobody to speak it with, except my family)
        – I speak a bastard-version of the dialect
        I feel that it’s part of my identity.

        1. that’s how I feel about my Portuguese. I arrived here not having spoken hardly a word for years – but after having spent some days talking incessantly with my cousins and aunts and uncles, I am now already talking with reasonable fluency (so razoável, gentinha, so razoável *sorriso*) and it feels completely natural to be here…

  3. thx ricardo!
    to finally hear how it trully should sound it’s great!
    it helps a lot in the undrestanding of how formal Quyan speech truly is…

    1. can you hear the way it contains Portuguese phonemes? As well as that there are several words directly inspired by Portuguese… kxiranxa = criança = child, ximunthe = semente = seed

  4. Actually, with the ambience, it does seem very much a chant, and hearing the language makes much more sense than trying to decipher the pronounciations. 😛 Thanks for the upload.

  5. If you’d kept it a couple of days, you could have ‘premiered’ it live at an event in Portugal…….

    1. I did sort of think about that… but it felt too much like a gimmick… Of course, it was my imminent visit to Portugal that provoked me recording it. Anyway, it’s not meant for just my readers in Portugal, but for those everywhere…

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