Inventrix 's Stamps Question
It's All Greek to Me

To anyone who can answer: Some of the Workings appear to use Greek for some of the words. Is that traditional, a matter of taste, or is Classical language a required component?

Reid Solomon answers:

It is my understanding and belief that the Workings which we teach to the students in Addergoole, which are commonly those taught to us by our Mentors, and so on through the ages, came to prominence during the height of Greek civilization. Laurel would be able to give you more details about the history during that time, but what I know is that, as Greek civilization reached its peak, so did the heyday of Ellehemaei society. As far as I know, that is the last time that Ellehemaei walked openly among humans on a nearly-worldwide scale.

As such, as Laurel tells it, there was time and opportunity for really the only time in history for a large number of Ellehemaei – primarily Shenera Endraae, although at that time the distinction was only beginning to be made – could gather and discuss what exactly they were and what they could do. They already knew that there were certain Words which could change the world around them, but the results were wildly unpredictable. They needed a way to focus the effects of the Words.

By the way, if you want to get an idea what this is like, take ten or twenty pubescent Ellehemaei just on the cusp of their Becomings and ask them to focus on the Words that they’re best at. Then duck.

The Greek that you hear around the Words in a Working are limiting factors, words that focus and tighten the Working, aiming it exactly where you want it instead of just throwing power everywhere. This avoids, say, calling the water and getting a flood; it also avoids exhausting yourself when all you wanted was a drink. You can use the Greek to name the level of power you want – from a small alpha power to a world-rocking lambda effect. You can also use it to steer the power – shale versus diamond, for instance, since they’re all eperu.

As to tradition vs. requirement, The best answer for that is “yes.” That is to say, at one point, I believe, using the Greek to limit the Workings was simply convenient – it was a well-known language at the time. Mentors taught their students that way and, even when Greek was no longer the predominant language, Mentors still taught as they’d been taught. From convenience and taste, it evolved into tradition.

From there – well, I know people who have experimented with using different languages for the frames of their Workings. Even using the other languages that we call “child” languages – those with direct ties to the Old Tongue – has results somewhere between null and disastrous.

My theory, such as it is, is that using world-bending words eventually has an effect even on the words used next to them – that while using the Greek to modify the Words was originally a matter of taste and later calcified into tradition, that it has since morphed into a requirement.


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