Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’


Hëw Nestirez – The Rën Language

by Geckat in Major

I mentioned Rën in my last post, but here is its official unveiling as a work-in-progress.

Rën is a project I am extremely passionate about, as my spiritual and philosophical exploration has been an enormous drive for me these last few months and with Rën I feel I’ve found a way to express that through conlanging.  In January of this year, I started looking more seriously into the Sikh religion as a solution to the emotional and spiritual crisis I had been feeling for months, and in March I attended a local gurdwara (Sikh temple) for the first time.  It’s since been a crucial lifeline for me and has opened up an entirely new world of thinking that I hadn’t had the opportunity to consider before.

God in Sikhi is described with incredible poetry, often as a set of apparent contradictions that, when studied and considered, create a solid idea in the mind of an ultimate being that is both transcendent and immanent in its creation, and indeed, that nothing exists, and nothing happens, that is not part of that God.  It’s a sort of idealistic monism, that everything we identify with, everything we’re attached to, and everything we interact with on a daily basis is a kind of illusion, and the truth is simply that everything is God — and as rational beings, we should seek to realize and internalize this notion.

I found this idea intensely fascinating and inspiring, and I’ve sought to create a language that removes the illusory barriers between people, between people and other creatures, and between all consciousness and the “ultimate consciousness” of reality/nature/God.  The lexeme Rën can refer to any being, including/particularly God, and is the only animate noun in the lexicon. It lacks all other animate referential pronouns, instead preferring to use morphological markers to label and refer back to persons in discourse, dropping the strange loop of the first person, and the “other-ness” of other persons.  If we look at this in a hesitantly Sapir-Whorf fashion, it would require the speaker to view all animate entities, including themselves, as interchangeable and therefore equal.

Like Taðýric, Rën is highly synthetic, and words that aren’t inflected with case can stand alone as sentences, and unlike Taðýric there is a complete dearth of particles.  Person, however, is infixed with nuclear vowels, and the elimination of a fairly large class of words means that stems can be shorter.  This should make the language appear ponderous but not long-winded.

If the nature of an individual needs to be made clear in a fashion that a noun would usually denote — for example, if the subject is a doctor, or a cat — the aspect of that individualness can be made clear with verbs.  For instance, “The doctor smokes cigarettes” might gloss as “heal.1 smoke.1” or “He heals.  He smokes.” The irony is still made clear without the other implications of doctorhood (ie education, wealth) being made explicit in the language used.  An animal may be more complicated, but still uses the same paradigm: “The cat was sleeping and then she bit my arm” could gloss to “sharp-tooth.1 claw.1 sleep.1 arm.IN Rën.2.OBL bite.IN” (in which the oblique, at this moment, works as a possessive case) or “She has sharp teeth, she has claws, she sleeps; to him there is an arm, it is bitten.” It doesn’t make the species explicit, as there are plenty of things out there with sharp teeth and claws, but it does present the creature in question in a violent manner as preamble to the event itself (although it could just as easily talk about the teeth and claws after the fact, to ditch the suspense and instead emphasize how it must have hurt!).  It also doesn’t make it explicit that it was my arm that was bitten, as the concept of “my”, of attachment in general, is foreign to Rën.

It’s a strange concept but I’m having a ton of fun with it and I hope I don’t run into too many pitfalls in working it out.