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Eshti

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 9 months ago

The Eshti are, after the Mansu, the second-largest ethnic group on the continent. Nowadays, the Eshti live as second-class citizens in all but name. Very few manage to get past the strong Mansu prejudice against them, and so remained mired in poverty, which only strengthens the "poor Eshti trash" stereotype, which in turn strengthens the prejudice, in a bitter cycle with no end in sight. There are few exceptions, notably Jakov Stoli (born "Esheshtieshtitieshtieshtieshesh Titieshtiesheshtieshtitieshesh"), who rose to impressive heights before his ethnicity was discovered. In appearance, the Eshti and Mansu are virtually indistinguishable, except that the eyes of the Eshti tend to be blue, brown, green, or some other exotic color, rather than the typical Mansu red-orange. (Stoli was only found out when his trademark red-tinted spectacles fell off in the middle of an awards gala in his honor.)

 

But Eshti eyes were not always stigmatized. Indeed, King Ferg is said to have abdicated his throne to marry the Eshti woman Tieshtieshesheshtitiesheshesheshtieshesh after just one look into her strange brown eyes. (Some have disputed this, pointing out that their son was born just over eight months after this supposed first meeting. Still, many folk ballads have been written about the event, most notably "Thou Art My Brownne-Eyed Lass (Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-ti-da)".) Centuries ago, when the Mansu were still little more than nomadic shepherds on the Briton Plain, the Eshti founded Tiesheshesheshtieshesheshtititeshtiesheshtiti, the first known city on this continent, which still stands today, albeit much diminished in glory, and now carrying the Mansu name "Bupkopolis". The Eshti controlled the coast and were the great naval power for centuries - indeed, to this day, the only place where an Eshti is ever seen outranking a Mansu is at sea - until the ascendance of the Mansu and Akamaians led to bitter three-way war and finally the Southwall Massacre, after which began the rapid collapse of the Eshti empire.

 

The Eshti are unusual in that no other known race displays such a close relationship between language and mathematics. The Eshti use what has been called a "binary" system of number, using only two numbers: zero and one. Their language is similarly binary, with only two syllables: "esh" and "ti". On its own, "esh" means only "zero" and "ti" means only "one", but by combining them they create new words, such as "eshti" ("person"), "tiesh" ("fire"), "tiesheshtitititiesheshtieshtieshesh" ("jub-fruit"), and "titieshesheshtitiesheshtieshtitieshesheshtitieshtieshtitiesheshtititieshesh" ("hello"). They rattle off these chains of syllables so quickly that outsiders can rarely make heads or tails of what they are saying, and few Mansu have even bothered trying to learn the language, let alone mastered it. Nowadays, most Eshti have been forced to learn Mansu, and their ancient language is almost extinct, except in a handful of tiny coastal towns. Many Mansurian scholars have expressed interest in studying the unusual language firsthand before it dies out completely, but so far, none have gotten around to actually talking to any Eshti. (Which is understandable, really, they're horrid filthy little creatures.)

 

- Yjngw Byjngw

 

  • N.B.: It has become increasingly common in Mansura for Eshti to abbreviate their extremely long names to better fit into Mansu society. This practice is attributed to Umilesh Tieshta, who was born "Eshtitititiesheshtieshtiesheshtieshtititiesh Tieshtitiesheshtieshtieshesheshti": "umil" is an Akamaian word meaning "humility", which can be roughly translated into Eshti as "eshtitititiesheshtieshtiesheshtieshtititi" - thus, her first name can be shortened to "Umilesh". Similarly, "ta" is a word from the Mansu dialect commonly spoken among assimilated Eshti, meaning, roughly, "hope". It replaces "titiesheshtieshtieshesheshti", the sequence of syllables meaning "hope" in Eshti, in her last name. This has become the accepted way of naming Eshti children among those Eshti who want hope for assimilation into Mansu society without totally revoking their Eshti identity. It has even been applied retroactively: Eshtititiesheshtieshtieshesheshtitieshtieshtititiesh, traditionally known to the Mansu as "Caecilia", is now sometimes known as Caecitiesh, since, by a fortunate coincidence, the Mansu word "say" in Eshti is "eshtititiesheshtieshtiesh", and "see" is "tieshesheshtitieshtieshtiti"; though this is not a perfect equivalent to her name, it does ensure that the name remains recognizable to Mansu speakers. This sort of name is sometimes called an "umilta", after its creator. Opinion varies in the scholarly community over whether to use such neologisms - I notice Rf Selaris Keenhawser still uses the older, "Mansu-centric" term without even mentioning the Eshti-Mansu portmanteau - I, for one, feel that using these newer "umiltas" is a simple way to keep the Eshti rabble content with their lot, without having to make any sort of complicated, expensive, and unnecessary social reforms. However, a consensus on Eshti names has yet to be reached, and individual scholars vary widely.

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