Meet the Peseneyi
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? Rhetorica Your Writing System Sucks
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They're about a foot tall, sort of spider-like, and they have an incredibly fucked up phonology. (Mostly because they have really weird mouths.) I'm just starting to work on the grammar to go with that bizarre phonology, but I have hope that it will be interesting—for example, the only nouns in their entire language will be gerunds. It's sort of extreme, but I'm serious about making the whole thing coherent.

The Peseneyi live in a number of star systems near Thet, and once held together a moderate-sized federation of civilizations, the Pesenese Union. They have very weird social customs, even for spider-things—each individual "imprints" on their mate, partly losing their sense of identity in the process and becoming extremely selfless, as long as it's for their mate. But there's a key problem—mating severely shortens their lifespans, and to fall in love is to fall into a death spiral. (This also makes them bizarrely good interspecies diplomats.) To get around this (and other everyday problems confronting small-sized arthropod-like creatures), they developed sentient robot suits, which they develop relationships with. Unsurprisingly, some of the robot suits didn't like this arrangement, so they started their own colony on a godforsaken iceball in the middle of nowhere.
? Travis B. posts: 603
, Crystallogen message
I haven't had the courage to come up with a language with only verb stems, but it is probably doable. Having gerunds would mean that you would still have nouns, ultimately - I do not see how eliminating nouns altogether would work.
? Rhetorica Your Writing System Sucks
posts: 1261
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The idea so far is that all nouns will be phenomena—a person is merely a gerund of an existence verb that also constitutes their name. The main attraction will be inventing mappings between verbal features and noun features—e.g. specificity might be equivalent a gnomic aspect, and a dead person might be described as having perfective or perfect aspect, or even past-tense. I think there's a lot of potential for expressing some very unique epistemology through the development of such a mapping.
? Pthagnar Benedictine Ovulation
posts: 209
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how come they don't fall into a death spiral when they fuck the robot waifus?  is it because some physiological component is missing, [like it involves genetic interchange], or is it psychological [and so surely this means some desire is not being met by the waifu??]. also how come they never hit on /in vitro/ solutions to the u-fuck-u-die problem? [also in your above blurb you talk about the imprinting in basically *sexual* terms, whereas in the link it sounds more like *language* — how much does it actually coopt sexual functions, and what is physiologically involved in that?]

why did the deoxygenation event happen — how developed and nichy was the planet when it happened [like, what happened to all the plants? Was it some Wardian Medea-type CO2 crisis ?] ? how developed was the persene-clade, for that matter?

when you say their quasicellular architecture is weird, is that weird relative to some notional galactic norm, or are they in some clade that is weird for their biota? in either case, there'll be some reason for it. sounds to me a little like maybe they're *fungi who learnt how to walk.

what big cognitive fallacies are they prey to that humans aren't? what about the other way round? how do you do meddling in other people's business for their own good without notions about democracy?

how do their nervous systems work, anyway?
? Rhetorica Your Writing System Sucks
posts: 1261
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quoting Pthagnar:
how come they don't fall into a death spiral when they fuck the robot waifus?  is it because some physiological component is missing, [like it involves genetic interchange], or is it psychological [and so surely this means some desire is not being met by the waifu??].

It's physiological. They're hermaphrodites with a symmetric mating process, resulting in both parents carrying young; this transition is what starts the fast-track death clock.

also how come they never hit on /in vitro/ solutions to the u-fuck-u-die problem? [also in your above blurb you talk about the imprinting in basically *sexual* terms, whereas in the link it sounds more like *language* — how much does it actually coopt sexual functions, and what is physiologically involved in that?]

Their culture adapted around the experience of semelparity and developed mores that frown upon living long into the lifespan of their children. (They probably have books about it in the same vein as Frankenstein.) Since the robot suits have immense value in mobility and environmental manipulation, granting the suits sentience was as natural as keeping a crazy old lady company with one or more cats. Wearing a suit at all may even be seen as delaying one's biological success in order to serve the needs of society; because of imprinting, the Peneseyi as a whole are not readily given to individualism.

Imprinting primarily denotes a strong emotional bond. In its natural context it serves as the pretext to sexual thrall, but for biologically incompatible targets, the result is much closer to deep platonic love. Imprinting on aliens or (as in the cats example) pets is not unheard of; the former was instrumental in their early diplomatic success, and the latter is almost inevitable if isolated from others of their kind. The relationship with the suit occupies some liminal space between beloved pet and true soul mate; I'm not yet sure exactly where it falls.

However, imprinting's hallmark feature is that the subject becomes overly empathetic towards the target—they feel compelled to act on the other's interest and lose some of their own identity through the imprinting. It can also be likened to the behaviour of a groupie, only with schizophrenia.

why did the deoxygenation event happen — how developed and nichy was the planet when it happened [like, what happened to all the plants? Was it some Wardian Medea-type CO2 crisis ?] ? how developed was the persene-clade, for that matter?

I don't have the whole history worked out yet, but I would gamble that the evolutionary chronicle is somewhat shorter, as the biosphere was able to bounce back in a matter of millions of years. Yes, the plan was for it to be a Medea-style scenario caused by the innovation of extremely efficient nitrogen fixation. (And me not being a biophysicist, we'll just leave the details of that mechanism to fantasy.) Quadrupedal arthropodids of their type constitute what a Linnaean taxonomer might call a family; at first they occupied a place on the tree not dissimilar to our trilobites, although they ended up being somewhat more successful since they managed to colonize land, as well. (It remains a mystery how one of the lower species, the koplazu, ended up on an uncolonized outer planet of their star system. Personally I suspect tourists.)

when you say their quasicellular architecture is weird, is that weird relative to some notional galactic norm, or are they in some clade that is weird for their biota? in either case, there'll be some reason for it. sounds to me a little like maybe they're *fungi who learnt how to walk.

So far I've settled polymer-bag-cells for most of my other planets. The nuclei-and-scaffold architecture is common to everything from their biosphere. (Although incidentally, I do have sentient slime molds elsewhere.)

what big cognitive fallacies are they prey to that humans aren't? what about the other way round? how do you do meddling in other people's business for their own good without notions about democracy?

Imprinted Peseneyi are inept (and sometimes incapable) of handling rejection, although at the same time an imprinted individual becomes better at more objectively understanding their own unrelated actions and value to society—they literally learn to see things from a different perspective. Even with people they aren't imprinted on, they over-value the emotions of others and may have trouble accepting that a decision is purely pragmatic or rational, while at the same time they are more likely to believe their own actions are not coloured by emotions. (This may seem like run-of-the-mill asymmetric insight, but it comes coupled with overprotective intentions.)

Humans tend to find the Pesenese to be very literal-minded and preoccupied with social welfare; not much seems to interest them until it has been factored into at least one long-term survival plan, or preferably is of immediate concern. They are slow to do basic research and operate an almost wasteful number of hospitals etc. But perhaps most obnoxiously, they believe that everyone—everywhere—wants, if not needs, their help.

This is where the meddling comes in. There is a gradient between interventionism and outright conquest, and depending on their appraisal of a society's ills, they may go as far as to try and depose a government and institute sweeping legal reforms. Fortunately, this became less common as suit AI and alien political theory improved; otherwise a few strong interspecies imprintings could beget an entire political movement to amend an alien nation state.

how do their nervous systems work, anyway?

Interesting question! It's not something I'd thought about at length. I would guess they have a basic limbic system wired into their scaffolded nuclei, with a more familiar layer of vine-like neurons growing around the frame. They wouldn't be recognizable as cells, however; just signal-conducting conduits that include the necessary molecular machinery for signal transduction and integration, similar to the scaffolding itself.
? Rhetorica Your Writing System Sucks
posts: 1261
, Kelatetía, Koitra, Illera
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<Nortaneous> Nxjëshqërrjëgjë Amadeo Rrjygllëxhëxh

...saving this here because it's exactly how I want these critters to name themselves. (Right now there's only one attested name, the rather boring and probably-transphonated 'Myenga', which, naturally, is pronounced [p̪fɛ̰ɲḛ].)
? Hallow XIII Primordial Crab
posts: 517
, 侯, Basel, Switzerland
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I will have to have a word w/ both of you
? Rhetorica Your Writing System Sucks
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, Kelatetía, Koitra, Illera
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By all means.
? thelettermu posts: 262
, Groovy Cat message
quoting Rhetorica:
<Nortaneous> Nxjëshqërrjëgjë Amadeo Rrjygllëxhëxh

...saving this here because it's exactly how I want these critters to name themselves. (Right now there's only one attested name, the rather boring and probably-transphonated 'Myenga', which, naturally, is pronounced [p̪fɛ̰ɲḛ].)

*yawn*
? Rhetorica Your Writing System Sucks
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, Kelatetía, Koitra, Illera
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Yes, you're Polish. We know. What do you want, an apology? Okay; "I'm sorry you're Polish." Does that cover it?

To be honest, it's looking rather like Paligu is going to have a pretty simple set of phonotactics; they're just not that good with fancy syllable clusters. We'll leave the really horrible trainwrecks safely in the hands of the Ksreskézai, even though I now realize they're drastically upstaged by the "tarantula-in-drainage-pipe" aesthetic of Salishan.
? thelettermu posts: 262
, Groovy Cat message
quoting Rhetorica:
Yes, you're Polish. We know. What do you want, an apology? Okay; "I'm sorry you're Polish." Does that cover it?

What does this have to do with that?
? Matrix Chronicler of the Myriad
posts: 216
, Conversational Speaker message
czsczczcscrzczrsczrcszck
? Rhetorica Your Writing System Sucks
posts: 1261
, Kelatetía, Koitra, Illera
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Yes. What Matrix said.
? thelettermu posts: 262
, Groovy Cat message
I. Just. Plainly. Do. Not. Understand. What. You. Are. Trying. To. Convey. Here.
? Rhetorica Your Writing System Sucks
posts: 1261
, Kelatetía, Koitra, Illera
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Were you or were you not attempting to imply smugness in some manner of phonetic superiority by yawning?
? Nortaneous ? ?????
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, Marquis, Maryland
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Zbigniew Kaszczimierz Brzezebzwugrszt
? Nortaneous ? ?????
posts: 466
, Marquis, Maryland
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quoting Rhetorica:
Yes, you're Polish. We know. What do you want, an apology? Okay; "I'm sorry you're Polish." Does that cover it?

To be honest, it's looking rather like Paligu is going to have a pretty simple set of phonotactics; they're just not that good with fancy syllable clusters. We'll leave the really horrible trainwrecks safely in the hands of the Ksreskézai, even though I now realize they're drastically upstaged by the "tarantula-in-drainage-pipe" aesthetic of Salishan.

the solution is for your albalians to get conquered by kartvelosalishan steppe nomads E R Sʼ E K T S Tʼ O W  T E E Ř O W  I T Qʼ A A  K S T Ì R Q A W O  Sʼ À Ņ I J A  P I G Ì N N Ò W  N I M U U N Y
? thelettermu posts: 262
, Groovy Cat,
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quoting Rhetorica, Illúbequía, Koitra, Illera:
Were you or were you not attempting to imply smugness in some manner of phonetic superiority by yawning?

How the hell does my being Polish have to do with anything.
? Rhetorica Your Writing System Sucks
posts: 1261
, Kelatetía il Koitra
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Matrix summarized it pretty well, I think.