The Goat Legacy

To [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt(s).

::You know how to do this. You know how to win this.::

“So does everyone else here.” Liezhta strapped the talking stick to her back – talking stick, ha, her ancestors had possessed a horrible sense of humor – and tried to ignore its whispers.

It didn’t work, of course. Ever since her aunt had passed down the family goat-crook (and what family had goat-crooks they passed down? Liezhta’s of course, the family that produced more goat-wives and goat-husbands than any other three families on the mountain), ever since she’d first wrapped her hand around the ancient, twisted root-wood stick, the blasted thing had been talking in her head.

::You have several advantages that nobody else here has. One, you have me.::

It turned out the stick was an ancestor – or, at least, that was what it claimed. There was a family member named Ketkez or Ketkezhie, long back in the history, who had been, not a goat-spouse, but a herder and breeder of goats nonetheless. And, if such a thing was possible, the few notes in family records suggested Ketkez/hie was the type of person who would, given an option, live forever to nag their descendants.

::In another sense, you also have me; you have the blood passed down to you. Your family. You’re strong, fast, and clever::

“But I’m working with an unknown team. It’s only me from the family.” Liezhta checked the lacings on her boots, checked the braiding on her hair, and settled her hat snugly over everything. She’d have to stop arguing with a talking stick soon, and get on with it.

::And that’s a pity. In the old days, the whole family would compete, and we almost always won::

“Well. This is the new days.” With the way things were going, they might not even need goat-wives much longer. But for today, there was the race. She waved at the others, gathered by the shallow sledge. “Hello.” Liezhta bowed, while in her head Ketkez/hie grumbled about changing times. “I’m Liezta, and I’ll be your third runner in the human goat race today.”

Goat-bride information: here & here.

Information Liezhta does not have, but is useful for setting here.

Liezhta is pronounced LEEZH-tuh.

ZH stands for the buzzy sound of the “s” in our words “pleasure” or “casual”.

Ketkez/hie is pronounced ket-KEZH-(ee)

A root-wood shepherd’s (goat-herd’s) crook might look like this

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0 thoughts on “The Goat Legacy

  1. <giggles> I’m not sure why talking items aren’t more often written up as major annoyances. ETA: and I had forgotten about *that* magic sword story. I was thinking of the one where the dying Empress was stuffed into a sword to hand down to her not-yet-experienced-enough heir. (I think that’s how it went — haven’t dug it back up to check.)

  2. Liezhta is pronounced LEEJ-tuh. You’re using “zh” in Reiassan for the sound of English “j”, [ʤ]? I’ve been pronouncing it as [ʒ], like the “s” in “pleasure”. That’s the only way I’ve ever seen it used in English: transcribing foreign words that have that sound. The only other use I know for it is Chinese, the pinyin representation of the unaspirated retroflex affricate [ʈ͡ʂ], as in Zhōngguó “China” (中国). AFAIK, /ʒ/ is the newest phoneme in English, having come in from /z/ + /y/, mostly from French borrowings like “leisure” and “casual”. This, I think, is why it has no spelling of its own in English— no letter or combination of letters that is used in ordinary spelling mostly or only for this sound— and we can’t refer to it in non-specialist writing without an example word.

    • …those are the same sound for me. And I’m probably transcribing it wrong. It’s closest to a French g, like Gigi.

      • Then it’s not the same as English “j”. Our “j” sound, like our “ch”, is an *affricate*: It begins by stopping the airflow entirely for a moment, then releases it through a narrow space that makes a hissing or buzzing sound. The “zh” sound never stops it at all. Compare the sounds in the middle of “leiSure” (zh, ʒ) and “leDGer” (j, ʤ). Here’s an exercise you may find informative: Try saying CHEESE very slowly. It starts with your tongue pressed against the front of your palate; then you partly release the pressure in the middle, but keep it on at the edges so the air ruSHHHHes through that narrow space; then you let it go entirely, into the “ee” sound. Now do it with “GEE!” The sequence is much the same, except that you’re letting your vocal cords vibrate, and the sound is more of a kind of low buzz than a low hiss. Try it holding the hiss or buzz for a few moments. That’s the SHHH sound (with “cheese”) or ZHHH sound (with “gee”). But both of them start with a closure and then a release, which taken by themselves are similar to “t” and “d” respectively, though further back in the mouth.

        • okay, I think the more helpful thing here is… “How do I write this so people understand what I’m trying to say?”

          • Something like ZH stands for the sound of the “s” in our words “pleasure” or “casual”. Does that work for you? Maybe “…the buzzy sound of the…”.

              • Hee! Happy to help! 🙂 • ZH stands ^ the buzzy sound of the “s” in our words “pleasure” or “casual”. → stands for the If there’s a page about this language then it’d go there too. • Liezta’s of course, → Liezhta’s • Ketkez/hie is pronounced ket-KEZ-(gee) → ket-KEZ / ket-KEZH-ee

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