Subwords & the Experimental Linguists' Club

The existence of subwords has been understood on the Land since the days of Connor and Brigitte; in fact, it was touched upon in their first conversation with God. He had created the people of the Land with the special ability of understanding subwords, which are any (real) words from any language on any world, that a Lander can understand once they've heard it. The word's meaning may come upon them instantly, or after a bit of thought. Words are generally only considered subwords if they've never been used before on the Land, or if you've simply never heard them before. Once its usage becomes common, it will be recategorized as just another word, part of the common language. The fact that people on the Land only think of there being a single language- not that they really ever use the word "language"- is another interesting point, but not what this historical entry is about.

In the year 135, a spirit-talker named Blynn was introduced by one of the spirits he talked with, to something called "Irish cream." Thereafter, Blynn began making the stuff himself. At first he just shared it with a few friends, later he began selling it. He became rather rich and quite popular. But the first time he shared it with a group of close friends, one of them raised his glass before taking a second swig, and exclaimed, "To Blynn!" then knocked back the rest of the glass. As he wiped his mouth, he noticed his friends looking at him oddly. "What?" he said.

Blynn asked, "Uh... what was that? 'To Blynn'?"

And Perryh for the life of him wasn't quite sure. So he thought about it for a few moments, then said, "Ah, I do believe it was a toast."

"A toast?" laughed another friend in the group, "What on earth has this to do with toast? It's not nearly breakfast time..."

"It's... you know... a subword."

So the group pondered that for a moment, then understood. "Ah," said Blynn. Well, thank you, then. Funny, I mean, this is far from the first alcohol the Land has known. But I've never heard of toasts being made, before. I'm honored to be the recipient of the first."

"Think nothing of it," Perryh replied. "I think we'll all here agree you deserve it. Dem fine stuff, even if you didn't actually invent it yourself. If not for you, our world would nevertheless not know its like."

The others agreed, and they all had some more. Later, Blynn said, "You know, Perryh, you're pretty quick with the subwords. Tonight's not the first time I've *hic* noticed that, you know."

"Thank you kindly, my good dear friend," said Perryh. "I'll tell him you said so."

Blynn grinned. They both grinned. Actually the whole room was grinning, not to mention spinning. But after a moment, Blynn said, "Duh, tell who?"

"What?"

"What?"

"What what?"

"Um... I forget. Oh, you said you'd tell him something. About subwords."

"Did I really? Have you noticed I'm drunk?"

"So are you," said Blynn. "But the point is you should do something about it."

"Time is the only cure."

"Not that. The subword thing."

"What thing?"

"Being good at it."

"Oh yeah..."

At that, they both dropped the conversation, as their powers of concentration were rapidly dwindling. In the morning, however, Perryh had a vague recollection of his and Blynn's incoherent ramblings from the night before, and suddenly was inspired to create a club. The Experimental Linguists' Club, or ELC, for short. A few hours after this inspiration, when his head was feeling better, he looked at the slang guide in the back of his dictionary, picked out a few subwords, and wrote them out in what would be the ELC's first newsletter, along with a description of the club. He copied it out, then posted it about town. At the end of the week a few friends and a few strangers came to the same pub where the club was conceived, to hold its first meeting. Since then, the ELC has grown steadily over the centuries, and eventually throughout the villages. Members try to come up with new subwords to publish in the club's bi-monthly newsletter. Or just any subwords they hear, whether they came up with them personally or not. Members of the ELC are themselves called ELCs, pronounced "elks." And "To Blynn" would forever after be the most common toast on the Land, especially when drinking Irish cream, and not just among ELCs...


back to historical index

All contents of this site David A. Ward

Make your own free website on Tripod.com