you turn in your manuscript to your editor, she does her Editorial
Revision letter; then she gets it back, and assuming all has gone
well with your Editorial Revision, it goes to copy-edit at that
on Angel of Destruction, one
of the questions that the copy-editors (a team, in this instance)
asked about continuity sparked me off on a meditation about the
exact forms of the language that Dolgorukij use amongst themselves.
The question the copy-editors asked resulted in the addition of
meaning and depth to the manuscript -- maybe it wasn't obvious,
and with luck it wasn't, but it was there. I was enormously chuffed
by the whole thing.
is a narrative summary of the analysis I had to do in response
to the copy-editor's question about continuity. I hope you get
a chuckle out of it. It gave me another way to express shades
of meaning in discourse and I got a tremendous charge out of it.
health and prosperity to all copy-editors, who make the book better
and get no credit for it (grin).
Shades of Meaning in Word-Order in Forms of Address
language used by religious professionals amongst themselves preserves
some very old forms of discourse in Dolgorukij, and it may be instructive
to examine the permutations of the terms in which Fisner Feraltz
and Dalmoss address each other.
expanded version of the phrase that Dalmoss uses to address Feraltz,
"firstborn and eldest," is actually "firstborn child and eldest
son" (or eldest son and firstborn child, when he says "eldest and
child and eldest son" is as senior as you can get in Dolgorukij.
"Eldest" is almost never expanded to "eldest son," "son" being understood;
but in the odd case when it is used to refer to a woman it is always
expanded to "firstborn child and eldest daughter."
best thing to be is "firstborn and eldest," since "eldest and firstborn"
contains the hint that one might be the eldest son but not the firstborn
child, a hint that persists past the assertion of "firstborn child"
in the minds of people like Dolgorukij to diminish the authority
of "firstborn son" just a tad. There are subtle factors of primacy
and guilt at work here from way back in Combine cultural history.
Dalmoss addresses Fisner as "firstborn and eldest" except in scenes
in which he has reservations about Fisner's strategy, in which case
"eldest and firstborn" would be entirely appropriate. TOP
Koscuisko is "eldest son and secondborn child," which means in turn
that no one would ever actually call him "eldest and secondborn"
unless they were insulting him by pointing out that he has an older
sister whose claims on the leadership of the Koscuisko familial
corporation have been discarded. It's the sort of thing that Andrej's
brother Iosev, second eldest son and thirdborn child, might say.
Iosev's got an attitude problem.
much for sociology.
this in mind it becomes obvious that the most correct version of
the corresponding form for Fisner to use to address Dalmoss is "next
born and second eldest," next born child and second eldest son,
which is as much respect as one can extend to a subordinate. As
"eldest and first born" is a subtle put-down that carries a very
shadowy hint that one is not the oldest child, "next born and second
eldest" carries the whisp of an implication that one might be the
eldest son (if the first born happened to have been daughter); and
is therefore the nicest thing the firstborn and eldest can say to
a person. When Fisner wishes to rebuke Dalmoss or remind Dalmoss
of Fisner's authority he uses "second eldest and next born," which
carries the implication (as above) that Dalmoss could have seven
sisters older than he is, reducing his rank in the ancestral procession
my story, and I'm sticking to it. My thanks to my copy-editors for
focussing my attention on this interesting bit of trivia about polite
discourse amongst the wild Dolgorukij.