Qazuck-opit (lit. pearl structure): The Art of Being Polite
The Xoqny believe that choice and autonomy require an allowance for the dignity of others, as well as a lack of assumptions, or even, simply, incorrect categorization.
It is generally considered impolite to apply a verb in past tense, or present perfect, to another person, if the speaker did not witness the action, unless it is a question.
Present simple, present progressive, and present perfect progressive are acceptable when referring to those that one is familiar with. Simple present is never used with strangers, and is generally avoided with elders.
Using a copular verb with a stranger is akin to spitting on them. Similarly, it is considered awkward to use them with those you are familiar with in front of strangers, as it is considered making them watch a display of intimacy. Some exceptions exist when utilizing the subjective mood, specifically in the instance of subject-auxiliary inversion. Example: Should you feel hungry… or, Were you to have lied… The appropriate execution of this is considered an art form in Xoqny society.
Indicative mood is never used for strangers, and is generally perceived as scandalous if used about a stranger.
Imperative mood is extremely rude, with the possible exception of first-person imperative in specific circumstances, and likely would never even be considered (in the same way that most people don’t seriously consider robbing a bank). Second- or third-person imperative future is like inflicting harm on someone else, and is likely to get a person shunned.
Present and past subjunctives are well-received, assuming that no indicatives muddle the water. Future subjunctive is likewise appreciated, if there is no present indicative, and the future indicative cannot potentially be an imperative. For instance, “When you are [present indicative] older, you will understand [future indicative].” is obnoxious. “If I am [present indicative] elected president, I will change [future indicative] the law.” is acceptable. Proper and creative use of the future subjunctive is considered witty.
Inalienable possession is rarely mentioned—it’s not impolite, it just doesn’t come up—and alienable possession can be a very delicate matter. For the most part, any quality that can be measured and quantified is considered inalienable (even ones that can change, like weight, are considered inalienable and thus acceptable to comment on).
Biological family, generally, transitions from inalienable to alienable when the child turns 8, unless all parties agree to xi-qers-vektwil. That is to say, a child of 8 may opt to choose their own qers, separate from their parents—even opting to sever all ties, if they please. Familial relations are no excuse for forgoing autonomy: parents are referred to as Q-qrbast, meaning “origin of this one’s body,” and children are qo-qxat, “this one who I created”.
There are, of course, qers that intentionally alter or ignore these rules. There are qers where everyone speaks in imperatives all the time. Qers where many or all possessions are treated as inalienable (things get weird). There are qers where being scandalous is relevant to one’s role, like playing a jester in a king’s court. It can be considered quite impressive to walk the thin line between far and too far. However, any qers that removes autonomy from a person (without their fully self-endorsed choice and ability to re-acquire their autonomy at any given moment) is the closest thing the Xoqny have to illegal (outside of the laws within the qers themselves). In these instances, a |Xovos-wak-sed will be called in, and deal with the matter, likely quite thoroughly.
Xoqny culture can be a lot like an extended improve class—concurrent wyxck-bel in a specific qers are a lot like performing “yes, and…” constantly. This is called voztswy-wint (simultaneous acceptance). It is considered crass to perform an experience beyond your capabilities—being new, which is acceptable and very encouraged, is fantastic, but jumping the line—at-pac—is not. For instance, in a medieval qers one would not just walk into a smithy and declare themselves a blacksmith; one would first become an apprentice. Circumstances and skillsets, as always, create exceptions. Along those lines, it would similarly be considered rude for the blacksmith to refuse an apprentice—unless part of their bov-xin (one’s role in a given qers) was being a misanthrope. Even then, the blacksmith would usually be expected to provide some way for the potential apprentice to prove themselves. The Xoqny largely cannot escape their desire to have, create, and allow for autonomy.
A qers is not, necessarily, free of crime and strife. Many Xoqny pride themselves on their voztswy-ducton-qyjn (acceptance of bad things happening in life). Murder, however, is completely unheard of—it is the ultimate removal of another’s autonomy. In qexrs that have wars or assassinations, it is agreed by all participants that the person “killed” will vekt-qers, or remain in the qers and significantly alter their bov-xin.
So, if the qers calls for it, it is not inappropriate or impolite to be a thief, or a war-chief, or a marauding knight, if that is one’s wyck-bel. It might be impolite if one goes about it ineptly. There are entire worlds in the Xoqny galaxy that are dystopian.
A Xoqny may “break character” or xin-lins in special circumstances. While in their ogent-wyck (personal, physical place); when speaking to a |Vo-vos, at any time or place; when their autonomy is endangered; or in urgent medical circumstances. A Xoqny that xixn-lins outside of these circumstances is likely to find that no one in their current qers is willing to voztswy-wint—ranging from others not going along with the actions of the offender, or simply being ignored more often than not.
Recap of Significant Terms
At-pac: (lit. sharp up) generating an experience above one’s means or competence; not looked upon kindly, but generally only a problem if it harms the experience for others
Votzswy-wint: (lit. simultaneous acceptance) playing along; the interaction of persons that effectively engenders an experience
Voztswy-ducton-qyjn: acceptance that bad things happen in life; a period of time after grief or difficult change where one experiences elation at the prospects of life
Bov-xin: (lit. self emanation) the way a person is choosing to be perceived at that given time; one’s role in a qers
Ogent-wyck: (lit. life geode) a special, personal physical space
Xin-lins: (lit. open self) the act of stepping out of one’s bov-xin, generally (ideally) for a specific, acceptable reason