Aug 03, 2021 2:52 AM
kyeo in anomaland
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"...well, rubies aren't good for very much."

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"Well, gemstones were some of the prettiest things around by a long shot before people got good at art, and really hard to get, and even nowadays they're still prettier and harder to get than a lot of things. But you're right that self-knowledge is valuable as a means to various ends in addition to being an end in itself, and beauty is mostly the second thing."

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That is not what he was saying at all but okay.

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"So does that mean that you don't want to do the secret tests?"

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"I'm not opposed if they're - important to fitting in here."

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"Hmm. I don't know that they're important to fitting in, exactly; it's not as though people talk about them often. It might help you understand the ways in which you're different from and similar to everyone else, though. You can always change your mind either direction; there are network pages where you put in that you consent and it's only visible to the person who gets assigned to organize it."

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"Mm."

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"Like I said, no hurry. Speaking of signing up for things, do you have any questions about school or jobs?"

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"I sent in some job applications. I suppose they might want me to learn the language for real? Is there an appropriate school setting for that?"

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"It would probably make your life easier. There are still some people who grow up not particularly fluent, but they're pretty scattered, so the classes are going to be mostly on the network. Playing sports will help there too, because it's a low-stakes immersive environment you can practice in, but the classes will be specifically designed for it."

 

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"All right. How do I sign up for a class?"

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The answer is, as usual, a network search. The classes have video meetings that can accommodate a range of timezones and come with apps Kyeo can use to practice on his own time. There's some variation between classes in how often they meet, what apps they use, and how much they're focused on spoken versus written usage.

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Kyeo will be somewhat inconvenienced by the fact that none of the instructional materials are written in his language but he will try to muddle along.

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The courses are designed for people with a wide variety of comfort levels with Convergentlanguage! There's a setting he can toggle so that things he's supposed to be trying to read in Convergentlanguage don't get translated but all the grammar explanations and example sentences in students' more common first languages do. There are a couple lingering problems in places where Ibyabekan grammar is different from any of the Firstplanet languages the program expects people to be familiar with.

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It's a useful setting. It helps a little that he knows Kularan too.

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Then if he doesn't have any more questions about anything, Tazz says whenever he stops being visibly absorbed in it, now seems like a good time to part ways so he can go off and practice to his heart's content*.

* Literally "until he falls asleep," but explicitly marked as a nonliteral pointer to a larger set of possibilities.

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"I agree, thank you."

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Tazz points the way back to the train station and heads off that way themself.

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Kyeo goes back to his apartment and studies Convergentlanguage very diligently.

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It's designed to be easy to learn, with as few exceptions to its rules as possible. Pronouns mark first/second/third person, clusivity, and object/sentient/sapient but not gender; the system for disambiguating which antecedent a pronoun points to when a sentence offers multiple options is unfamiliar but not complicated. Verbs conjugate to mark tense and whether they're meant literally or metaphorically but not singular vs plural, and take one of five prefixes indicating level of certainty from "less than 50% but more likely than any other possibility I'm aware of" to "more than 99% sure."

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...that last part is confusing. Is it possible to leave that out?

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One can leave off the certainty marker if one hasn't had time to come up with an estimate of their certainty; doing it all the time will make one sound vaguely unsure about everything, but be perfectly comprehensible apart from that.

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...he will sound vaguely unsure of everything till he has a better idea.

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The interlesson miniquizzes in the language app will keep informing him of this with "minorly underspecified" warnings until he clicks "disable this warning type" and then it will shut up about it.

Nothing stops him from studying Convergentlanguage for as long as he likes, except he has his medical examination scheduled for the following day.

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He shows up to his medical examination!

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