Miscellaneous 2017

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Name Miscellaneous 2017
Date
Date Jan. 1, 2017
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Entries 12
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#1 Copy

Argent

I had been thinking about the Cosmere constellations map, and why certain constellations are what they are. Some look pretty obvious to me - of course the one that includes Roshar would be a Shardbearer, and of course the one with Nalthis would be somebody exhaling or giving Breath. But others? Threnody is maybe a part of a grieving woman, so that could kind of make sense, but Sel being featured in a lamp?! 

So I asked Brandon, and he said the constellations were all you. He also encouraged me to convince you to write an essay for the website about this map, but I wanted to see if you could answer some questions about this map.

Is this alright with you?

Isaac Stewart

Thanks for the email. I'll try to answer some of your questions, and you're right, an essay about the map on the website might eventually be the way to go. (Got to find time to write it.) The constellations weren't really all me. I had several discussions with Brandon, who made many suggestions. Maybe he forgets how much input he had. :) Unless he means the actual lines of the constellations. Those are purely me.

Sel's constellation is symbolic (as is the constellation Threnody is found in). As for the lamp, notice that Sel is not exactly part of the lamp. It's part of the flame. How does Aon Dor work? An Elantrian creates an opening for it to pour through and affect the world. Think of the flame as a symbol for the Dor. Does that make sense?

Send away with your questions. Maybe they'll help direct how I should handle the essay. :)

#2 Copy

Argent

What perspective is this constellation map seen/drawn from? Somebody from an earlier signing in this tour said they spoke with you about this, and you mentioned Silverlight, but not exactly... I got the impression that your reply wasn't transcribed verbatim  Can you address the perspective issue here? We now know that Silverlight is in the Cognitive Realm (where the stars don't necessarily match their physical arrangement, if they are visible at all), so if you worried about accidentally revealing that earlier, it's no longer an issue.

Isaac Stewart

The map was created to reside in Silverlight and represents a partial view of the night sky from a point we have not yet revealed. So, no, this is not a view of the night sky from Silverlight. This is a mural painted for a patron whose travels have taken them far far afield.

#3 Copy

Argent

Do the constellations have actual names you can share with us?

Isaac Stewart

Clockwise from Threnody: the Mourner, the Dragon, the Fisherman, the Giver, the Lamp, the Knight, and the One Tree. The names are a bit generic, mostly because they are working names I used to refer to the different constellations during the process of painting the piece. It should be noted that the people from the spot in the Cosmere where the night sky does look like this would not see these pictures in the constellations nor give them these names. The pictures the patron saw in the stars here are based on their own observations and knowledge about the Cosmere as a whole. The locals would see entirely different pictures in their stars, for those who can even see the stars from their vantage.

One tidbit I should mention is that the lamp used to be a constellation called the Lover and was a man receiving breath from the Giver. I dropped it mostly because it's reference to Devotion wasn't working visually. Another thing to note: Not all the stars on this chart are physically within the Cosmere. Some are in the parts of Space beyond the Cosmere.

#4 Copy

Argent

Are all the constellations symbolic in nature? If so, can you fill in any gaps in my understanding of them (or expand on them, point out cool things I may have missed, etc)? I've got:

  • Roshar - Shardbearer (or maybe Herald). Pretty obvious, considering how dominant those are.
  • Nalthis - someone exhaling or giving Breath. Again, straightforward.
  • Threnody - a grieving woman? Because Threnody, like the other inner planets in the Threnodite system, all bear names related to grieving, mourning, that kind of stuff.

Isaac Stewart

All correct so far.

Argent

Taldain - a tree? Because of the importance of water on the world?

Isaac Stewart

A one tree. This is a symbolic reference to the Shard that resides on that world. The Coppermind says this: "Khriss writes that Bavadin supports a policy of strict isolationism for Taldain."

Argent

First of the Sun - a sailor? Because of how the natives live, traveling between the isles?

Isaac Stewart

A fisherman, actually. He's throwing his net out among the stars.

Argent

Sel - the lamp makes a lot more sense now, thanks! I don't think anyone had pointed out that Sel is inside the flame, not the lamp - but the lamp is so much dominant in the image, it was easy to focus on it :)

Isaac Stewart

Just repeating what I mentioned before in case I ever make this into a blog post. Sel's constellation is symbolic (as is the constellation Threnody is found in). As for the lamp, notice that Sel is not exactly part of the lamp. It's part of the flame. How does Aon Dor work? An Elantrian creates an opening for it to pour through and affect the world. Think of the flame as a symbol for the Dor. Does that make sense?

Argent

Scadrial - why is it absent? And is it really absent, or there but just not labeled (for whatever reason)?

Isaac Stewart

Scadrial's there. It's just part of the constellation I've been calling the Giver. Some worlds are closer together than others, so there wasn't room to give each world its own constellation.

#5 Copy

Argent

Is the relative positioning of the constellations' images significant in any way? For example, the Shardbearer is pointing his blade at the dragon/serpent/monster of the Scar, while Nalthian lady looks like she is blowing Sel's fire out. Do we need to be paying attention to those?

Isaac Stewart

This is more compositional than anything else. Though I wouldn't discount their positions entirely.

#6 Copy

Argent

Some stars are yellow, while others are red - is that significant?

Isaac Stewart

Yes. There are other colors in there too.

#7 Copy

Argent

Speaking of The Scar, all the other names on the map refer to a specific planet, right? Roshar, Sel, Nalthis, etc. The scar, as far as know, is more a region, yet it uses the same typography as the planets. What's up with that?

Isaac Stewart

Same typography because when I used other fonts, it looked way out of place. If there were more labels on this map, I would've used italics probably for this feature.

#9 Copy

Argent

That Reddit thread established that the "H" sound is produced by writing another letter, and then marking it to denote that it should be pronounced as /h/ (while still looking like the other letter, for symmetric purposes). And on that note, the name of that traditional Vorin dress is "havah" - how would that get written? Is there a dedicated symbol for /h/ when it's not a "symmetric placeholder", or would the women just pick any letter and mark both instances here? Or something else altogether? 

Isaac Stewart

I believe they would just use the dedicated symbol for /h/.

#10 Copy

Argent

In English, "N" is articulated the same way "T" and "D" are - on the alveolar ridge (as all three are nasal alveolar). It seems like in the women's script "N" belongs to a different family from "T" and "D". The former is a "left facing arrow" while the latter two are "right facing arrows", to use some very basic description of the symbol shapes. Why is that?

Isaac Stewart

Peter might have a better explanation for this, but because of the three sizes, we had to group things in ways that didn't always make sense. The N was a fourth letter in a set (TDL), so looking back, maybe we should've grouped N with TD instead of the L, but then that has a cascading effect, so this was the best we could do in the time we had. But we don't know exactly how the Alethi speak. There's always a chance that the Alethi Z sounds more like "dz," and the Alethi "S" sounds more like "ts" (like the German Z), in which case the SZN grouping makes a lot more sense. But that's just conjecture.

Peter Ahlstrom

The symbol sets are all based on historical place of articulation (and articulating tongue part), and there have been some sound changes over the centuries so they don't currently all line up exactly. The t/d/r/th/l group (historically alveolar) is articulated with the tip of the tongue, and the s/z/n/sh/h group (historically postalveolar) is/was articulated with the blade of the tongue.

The modern h sound (like h in English) used to appear only in the palindromic locations, and was written only with the diacritic. This diacritic is mirrored on the top and bottom of the character. Some writers may use only the top or bottom because lazy. Also, sometimes the diacritic can be left out entirely and people just know to pronounce it as h because it's a very common word or name.

The h character used to stand for a weakly-voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative. This later shifted backward to a velar fricative (first weakly-voiced, later voiceless) as in Kholin. In modern times the h character is usually for the same h sound that we have in English. Sometimes kh is written using a combination of the k and h characters, and sometimes it's written just as h for historical reasons. Different regional dialects also shift the pronunciation one way or another.

The L sound has also shifted. It used to be a voiced alveolar lateral fricative, and this is still seen in names like Lhan. It's now a regular L sound.

The final group, k/g/y/ch/j, used to have dual articulation, similar to velarized postalveolar. Now the articulation has separated, with some velar and some postalveolar.

Currently y and j are pronounced the same or differently based on class and regional dialect. So, a darkeyes name like Jost or Jest will be pronounced with a regular j sound, while with the upper class it has merged with y so that Jasnah and Jezerezeh are pronounced with a y sound. Historically they were always separate sounds.

#11 Copy

Argent

None of the Alethi names seem to have a "ch" sound in them - except for Chana / Chanarach, the Herald. Do they have a sound and written symbol for it? And if not, would they use a different sound when saying or writing Chana's name ("sh" maybe?)?

Isaac Stewart

I could be wrong, but I think there is a symbol for "ch" in Alethi women's script.

#12 Copy

Blightsong

Second sentance of the above paragraph. The plural of 'axis' is 'axes', not 'axi'.

Stormlightning

For the record, I don't think the "axi" thing is a grammatical error. It's more just a unique cosmere term.

Peter Ahlstrom

This is a Cosmere term. Stormlightning is correct.

Event details
Name
Name Miscellaneous 2017
Date
Date Jan. 1, 2017
Entries
Entries 12
Upload sources