Saturday, 29 November 2014

The language & culture connection

The diagram (from 'Spirituality and Aging' conf. 2009' - c.o. Dr Richard Egan) struck a chord with me when revising material about the connection between the religio-mythological side of Syai culture and its language. In the three outer areas of the 'map' of the psyche are the Physical, Social and Mental. They are centered by Spirituality. These designations come close to what the Syai call the Gods of the Minor Quaternary and how Syai linguists introduce a crucial part of their language structure. At the center is the Heart-goddess (spirituality); on the outer are the "Worldly-deeds" god (physical), and the Emotive/Motivational goddess (social) and the Intellectual god (mental). Each Syai verb-form can be divided into four variants according to which of the god-realms it most suitably seems to belong in. This provides a pattern of meaning-associations that facilitates the learning and use of the language.

Naturally, each of the deities mentioned has its own Syai name, and all four are major protagonists in the dramatic creation story that is used by Syai adults to explain the world to their children.

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