So I found this, which is something I wrote a while back, and given the recent discussion, it seems sensible to put it here:
Etiquette Among the Scandosotans
Chapter Three: Asking Questions
And then there's finding out if somebody else wants something; this somewhat more complex (not to mention time-consuming) inquiry-indirect form of negotiation takes place between two or more people; to wit:
Yen: Nice schnitzelbank they got over there at Prange's.
Toe: [nods, while making "yeah, well, it is" mouth expression -- or, if the person is really garrulous or really fired up by the schnitzelbank, they might go so far as to say something out loud such as:] "Yeah, you got that right," or, possibly, "Sure is."
Yen: I suppose, you know, ah, that if, ah, a person got one of them things, then, uh, maybe a person wouldn't turn it down, hey?
Option One: The inquiry, and sort of the offer, too, have been made; if Toe doesn't want a nice new schnitzelbank from Prange's, then...
Toe: Oh, well, you know...an old reliable schnitzelbank will do a person just fine, I figure. Yah?
Yen: (amiably) Oh, yah, that's true. [nodding and making the same sort of mouth expression that Toe made earlier] Yup.
Option Two: The inquiry and sort of the offer have been made, and Toe really really does want that new schnitzelbank, and is delighted and touched by both the offer and who is making it, and doesn't scruple to say so, so...
Toe: Oh, well, hey, a person would be pretty excited about that, I bet. (Toe's tone of voice is elaborately casual in a way that conveys to an initiate that Toe is not making an offhanded agreeable remark, and happy in a way that indicates interest, but not so much interest as to make Yen uncomfortable if Toe has somehow misunderstood what the deal is here, ya know. Plausible deniability. Offering a face-saving vagueness kinda deal.)
Yen: Yeah, I suppose a person would be. [companionable silence, in which nothing more about the schnitzelbank is said; the silence on the subject of the schnitzelbank will continue, in fact, until the schnitzelbank appears one day, either in the barn or shed or dooryard, or else under a lot of wrapping paper on some official-type occasion of acceptable present-giving; in either case, Toe acts -- and genuinely is -- startled and touched that a person would go to so much trouble to get such a splendid thing for somebody; if it's a wrapping-paper occasion, Yen might say either "Well, I figured you could use that," or, if Yen is close to Toe in some significant* way and wishes to affirm that intimacy (whatever it may be), Yen might go, "Well, you know, I knew you wanted that. I knew you'd really like it. And, well, you know, I just figured you ought to have one of those." Which, if it's a really nice sturdy new schnitzelbank, is a very high compliment to Toe, and both Yen and Toe know it, as do Trey, Fea, and Fem, if they're present at the occasion of presentation. Uh-oh. How do I get out of these brackets? Oh. Right.]
Option Three: Toe wants the schnitzelbank, but either doesn't feel really deserving of such a fine thing (or possibly of any thing at all) or of somebody else's effort, time or trouble (see previous parenthetical remark), or does feel OK about getting such a fine thing from somebody (which is no small thing, you know, hey?) but wants to make sure that the person wanting to give it is not under the impression that Toe values them more for giving such a splendid thing than for the basic everyday unremarkable** goodness of the friendship/marriage/whatever, which is after all the important thing, rather than the trifles of this world, even a trifle so fine as a nice new schnitzelbank... or, and I should probably be embarrassed even to list this option even though my example characters are fictional and probably wouldn't know I was saying it, but *I'd* know, which would be... um, sorry, had a flashback to my Lutheran childhood there for a moment. Where was I? Right. Um. So on the off chance that Toe is the kind of person who merely wants to make Yen *think* Toe is properly modest, not big-headed, and holding the proper values and attitudes towards Things Of This World, Which Though Splendid, Are Dross, and towards The Things That Count, Really -- [fx: thump and scramble noise, followed by silence save for the panting of the narrator] Sorry; I thought I fixed that five-six lines ago. Anyhow, I got it back into the box now. So, uh.... right, proper attitudes. So if Toe just wants Yen to *think* Toe's not greedy (i.e. doesn't want anything -- and yes, I know that's a screwed-up way to think, but I'm not making it work that way, I'm just reporting, here) and not full of desires (ditto previous parenthetical) or any number of other things (particularly if they're true)... Well, in any or all of the aforementioned cases***, then...
Toe: Oh, well, it's a really nice schnitzelbank... but of course, a person can make do with an old schnitzelbank just fine. (The level of unconvincedness in the sound of Toe's voice here is a measure of how badly Toe wants that schnitzelbank. And if that's really really a lot, the following phrase might be added.) I mean, a person shouldn't really go to any trouble, or anything. (Note here that the referent of the term "a person" has shifted; in the previous sentence, "a person" meant "me, Toe", but in this sentence it means "you, Yen". This means, roughly, "Please assure me that it's OK with you if I want this thing [if it is], and that you really mean to be checking out whether I want you offering me it, [if you are], because I sure wouldn't want to get it wrong and land us both in a terrible situation full of imposition and rudeness and resentment and I don't know what all****." Also note that there are several very similar phrasings using the words "go to any trouble", and that these may be said in several very similar tones, but that the similarities conceal vast distinctions in meaning, and that getting them wrong might result in I don't know what all. [see above])
Yen: (Here we'll assume it's cool, and that Yen is serious, and glad to be finding something Toe really wants, which is, for reasons no doubt becoming increasingly clear to the unfamiliar reader, rather a challenge around these folks.) Oh, well... [smiles and shakes head a little] No, I think that, you know, if a person had a schnitzelbank like that, it might be pretty useful. (This, in as an encouraging tone as possible, without being so overly encouraging as to verge on pressure, thus accidentally giving a person the idea that they maybe are going to have to accept the doggoned schnitzelbank just to keep from disillusioning Yen, whose innocent happiness about finding just the right [wrong] thing to give a person is something only a heartless monster could shatter. [Eeesh*****.])
Toe: Oh... [in tones of slightly flustered self-deprecation not unlike Jimmy Stewart in certain movies] ... well, but... [It's important here that the tones be slightly flustered but not at all distressed or unhappy-sounding, because that might mean Something Else Again*******. If the tones sound a bit incredulously happy and thrilled but also like Toe is trying real hard not to let on that this is the case, that's probably just about right, then.) Oh, that... that would be... Well, that's a darn fine schnitzelbank, is what it is. (A small [and quickly smoothed out] grin of delight is appropriate in certain circumstances, at this point.)
Yen: (Yen, if pretty darn friendly with Toe, might go so far as to allow a broad smile to become just about actually visible on the horizon of the face, here.) Yeah, it's a pretty one. (Note that in this, and indeed in all following phrases in this paragraph, Yen's favorable comments may ostensibly be about the prospective schnitzelbank while in fact being about Toe, or at least about how Yen values Toe. This is known as Not Getting All Mushy Or Sentimental Or Anything.) It, uh, looks like it'll hold up pretty good. [pause, and nodding with satisfaction] (PLEASE NOTE: At all times during this paragraph Yen must look off in the distance or down at some piece of work or whittling or pretty much anywhere except at Toe, because if Yen looks directly at Toe while saying this paragraph, especially with certain tones of voice and full eye contact, Yen is either pledging lifelong oathfriendship, conveying notice that they have made their will in favor of Toe and would furthermore like Toe to be executor, or making a proposal of marriage, depending on the assorted genders, preferences, and proclivities of Yen and Toe.********) Yep. [nod] It's a good one, all right. [satisfied nod] [affectionate and/or companionable silence]
Toe: [silence, punctuated by an almost imperceptible pleased sigh]
(Note: this amiable silence can continue until the engine is fixed or the peas are all shelled or it's too dark to fish, or any other natural transition point. Unless a person starts to think that a person might get uncomfortable or something. Not that a person is saying that they think a person necessarily *is* getting uncomfortable, of course, or that there would be anything wrong with it if they did. Um, so how 'bout those [kohlrabi/Packers/bluegills], anyhow?)
So that's kinda how it works. Sorta. In a compressed sort of way, I mean.
Footnotes to the text:
* significant ways include but are not limited to: lifelong friends, family members who like each other, spouses or equivalents thereof, buddies from work that are true friends, and so forth.
** unremarkable not in the sense that it's so plentiful as to be cheap or taken for granted, but rather in the sense that it's such an important thing that a person probably honors that importantness by not cheapening it with remarks about it, which only make a person look like they are either bragging or afraid they might lose it and are fishing for reassurance.***
*** Yes, my people are screwed up. I know. But that's how it is, there, and hey, I didn't make any remarks about whatever, uh, remarkable things your people might say or do or believe or eat (or all four, for that matter), a person might point out.
**** "All die; O, the embarrassment!" as Joe Haldeman's characters say in his short story "A !Tangled Web".
***** which translates to either "Uff-da!" or "Oy vey iz mir!" just as easily, by the way. (I think it came from "Ish-ka-la!" which is what my bunch, or part of them, say instead of "Uff-da!" A person can get a great deal of inflection into "Ish-ka-la!" if a person wants to. This is, ah, a pretty well-known fact.******)
****** I dare ya to either translate this particular sentence in this comment of mine accurately or make one of the appropriate replies in the terminology of my people. I double-dare-ya. Uh, if a person wants to, I mean.
******* Like, maybe, that they have already had this conversation earlier with somebody, and they suddenly remembered that, and they don't want a person to get them the schnitzelbank because that would be Awkward, but they don't want a person to think that they don't appreciate a person wanting to get them something so fine, taking the time to inquire about it so politely, or any of a number of things. Or maybe they just finally parsed the conversation up to this point and were asleep at the switch up 'til now, but are suddenly aware of the importance of stopping this here train before something goes off the rails or someone says something straight out in so many words, or both. Which might mean that they finally figured out that Yen is offering, or would like the privilege of being able to offer, a gift of inappropriate, um, magnitude and/or intimacy to their relationship format hitherto, which kinda indicates to a person that the water looks to be getting a little deeper, and if a person hadn't intended on swimming, a person might want to get back up on shore.
Obviously, all sorts of havoc could result. (Very little of which, of course, would show above the waterline, but still.)
******** Oh, yeah; you think I'm kidding. [untranslateable facial expression involving a small widening of the eyes while nodding once and inhaling slightly]
*********(About time, too, hey? Eeesh. Some people's kids.)
Honour Your Inner Magpie
- ruminations on Scandosotan terms and culture (reprint)
- April 30th, 2008
- !!!, #lofnotc engagement party, 1700s, 1881 story, 3 woman show, a good day has yarn in it, a strange and cunning plan, a tease of names, aargh!, absent friends, accidental admiral, advanced style, african muslims in antebellum america, after the dragon, alice in wonderland, all the earth is holy ground, all the shinies!, all the sold shinies, alligators turn up in the strangest plac, alternate lives, am i on cat's island nao?, amber, ammonites, amtrak o noes, analysis, and by my eyes be i open, andrew hudgins, anthony bourdain omg, anti-gloom earring project, anti-harassment, antwerp, antwerp/anvers, ao3, apex magazine, apple store rocks beyond rockitude, appreciation, aquamarines, arms and the lioness, art after the stroke, art is a great goodness, artists' challenge, artlog, auction, australia, award, awesomely rant-o-matic, awww, backstory is where the fun is, bad girls and steampunk go together like, bay area, beads of the month, bears, beauty beyond words, beginning, bell-sleeved sweater, benefit sale, benevolent conspiracies, best business card evar, bill holm, birthday, birthday!, birthdaytriplog, bless les barker, blogging against disabilism 2012, bloodstone, blue and gold and orange and beautiful, boats, body of christ, bone art?, books, books in the mail are a great goodness, botmo, botmo year twelve, botswana agate, bowlerine, bpal, bpal and na and possets, bpal auction, brains, btvs, buddhism for add monks, buddhists i love, bujold, bus adventures, calendar of tales, can i get a 'wtf'?, can i get an amen?, canning factory tales, captain awkward, caption-fu, cat tales from the past, catching our balance, celebration, chairing the bard, chi chi valenti, chicon 7, christianity, christmas, chrysoprase, church, civic duty, class issues, classes, classism, clever monkey, clothes talk, cocktail, collaborative art, comet, common ground, common rede in lolcat, communication, composing shinies and how long that take, computer-fu, con or bust, connections, conscientious objection, consultation, contact info, conventions, copenhagen, coprolite, counting flax seeds again, creative badgeholders, creative property trust, crescent wrench, crochet, curious things in the mail, current shinies, custom work, de-stressing, declaration and response, deeply amused, delia, deo gratias, destashing, determination, diamonds (conflict-free), digger, dinosaur bone, dinosaurs and what?, dinosaurs are cool, disability, disability access costuming, disability rant, disability-fu, doll with a ghost in it, doll/toy necklaces, don't push me, downton abbey, dragons, dreams, druzy, e st vincent wtf, echo bazaar, editing, eisteddfod, email status, emma lazarus, end of an era, essays, excel is thumping my head just now, fake minerals, fanfic, fangirl squee meter, fans, farm towns, farthing party, fiber arts, fifty-two, filk, films, fingers still crossed, fish!, fix the damn health care system already, flaneurs and bloggers, flight safety instructions, flood season again, floroons, fluorescence, fluorite, fobs and ornaments, folklore and folksongs, footfixing, fordite, forward in all directions!, fossils, fourth street, fourth street 2010, fourth street ticket drawing, foxes, fried squirrel morning, frozen in the fields of plenty, fruitful distractions, fun with bureaucracy, fun with my brain, fun with the internet, gafilk, garden art, garnets, gears, geekery, genderstupid society, genderweird, geoff ryman, geology, glass bead games, good deed opportunity, good night irene, good outcome, goose-girls, gratitude, gravity, great lakes, grief, group clasps and earwires buy, group wire buy, grrr, guardianship, habu, haiku earrings, hair ornaments, hairsticks, happy, happy mac, happy new year, happy snails, health-fu, hello rocket, helsinki, heterotopic ossification, hip hip hooray!, hobt, holidays, home, home is the mighty bead-hunter, hope and despair and stuff like that, housecleaning as archaology, how to speak scandosotan, hugo awards, hungry hungry lioness, hurricane, i dislike pain meds but they are useful, i have a really interesting day job, i have been in necklace mode, i like this canon better thank you, i love a happy ending, i need to read this, i sheesh myself, i'm all right with that then, if you are alarmed, igor was a wobbly, ilkley d'amour, imperial jasper, in bear's domain, in progress, in today's mail, incipient new shinies, incipient sale ending, incipient shiny sale, incipient spoonage, information, inner magpie desires, inspirational objects, insurance-fu, invisible bike helmet, iphone, is that really rainbow amazonite or just, jane hirshfield, jay lake, jewelry with names, jigsaw puzzles, jmf, john henry newman, jordan, joss whedon, joys, juan, juggling too many things to do but there, just call 911 already, katabasis, ken white rocks utterly, keys, kickstarter, klingons yay, kneecap should not wander thank you, knitting clock, labradorite, lady poetesses from hell, laguna lace agate, lampwork, legal stuff, lessons, lest we forget, let's get deb a new liver, libraries, life is good, light, lightning rod moments, liminal, little arghs, live floodcam, liveblogging the shinymaking, lively day, living room walls, lolcat, lolscience, loncon3, looking cool, lousier than i could have imagined, lovecraftian decor horrors, lovely new dragonfly spindle, lucky ten thousand, lunds, lure lure lure, lyrics, m.c.a. hogarth, magical ecosystems, magical holy russian science deodorant, magick4terri, magpie telegraph, magpie treasures for sure, make good art, making light, making up what should have been, malt-kitty, mammals of luuuv, manute bol, markdowns, mars, materials, may day, mayo, medical-fu, meme-thing, mermaids, meteorite, mez, micro-lending, mike, milestone, ming-na wen, minicon, minnesota and the arts, mistaken identities, mixed blood, mlk, mlp, molly grue's song, montreal, moonstone, morning, moss agate, mrissa made a story, mrs ackroyd band, mummers play, muse jumping on me again, music is a great goodness, my un-secret activist past, mything the point, nameless horrors, nanofimo, national poetry month, natural disasters, necklace conspiracy!, neil, nel gurgle, new orleans, new shinies, new website, new york, new zealand, nichelle nichols, night of 1000 stevies, nine noble virtues, nine things about oracles, ninja monks, no context theatre, no more lillet!, nom nom nom, nopetopus, nostalgia and the sudetenland, not really complaining, nottingham, nyc, o hai server, o heart what are you doing?, ocean jasper, octopodes, off they go!, oh beads i love you, old coins are interesting, oleanna territory, om mani padme hey shiny!, omg shoes, on the mend though, only one broken dish today, ooblek, oops, opals, opinionation, oracular slug, oslo, other people's art, other people's testimonies, other writing associated with shinies, ow ow ow, owl beads, packing shinies to go to their people, paper darts wordsmith, paperwork augh, parables, party, passing strange, patreon, pavlova, penguins, pennyfarthing bicycle, people!, pep talks, personal histories, petrified wood, physiatrist ftw, physics, pietersite, pirates, pirates!, plumbing again, pocketwatches yay!, poetry, poker, politics, poll, pondering, popehat, post-colonial literature of elves, postage argh, potlatch, prehnite, progress, protection rackets, provoked lioness warning, ptsd, putting things in safe places, pyrite, qantas can bite me, qotd, quartz with stuff in it, quiltbag and so forth, reading suggestions, realism in writing, recuperating, referrals, remember this, research, research is a trippy thing, resin casting, rest in peace, rewriting herstory, rez is a hoot, rfp, rhino carries the moon, richard siken, ritual jeweling, roflcopters, rose magic, rural/urban/class stuff, sad lioness is sad, sale, sale ending soon, sand animation, sanderson, sarah monette, sartorial splendor, sasquan, saxophone foolishness for the win, sca, scalzi, scandosotan, schnitzelbank, school days, science versus sparklies, sdn, seattle, seeing every thing, sentimental, shadow unit, sharing knowledge, shawl pins, shinies, shiny sightings, shoveling, sigh/yay, signage, silk, silly body, silly lioness, silly people, silver longing, singing is a great goodness, skagen and grenen, sleep or something like it, slumgullion, small business, smarter than the monkey, snaily, so many tags remind me of her, soiled doves, something completely different, sometimes you have to be stern with them, song for a martian rock, songwriting, sopa/pipa, spanners, special, spinning, spiritual stuff, spoons, spring cleaning, spring cleaning rummage sale, st marys hospital, st. joan, star trek, startled lioness is startled, steampunk, stegodon, stevie nicks, stew is a genius, stockholm, stoppard, stories, stroiders' worth, stroke, stuck in the middle again, style, suitcase, sunstone, support, surf's up in chicago!, surgery, sushi, swap/sale, tea!, teaching and consultation, teh l1on 4 real, tektite, television in dreams, tell me something good, ten things meme, the beads are luring me, the best of us humans, the definition of rich, the demands of citizenship, the joys of writing, the last unicorn, the muse is jumping on me with both feet, the postcard game, the shores of beautiful lake stage five, the sisterhood of small business, the vicissitudes of art, the winter evening sky, the world is full of marvelous things, there's some diva in almost all of us, thermal color-change beads, things looking for a home, things that cheer me up, things the beads say, think me some good thoughts, this is also what we do, this is what happens, this is what we do, this is where i learned it, those dang three ducks, those frustrating amphorae, three bags full, thunderegg, tiaras 'r' us, ticky!!, tigers, timtams, tissue plasminogen activator, tnh and i get silly, tomato cages, tony stark is a bamf and so am i, tool-using primates, tools, town & country, trans stuff, trashing, traveling, uff da!, uh-oh, ukulele, unexpected magpie, unmuddling, up goer five, up to something as usual, ursula vernon, uterus hat, velma, violin, visiting, visitors yay!, voiceless, vorkosigan, votes for the dead, vulture goddess knows no pity, w00t!, wandering wire, warehouse 13, watch fobs, watersheds are interesting, we are gonna have such a party!, we regret this interruption in service, weathergeekery, webcam, weddings and suchlike, wellington, wfc2011, what a lot of aquamarines there are, what is this relax thing you speak of?, what the oracle didn't tell you, whee!, wheeled conveyances, where is my luggage?, why are we building such a big ship, why do you linger?, why i love the doubletree park place, wicked glee, wicked my little pony jewelry, wiktory!, wild markdown giddiness, winnipeg folk festival, winter in minnesota, winterfair, wire buy, wiscon, wishes, wombats, words to the wise, work in progress, work is a comfort, worldcon, wot, writing, writing the unfamiliar, writinglog, xeno's invoice paradox, xeno's packing paradox, xkcd, yeah yeah ok i actually did laugh, year 8 botmo, yes i really should be asleep now, yeti!, yikes!, yikes! catholics!, you know how i get, ytipsy oracle, yuletide
Powered by LiveJournal.com