Apr 05, 2017

IO: Motherkin history and cultural heritage is oral. There is no known written component of Mothertongue, the linguistic umbrella of the Motherkin language. The language and its dialects are not given extensive study until the second fall of Gluttony, Yomesh's death, and the reopening of Gluttony's borders to greater Hell. By this time, many unique dialects have been lost.

In general, Mothertongue is not spoken by anyone outside of Motherkin heritage due to the prevalence of Motherkin being generally fluent in Common or Low Infernal. As Motherkin history is oral, with no written records kept until after Yomesh's death, historical distortion and erasure of opposing or otherwise conflicting opinions and retellings through accidental or deliberate "History by Committee" is common. This is not resolved as a records-keeping blight until the rise of the Golgotha in the New Matriarchy and a written component to Mothertongue is developed. Written records claiming to be of Mothertongue prior to this change are merely phonetic transcriptions dictated by exterior parties.

Mothertongue is known best for its library of pronouns, cataloguing at 50+. Pronouns in Mothertongue describe genital formation / configuration, to aid individuals in discerning mechanically compatible partners. Pronouns in Mothertongue have no relation to gender, a concept that is completely foreign to Motherkin at large and possesses no equivalent in their social structure. All pronouns roughly translate to "she", a contraction / derivative of "mother", of which there are multiple words assigned, each with specific nuance in weight, concept, and application. An individual's pronoun is generally incorporated into their name in the form of a "universal" series of prefixes and suffixes built from the base pronoun. "Mo-", "Ma-", "Mu-", and "-'a", "-ae", "-ie", and "-a" are the most common. Removed from the name, these prefixes and suffixes create their pronoun, eg: "moa", "mo'a", "moae", "moie". The sole exception to this rule is "Ma'a"; the prefix "Ma-" and suffix "-'a" are never paired together in a name as a pronoun denominator. "Ma'a" as a word serves as a name and pronoun of only one entity, the Third Calamity, Herald of Erasure, and may only be used in reference to her. Using it in any other context or intent is to invite suspicion, derision, ostracising, and potential violence. Ma'a as a figure and concept is not one of reverence but of calculated respect and caution, and the inobservance of this is met with zero tolerance regardless of intent or circumstance.

The Motherkin linguistic system of naming and pronouns can result in issues in regards to the names and personal identities of non-Motherkin individuals. Names that manage to fall under the guidelines of Motherkin conventions by coincidence can give a Motherkin the impression that an individual outside of their species follows their linguistic, social, and physiological systems, which can lead to considerable misunderstanding. For this reason, visitors to Gluttony after the rise of the New Matriarchy are given temporary "visitation" names, titles, or pronouns to help prevent such ocurrances. These temporary names are given as a courtesy only, to inspire at minimum a surface-level respect to visitors to the throne. Outside of courtesy, Motherkin will use slang to refer to visitors of other species. In particular, the name and pronoun "voa" will often be used, generally accepted to mean "incompatible", or "vha" / "vah", the corrupted / derogatory equivalent, meaning "invalid". The two are phonetically very similar to non-Mothertongue speakers, with the latter being largely unknown outside of ethnic pockets, making it easy for spiteful individuals to demean unfamiliar company.

Mothertongue is very rarely pursued by non-Motherkin, as the language is considered prohibitively difficult to learn for its limited application. Fluent speakers and translators, however, fetch a princely sum, as poly-linguists able to speak or at least reliably interpret the language for non-speakers are invaluable for higher courts looking to do business with or in Gluttony. The xenophobia present in Gluttony lends to a considerable bias and favour to interpreters of Motherkin blood, as other species that have learned Mothertongue will often be scrutinised or otherwise judged harshly on their fluency, or simply "toyed with" via slang and phonetically-related words to create misunderstandings and mistakes.