The Fell Gard Codices

A Usage Change

July 5th, 2012

As I said yesterday, I’m in the process of editing the tale so far, with an eye toward getting my feet under me to start up again with new posts. For the most part the edits have been subtle, but there’s been a significant change in usage I want to note here.

Specifically, I’ve decided to change the way I’ve been using the word “sorine.” Up to this point, I’ve tended to capitalise it: “the Sorine.” But the more I thought about, the more I came to feel this was a mistake. The original idea for the word was that it was meant to refer to a female equivalent to a friar. As I understand it, there is no such direct equivalent in Christianity; there are nuns of various mendicant orders, but nuns are more directly equivalent to monks (there is the word ‘beguine,’ but that comes from a proper name, and I couldn’t get my head around using it). For a variety of reasons it seemed like a good idea to have a word for female friars in the fictional religion I was imagining. Since ‘friar’ came from the Latin ‘frater’ (brother) by way of Old French ‘frere,’ I decided to start with ‘soror,’ Latin for sister. I decided I didn’t want a direct linguistic parallel, because all the words I tried to put together keeping the two ‘r’s of soror felt a little clumsy to me. So I grabbed the French and English female suffix ‘-ine.’ Since that suffix typically makes an adjective out of a noun, it ought to make the word literally mean ‘sisterly.’ But the way I see things, languages tend to be full of exceptions, in the way they develop words as in everything else. So it is in this case. There’s a story behind the creation and use of the word ‘sorine,’ which I imagine will come out at some point.

All of which is to say that ‘sorine’ is meant to be analogous to ‘friar,’ and ‘Sorine Gryselde’ effectively the same as ‘Friar Tuck.’ So it should be capitalised when used, as in that case, as part of the name. I’ve decided to also capitalise it if it’s used in direct address as though it were a name — “He asked: ‘Do you think so, Sorine?'” and so forth. But not if it’s used simply in reference to a person — “The sorine sighed deeply.” So I’ve gone through and made the necessary changes, and that’s the way it’ll be in future.

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