The Hiver language has over 600 words to express familial relationships between individuals and the groups to which they belong.
Hiver naming depends on how fully one translates them into English, naturally. All Hiver names have a sound and a meaning.
Almost all Hiver names are given in k'en–k'en. If a warrior lasts for more than 20 cycles, he could have taken a name in ri'kap–ken: some of the Hiver names seen, like Rizokis, are ri'kap–ken names. Prince and Princess Hiver have tcho'to–ken names, which are given at hatching into the breeding class by their mother.
If one pronounces a Hiver name in phonetic terms, one simply uses the sounds of the Hiver language. They do not have lips so certain sounds like "sh" do not exist in their language and they tend to live in thin atmospheres so they use quick vowel sounds rather than deeper or softer ones. On the other hand, they can buzz, hiss, click and chitter in ways that Humans can't so when one sees a "z", a "ch" or a "k", one must imagine the emphasis in Hiver would be stronger.
In general, Hiver names reflect a sense of purpose in one's life or dedication to one's mission. "Chekin" is a common Workers' name, meaning "Faithful" — there are countless Hivers whose names roughly translate as "Faithful Son of [Insert Mother's Name Here]". Warriors' names tend to be more utilitarian: "Rizokis" means "Fighting Blades", but there are also warriors whose names translate as "Digging Deep", "Stone Crusher", "Brave Defense" etc. Prince and Princess Hiver tend to have more opulent personal names which reflect some aspect of their physical beauty, e.g. "Obsidian Razor" or "Golden Dawn". The Queen for many centuries was a snow white Hiver with crimson markings on her wings; although all her people simply called her Mother, her personal name was "Blood Dappled Blossom".
The names of Hiver royals often make reference to plants with a rich perfume. Colors and patterns of light which are particularly vivid on the Hiver visual spectrum are also popular name choices for Prince and Princess offspring.
A Hiver who has been reincarnated generally maintains his old name, but will have a second name attached to recognize his special value to his mother, e.g. "Twice–hatched", "Thrice–hatched", etc. One of the legendary/mythic heroes of warriors was Rizokis of the Nine Hatchings, who eventually became a Prince Consort to the Queen.
Whether an old name is retained or discarded at this point depends on a great many personal and political factors. A tcho'zokin, upon rebirth, often resumes a new version of his old name rather than assuming a "pure royal" moniker — this may be for political reasons, but it could also be that it feels faintly ridiculous to retain the memories of a worker named Chekin while you ponce around calling yourself "His Royal Highness Silvery Moonbeam".
An example of another Hiver Prince name could be "Eternally Faithful and Favored Son".
"Eternal" in k'en–k'en is "metz'o", pronounced with a percussive. As with an Hiver descriptive term, it can be made a personal name in k'en–k'en by adding the suffix "–in". "–in" as a general note can have multiple meanings depending on context, including "child of”, “smaller version”, “subordinate to”, "belonging to", "part of a greater sum" etc..
"Eternally Faithful Son" would probably be given as Chek'Metz'o–zin. Hivers always insert an extra consonant between vowels — linguistically they abhor dipthongs.
"Favor" in k'en–k'en is "tcho–zok", and "zokin" is a term usually reserved for those who have been resurrected by a Hiver female. Literally, it means "beloved child". "Zokin" can be appended to an ordinary Hiver's name in various ways, depending on the circumstances of rebirth — as in the name of the Hiver prince "Chezokin", whose name might be read literally as "child whose faithfulness won favor".
His full name would thus likely be given as "Chek'metzokin" by its owner, unless he was very vain. Cutting down the syllables of one's name is a sign of humility, and is considered becoming in a male.
The fact that "faithful son" was a part of his name after all this time would tend to indicate that the Prince still cultivates a sense of humility — "Chekin", faithful son, is the most common and humblest name a Hiver can have, and it indicates an origin as a worker. However, the pride and status afforded to a Hiver tends to be expressed by how long it should take to pronounce his/her name. The unabbreviated and unabashed version of this name would be:
Metzo'zo Tcho'zok Chek. "He Who is Eternally Loved and Loyal." No –in suffix would be added, if he is neither the son nor the husband of a living Hiver female — by removing the –in he would indicate that he was not to be considered a corporate part of any greater whole.
When communicating with another, the casual noun that a royal would use for a non–related non–royal would be "child", if it was not the more polite "brother". More politely, child of _____ (insert mother or father's name). General caste descriptors also apply — a Worker Hiver is a "khe'k", ("hand"), a Warrior is a "ri" ("blade"). As a royal, particularly an arrogant or unpleasant one, if you encountered a Worker you did not know, you might address him as "khe'k" rather than something that would translate more politely as "brother".
The suffix "pre", "prek", "pren" etc. generally refers to a nest in which a female Hiver makes her home, in the Hiver language — it would translate as a combination of "creche" and "palace". For example, the Hiver homeworld is called Toto'pre, "The Holy Nest". "Che" and its variants — "chak", "chis", "chaska", "chera", "chakaz" — generally refers to a place where male Hiver live and work, from the worker's dormitory referenced by "che" and "chak" to the warrior's barracks of "chis" and "chaska" to the Prince's demesne indicated by "chera" and "chakaz".
A Human diplomat trying to be polite would doubtless refer to the species as "Chekinqua'Chekis". The "qua" is a grammatical fragment of the Hiver word for "infinity", or "number beyond counting", which links "faithful" and "offspring". "Chekis" is the informal short–form collective noun for all of the offspring of one mother. Generally, of course, this connotes "sons", but it can also include daughters, in the case of the Queen. Most Hiver wouldn't use this term about their own family members — a mother is more likely to use an affectionate term for her own brood which would have a deeper connotation of love, and calling them just "chekis" would be regarded as cold and clinical.
Hiver do have a word for "angst", but it has few cognates. The nearest translation would be "ambition", although literally it means "other–than–is". It is a quality perceived very negatively in their society, although they do not react to it violently.
There are various names used for Hiver ships, some of which are quite interesting. For example, a Hiver command Cruiser called "The Wise Presence". Or three generations of Hiver gate with a mystical name sequence: the Fission era gate called "The Way", the Fusion era gate "The Path" and the Antimatter era gate "The Truth".
Hiver warriors, shipwrights and engineers have the same affection and pride in their vessels that you see in any species. Sometimes the name of a ship reflects its purpose: a Cruiser with multiple missile–launchers mounted might be called the "Cloud of Stings" or "Fire Swarm", whereas an assault–barrage Dreadnought might be named "Thunderous Blows".
Sometimes the name of a ship simply reflects the reason it was built, e.g. "Defender of the Nest" or "The Queen's Ire".
Planet Names Edit
When names are used more than once, the name is appended with Roman numerals up to X, and then decimal digits afterwards. For example: Foo, Foo II, Foo III...Foo X, Foo 11, Foo 12...
All three of the Hiver languages are not only phonetically different but tonally different — it is possible to write tcho'to–ken without being of the royal class, but virtually impossible to speak it. Non–royal Hiver are simply not able to produce the range of tones and wing sounds that the language requires. Similarly, k'en–k'en is in a much higher tonal range than ri'kap–ken.
Hiver voices come in a variety of pitches, from the trilling song of the smallest Workers to the organ–like notes of the great Queen. Percussive sounds and clicks feature prominently in their language. Hiver are capable of forming most of the sounds of Human speech simply with their mouthparts, although there are a few that are difficult because they do not have the same arrangement of tongue and teeth that we do.
Hiver cannot "blush". They do not have direct blood flow to the outer shell of their armor "skin", and most workers and warriors only have vestigal wings. Only a Hiver of the breeding class (i.e. Prince, Princess or Queen) can show emotion and communicate by flow of blood to the visible tissue of the wings.
On the other hand, Hiver do have facial expressions, posture, gesture and very eloquent body language. All Hiver communicate a great deal of emotional information through pheromones — fear, respect, joy, sorrow, hate etc.
Because Hiver use scent as communication, they have developed thousands of ways of expressing themselves through odor — including deception and misdirection, naturally.
Many of the characters in their written language actually represent subtle gradations of scent.
Human lips and tongues are not well designed for speaking the Hiver language, but a Human diplomat trying to be polite would doubtless refer to the species as "Chekinqua'Chekis". This is probably the closest set of phonemes you could put together without proper mouthparts. Roughly translated, this would be "Faithful Children without Number", which is a polite term for the Hiver as a people.
The "qua" is one of those sounds a Human can only approximate, but it's more like the "kwah" of "question". And it is a grammatical fragment of the Hiver word for "infinity", or "number beyond counting", which links "faithful" and "offspring".
FTL Communication Edit
Each race has a different method for sending FTL communiqués based on their drive tech. All Hiver vessels carry a tiny miniature "gate" within their communications array. Although it is not capable of transmitting matter, it is capable of transmitting sonic vibrations to other "gates" on its web of recognized transmission points. However, like any gate system, it is limited in traffic capacity, so only vessels in the Queen's service are so equipped.
Written Language Edit
Full literacy for a Hiver requires the mastery of three written languages: k'en–k'en (Workers), ri'kap–ken (Warriors) and tcho'to–ken (Breeders). The majority of Hiver can only read and write in k'en–k'en, while military Hiver, historians and scholars must also learn ri'kap–ken. Tcho'to–ken is an art form, the Hiver version of calligraphy painting — royals often write poetry, personal letters and diaries in tcho'to–ken form, using perfumed scrolls and inks which add to the meaning of the finished piece.
Like the Maya, Chinese and Egyptians, the Hiver employ combinations of pictorial symbols as writing. Those of k'en–k'en are the most straightforward and easiest to learn — k'en–k'en is a phonetic language which represents words as combinations of sounds, smells and colors. It is written and read from top to bottom, from the upper right to the bottom left. K'en–k'en writing is much easier to read than the other written languages, because the symbols are systematized, phonetic and derive directly from the Hiver spoken language. Anyone who can speak their koine can learn to read k'en–k'en.
Ri'kap–ken is the written language with the oldest history, and derives from one of the oldest Hiver language groupings — it employs complex symbols as whole words, and combinations of symbols as sentences or thoughts — the arrangement of the same symbols in different configurations can change the meaning drastically, as when "ally" becomes "enemy" by placing a single stroke in a different position. It takes a bit more dedication to learn to read ri'kap–ken, as there are subtleties of positioning and arrangement on negative space which can be elusive without a good deal of experience, leaving the reader open to mis–interpretation as a result. Very few Hiver can master ri'kap–ken before the age of 20 cycles or so.
Both of the former languages can be reproduced relatively easily by printing presses and abstracted easily by computer screens.
Tcho'to–ken pieces, however, are works of fine art, and even other races have been known to try to collect them when they can. The Director of SolForce was given the gift of a folding screen made from Hiver "papyrus" and painted by a royal artist with a tcho'to–ken poem when the Human–Hiver peace treaty was signed, for example. In the two years that followed, the slow curation of the inks and dyes released a different fragrance every day. Reading and writing tcho'to–ken as a linguist is much harder than either of the standard Hiver writing forms, but in some ways it is easier to understand than either of the others. The sweep of the brush, the interplay of color and the perfumes of ink and paper speak to the spirit as well as the mind, and often a sensitive person will receive a part of the message whether the words are consciously understood or not. The fact that tcho'to–ken glyphs are often combined with illustrations also helps!
There are a few Hiver poems which the Liir are partial to. For example, it is rumored that the Black commissioned a very special tcho'to–ken painting from Che Mekzi, one of the most celebrated Hiver artists of his generation. It was a copy of a very ancient poem originally written in ri'kap–ken, by a warrior of the 4th Interregnum. The title was "I Found Him".
Body Language Edit
Hiver express themselves through wing movement, bodily percussion, positioning of the antenna. The movement and arrangement of mouthparts is also crucial, both in facial expression and in speech. These are subtle expressions, of course. Large scale body movements have more dramatic meaning, and certain postures of body are considered more polite/unthreatening, while others are aggressive (or among the tcho, seductive) etc..
The function of the modern–day Hiver's antenna is social. A Hiver's antenna are deeply expressive of emotion and states of mind, and other Hiver tend to read them the way Humans read the tiny signals around the eyes and mouth of other Humans. They are also highly sensitive to touch. They are one of the most easily altered pieces of a Hiver's anatomy, as well, so the variation in shape, size and color is enormous.
Most of the heaviest Hiver insults involve excrement in some way. They have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell and do not care for the smell of their own excretions.
Being subjected to another Hiver's flatulence or feces is fairly excruciating for them — it's the proverbial slap in the face with a gauntlet (full of poo). If you fling poo at a Hiver — or leave a bag of burning poo on his doorstep — you'd best be prepared to fight.
Being called a child of the Black Queen is one of the direst pejoratives you can lay on a Hiver, and it is reserved for the extremely wicked.