From Will in New Haven@21:1/5 to All on Fri Dec 16 08:01:33 2016
For the purposes of this lecture, we will assume that you have either taken all four courses in Goblin offered by this University or you have the "Translate Language (MainGoblin)" spell up and running. Either of these will help you understand what is
said to you and reply. However, neither is sufficient to keep you alive if you don't know what mode to use in your speech or what to do if addressed in a particular mode.
Of course, _most_ interaction with Goblins does not involve speech, beyond the screams of the wounded, the gurgle of the dying and the occasional yells of triumph or despair. It is for those other, rarer, occasions that we are trying to prepare you.
Grovelative is the first mode you must know. It is couched in very humble terms, the word "I" is never used, every sentence ends in Shna (abasememnt) You must _never_ use the grovelative, even if you are begging for your life. This mode is only commonly
used by the lowest class, those who are numbered so that they can be devoured in order in case of hardship or simply whim. Very low-numbered Goblins simply whimper and almost never speak. Others use the mode when they are addressing someone of great
power and are terribly afraid of what is going to happen.
If a Goblin addresses _you_ in this mode, you can be certain he or she is not threat to you. No Goblin present would blame you, by the way, if you kill and ate this individual or if you killed her or him and fed it to the other Goblins who happened to be
Servile is the next step up. It can be identified by the almost complete omission of Shna. It is used from lower to higher. Food critters, the lowest of the low, will sometimes use Servile when addressing the next class up, at risk of like and limb.
Warrior caste never use Servile, even when addressing the Mage/Priest class or the ruling class but Mages and Priests sometimes use Servile when addressing the ruling class.
If a Goblin addresses you in Servile, be careful. They do not use the Grovelative deceitfully but when addressed in Servile, you are on your own. In negotiations, the use of Servile is a fair indicator that the listener has the upper hand. Take care to
maintain it and always use the Abusive or Contemptuous mode in response. Formally equal but inferior is used between near equals by the less equal or by the one asking a favor or conducting a courtship. Males sometimes use Servile in courtship and even Grovelative. But inferior is distinguished by using the word "I" but
throwing in frequent stock phrases of respect. But inferior is always used by the warrior class to those above them and usually used by the Mages and Priests to the ruling class.
If a Goblin uses the but inferior mode, you have two choices. You can keep things fairly cordial by using the but superior mode or you can escalate to abusive or contemptuous. Escalation usually works best.
Formally equal but superior can be quickly distinguished by the lack of a stock phrase of respect in the first sentence. Such a phrase _can_ be thrown in later to keep things friendly but, in practice, this is rare. But superior is used by the higher to
the lower when the higher wishes to be courteous.
If a Goblin uses the but superior to you or another Goblin, the addressee has two choices, he or she or you can reply in but inferior (or Servile or Grovelative) conceding the higher ground or can use the but superior also and continue that until one
party backs down or there is bloodshed. Or the addressee can use the Abusive or the Contemptuous, which will usually lead to immediate bloodshed but can cause the other to back down.
The Abusive is used from higher to lower and if the lower doesn't like it, there can be immediate bloodshed. The abusive is _very_ personal and includes the real or invented qualities of the addressee. If a Goblin addresses you in this mode you must
attack or face the wrath of all Goblins present and all who hear about it.
The Contemptuous is used from higher to lower but is coldly impersonal. If used by the ruling class to a warrior, the warrior will either attack or commit suicide. If it is used by a Mage or Priest to a warrior, the warrior will attack. If used by the
ruling class to others, it is accepted and the replies will be in the Servile or Grovalitive and violence is not usual.
If a ruling class Goblin addresses you in this mode you must reply in the but inferior Mode or attack. Using the Servile or, worse, the Grovelative will result in your being a figure of contempt and open to attack. If any other Goblin addresses you in
this mode you must kill her or him.