Original Content apo'stro'p'hes

"Good afternoon Mr Tennant, I come to you with a proposition." The lanky alien makes a sweeping motion with her many-jointed arm, indicating in her own species' body language that she wishes to appear respectful. In person, she would have grasped his arm and run her fingers across it, but she settles for the uncomfortable experience of communicating through a screen.

The human diplomat inclines his head in something resembling a bow: the gesture of respect that has been adopted by most humans interacting with xenos in formal settings. He wears a tailored suit: black trousers with a red hoodie. The outdated fashion makes him appear dignified, though the xeno he's talking to might not understand the cultural context of a hoodie. He speaks English with a mild chinese accent that he probably puts on for show. "And to you as well, Ms..." eyes flick to the side, reading a display "Grix'da'lon. Though my time is presently scarce due to the Rike preservation effort, I am pleased to make your acquantance."

She makes the same gesture with her arm, as well as a swaying of the torso that indicates either happiness or pleasure. "The Rike situation is exactly what I wished to speak with you about, Mr Tennant. I believe we could help significantly with Human-Rike relations. Now, you probably haven't heard of my species-"

"I'm going to stop you right there, Ms Grix'da'lon. You're a Nig'dollo'ga'llolldi, one of the few sapient species linguistically compatible with Humanity. We can share languages, which is why my translator hasn't assigned you a human name. I took an elective on your language and culture in high school."

She sways her torso with greater energy. "It seems I've underestimated you, Mr Tennant. In that case, you may know that Nig'dollo'ga'llolldi are also linguistically compatible with Rike..." (His eyes widen momentarily, then return to their dignified rest) "... and that Humanity and Rike could, theoretically, communicate without a translator if both species spoke Nig'dollo'ga'llolldinian. That is why I come to you today: I wish to teach the survivors of the Rike disaster to speak our language, along with the humans helping them rebuild, so that Humanity and Rike can develop a stronger bond. I'm sure you understand what's in this for us, and so I ask your permission to land my teachers on Epsilon, where they can educate the Rike survivors and human volunteers."

The human gently shakes his head as she nears the end of her speech. "I'm sorry, but I don't think that will be feasible. Through no fault of your own, Humanity has developed a disdain for the patterns of your language. You see, a number of science fiction writers in the pre-contact days decided that aliens should have alien names, but that they should still be pronounceable by humans. The convention became to fill alien names and words with apostrophes, and it only stopped when consumers voiced their unanimous hatred for the convention.

"I'm sorry, Ms Grix'da'lon, but the vast majority of humans will simply refuse to learn your language, because humans hate the way you talk."


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