The Fundamental Question of Ethics

The Fundamental Question of Ethics

Gotta keep those translation muscles flexed, so here is a translation of a passage from a favourite fantasy novel of mine.


Enwa nér – enwa ilye léssen i istalve ve enwe – kime immo *lahórie hótukina ambarello, en ta *sastaina *ermea *harastanna ya *tankave lá pole ea: hlóni samir tyávi, nustar samir laiti ar núrie, keni samir *apparaite, *appari samir *tungie ar *hraite. Tasse óma ú hrondo quete sena sa i nér kólina tanna ve ambareryo kallo. Mauya sen mahta *er-an-er qualmenna *anqua kallo exa ambarello. Qui turuvaina, firuvas, ar ambarerya – i enwa ambar - *nankaruvaina an penis mitya *tulque termarien. I nér apta savita i quetie naite. *Santas sa hya óla sen hya símarya ranya, ar avas i loika noa mahtaleo fírienna yasse ú “enwa” raxeo. Náse *latúrima voronwieryasse lá save nemestea *hamastarya, ar lá varyas immo íre i kallo exa ambarello *nakape senna. Maquetta: ma i nero lengare verya hya þossea? Si *lengasto *talmea maquetta.


"A real man—real in all the ways that we recognize as real—finds himself suddenly abstracted from the world and deposited in a physical situation which could not possibly exist: sounds have aroma, smells have color and depth, sights have texture, touches have pitch and timbre. There he is informed by a disembodied voice that he has been brought to that place as a champion for his world. He must fight to the death in single combat against a champion from another world. If he is defeated, he will die, and his world—the real world—will be destroyed because it lacks the inner strength to survive. The man refuses to believe that what he is told is true. He asserts that he is either dreaming or hallucinating, and declines to be put in the false position of fighting to the death where no “real” danger exists. He is implacable in his determination to disbelieve his apparent situation, and does not defend himself when he is attacked by the champion of the other world. Question: is the man’s behavior courageous or cowardly? This is the fundamental question of ethics."


*lahórie adv. "unexpectedly" < hora-

*sasta- vb. "put, place" < SAT

*ermea adj. "material, physical" < erma

*harasta n. "situation, position" < har-

*tankave adv. "surely, certainly, firmly" < tanka

*apparaite n. "texture" < from appa- "touch" and *hraite "peculiar hue, fashionquality" SRIT

*appare n. "touch" < appa-

*tungie  n. "tautness, resonance, pitch (of a sound)" < tunga

*hraite n. "peculiar hue, fashion, quality" SRIT, cognate of S rhaed

*er-an-er adj., adv. "lit. 'one-on-one"

*anqua prep., adv. "against" < *anak

*nankar- vb "undo, destroy"

*tulque n. "strength, energy, endurance, steadfastness" < TULUK

*santa- vb. "make known, declare, utter, claim" < SANA, cf. G santha-

*latúrima adj. "unconquerable, inconvincible, implacable"

*nakap- vb "attack, assault, lit. 'leap on'" cf. https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=assault

*lengasta n. "[system of] behaviours, ethics, morale" < lenga-

*talmea adj. "basic, fundamental" < talma