“The language of my people, and of our world, is a strange thing. When I was growing up, I knew some of the language of the humans; the language called Standard. Many of our people speak it quite well, and it is taught to bloomlings in the learning-circles, and even reinforced as bloomlings grow into seed-youths and seed-maidens. But, before Holder’s ship landed here, and I had the chance to listen to the teaching-programs in his ship’s computer, I had only a basic knowledge of how that tongue was spoken–barely enough to make myself understood. Growing up isolated from most of the rest of the Grove, I heard, regularly, neither the spoken form of our language–the words that Liara writes–nor the words of the humans. When I was younger, I was fluent only in song. I knew from my Memories that it was the first-speech–ina-laere– of our world. And knowing that, it was enough for me.
Meeting Holder opened a world for me, in more ways than one. I learned to speak in Standard, and then, meeting and befriending others of my own kind, I learned the Second Tongue–sena-laere– of my folk; learned both to speak and to read it, from others who had that skill–Liara, Moren, and still others. While we were on Holdfast, Holder, Kale and some of our other friends and allies among the humans helped me to learn to read and write in Standard. This journal is my first attempt to write my own words in that language, unassisted by another person, or by one of the translator machines such as the ones aboard Holdfast Station, and down on the planet itself, during the time we all spent there. I hope it is clear enough.
I have always felt that making oneself understood was of crucial importance. Language is a key to that–perhaps second only to compassion in its importance. On Evohe, I am still working to make sure that our people have the skills to understand enough of language–our own, and those of others in the Sea of Stars–that our world will not again become the island it once was, alone in the currents of the black. The great Wheel has turned, and song is no longer enough for us to sustain ourselves. But Shaping is returning to my world, and to the worlds beyond it–and with the First Ones’ help, perhaps the common links of language will help us all, not merely the children of Evohe, but of all worlds–to join together in what Holder says was called, in one of the long-dead languages of Earth, the canto mundi. That is a phrase whose meaning my people understand as well. We call it the Great Melody, which is very close to the translation of the human phrase I have quoted here–a phrase that means ‘the song of the world.'”