Láadan: Chapter Six Brief Reading

This is the chapter six brief reading from A First Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan (2nd Edition, 1988). It goes with this MP3 recording of Suzette Haden Elgin herself reading the text.

Bíi eril methi with menedebe dosheth wa. Medi with, "Bíi methi ra len daneth wa. Methi withed daneth, izh len—ra. Menéde medi len, izh methi ra len dáaneth menedebe. Menáde medi, izh methad len ra." Id medi edaná, "Bíi aril meden len neneth wa."

(Free translation:) There were many women who had a burden. The women said, "We have no language. Men have a language, but as for us—no. We want to speak, but there are many words we don't have. We want to speak, but we can't." And then the linguists said, "We will help you."

Note that at one point on the tape, Elgin apologizes for the somewhat unnatural delivery of the Láadan, since she rarely had the chance to speak it and she was reading out of a book. A more natural delivery would be expected after practice.


In the 90s, after I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, I spent a lot of time at the Madison Library consuming as much of the science fiction and fantasy as possible. In that time I read some of the books of Suzette Haden Elgin. And I was flabbergasted to learn that she had created a language for her Native Tongue series, and that, further, an organization in Madison had published it. So, I was able to acquire a copy. I followed the advice at the end of the book, and ordered the tape. The MP3 linked to above comes from that tape.

With Elgin no longer available for questions, after her death earlier this year (2015), I thought it would be nice for people to have access to a small bit, at least, of her speaking Láadan. These works remain under copyright, but I believe this small selection counts as fair use.

Copyright (c) 2006-2021 William S. Annis