Actions

Work Header

Lingua Pegasa

Chapter Text

1. Aboard
While the Atlantis Expedition is a civilian expedition, you can't live on a floating city where over half the population are US Marines without adopting some of their language. Especially when the Ops/Tech people responsible for making signs are all either Navy or from the nautical industry.

Colonel Sheppard and Major Lorne may argue that since the city flies it is an aircraft and should therefore use Air Force terms, but newcomers to the city will still find themselves welcomed aboard, and will be directed to the heads and eat food that has been prepared in the galley. When they learn the ropes and settle in, it doesn't usually take long before they, too, refer to the city as a 'she'. And it never takes long for green hands to learn to flatten themselves against a bulkhead at the cry of "GANGWAY!"

2. Grok
If any of the expedition members weren't sci-fi geeks before they went to Pegasus, they became so in the first year, when everybody had worked through their scarce paper books and Dr Ingadottir's collection of ebooks became one of the main sources of entertainment. And the word 'grok' is one that was part of the expedition's language from the start, because the scientists didn't just wanted to understand Atlantis, they wanted to drink it in, merge with it, become part of it.

3. Desenrascanco
Introduced by Sergeant Barroso, who had family in Brazil and spoke Portuguese. He defined it as 'The improvisation of a haphazard but effective solution or plan at the last minute'. Obviously a highly prized talent for Gate team members, and there is still a regularly repeated course (mandatory to gain the qualification as offworld personnel) to develop 'creative improvisation skills and flexibility of the mind'.

Dr Weir and every expedition leader since her, as well as every training officer, emphasise that desenrascanco is a desirable quality for when plans fail, and should never be relied on in lieu of proper forward planning.

4. Nunchi
A Korean word that found its way into Lingua Pegasa via the Cake - the building where the social scientists reside. Who actually introduced it is unclear, but it is thought to be either Dr Kiang or Dr Corrigan. The latter defined it as 'the subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood.'

Any expedition member dismissing this concept as 'anthropofluffical bullshit' only has to see Dr McKay turn a first contact mission ugly in the space it takes to pour a cup of tea to learn to appreciate people with good nunchi.

People who are known for their good nunchi - Dr Weir, Teyla Emmagan, Major Lorne, Captain Avery (AR-4), Dr Fournier (AR-4), Captain Bahir, Dr Hayashi, Staff Sergeant Wenckworth (all AR-5), Lt. Fick (AR-7) - are in Atlantis also known as 'social ninjas.'

5. Guanxi
A Mandarin concept which is in meaning related to nunchi and was introduced by Dr Hayashi. It can perhaps be translated as 'social credit'. In traditional Chinese society, you would build up good guanxi by giving gifts to people, taking them to dinner, or doing them a favor, but you can also use up your guanxi by asking for a favor to be repaid.
A great deal of the diplomatic efforts in the early years of the expedition were concerned with building guanxi; gaining neighbours and building goodwill was especially vital before contact with Earth was re-established.

One of the most common forms in which this continues is medical care. When offworld, field medics routinely set up clinic in societies where basic medical care is wanted. Occasional attempts to use this as leverage in negotiations were put to a stop after Doc Uusipaikka provided Captain Dorsey with a comprehensive lesson in Finnish invective. The field medic group refused unilaterally to let their efforts be used as trade leverage; the Chief Medical Officer backed them up, and Dr Weir agreed.

6. Noheufit
An Athosian word introduced to the expedition by Halling. It means 'to be frozen in fear' and refers specifically to what humans experience in the face of a Wraith bearing down on them. The Athosians train their children from an early age to break through Noheufit; the children play with Wraith masks to simulate situations.

Until the expedition managed to set up a comprehensive Atlantis preparation training programme on Earth, Noheufit was among the most common causes of fatalities for new expedition members.

7. Yuputka
An Ulwa word introduced by Doctor Parrish, who spent time on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua as part of his PhD studies. It refers to the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.

Since this concept resonated with many Gate team members, its meaning has since been broadened to also mean 'general sense of physical unease' and is considered a subconscious early warning system for allergies, poisons and environmental irritants. Lives have been saved by recognising and respecting yuputka.

8. Kimseh
A Kimseh is a Tjinerai family unit consisting (ideally) of four or more adults and the children any of them produce or adopt. Tjinerai society consists of survivors of many different planets, so Kimseh are often very diverse. Members need not be related, or have a sexual relationship; Kimseh is a unit to 'share warmth,' which in the permanently sub-zero climate on Tjinera means to literally keep each other warm, but also refers to shared means of survival, protection and resources.

AR-4 is the primary liaison team with the Tjinerai, and after some initial confusion about the lack of reproductive ambition (AR-4 is a mixed-gender team), was accepted as a 'warrior kimseh'.
A male member of one's Kimseh is addressed and referred to as Kimsuhr, a female member as Kimne. Often translated to 'brother' and 'sister' the actual meaning is far less simplistic and is closer to One Known, One I share warmth and food with, One I protect, One who protects me, One with whom respect is shared and, importantly, One whose children will be as my children.

Use of these terms can primarily be heard among members of AR-4. Because the concept of Kimseh and its related forms of address are by definition egalitarian, they are a way of expressing team bonds without the implications of traditional Earth military forms of address.

9. Taarradhin
An Arabic word introduced and popularised by Captain Bahir of AR-5, the expedition's primary trade team. It implies a happy solution for everyone, or “I win. You win.” It’s a way of reconciling without anyone losing face. This is different from compromise in that a compromise usually refers to a solution reached through conflict and in which both parties  gain less than originally intended.

A prime example of Taarradhin is the trade deal Cpt. Bahir made with the Ujuyu people, who grow a fruit that's popular on markets, but ripens and then goes off all within a week, so could hardly be traded. Atlantis supplies Ujuyu with the large glass jars a lot of its Earth food is delivered in, canning knowledge, and help with the harvest. In return, it gets a large supply of the very tasty and nutritious fruit.

Taarradhin is the golden standard for negotiations. It is also notable for being one of the few Earth terms that gained purchase outside of Atlantis and its members; it was adopted by the Athosians, and can occasionally be heard on markets around the Pegasus galaxy.

10. Wehufdit
The  Anthill (Military HQ building on Atlantis) term for one of two things you're supposed to be doing instead of Noheufit;  ie, strategic retreat. The other being known as Weshotit.

For a time, Bravo Company made a concerted effort to popularise Wenukdit, but this variation, for some reason, never caught on.