Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Oont Puzzle Piece

When we come of age, we get a name. Until then, we are nameless, though in our own huts its common to be given a child name by which we may be distinguished from our siblings. It is not allowed to use our child name outside the hut, though it’s common among those closest to coming of age – our sixteenth year – to use the child names among our peers and as long as the adults aren’t listening.

Outside the huts, the children are called him or her. Parents learn to modulate – and children learn to recognize – individual calls, so one child can tell which is in trouble when a parent yells. I cringe to her the longish yell “hii-im-uh,” their call for me.

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