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What could you call journeymen....

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Rosemary Tea, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    .... if half of them are women?

    I've been using "journeyman" for this purpose, but it's a long, clunky word and all too obviously gendered, whereas my journeymen are gender balanced. Wondering if there's a better word that would be easy on the tongue, gender neutral, and would convey the meaning adequately to the reader.
     
  2. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Inkling

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    Gonna put that out there before someone else does but: men/man isn't inherently gendered, it's meant to refer to humanity in general. So, therefore, journeyman isn't gendered.

    Now I will take off the prescriptivist hat and burn it because prescriptivism is stupid and ignores reality. The etymology of journeyman uses the old definition of "journey," which means a day's work, because the apprentice-person was now being paid by the day for their work, instead of for free (and by free, I mean for room/board/education, which DOES have value but it is not cash). Once you were done being a journeyman, you'd be a master, which means you control everything, so you could now have your own [whatever] business.

    I imagine most people who are putting apprenticeships in their (second-world) stories aren't following this system exactly, and also I imagine the average reader isn't going to know the differences between a journeyman and an apprentice. So, let's come up with something that works for your world!

    Do you already have a term that means people, of any gender? I like using folx because it's cool and also it makes terfs mad, for example. Also, is there a noun that you can use in place of "man"? Like firefighter instead of fireman, police officer instead of policeman. Is this a formal system that guilds use? Or just a thing that anyone uses for any field? Like if this is a formal, planned out system, they can be different shapes/colors/terms for the different ranks (think karate belts or scouts). That would probably give your world building more color than just "journeyperson."
     
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  3. Vafnir

    Vafnir Dreamer

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    Hi there.
    So correct me if I'm wrong (since I am not a native speaker), but if I understand the word correctly, a journeyman is someone who has finished their apprenticeship a certain trade or craft, but has not become a Master of it yet. I believe there aren't many synonyms which describes exactly that. Although I agree with ChasejxyzChasejxyz that the suffix -men doesn not necessarily describe the gender of a person (as in mankind, standing for the human kind), I know where you're coming from, especially since English is not my native language, as mentioned above, and I speak two languages on a native level which gender essentially everything (Polish and German), this I am trying to keep most things ungendered in my novel. Words like craftsman or tradesman come to mind when I try to think of synonyms. Sure, you could use the "genderless" form of these words, i.e. craftsperson, tradesperson (though these two are more specific) or even journeyperson, which is a legitimate word, but then they are even longer and clunkier.
    Other genderless words I'm thinking of right off the top of my head (some of which I've used myself) would be artisan, artificer, handicrafter or handworker (though some of them might be too specific for what you're looking for).
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
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  4. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    Correct.

    There are no synonyms which describe exactly that. Not in any thesaurus I've found, at least.

    That's exactly the problem. I have shifted between using "craftsmen," knowing in my mind that it applies to women too (in this second world of mine, women work in crafts/trades as much as men do, and are recognized for it) and "craftsfolk" or "tradesfolk." But "journeyperson" is indeed long and clunky, and sounds like trying too hard to make it gender neutral.

    That's also what the thesaurus spits out at me, but none of those words describe the phase between apprenticeship and qualifying for guild membership. I'm looking for something specific to that.
     
  5. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Maester

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    I use the term traveller to describe a person who has finished their apprenticeship but has yet to become a fully practising mage in their own right. During this stage the mage travels from place to place to work with mages from various schools of magic in the field so they can decide which school of magic they would like to specialise in or if they want to be a general practitioner of magic.

    Journeyman sounds too old fashioned (and not just because of the suffix -man). Terms like artisan, handicrafter or handworker implies the person is someone working in a trade like a builder, a blacksmith or a farrier rather than magic.
     
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  6. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    Arguably. But to the modern English speaker, "man" means male. Where it is used as an ostensibly gender neutral title, it's a case of, historically, this role was only for men, but now women are in it too, so they get the same title. For example, seaman is a rank in the navy (people of that rank are called Seaman So-and-so), while airman is a comparable rank in the Air Force, and those titles apply to everyone in that rank, regardless of gender. Journeyman has a similar history: in the time when journeymen were a thing, they were always men. Even the occasional female apprentice did not become a journeyman.

    But I'm building a world where women have always been in the trades, as long as there have been trades, and have always moved through those ranks. So there would be no default to male as normative. Logically, the language would have evolved to encompass both men and women in those roles, from the start.

    People. Or folk. I've been experimenting with "craftsfolk" and "tradesfolk" instead of "craftsmen" or "tradesmen." But "journeyfolk" doesn't really have the right ring. Folx with an x seems too modern for my setting, which is as medieval as a Renaissance fair - that is, not really, but using too modern language can still screw up the headspace.

    That's exactly what I'm trying to come up with. I don't know of one that would work with journeyman.

    It's both.

    Nearly every field has a guild (there are a few exceptions) and the path into nearly every field starts with an apprenticeship. For adolescents/young adults in this society, apprenticeship fills the place that high school and college fill for us, and it's nearly as universal. From there, they move into a journeymanship, which can be anything from just a year or two of working for other businesses to get some cross training, to many years of moving around doing short term labor. In the first case, they've got a position waiting for them somewhere - usually as a partner in the shop where they apprenticed - so the journeyman period is just to gain some additional experience, and perhaps some skills that the master they apprenticed with didn't have. In the second case, they're aiming to start their own business, which of course takes much more time and effort, and expertise, and connections, to break into.

    But the focus of my story is on mages. Who also have the apprencticeship and journeymanship periods, which are like the tradesfolks' in name but rather different in content. First of all, incoming apprentices start with no ability to do magic. That has to be developed before they can do any real mages' work, so in the beginning, the only labor they do is household chores. The bulk of their time is spent on lessons and exercises to develop their magic. And then on learning how to control it and what to do with it. A mage's apprentice is much more student than worker. (All apprentices are supposed to be - they're not servants! - but in trades, they start working right off the bat.)

    Their journeyman phase consists of continuing education plus work assignments. A journeyman mage is very similar to a modern graduate student who does field work. The later stage of the journeyman period is all field assignments - basically, the work of an itinerant mage - done under perfunctory supervision (an experienced mage has to oversee a journeyman's work, but often that just means occasional check ins and sign offs).

    Since the mages use the same language to describe their training phases as the tradesfolk do, it makes sense to use the same word for both. But the meaning, in practice, is a bit different.

    And mages have been gender balanced as long as there's been magery. There's no tradition of it being a men's role or a women's role; it's always been both. So, it doesn't make sense that they'd describe any of their ranks with a gendered term.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
  7. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    Traveller. Hmmm. I'll have to play with that.

    For my setting, I suppose traveller could also mean an itinerant mage, which would cause some confusion. Full fledged mages have three basic options: they can be itinerant (moving from place to place, going wherever a mage is needed in the short term, usually places that do not have a permanent resident mage), or they can be village mages (settled in one particular village, where they do their magic work and see to the magic-related needs of the locals), or they can be... I guess I'd say professionals, for lack of a better term. Those are the mages who handle the administrative work for the mages' guild, and who hold leadership positions, and who handle certain specific assignments: for example, being a warfare consultant, or a government consultant, or a teacher at the mages' college (journeymen go to the college for their continuing education; full fledged mages also use it to exchange specialized knowledge).

    Journeymen can serve as itinerant mages, but they require supervision, which full mages do not. I'm really looking for a term that encompasses the journeyman rank, perhaps more than it describes what they do.

    For my purpose, old fashioned is fine. It's the clunkiness and the gendering of the title that I have trouble with.

    Exactly, and I would never use them for mages. Even for artisans, those terms don't describe the particular career phase that I'm looking at.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
  8. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Maester

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    If robes were only given to mages when they join a guild then it would instantly separate the traveller from the itinerant mage. The traveller (who is still training) wouldn't have the robe that signifies their acceptance into the mages guild and their right to hold the title Mage.
     
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  9. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    The trouble is, if by default the language would've developed differently, it doesn't necessarily matter because you are using English to tell the story. I got caught up in this with my editor when trying to call all priests "priests" and not use priestess at all. I eventually conceded and used priestess even when it got real frigging clunky with other titles, LOL. On the other hand, it was convenient when dealing with dialogue... it's handy to have something in the title of people to help differentiate the dialogue without getting as repetitive. And well, it worked. To me, there isn't a good English alternative I'm aware of. Journeywoman is clunky, but would it be accurate? Would your culture necessarily have developed gender-neutral terms or simply have gendered to male and female? One clear cut and unclunky way to handle it, albeit a little on the complicated side, is to just create the naming system. Use the culture's language. Change up the names. Change up the apprentice system. Call them whatever the hell you like, establish the language with your reader, and chug along. It's a pain, but in the end it can not only work but add depth to the world.
     
  10. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    I was referring to the use of the word, not what they wear. But point taken.

    They do have different titles. Mages who've joined the guild are Mage So-and-so, and that's how they're addressed formally. In my draft, the journeymen are addressed (by the mages, not necessarily by anyone else) as Journeyman So-and-so. (Apprentices are simply called by their names. If there's any need for formality, they're called Mr. or Miss or Mx. Their Name, but no mage specific title.)

    Dress... there is distinctive mage dress, but even apprentices wear it. What distinguishes one rank of mage from another is the charm they wear with that. It's a protective charm, and a charm to bring about what they hope to accomplish at that rank (for example, an apprentice's charm includes something for learning), and to the casual observer, it looks like a necklace in a particular shape. That shape is a symbol, one kind for apprentices, another for journeymen, and another for full mages.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
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  11. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    Exactly!

    I've toyed a bit with priest in the same way (same setting also has priests of every gender)... and still found myself specifying "priestess" when the priest in the scene was a woman.

    I think they would have gender neutral terms, although I suppose they could speak a gendered language, in which every title would have alternative masculine and feminine endings (like -o and -a in Spanish). But the fact remains that I'm writing in English, so....

    I especially think the mages would use gender neutral terms for their ranks, because every role in magery has been open to, and filled by, any gender since time immemorial. To complicate matters, the culture also has a recognized third gender, many of whom end up being either priests or mages... another reason the mages would be highly likely to use non-gendered language for this, and the rest of the people probably also would.

    I might have to do that. You're right, it is a pain!
     
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  12. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    So the question is, if they are a journeyman in principle, well. what is that they are doing? Look for an English term that isn't as generic as "traveler" because it seems semi-confusing. What is their goal, their purpose, on this "journey" and you might track down a better English term.
     
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  13. FifthView

    FifthView Vala

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    I did find one website that included a parenthetical list of alternates for journeyman. The only alternate I really like for a novel in which gender equity is an issue would be "peer."

    Peer Fifthview
    Peer Demesnedenoir
    Peer Rosemary.


    I like that word used as a title in this way, and I could see it being used. It may not be what you are seeking. To me it also implies a sort of institutionalized respect for one another at that level—heh, for mages then, to also help maintain order—whereas a master, in a way, has no "peers" or is elevated above the general group.

    Edit: Of course, I don't know whether this might cause a bit of confusion over the pond, since peerages are a thing in other places of the world. OTOH, maybe not a problem.
     
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  14. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    Do you have a link to it?

    Not quite. Especially since "Journeyman Fifthview" is what the full mages would call you if you were a journeyman mage (at least, in front of others they would. In a private conversation, they might just use your name.) It's a title you would be addressed with by the people who rank above you. Other journeymen - your peers - would just call you by your name. "Peer So-and-so" sounds like a distinguished way to address a person of equal rank to your own.

    Which is why my mages do not use the title master. They only have three ranks, and those ranks are based solely on level of training: apprentice, journeyman (which I'd like to replace), and full mage, aka guild mage, or simply Mage. Among full mages, there may be some differential based on seniority and what responsibilities they've taken on, but in general, they're peers to each other.

    I'm also playing with titles a mage with an apprentice would use in relation to their apprentice... something along the lines of teacher or mentor, rather than master. I think that describes the relationship more accurately. But that's a separate topic.
     
  15. FifthView

    FifthView Vala

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  16. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    To round out their education and gain experience. Ultimately, to become a fully qualified mage.
     
  17. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    Yeah, the only other one on there that could even begin to fit the bill is Associate, which doesn't work for the setting at all, and doesn't really convey the meaning of the word.
     
  18. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Inkling

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    Do you have to use an English word? Perhaps you could use something derived from German, the German word for journeyman being geselle (in Swedish, gesäll).

    I'd avoid calling them a traveller because that word can mean a salesman or a merchants representative, particularly in 19th century British English useage. (In modern British English it is also sometimes derogatory.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022
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  19. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    No. But if I use a non-English word, then I have to work in an explanation of the meaning somehow, early on. Not impossible, but takes some work.

    Is the Swedish word for journeyman gender neutral? I don't suppose the German is, but English speakers wouldn't know that offhand (unless they also speak German), so I might get away with it...

    Good point.
     
  20. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Inkling

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    You could just have a small child ask what the word means and a parent replying that it's someone who is no longer an apprentice but not yet a master.

    Swedish, like Danish, doesn't have masculine and feminine genders in its grammar. Both languages have common gender and neuter gender. Gesäll takes the common gender, and is gender neutral.
     
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