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Old 20th July 2018, 02:36 AM   #17
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,680

Willem, from one perspective your comment is absolutely defensible, but from a different perspective it is not at all capable of defence.

The name that I have used "beladau" is a name that some people who come from Sumatra have given me, my memory is that it was given readily, without hesitation, which if I reflect upon it, and consider the syllables of which it is composed, could indicate that it is a generic, similar to our "fork", or "pot", or "carriage". Possibly to these people it was a case of any dagger with a curve was a "beladau".

However, that is what they named it as, and since we do not know the precise location it came from, nor the precise society or culture it came from, nor the precise period of time it came from, and we do know the broader geographical area that it came from, and that people from that broader geographical area named it as "beladau", then to my way of thinking, "beladau" is as good a name as any, until such time as a more distinct classification can be established.

The thing is this:- to people in the broader cultural area it is not an unknown object, they recognise it, they have a name for it.
Is that name the name that was used in a different place, and at a different time?
I do not know, but it is the more or less general name that some people from the same broad cultural area that gave birth to the object have used to name that object in the current era.

In the case of Rafngard's example I am only talking about the blade, the dress this blade is in, is nothing like the dress that was on the examples I used to have

We can draw a comparison with the keris here.
The keris originated in the Early Classical Period in Central Jawa. At that time we do not know what it was called, in fact, we do not really know what the name of the Modern Keris was prior to the replacement of the Old Javanese language with Middle Javanese and Modern Javanese.

We do have a few possibilities, but it seems as if the name used for the object that we now know as "keris" in fact had different names that depended upon mode of use, or mode of wear. This is exactly similar to the name used for a keris in Modern Javanese. In the lowest level, ngoko, "keris" is quite OK in all applications referring to a keris, but in other levels of Javanese, other words are used to refer to the keris, and those other usages are dependent upon mode of wear, and context.

Then, of course we have the other names used for a keris in the various societies where it occurs in the modern era.

I think I first used the term "name game" some time during the 1970's. It occurred to me after my first few visits to Jawa and the beginning of my education in what keris and other objects were really all about. I derive no less amusement from watching this game now than I began to derive from watching it, and participating in it, during the 1970's and before. It is a rather futile game, but like all games it does amuse the participants, and more than a few of the players take it very seriously. Mostly these days I just enjoy watching it.

Still, all that said, for the class of daggers that use the blade style of Rafngard's incorrectly mounted dagger, I'll stay with "beladau" until we can justifiably endorse a name that is better able to be verified.

The name that others may chose to use is entirely their own choice.

I do hope this discussion does continue, I'm enjoying watching it, and it is, I think, probably the first time in a very extended period that I have been a player in this sport --- as I have said, its a futile pursuit, but it is good fun.

Like golf:- hit a little ball, chase it, hit it again, and eventually it goes down a hole, or maybe into the bushes. Either way you don't get to beat it to death.
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