The Other Lisan al-Gaib

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The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby Freakzilla » 27 Sep 2011 12:46

On that first day when Muad'Dib rode through the streets of Arrakeen with his
family, some of the people along the way recalled the legends and the prophecy
and they ventured to shout: "Mahdi!" But their shout was more a question than a
statement, for as yet they could only hope he was the one foretold as the Lisan
al-Gaib, the Voice from the Outer World. Their attention was focused, too, on
the mother, because they had heard she was a Bene Gesserit and it was obvious to
them that she was like the other Lisan al-Gaib.

-from "Manual of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan

Who do y'all think the "other Lisan al-Gaib" mentioned in the epigraph is?
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Re: Chapter 13

Postby Serkanner » 27 Sep 2011 12:48

Freakzilla wrote:Updated...

Who do y'all think the "other Lisan al-Gaib" mentioned in the epigraph is?


A Bene Gesserit from the Missionaria Protectiva?
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Re: Chapter 13

Postby Freakzilla » 27 Sep 2011 13:00

Serkanner wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Updated...

Who do y'all think the "other Lisan al-Gaib" mentioned in the epigraph is?


A Bene Gesserit from the Missionaria Protectiva?


That's what I was thinking. The one who sowed the legends in the first place. But would they remember her enough to recognize that Jessica was "obviously like her"?
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Re: Chapter 13

Postby Apjak » 27 Sep 2011 14:52

Could it be an uncorrected typo? A missing comma or colon?

still probably the BG from the missionaria.
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Re: Chapter 13

Postby Freakzilla » 27 Sep 2011 15:00

The only other BG they could possible have in recent memory is Lady Margot Fenring but that doesn't make any sense.
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Re: Chapter 13

Postby trang » 27 Sep 2011 16:50

I would have to dig, but was it ever stated how far back it goes to the original BG that brought the MP to the fremen (Zensunni wanderers).

Wasnt the current RM Romala (spelling) for S-Tabr supposidly decended from the original BG that brought them the MP?

Seeing and knowing the S-tabr RM, she might have given the masses a verbal description?

Or I could be completely wrong (warming up for another reread)
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Re: Chapter 13

Postby Freakzilla » 27 Sep 2011 17:06

The Fremen started using a drug on Rossak for their tricks, long before they were even on Arrakis, according to the OM Ramallo shared with Jessica. For some reason I've always assumed the MP BG taught them that.
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby merkin muffley » 27 Sep 2011 17:44

I feel like the things that were planted by the MP are so ingrained and current in everyone's minds that they would know what the other Lisan al-Gaib was like, even if it was in the remote past.
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby MrFlibble » 15 Nov 2011 22:01

Sorry for bumping this, but couldn't "the other Lisan al-Gaib" be referring to Paul? As I'm not a native speaker of English, I don't have the required intuition to determine whether it's possible or not, so I'm asking if the word "other" in this context (suppose it were used without "Lisan al-Gaib", just "the other") could be referring to Paul (as an equivalent of "the former" or "the aforementioned"), and "Lisan al-Gaib" then would act as an attribute to "the other"?

In other words, is it possible to interpret/parse the passage in question as "it was obvious to them that she was like the other [who was] Lisan al-Gaib"? If it were possible, then I guess the implications were that Paul and Jessica shared the BG training.
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby Dravition » 15 Nov 2011 23:21

LISAN AL-GAIB: "The Voice from the Outer World." In Fremen messianic legends, an off-world prophet. Sometimes translated as "Giver of Water."

Dune -- Terminology of the Imperium[emphasis added]

It is [sic] vital to an understanding of Muad'Dib's religious impact that you never lost sight of one fact: the Fremen were a desert people whose entire ancestry was accustomed to hostile landscapes. Mysticism isn't difficult when you survive each second by surmounting open hostility... This is likely one of the roots of Fremen emphasis on superstition (disregarding the Missionaria Protectiva's ministrations).

Dune -- Appendix II: The Religion of Dune [emphasis added]

I get the impression that the term, Lisan Al-Gaib, was already established in Fremen culture long before the BG appropriated it for the purposes of the MP. If so, Jessica may have resembled some figure from an unknown Fremen myth or legend (I mean, unknown to the reader). We don't really know how many applications of the term were in circulation at this point in the storyworld. That said, my guess is that this has something to do with Fremen legends regarding the ecological transformation of the desert planet into a lush, water paradise. As far as I can tell, the BG had no hand in the creation and perpetuation of this body of myth. It's possible that the Fremen believed it necessary for a "Voice from the Outer World" to achieve this transformation -- and this also might explain the alternative translation of Lisan Al-Gaib as "Giver of Water."
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 16 Nov 2011 02:12

I see the confusion - in the way it's written in the book, no it shouldn't mean that.

Usually "other" and the "thing/person being referred to by "other"" would need to be seperated by a " ; " or at the very least a comma to mean what you're thinking. I believe the semicolon would be the more technically correct punctuation for that meaning. In spoken English it would involve a pause between "other" and "Lisan", so this is a case where the rhythm of the speach would indeed change the meaning.

As written it means the one other than the one they're currently hanging around with.
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby Freakzilla » 16 Nov 2011 09:31

Maybe he meant Liet-Kynes as the other "giver of water".
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby Apjak » 16 Nov 2011 09:37

Or Pardot?
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby Freakzilla » 16 Nov 2011 09:50

Maybe, but how was she like him, other than being out-freyn?
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby Lundse » 16 Nov 2011 10:15

Freakzilla wrote:But their shout was more a question than a
statement, for as yet they could only hope he was the one foretold as the Lisan
al-Gaib
, the Voice from the Outer World.


[quote="Freakzilla"][i]Their attention was focused, too, on
the mother, because they had heard she was a Bene Gesserit and it was obvious to
them that she was like the other Lisan al-Gaib.


I think it is quite clear - Paul is the first Lisan al-Gaib mentioned, Jessica is even refered to as "the mother" (presumably related to the important term in the first sentence, the Lisan al-Gaib).

I always thought of Paul as the Lisan al-Gaib, who they find out (read: are conned into thinking is) something more. Like the BG find out he is a candidate for the KH, then find that he is, then find he is more/else. To the fremen, Paul is the Lisan..., the Mahdi, then something more/else.

But obivously, and to a lesser degree, Jessica is a Lisan... too - a prophet from another world, the one to bring the Messiah. She is "like him" in being noble, and connected to the same myth.

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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby Freakzilla » 16 Nov 2011 10:42

Lundse wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:But their shout was more a question than a
statement, for as yet they could only hope he was the one foretold as the Lisan
al-Gaib
, the Voice from the Outer World.


Freakzilla wrote:[i]Their attention was focused, too, on
the mother, because they had heard she was a Bene Gesserit and it was obvious to
them that she was like the other Lisan al-Gaib.


I think it is quite clear - Paul is the first Lisan al-Gaib mentioned, Jessica is even refered to as "the mother" (presumably related to the important term in the first sentence, the Lisan al-Gaib).

I always thought of Paul as the Lisan al-Gaib, who they find out (read: are conned into thinking is) something more. Like the BG find out he is a candidate for the KH, then find that he is, then find he is more/else. To the fremen, Paul is the Lisan..., the Mahdi, then something more/else.

But obivously, and to a lesser degree, Jessica is a Lisan... too - a prophet from another world, the one to bring the Messiah. She is "like him" in being noble, and connected to the same myth.


If that was what he was trying to say, he did it rather awkwardly.
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby MrFlibble » 16 Nov 2011 17:36

Freakzilla wrote:If that was what he was trying to say, he did it rather awkwardly.

You mean, she. She did it rather awkwardly.

When in doubt regarding the text, blame it on Irulan ;)
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 17 Nov 2011 02:49

If the sentence in question was referring to Paul, the punctuation was wrong in my opinion - the way it's worded in the book pretty clearly seems to be referring to a previous voice from the outer world.
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby Lundse » 17 Nov 2011 05:45

A Thing of Eternity wrote:If the sentence in question was referring to Paul, the punctuation was wrong in my opinion - the way it's worded in the book pretty clearly seems to be referring to a previous voice from the outer world.


Yeah. I'd say the 'other' is a weird choice of words - but I just don't see any way out of Paul being one (potential) Lisan al-Gaib. But given that we have only three sentences, it would not at all be impossible that the "other" referred to is the original Bene Gesserit of the Missionaria, who apparently did her job so well. One could imagine she styled herself a prophet, and told of the next prophet to come (borne of one of her kind, maybe as a symbolic heir).

This is speculation, the Lisan al-Gaib might be a singular term (like Messiah, of which there can be only one). But this seems to be parallel to "Mahdi"... I think the best explanation is that Lisan al-Gaib is a particular brand of prophet - maybe an idea planted by the first BG of the Missionaria, maybe something she exploited. Possibly, Pardot Kynes was another (he was certainly of the umma, the brotherhood of prophets).

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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 17 Nov 2011 15:26

Oh yeah, Paul DEFINITELY is the/a Lisan al-Gaib, I'm just saying that that particular sentence to me is referring to a previous one, or one other than Paul. UNLESS it means that Jessica is also being called Lisan al-Gaib in that sentence, then the way "other" is used could indeed be referring to Paul.
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby Lundse » 18 Nov 2011 05:20

A Thing of Eternity wrote:Oh yeah, Paul DEFINITELY is the/a Lisan al-Gaib, I'm just saying that that particular sentence to me is referring to a previous one, or one other than Paul. UNLESS it means that Jessica is also being called Lisan al-Gaib in that sentence, then the way "other" is used could indeed be referring to Paul.


I don't think we need Jessica to be a Lisan al-Gaib at all - she is, in some way, like some previous Lisan al-Gaib, but we do not have to assume that this is because of any shared Lisan al-Gaib-ness (this thread just got weird).
I do agree that 'other' is a weird choice of words if we are talking about Paul and Jessica - I think we are talking about Paul, and some previous other who is also somehow like Jessica. Which is why I vote for 'the Missionaria sister who planted the myth'.

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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby MrFlibble » 18 Nov 2011 15:49

I've re-read the quote in the OP and now I'm very much inclined to interpret "the other Lisan al-Gaib" in the way proposed above, as a reference to whatever BG planted the prophecy in the Fremen culture back then.
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 18 Nov 2011 17:56

Lundse wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:Oh yeah, Paul DEFINITELY is the/a Lisan al-Gaib, I'm just saying that that particular sentence to me is referring to a previous one, or one other than Paul. UNLESS it means that Jessica is also being called Lisan al-Gaib in that sentence, then the way "other" is used could indeed be referring to Paul.


I don't think we need Jessica to be a Lisan al-Gaib at all - she is, in some way, like some previous Lisan al-Gaib, but we do not have to assume that this is because of any shared Lisan al-Gaib-ness (this thread just got weird).
I do agree that 'other' is a weird choice of words if we are talking about Paul and Jessica - I think we are talking about Paul, and some previous other who is also somehow like Jessica. Which is why I vote for 'the Missionaria sister who planted the myth'.


Oh no, I agree with you - what I'm saying is that grammatically IF we want to interpret the "other Lisan al-Gaib" as meaning "Paul" then it only works if in that sentence Jessica is also being referred to as a Lisan al-Gaib.

But I don't think that's the case at all, I agree about it referring to a previous BG sister.
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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby MasterOfAssassins » 25 Sep 2012 02:08

Um, I thought this one was a gimme; Paul is the Lisan al-Gaib and Jessica is 'the other' Lisan al-Gaib. Frank Herbert made only a few mistakes in the entire Duneverse but this wasn't one of them. Speaking of dear Frank, I'm guessing the apple fell pretty damned far from the tree because Brian Herbert can't write for sh*t. Sadly, I've read almost everything he and Anderson have written and NONE OF IT has even slightly come close to the poetic truth and philosophic grandeur of the original six books. That crap about Marty and Daniel not being Face Dancers (as Frank PLAINLY STATED) but o jeez, they're machines, was sad. The prequels sucked so hard, they out-Lucased George Lucas. I really hope somebody cool (Neil Blomkopf?) runs with the first six books and makes a killer movie trilogy. Just watching the 'Alan Smithee' version now and basking in it's not-horribleness. And remember folks, never be in company you wouldn't want to die in. Save me a space at the coffee hearth.

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Re: The Other Lisan al-Gaib

Postby georgiedenbro » 03 Jul 2014 15:59

I also believe that the "other" Lisan al-Gaib is Paul, and that the Fremen are simply recognizing that Jessica and Paul have something in common. Given that the Fremen most likely have seen royals and wealthy persons walking around, we take this notable comment to imply a visual similarity between Paul and Jessica, which we can attribute to be B.G. grace, or whatever other traits one might perceive from a body-use master. It might also be their unusually strong aura of command and of knowing how to nuance every gesture and look perfectly to gain maximal results.

I think that part of the confusion in this passage comes from the ordering of the text, which leads the reader to infer that the Lisan al-Gaib in this case is one and the same thing as the Mahdi, i.e. that they are the same person. But if we take "Voice from the Outer World" to just mean someone from off-world who adds to the mythos of the Fremen beliefs, then there can be many Lisan al-Gaib's over time, but still only one Mahdi. Since I think this is what Frank meant, here is my attempt to rewrite the text in question, purely in terms of the progression of concepts:

"On that first day when Muad'dib rode down the streets of Arrakeen with his family, some of the people along the way recalled the legends and the prophecy and they ventured to shout: "Mahdi!" But since they didn't know if Paul was the Mahdi or not, and didn't even yet have grounds to hope he was, they could at the very least hope he was the one foretold as the Lisan al-Gaib, the Voice from the Outer World; one not from among them but who could help them. Their attention was focused, too, on the mother, because they had heard she was a Bene Gesserit and it was obvious to them that she was like the other person present from off-world who could help them, who also moved like a Bene Gesserit."

I think part of what would make this a bit more clear is the idea of who's doing the observing - people desperate for hope and for help. Every new leader or potential hero to come to them from off-world probably aroused in them the feeble hope that this might be the one to finally help them; in this sense, every new powerful off-worlder is most likely seen in the light of maybe being the Lisan al-Gaib. Paul and Jessica probably looked to them like being decent candidates for actually caring about the Fremen plight, even aside from the fact that Paul might also have been the Mahdi. This is right in line with what the Baron had in mind for Feyd, which was to swoop in and capture this hope in order to 'save' them and rule them. In this sense we see the Fremen are ripe for 'saving', and calling Paul and Jessica Lisan al-Gaib probably means simply "Oh! Here are two people who might be our saviors." One sees the difference, though, when one considers that if the Baron's plan had worked out fully, Feyd would have probably been proclaimed as the Lisan al-Gaib, but would not have passed muster for being the Mahdi. It's the difference between being a savior versus being the savior.
Last edited by georgiedenbro on 23 Jul 2018 10:51, edited 1 time in total.
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