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PEOPLE OF MARI'IM

This section introduces you to the many and varied people who inhabit the Mari'im Islands.

There are approximately sixteen million people in Mari'im. There has never been a comprehensive census of this country, however, and so estimates of the population have varied considerably. It is unlikely that any census will be conducted, as strong religious objections exist - it is a belief of the ulu'aki faith (see the Religion section of this guide) that counting people and treating them as statistical data is to dehumanise and disrespect them.

ETHNICITY

Almost all citizens of Mari'im belong to a branch of the broad Mari'im ethnic group. There are three major subdivisions within this group, although the boundaries between them are not clear, and there has been a great deal of intermarriage. The Toku'ika people (also known by the Lendianised name "Toquican") live mostly on the island of Mo'i'a and the smaller islands to its north. The Sa'a'iki people (Lendianised to "Savican") live in the southern islands. The Mu'o'ana people (Lendianised to "Muoanian") live in the western parts of the Aka'ia peninsula. (Please refer to the Geography section of this guide for a better understanding of these places). The physical differences between Mari'im's Toku'ika, Sa'a'iki, and Mu'o'ana citizens are relatively minor, and are frequently not noticed by outsiders.

There are also other peoples living within Mari'im. The country's largest minority group are the Rihu, who live in the eastern Aka'ia peninsula. The Rihu are closely related to the Mari'im proper, and are frequently classified as a fourth branch, but are sufficiently different that most ethnographers acknowledge special status. The Rihu have an autonomous region within Mari'im.

There are also a substantial number of immigrant peoples living in Mari'im, most having arrived during the country's period as a Lendian colony - most live as a minority group in the city of Aka'ii, on Aka'ia, but there are also a small number of outlying islands on which immigrant peoples form a majority. These islands were mostly uninhabited before they were settled by various groups of immigrants, and are known as the Free Isles due to their relative lawlessness in the early days of Lendian colonialism. Like Rihu, the Free Isles today form an autonomous region in Mari'im.

LANGUAGE

The dominant language of Mari'im is called Re'o'mari'im, being the language used in government and the media. Re'o'mari'im was actually created as a lingua franca for Mari'im by the government. It incorporates elements of the three closely-related natural languages which previously dominated the islands. These original languages are generally referred to as Toku'ika, Sa'a'iki, and Mu'o'ana, corresponding to the three ethnic divisions mentioned previously. These three languages, while treated with respect owing to their important part in Mari'im history, are beginning to fall out of use in formal situations, replaced by the new united language.

COMMENTARY: The Mari'im government is taking an extremely optimistic view here. Most people would probably tell you that Re'o'mari'im, while used in the media and for official business, is still largely excluded from day-to-day life, and most people don't speak it very well (it's close enough to the natural languages for guesswork to be good enough most of the time).

The Rihu also have their own language, which they speak in addition to Re'o'mari'im. Most of the immigrant communities also retain their languages, and as a result of Mari'im's status as a former Lendian colony, the Lendian language is understood by a small number of Mari'im citizens.