in hushed tones of their own

AlexanderIII

Senior Member
Russian
Dear all,
this is from the fantasy story by Renée Ahdieh The Blood Of Imuriv.

Colorless creatures slunk at his sides, unseen from all save him. ...Sometimes he could understand their mutterings, other times they were the lost language of a faraway galaxy. A language – a world – Rhone only knew of in history lessons. A world his parents spoke of, in hushed tones of their own.

I can interpret the end of the last sentence two ways:
1) the parents spoke in their own language that was almost inaudiable. This is the fantasy story, so it's possible that the protagonists communicate by thoughts ect.;
2) speaking of the world the parents hush their voices not to be heard by someone else.

I think the 2) is more likely but then it's not clear what is the function of of their own. It looks like a case of tautology -- if they speak they definitely speak some language and most probably a language of their own.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Hushed tones of their own" implies that other people spoke in hushed tones too: The colourless creatures spoke in "mutterings"; his parents speak in hushed tones.
     
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