The Hierarchy of Foreignness was a classification system made by Valentine Wiggin as Demosthenes, for classifying how "alien" an individual was relative to a subject. It was organised in five tiers:
An utlänning is "the stranger we recognize as being a human of our world, but of another city or country."
Utlänning means "foreigner" in Swedish.
A främling is "the stranger we recognize as human, but of another world."
Främling means "stranger" in Swedish.
Although not a common word, it may be constructed in Swedish from rå + män, where rå indicates "coarse (not refined), and män means "man" or "person."
The varelse are true aliens; they are sentient beings, but are so foreign that no meaningful communication is possible with the subject. The Formics were thought to be varelse, but after The Hive Queen was published, people's opinions changed.
Varelse means "creature" in Swedish.
The djur are non-sentient beings. They are capable of independent thought and action, but their mode of communication cannot relay any meaningful information to the subject because the djur itself lacks the capacity for rational thought and self-awareness.
Djur means "animal" in Swedish.
- "He's varelse then, or worse — djur, the dire beast, that comes in the night with slavering jaws."
- — Speaker for the Dead, Page 36