The Hierarchy of Foreignness was a classification system of species 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 was described as "the stranger we recognize as being a human of our world, but of another city or country."
Utlänning means "foreigner" in Swedish.
A främling was described as "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 were described as true aliens; they were sentient beings, but so foreign that no meaningful communication was possible with the subject. The Formics were thought to be varelse, but after The Hive Queen was published, humans' opinions changed.
Varelse means "creature" 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
The djur were non-sentient beings. They were capable of independent thought and action, but their mode of communication could not relay any meaningful information to the subject because the djur itself lacked the capacity for rational thought and self-awareness.
Djur means "animal" in Swedish.