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Re: Obscenities

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 29, 2000, 14:02
On Tue, Aug 29, 2000 at 07:10:51AM -0400, Matt McLauchlin wrote:
> What obscenities does your language include?
[snip] My conlang is still far from being usable, tho I've recently, finally, I've gotten round to setting down verb inflection rules (so I can actually write sentences now! :-P) -- but so far, I have one word with bad connotations that can be used as an obscenity: vyy'i The word itself means "turmoil" or "whirlpool", and refers to a physical phenomenon in my con-universe. (Think of it as a distant cousin of black-holes in the "real world".) The reason the word has a negative connotation is because the Ebisedi (the speakers of my conlang) uses 3vyy'i (plural of vyy'i) as a means of waste disposal. Hence, the word came to have connotations like "garbage", "waste", "useless", "worthless". The Ebisedi often use it as a metaphor for "garbage" or "worthless", especially as a vulgar, derogatory term of contempt. ("Worthless" may not sound that bad in English, but calling somebody "vyy'i" in that conculture is extremely contemptious and carries a feeling of hatred and spite with it.) [Phonetic note: v = voiced bilabial fricative; y = rounded, close front vowel, yy = long version of y; i = unrounded, half-close/half-open front vowel. The apostrophe ' indicates high pitch on the preceding syllable.] [snip]
> Murder isn't taboo, but it's also not discussed lightly.
vyy'i by itself often just refers to the physical phenomenon; it's just when you apply it as an adjective referring to the quality of something/someone that it becomes insultive. Strangely (or not), vyy'i can also be used to describe one's sickly feelings when one has a headache, etc., with no insulting value at all. T