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Results of Poll by Email No. 29

From:Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Date:Monday, April 28, 2003, 0:39
        I forgot that last weekend was Easter, and that this weekend I was attending
a wedding two hours away, hence the late results. But that's alright, since
several people were late with their responses, so it worked out well.
        In response to the question, "How many of you have invented a rich vocabulary
of naughty words and erotica in your Conlang?" 32 people responded
        A. My conlanging is as pure as the driven snow. (14 responses, 44%)
        B. I play around with some sexual or scatalogical material but I am generally
tasteful. (13 responses, 41%)
        C. I have some marvelous obscenities that I would prefer not to share with
the group! (4 responses, 13%)
        D. Not only do I have naughty language, I write erotica in my Conlang with
astonishing eloquence! (1 response, 3%)
        E. I'm a porn fiend in my conlang! (0 responses, 0%)

        Christophe Grandsire tried playing with my mind: "What about: "I'd like to be
a porn fiend in my conlang but I haven't had the time, inspiration or
opportunity to develop any naughty vocabulary"? Would that count as A. or as
a F.? :))" A, Christophe, A. He continued: "The point is that for most of my
conlangs, the *known* vocabulary is as pure as the driven snow, but that's
only because *little* vocabulary is known. If more was known, it would
certainly contain obscenities :)) (but when you have twenty words or so,
you just don't think of obscenities first, at least not me! ;)) )." This
pretty well sums up the responses of most of the A and B people. Many wrote
expressing their goal of eventually being able to upbraid someone in a fine
string of expletives, but simply haven't gotten around to it.

        In the "Likely Story" category is Nik Taylor, who protested when voting "A":
"But only because my conlang is spoken by aliens with a completely different
reproductive system than humans, so I don't even know *how* they do it!"

        In a similar vein, Elyse Grasso wrote: "Shayanans don't care about sex, but
they have strong cultural inhibitions about discussing violence between
sentients. The equivalent of the local madam on Cherani Station runs a
martial arts dojo in the back rooms behind her restaurant." Ah! A most
excellently original idea. As I recall, we had a thread on the list a couple
of years ago discussing different conculture concepts of the obscene, apart
from the usual blasphemous/sexual/scatalogical triad. I was hoping for more
such conculture revelations, but few were forthcoming.

        Jan van Steenbergen opined, "Let me first say that in my opinion these words
are among the most vital ones in any language. In street slang, they are used
repeatedly in every sentence, and they usually spawn a whole lot of
interesting combinations and derivatives, that give some unique information
about the character of the language itself. Therefore I dare to consider the
naugty words one of its cornerstones."

        Sally Caves wrote: "Yryi (as for me), I would have to say B.  I've played
around with some scatalogical and erotic material, but I'm generally
tasteful.  Funny how the first words I ever invented were for the body, and
that's one category I've got completely covered in Teonaht, down from the
headhair to the big toe. I've got several fairly vulgar words for bodily
functions, and one really foul word that I don't tell anyone.  My Conlang
Erotica uses euphemisms (ilid harod voak, etc.); it's all Boudewijn Rempt's
fault, who challenged me to translate one of his Denden brothel poems for the
list long years ago. :)"

        Dan Jones voted "D" and commented: "Not that I *do* write eloquent erotica in
Arvorec, but I could if I wanted to- it's worth noting that Arvorec has a
word for  "analingus" but no word for "bookcase", so I think my scatalogical
conlanging has unbalanced the vocabulary a bit." Gee, you think? :)

        Camilla Drefvenborg commented: "Interesting, that; grouping expressions of
affection with insults. It certainly makes it harder for me to answer. For
while I have, considering the current size of the vocabulary, quite a lot of
varying expressions of affection and love, I so far have not even considered
how to create my first insult." Editorial comment: blame Sally for the
wording, not I. :) She continues: "I refuse to call erotica (tasteful such,
as in the Song of Solomon) something naughty." Which neatly segues to
Taliesin's (another Scandahoovian) comment: "A or B, I have swearwords, but
they're not particularly scatological. This is probably cultural as the
naughty words in Norwegian aren't sexual or (particularly) scatological
either. The hangup on "fuck" in English is quite interesting to me, <wild
musing>showing yet again that English-speaking countries have a hangup on
sex, while at least Norway considers it worse to blaspheme...</wild musing>
which is of course nuts, soon it'll be the first of May here (though outdoor
fucking has doubtlessly already started where it is warm enough)... needs
more thoughts, I think, as I can't imagine a more secular people than my
fellow Norwegians..." Editorial comment: having extensive experience with the
finer points of Russian "colorful metaphors," I don't think that the
association of sex with the obscene to be a particularily "English" concept.
Taliesin continued: "Russian and Arabic is famous for their swearwords,
looking forward to hearing what the Russian subscribers have to say :)" Alas,
they didn't say much.

        Well, that's it for this week's Poll by Email. Thanks to everyone who
participated, and stay tuned for next week's Poll by Email!
Oh what a tangled web they weave who try a new word to conceive!


Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>