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CHAT: False friends - echos from the mother tounge

From:Harald Stoiber <stoiberh@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 9, 2003, 9:20
A precious day may be yours!

What would you do in the following case? Let us say, you have a root
"sat" and an inflectional ending "an"... would you avoid the remaining
"satan"? Just a question. Are you trying to avoid inclusion of negative
or unpleasant terms of your mother tounge into your conlang?

I am in such a situation right now. My constructed language inflects the
semitic way, putting vowels between three consonants. Should I reject
s-t-n just because it will give me "satan" when inflected as an intransitive
verb? It gives a strange ring in the ear, yes - but on the other hand it is
(most certainly) my own cultural bias which makes it ring that way and
not another. Hm, I am not sure how far it would take me if I would begin
to avoid such intuitively unwanted "false friends". Probably it is ok to
make the own conlang as different as possible from one's mother tounge
but I guess it would cost  too much vocabulary if put to the extreme.

Briefly considering what I would have to sacrifice leaves me unwilling
to do so. Such a lovely root like h-r-n would need to vanish because of
its gerund inflection "huren" which unfortunately means "whores" or
"to go whoring" in my mother tounge German. More and more I come to
the conclusion that I should not even try to rid my lexicion of these and
other sort-of offensive roots. I guess it would be far too costly. And
probably I should rather take the chance and accept the opportunity to
lose my cultural bias in this cases. ;-)

So, my question is: What do you think? How do you handle such cases?

Thanks very much for your replies! :-))



Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>