Category Archives: Savoir vivre and Etiquette
Putting the “anal” back into “analysis”. A thought experiment on the lexical flexibility of conlangs.
They talk about Eskimos having two hundred words for snow, that’s nothing.
In my conlang I am working on, Windish, there are precisely 78,125 words for farts.
The words for farts are all seven letters long. The first letter refers to the duration in seconds. If it is less than half a second, it is B, up to one second is D, one to two seconds is F, two to four seconds is G and K is for anything over four seconds.
Noise level is the second letter. A is noiseless. E is if it would have been heard in a silent room by people listening for it. I is small noise. O is quite loud, and U is a cathedral organ.
Third letter refers to smell level. H is smell free, L, N, and R increase on that while S is a tram-clearer.
The fourth refers to moisture level, with J for a dry fart, M P and T with medium moisture. T already produces skidmarks while Z needs an immediate change of underwear and probably outer wear too.
The fifth is volume of gas overall, again on a sliding scale going through the vowels A E I O and U.
In sixth you have degree of control with X being performed on purpose, R is one that was held in for a while and then released at will, N is normal level P is lower than average preparation time and L is totally unexpected. Usually a corollary of standing up or changing one’s sitting position.
Which brings us nicely on to the seventh letter. Bodily position – we take as official the position at the start of the fart. T is a seated fart, standing still is F while K is while walking or running. Lying in a bath or while sleeping is M (although some ancient dialects of the conlang use N for the latter although this is frowned upon as it is considered vulgar) while farting during sex (in any position) is S.
So for example a Kuszuls is like everyone’s nightmare while a Bahjaxt is pretty harmless and happens to most of us several times a day.
Just for your information, a title plus the first name is decidedly old-fashioned in English now. We use it for people with very high titles, such as Sir Cliff (Richards), Dame Edna (Everage) but not Lord and Lady. Mr, Miss and Mrs were used only with surname already before Ms was revived in the 20th Century. Ms plus first name is recorded in the seventeeth century. Ms then went out of use for two centuries, (because it is actually short for “mistress” which took on a risqué meaning).
The use of any title less than Sir or Dame plus first name seems decidedly quaint now. One is put in mind of that traditional old Texas oil baron Jock Ewing, who persisted in calling his wife “Miss Ellie” even after they were married and even just before his funeral. I understand that this is a bit of a Texas thing.
In the English-speaking world, first names seem to be in general use now and in the main people do not even ask for permission to switch to it. However there are still situations where deference is called for, such as to a client or a teacher, in which case Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms or a professional/academic title like Dr or Professor are used with the surname. More highly honorific titles still, such as Excellency for embassadors, highness or majesty for royalty are not usually combined with names at all in direct address. It is also usually appropriate to use the term once in a meeting and then default to “sir, ma’am” after this. The use of first or second name after foreign titles used in English will follow the usage in the language of origin. Examples include Don Giovanni, Sheikh Yamani, Mufti Menk and Imam Bayildi.