Esperanto profanity

Esperanto profanity

Esperanto profanity is the profane or indecent vocabulary of Esperanto. Some profane words in Esperanto were formulated out of the core vocabulary established in this constructed language; or by giving specific profane or indecent senses to regularly formed Esperanto words. Others represent informal neologisms that remain technically outside of the defined vocabulary of the language, but have become established by usage.

Types of profanity in Esperanto

Esperanto, unlike English, but like some European languages, distinguishes two sorts of profanity. One, which in Esperanto is called "sakro", after the older French "sacre", ["Sacre" is preserved in the sense of "profanity" in Québécois French. In standard metropolitan French, "sacre" is restricted to the senses of "consecration" or "coronation".] consists of what English would call "oaths": religious or impious references used, often as interjections, or to excoriate the subject of the speaker's anger. According to Renato Corsetti, former president of the World Esperanto Association, "sakro" is "a word or phrase used to express one's indignation or anger or similar sentiment, not directly addressed to a particular person." [". . . vorto aŭ frazo uzata por esprimi sian indignon aŭ koleron aŭ similan senton, ne alparolante rekte difinitan homon."]

The other sort of profanity consists of the kind of word which Esperanto calls "maldeca" or "nedeca", "indecent"; "triviala", "vulgar, indelicate, low-class" [Jordan, p. 249] , "tabua", "taboo", "pika", "sharp, stinging," [Alos and Velkov] or "malnobla", "ignoble" [] ; and which in English are generally known as obscenities. These are the words that in Esperanto refer to sexual acts and bodily functions in non-clinical ways.

ources of Esperanto profanity

As a planned language designed for international communication, neither interjections to be used in anger, nor expletives, nor familiar expressions for sex acts and bodily functions were priorities for Dr. Zamenhof, and as such this sort of vocabulary does not loom large in either the "Unua Libro" nor in the "Fundamento de Esperanto". According to Alos and Velkov, "(n)either Zamenhof nor the other pioneers of the international language used obscene words in their works; nevertheless, they all tried to make Esperanto a real language." [Alos and Velkov: "Nek Zamenhof nek la aliaj pioniroj de lingvo Internacia en siaj verkoj uzis obscenajn vortojn, kvankam ĉiuj ili klopodis fari el Esperanto realan lingvon."]

Alos and Velkov's remarks suggest a belief that a language without expletives or familiar expresions for sex acts and bodily functions is incomplete. Such a language would fail to respond to all of the situations that humans use language for. In furtherance of making Esperanto more "real" in this sense, Esperantists have created or invented the vocabulary thought to be missing. A number of important Esperantists have worked to further this effort.

In 1931, the poet Kálmán Kalocsay published "Sekretaj sonetoj" ("Secret Sonnets"), a poem cycle on erotic themes, that helped circulate some of the unofficial root words that form part of the basis of familiar sexual expressions in Esperanto. In 1981, Hektor Alos and Kiril Velkov published a small pamphlet on "Tabuaj vortoj en Esperanto: vortaro, kun ekzemploj pri praktika uzado" ("Taboo words in Esperanto: a dictionary with examples for practical use") that also discussed Esperanto sexual expressions and oaths; their pamphlet was distributed by the major Esperanto language book services. In 1987, Renato Corsetti, who later became president of the World Esperanto Association, published "Knedu min, Sinjorino: tabuaj kaj insultaj esprimoj en Esperanto" ("Knead me, madam! taboo and insulting expressions in Esperanto"), that also discussed this aspect of Esperanto vocabulary, and increased its coverage of interjections and expletives. The title of Corsetti's book is an allusion to the novel, "Kredu Min, Sinjorino!" ("Believe Me, Madam"), a well-received original novel in Esperanto by Cezaro Rossetti.

Generated words

Some of the profane vocabulary of Esperanto is derived by giving specific and profane meanings to words formed according to the regular methods of Esperanto grammar. For example, one Esperanto word for "a female prostitute" is "ĉiesulino". [Alos and Velkov] This word, which has no direct cognate in any European language, is confected entirely from "a priori" elements belonging to Esperanto alone: a female () person () who "belongs to everyone" (). This last root is one of the systematically formed Esperanto correlatives. While the word could mean anything indicated by its constituent parts, usage has confined it to this particular sense. [Waringhien] Since Esperanto grammar regularly allows the creation of new words, it lends itself to the generation of a large number of synonyms; as an example of the process, the words "publikulo" ("public person"), "stratulo" ("street person", compare English "streetwalker") and "sinvendisto" ("self-seller") have all been coined to refer to prostitutes. [Alos and Velkov]

In addition to this formation, the word "putino" also means a female prostitute, from a widely distributed Romance root; from this, Esperanto has back-formed "puto" for a male prostitute. Esperanto also has the formal verb "prostitui", to prostitute. [Waringhien; Alos and Velkov]

Esperanto grammar allows and encourages the development of new vocabulary along these lines. The Esperanto word "seksumi" means "to have sexual intercourse" or, more generally, to engage in sexual activity; it combines the word for "sex" ("sekso") with the indefinite kadigan suffix ""; "fingrumi", "to masturbate", is a similar construction on the word for "finger" ("fingro"); and "langumi", to fellate, from "lango", "tongue" as a body part. [Alos and Velkov]

Other Esperanto profanities are simply the Esperanto words that name subjects invoked as oaths. The devil ("diablo") is frequently invoked in these, with phrases such as "Diablo prenu!" ("May the Devil take it!"), "Diablo manĝu!" ("May the Devil eat you!") and "Kia diablaĵo!" ("What a piece of deviltry!") [Kolker; "Sakro" article]

The fundamental vocabulary of Esperanto contains a number of pejoratives. The root "fuŝ-" means "to botch" or "to bungle", and as such figures prominently in some of these formations; a "fuŝado" is a FUBAR situation. ' also figures as a pejorative prefix. The prefix ' (roughly, "immoral") and the suffix "" (roughly, "bad, inferior") are also parts of the core vocabulary with pejorative functions; they have been combined to produce words such as "fiaĉulo", a thoroughly disgusting person. [Waringhien] "Fek-" is the Esperanto root for dung; Alos and Velkov report encountering combinations like "fikfek" ("fuck-shit").

Humorous oaths refer to Esperanto culture. The use of phrases like "Aktoj de la Akademio!" (Acts of the Academy!) and "Fundamenta Krestomato!" ("Fundamental Chrestomathy") invoke the names of Esperanto institutions and Dr. Zamenhof's books as if they were minced oaths. [Kolker; Alos and Velkov]


Other such words in Esperanto are technically "neologisms", words that were not added to the core vocabulary by Dr. Zamenhof, nor made official by the Esperanto Academy. Many of the items of the profane vocabulary do not appear in the official word list published by the Esperanto Academy. They appear, nevertheless, in standard reference works such as Gaston Waringhien's "Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto", often with the note that they are indecent neologisms.

In 1932, Kálmán Kalocsay (writing as "Peter Peneter") publicized, if he did not invent, much of the informal sexual vocabulary of Esperanto in his poem cycle "Sekretaj sonetoj" ("Secret Sonnets"). The poems conclude with an appendix, also set forth in verse, that defines each of the neologisms found in the poems themselves, including Esperanto roots such as "fiki", "to fuck", and "kaco", "cock" in the sense of "penis", borrowed from Italian, and "piĉo", "cunt", borrowed from the Slavic. [Kalocsay:La piĉo (bele ŝmaca vorto) signastute vulgare la virinan fendon,kaŝitan en la ombra musk' de haroj.La vorto venas el la slavaj lingvoj,ĉar latinidaj vortoj "kuno", "kono"ne taŭgas, okupitaj alisence.Sed ĉiuj slavaj lingvoj same havasen tiu vorto la silabon "pi"kaj ankaŭ sonon "zdo" aŭ "ĉo" aŭ "ĝo",ĉi vorton ni donacu do al ili:ja nian lingvon slava tero naskiskaj por la nask' ĉi aĵo necesegas.
("The "piĉo" (a tasty word) vulgarly means a woman's nether parts, hidden in a shadowy thicket of hair. The word comes from the Slavic languages, because the Romance words "kono" or "kuno" are inappropriate, being used in other meanings. But all Slavic languages have the syllable "pi" in this word, followed by "zdo", "ĉo", "ĝo"; so we give this word to them. Our language was born in Slavic lands, and this thing is quite necessary for giving birth.")
] One of Kalocsay's poems consists of little more than a listing of synonyms for sexual intercourse generated by the combinatory possibilities or metaphorically extended meanings of Esperanto words:

:"Por la unua, dolĉa foj': deflori,
kaj poste: nupti, karnon miksi, trui,
seksumi, kaj koiti, kaj geĝui,
kopuli, kohabiti kaj amori.
Enpafi, ŝtopi, vosti, grotesplori,
palisi, kaj bambui, kaj geglui,
kunkuŝi, kaj interne intervjui,
bombardi sube, mini, lanci, bori.
Kaj broson brosi, glavon karnan ingi,
buteron kirli, sondi, piŝti, piki,
kamenbalai, inan ingon klingi,
surpingli, karnon planti, truon fliki,
la brulon per la akvotub' estingi,
tranajli, spili, ŝargi, farĉi, fiki."

Once a root achieves currency in Esperanto, it becomes available to all of the derivational processes of Esperanto grammar; so that "fiki" "to fuck" is the source for "fikilo" [Alos and Velkov] , a dildo or a penis, literally a tool ("-ilo") for fucking; and for many other regularly formed words.



*"Sakro", article in the Esperanto Wikipedia.
*Hektor Alos, Kiril Velkov, " [ Tabuaj vortoj en Esperanto] : Vortaro, kun ekzemploj pri praktika uzado". (Vraca, 1981). Online edition accessed June 8, 2008.
*Renato Corsetti, "Knedu min, Sinjorino: tabuaj kaj insultaj esprimoj en Esperanto" (La KancerKliniko, 2006)
*David K. Jordan, "Being Colloquial in Esperanto: A Reference Guide for Americans". (University Press of America, 1992; ISBN 0-8191-8646-5).
*Kálmán Kalocsay (writing as "Peter Peneter"), " [ Sekretaj sonetoj] ", (1932), accessed June 8, 2008
*Boris Kolker, "Vojaĝo en Esperanto-lando: Perfektiga kurso de Esperanto". (Moscow: Progress, 1992; ISBN 5-01-002953-7).
*Gaston Waringhien, ed., "Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto kun Suplemento" (Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda, 1987).

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