Trope-a-Day: Unusual Euphemism

Unusual Euphemism: Eldraeic, by and large, is not a language given to a great deal of euphemism.  Circumlocution, yes, but not so much euphemism, as its principal speakers prefer their straight talk to be straight.  For example, polite society has no problem with people just saying straight out:

valdar sessqár (“We had sex”)

On the other hand, one can get many of the same overtones by playing around with tense words and affixes.  For example, playing around with the “noble” tense and the augmentative affix could produce the following:

valdar chal sessqár

(“We made love”, in a more romantic/poetic sense)

valdar lin-sessqár

(perhaps best translated “We engaged in rampant shagging”, emphasizing the happy-fun activity)

Or even both at once:

valdar chal lin-sessqár

(suitable for describing, say, one’s honeymoon, creative translations capturing both of these senses simultaneously are left as an exercise for the reader)

As a final note, the Eldraeic verb meaning “to have sex” is a mutual verb, that requires a set of at least two members as a subject and takes no object; in these examples, valdar (“we”) literally means “I-and-you”.  In one case of not-really-a-euphemism, it is entirely possible that the Eldraeic verb meaning “to masturbate” is actually also sessqár, merely applied to the set of “I-and-nobody”.

3 thoughts on “Trope-a-Day: Unusual Euphemism

  1. I’m guessing it would still be perfectly fine to say “We enjoyed one another’s company” and leave the rest to the hearer’s imagination if said statement is true about more than just the sex itself, though?

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  2. Another question on the matter: Are there any phrases that might sound like an Unusual Euphemism to us, but aren’t to their speakers simply because they approach the topic from a completely different conceptual paradigm? (By way of example, Terry Pratchett’s dwarfs, whose language has a “better-is-down” conceptual framework rather than our “better-is-up” one; because they live underground, they think of an increase in quality or nobility as motion downward rather than upward.)

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    • (The other classic example being our relation to time: Where we English-speakers think of ourselves as moving through time, with the past being “behind” us and the future “ahead of” us, some languages instead operate on the conceptual metaphor that it is time itself that flows like a river past us as stationary observers, with events from the future coming up from behind us, then entering our field of vision as they get in front of us in the past. I forget which language I first learned about that has that conceptual paradigm in particular, though.)

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