On Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 1:17 PM, kate rhodes<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I'm curious about the swear words people have come up with for their
> conlangs, how they're used, and what they mean, and maybe how they
> came to be.

It seems that "swear words" as such can only exist when a language is
actually or putatively used by a speaker community, and much of the
community disapproves of those words being used (at all, or in certain
contexts, or in certain ways).  So artlangs with concultures can have
them, and engelangs and auxlangs can potentially have them if they're
adopted by a live speaker community (there are lots in Esperanto; many
were coined by the Hungarian poet Kalman Kaloscay (or so we think) for
his pseudonymous collection of erotic verse, _Sekretaj Sonetoj_).
Brett can comment on whether and to what extent that's happened in
Lojban as well.  It seems to me that in Toki Pona, the denotative
equivalents of "shit" and "fuck" aren't considered particulary vulgar,
or used as interjections, by the speaker community; the word "ike"
(bad, complex, nasty...) is used more generally thus.

For a personal language like gzb, I don't think it makes sense to
speak of swear words as such, but there are a fair number of
interjections.   For instance, the attitudinal suffixes (unlike all
other suffixes) can occur on their own; some of them are the most
common interjections, e.g. "la", the affectionate suffix, and "-ħa",
the disgust suffix.  (Compare Esperanto, where the pejorative suffix
"-aĉ" also occurs as an interjection.)  Several monosyllabic adverbial
particles also occur as interjections.   If the unlikely event gzb
ever develops a speaker community large enough to have distinct
groupings of opinion about what subjects can be bluntly referred to in
polite company and what can't, it would be interesting to see what
interjections with more semantic content develop from nouns and verbs.

My early artlang Thaurilarau, spoken by a culture which valued memory
very highly, used the word "mega" (forgetful) as an expletive; its
verb form "emega" (to forget) was also used derogatorily, and a
euphemistic substitute "matauko the meza" (to not remember
momentarily) had developed.

There was a thread on this subject in June 1999, subject line
"Vulgarity", which you might want to look for in the archives.

Jim Henry