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BenN
Learned Scribe

Japan
347 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2014 :  13:19:08  Show Profile Send BenN a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Naed! Farruk! Hrast it! Oh, tluin!

I enjoy many of the Realms novels a great deal, and one of the things that adds colour to the Realms, and life to the characters, is the imaginative swearing & cursing that erupts from some of the protagonists, especially the more earthy ones like Mirt. A few thoughts:

Some authors seem to use swearing & cursing more than others (Ed seems to be prolific!); I wonder why this is?

Also, many of these curses seem to be used mostly by humans. Are they human in origin? If so, what words or phrases do other races use? I can imagine dwarves being earthy & inventive, orcs crude, halflings taunting, and elven cold disdain of an adversary's ancestry ("Grey!" is apparently a deadly insult to a moon elf).

Another factor in thinking about how PCs & NPCs would express themselves in the Realms is to consider human history in the real world; in the middle ages, phrases about bodily functions were much less shocking than now; rather, "God's blood!" or "God's bones!" were considered much more shocking & blasphemous. In the multi-deity world of the Realms, what words or phrases would/could people use for maximum effect?

sleyvas
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USA
6982 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2014 :  13:55:50  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Comparing people to various bodily excrements is usually a good standard.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
31048 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2014 :  14:44:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I actually have an issue with some of the Realms profanity Ed has given us... I know it's his world and all, but his profanity doesn't work for me.

At least in American English, the most common swears are all one syllable and flow readily from the tongue, in one short, sharp, sweet utterance. Tluin and hrast, by contrast, do not flow any kind of readily, and the effort of vocalizing the discordant sounds basically adds a second syllable.

On a similar note, there are a lot of words in the English language that originally had a more difficult spelling or pronunciation, but evolved into something easier to say. The military rank Colonel is pronounced the same as a unit of corn: kernel. Why? Well, if you take the effort to enunciate the syllables properly, but do it quickly, the two words do wind up sounding the same.

And when a situation causes someone to reach for profanity, they're normally just trying to get the words out -- proper elocution is not a concern if you've just dropped an anvil on your toe or groined yourself with your flail.

So to me, it would make more sense if the words originated as tluin and hrast, but eventually became truin or tuin or even luin, and hrast became rast or rhast. Naed is fine, but farruk would eventually become fark. Stlarn would become starn or slarn.

Anyway, that's my thinking on Ed's profanity. No disrespect to him intended, of course.

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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2014 :  17:35:40  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Maybe the colloquial form would be contracted, such as "t'rast", "f'ruk", etc.?

"'You don't know my history,' he said dryly."
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1602 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2014 :  18:30:51  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I with Wooley on this one, Ed's curse words are tongue-twisters and a bit nonsensical.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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Mapolq
Senior Scribe

Brazil
466 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2014 :  20:50:30  Show Profile Send Mapolq a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think it comes down to Ed's (perceived by me) way of making Realms languages be anglic-sounding-but-not-quite, which is something founded in our fantasy tradition that probably inspired him from the start.

I'm pretty sure many English speakers would think some insults in my native language (Portuguese) are mouthfuls, and somewhat difficult to sound out, and our languages have common ancestors in Proto-Indo-European, and more recently, Latin.

It's not a rule that swear words (even those used in exclamations) need to be monosyllabic, either.

...I'm somewhat wary of giving examples.

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Edited by - Mapolq on 10 Aug 2014 20:53:08
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Kentinal
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Posted - 10 Aug 2014 :  21:45:12  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thing I read a few years ago that cursing in Arabic was far more descriptive and involved then cruses by Christians. In fairness it was a novel in which a character known both languages was able to be more inventive (it appears) with Arabic. It part I would suspect the full impact of a swearing or cursing could only be fully understood if you live in the Realms, even then an orc might not care much about what an elf or human says.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
31048 Posts

Posted - 11 Aug 2014 :  00:55:26  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mapolq

I think it comes down to Ed's (perceived by me) way of making Realms languages be anglic-sounding-but-not-quite, which is something founded in our fantasy tradition that probably inspired him from the start.

I'm pretty sure many English speakers would think some insults in my native language (Portuguese) are mouthfuls, and somewhat difficult to sound out, and our languages have common ancestors in Proto-Indo-European, and more recently, Latin.

It's not a rule that swear words (even those used in exclamations) need to be monosyllabic, either.

...I'm somewhat wary of giving examples.



I didn't say it was a rule, and I admitted that my opinion was based on my knowledge of American English... And compared to the quick and easy exhalations that form most American profanity, tluin and stlarn are just flat-out awkward.

The little bit of Spanish profanity I know involves more syllables, but it still flows more naturally than tluin or hrast.

That's my biggest issue with the Realms profanity: not the number of syllables, but the fact that it just doesn't flow as readily.

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5098 Posts

Posted - 11 Aug 2014 :  08:49:57  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I struggle with 'stlarn' - given it's a made up word, don't really see a need for the 'l'. 'Tluin' is pretty much in the same category. Then again, if the Realms has places like Heliogabalus and surnames like Pwent, anything goes.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus

Edited by - George Krashos on 11 Aug 2014 08:50:38
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 11 Aug 2014 :  13:49:19  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've never been a big fan of made up words to be used as profanity. It's usually very hard to do and pull off well in a way that is understandable by the people listening or reading. It's not impossible, it's just hard to do well in a way that feels like it works.

To me, in my Realms at least, I use terms and phrases that can be understood contextually as profanity. I also make heavy use of racial slurs, which I think fall roughly into the same category. When I use made up words it's almost always very specific to a culture or a language that is most often spoken. For example, it works better if it's a made up word that happens to be Elvish, but translates to an obvious profanity in the common tongue.

Some examples of common profanities:
"By Umberlee's Salty Trench!" or "By the Bitch Queen's Salt!" - Common profanities heard along the Sword Coast by sailors. The first is usually considered more profane, and the second less so. The word "by" is often dropped in actual use. It is used as an exclamation of shock, horror, and amusement much the same way someone in modern American English might say "Holy Sh*t!"

"Tymora's Tits!" - Common profanity used throughout Faerun, particularly throughout the Heartlands. Used in the same context that we might use "F*ck!" or "Sh*t!" in modern American English.

"Orc Gobbler!" or "Go Gobble an Orc!" - A common insult that is used throughout Faerun, particularly in the North. It is considered highly offensive, and it's basically either telling or claiming that the person it's hurled at that they suck Orc penises. It's considered highly offensive because Orcs are considered filthy savage beasts. It would illicit a similar reaction as someone accusing you of engaging in sex with animals. Used in a similar context in which we might use "C*cksucker", "Motherf*cker", or "C*nt" in modern American English.

"Smoke and Ashes!" - A common profanity used throughout Faerun, especially around the Moonsea and the Heartlands. It's usually shortened to just "Ashes!" The origin is in a common curse, "May there be nothing left but smoke and ashes!" Meaning that essentially, they wish you to come to complete ruin and lose everything of value. It is not generally considered to be that offensive, and in terms of inappropriateness it's rather mild. It's a bit like someone saying "Darn" or "Crap" in modern American English, and it's used in an identical context.

"Redman!" or "Redwoman!" - A racial slur against all Mulan that is obviously in reference to the Red Wizards. It's very common outside of the Old Empires and Thay. Depending on who it is hurled at or used in reference to it will elicit different degrees of offensiveness. It's actually less offensive when hurled at a legitimate Mulan citizen of Thay, especially if they are supporters of the Red Wizards (as most are). It's considered the most offensive when used to describe Mulan not of Thay, due to the association. Ironically it's considered the least offensive when used to describe a Red Wizard. Most people outside of the Old Empires and the Unapproachable East don't draw a distinction between Mulan, and they're all regarded as agents of Thay. Thus, the context that it's often used is something along the lines: "Beware, there is a Redman watching you!" or "You're traveling with a Redman?!" or "We don't do business with Redmen here." or "You disgusting orc gobbling Redman!"

"Hairless Monkey!" - A common tongue racial slur used against Humans by Elves.

"Mole Beast!" - A common tongue racial slur used against Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes by Elves. It had it's origins in an Elven word that described Gnomes who worshiped Urdlen. Over time as Gnomes had less contact with Elves it's use started to expand, and ultimately developed into a common slur against Dwarves and later Halflings as well. The Elvish word is "Vysharth" and if it is directly translated to common it would mean, "Wretched One Who Crawls Below". Breaks down to "Vy" which in this context means "Wretched" - which grew out from the curse Vyshaan, which in turn is a reference to the Vyshaan Clan, and "Sharth" which is the Elven word for mole but is literally translated as "One Who Crawls Below".

"Coin Clutcher!" or just "Clutcher!" - A common insult by Halflings. It's used against someone who is regarded as greedy, stingy, miserly, or simply to describe someone who lacks hospitality or generosity to others. It's more offensive among halflings than other races, however due to the large halfling population in Amn it grew into use there by the other races, and there it's one of the most horrible insults that can be used to describe someone. In Amn it's more insulting because of it's wealth related connotations, but among halflings it is more insulting because of it's connotations regarding the lack of hospitality and generosity.

Those are just some of the curses, profanities, and slurs hurled around in my Realms.

Edited by - Aldrick on 11 Aug 2014 13:52:11
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6599 Posts

Posted - 11 Aug 2014 :  23:13:20  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would have thought that a place like the Realms could draw verbal profanities, obscenities, curses, oaths, imprecations, and insults from a very rich pool of perspectives. Surely elves must have developed numerous subtleties in their swear-words after so many millennia? And dragons must have some of the harshest utterances possible. Think of all the verbal creations of drunken dwarves over the centuries. Lets not forget countless hordes of orcs, goblins, ogres, gnolls, trolls - not the brightest creatures, but I imagine their racial gifts include swears and insults of nearly magical proportions.

Speaking of which - where are those horrible dark words adopted from curses, necromancy, witchcraft, and devil-summoning? I cant imagine fiends having anything nice to say, let alone having any nice ways to say it. Since ancient Netheril onwards, nobody has thought to use these unholiest of harsh, gutteral, expletive slurs when having, say, an anvil dropped upon their foot? There are no priests and followers of dark faiths who happily insult every blade of grass and every pretty face with some sort of horrid demonspawned curse? No liches capable of putting even the foulest-mouthed kender vermin to shame? No Zhents able to carry entire conversations among their kind using nothing but verbal filth?

[/Ayrik]
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1335 Posts

Posted - 28 Apr 2018 :  12:19:20  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I struggle with 'stlarn' - given it's a made up word, don't really see a need for the 'l'. 'Tluin' is pretty much in the same category. Then again, if the Realms has places like Heliogabalus and surnames like Pwent, anything goes.

-- George Krashos


Heliogabalus is, of course, a real world name. Which I have always struggled with explaining, as while there are some cultures in the Realms where the languages seem close to some real world ones, I just can't figure out why Damara would name a city for the Latinised-through-Hellinisation name of a Roman Emperor whose name is originally Semitic.

I mean, Unther, Murghom, Semphar, Zakhara and Calimshan, among other places, have languages that can conclusively be termed Semitic, for a variety of reasons. And in a number of sources, Chessenta and the neighbouring regions have used very Hellenic-sounding names and words, with the occasional Latinate flourish. Even some Thayvian terms seem Greek, specifically Byzantine.

But how did the Chessentan, Blade Kingdom, Wizard's Reach or Altumbel name of a native from one of the Semitic-speaking nations of Toril make it up to Damara to become the name of their capital city?

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1335 Posts

Posted - 28 Apr 2018 :  12:22:27  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And, yeah, I agree with the posters who find it extremely difficult to use Ed's tongue-twisting profanity in play. Which is a shame, because I want to, but it always comes out stilted, unnatural and uncomfortable. Profanity ought to roll of the tongue, not trip over it.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas

Edited by - Icelander on 28 Apr 2018 12:27:38
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1621 Posts

Posted - 28 Apr 2018 :  13:05:22  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I certainly remember there were blasphemies. Hmm. Were there any profanyms?

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
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sfdragon
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2189 Posts

Posted - 29 Apr 2018 :  06:42:01  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
how does you worthless ( haired or hairless) Vyshaan dog work?

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31048 Posts

Posted - 29 Apr 2018 :  16:44:23  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sfdragon

how does you worthless ( haired or hairless) Vyshaan dog work?



It's only good if the recipient of such an insult knows who the Vyshaan were. Much easier to just say someone's mother was a goblin, or that they were so ugly even a ghoul would leave them alone.

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Ayrik
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Canada
6599 Posts

Posted - 29 Apr 2018 :  19:30:41  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Maybe their mother was a goblin, but their father was a band of orcs.

[/Ayrik]
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5054 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2018 :  02:18:40  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Heh. You must bear in mind that Ed was forbidden to use real-world cusswords in print (because he straight-out did in his original Realms turnovers, and caused TSR staffers to have fits! ;} ) and was swiftly thereafter also forbidden to make up elaborate oaths (of the Conanesque "by the untasted loins of Ishara!" sort).
Yes, his curses are awkward tongue-twisters. He'd much rather go Anglo-Saxon, but with Hasbro owning Wizards, that's even less possible now than it was back in 1979, when the wider gaming world first saw the Realms in print...
love,
THO
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31048 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2018 :  02:41:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Heh. You must bear in mind that Ed was forbidden to use real-world cusswords in print (because he straight-out did in his original Realms turnovers, and caused TSR staffers to have fits! ;} ) and was swiftly thereafter also forbidden to make up elaborate oaths (of the Conanesque "by the untasted loins of Ishara!" sort).
Yes, his curses are awkward tongue-twisters. He'd much rather go Anglo-Saxon, but with Hasbro owning Wizards, that's even less possible now than it was back in 1979, when the wider gaming world first saw the Realms in print...
love,
THO



With as uptight as TSR was, back then, how did the Gord the Rogue books slip by? I had the TSR ones, back in the day, and I remember being shocked by the real-world profanity, when I first read them. I'd never seen that in fantasy, before...

Was it because Gary Gygax's name was on the cover, and he thus got some special leeway?

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5054 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2018 :  04:36:51  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Heh. Gary owned the company. He could do as he pleased, prose-wise.
Love,
THO
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

685 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2018 :  05:04:27  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
*insert various 'your momma' jokes here*
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
6982 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2018 :  12:27:38  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

*insert various 'your momma' jokes here*



If I must

You're momma is such a slapthighs that she once took in a whole yuan-ti abomination when it tripped and fell over.


BTW, a very nice collection of hundreds of realms sayings and slang is collected here
http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=13403

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31048 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2018 :  14:02:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Heh. Gary owned the company. He could do as he pleased, prose-wise.
Love,
THO



That would explain a lot. I didn't realize he still owned the company, at that point. I no longer have my copies of those books -- those and the ones about Mika the Wolf Nomad were among the many books I lost in the fire, and though I replaced damn near all the other TSR/WotC novelage that I lost, I never bothered with those. I'd not read them in a long time, at the time of the fire, and the fire is more than a decade down the road, now...

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