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Lesson 53
Sex & Anatomy


We’ve seen the most basic words for some functions of the healthy female body; it shouldn’t surprise you to find that there are more, richer terms for this realm of women’s experience.

Some of the words in the vocabulary of this lesson were coined using non-standard processes, eliding (deleting) various parts of the constituent words. The etymologies given here, where not straightforward, are “best guesses” as to the sources that inspired these words.

Vocabulary

lila

to female-sex-act previously presented in Lesson 38

lilahá

lover; one who carries out the female sexual act (not of males)

Female Sexual Anatomy

abathede

clitoris [aba (fragrant) + thede (jewel)] {RB, BG, PJ}

hib

ovary(ies) [hibid (testicle) subtract –id (MASC): this is known in linguistics as a “back-formation”] {YML}

liliháaláa

labia [lili (wet) + –háalish (DEGREEextraord) + láa (perception)] {JP}

lul

vagina

nemeháalish

clitoris [nem (pearl) + –háalish (DEGREEextraord)] {RB, BG}

wodama

exterior female genitalia [wohóol (entire female genitalia) + dama (touch)] {SH}

wohóol

entire female genitalia [woho (all; every) + óol (moon)] {SH}

Menstruation

From Suzette Haden Elgin:

[An] example of an English word that distresses me […] is “menstruation.” [It’s] ugly; it’s hard to pronounce; it hovers on the very edge of violating English phonology. And then there’s the fact that it’s the name of an experience every woman has for most of her life—but its first syllable is men! Etymology or no etymology, there sits “men” at the beginning of that word. It’s infuriating. But there it is, and there’s no way to get rid of the darned thing. Which is one reason why I gave it so much attention when I constructed Láadan…

osháana

to menstruate; menstrual previously presented in Lesson 10

ásháana

to menstruate joyfully

desháana

to menstruate early

elasháana

to menstruate for the first time

husháana

to menstruate painfully

wesháana

to menstruate late

zhesháana

to menstruate in synch with another woman [zhe (similar) + osháana (menstruate)]

Pregnancy

lawida

to be pregnant previously presented in Lesson 9

lalewida

to be joyfully pregnant

lewidan

to be pregnant for the first time

lóda

to be wearily pregnant

widazhad

to be pregnant, late in term and eager for the end

Menopause

zháadin

to menopause previously presented in Lesson 3

azháadin

to menopause uneventfully

elazháadin

to menopause when it’s welcome

While we’d seen zháadin before, what we hadn’t seen was its etymology: [zháa (wrinkle (in the skin))].

Blood

We’ve already seen ili (water) and óol (moon), the bases for most of these words.

luhili

blood [ili (water)] {SH}

luwili

birth blood [luhili (blood)] {SH}

óolewil

menstrual blood [óol (moon) + luwili (birth blood)] {SH}

óolewod

sanitary napkin [óolewil (menstrual blood) + od (cloth)] {SH}

nilewod

tampon [nil (inside) + óolewod (sanitary napkin)] {SH}

Male Sexual Anatomy

bom

penis

bom

household oil

hibid

testicle(s)

hibidim

scrotum [hibid (testicles) + dim (container)] {YML}

Beware puns “confusing” bom (penis) with bom (household oil)! Hee hee!

Exercises

Some friends have agreed to help by providing sentences for us to translate—and one even gave us some short poems! The exercises for this lesson are going to be a little different from what we’ve seen before; the original English will be followed by a note or two as to the why and wherefore of the translation provided, and then space for you to translate into Láadan and then back into English. A translation will follow, along with morphemic analysis and a re-translation into English.

You may want to cover the provided translation, do your own, and then compare the two.

From Heather:

1

She menstruated joyfully when she knew that she was not pregnant.

This sentence is translated using “beróo” (because) rather than “úyahú” (when).

Bíi eril ásháana be wáa beróo lothel be lawida rahóo behé.

Bíi

DECL

eril

PAST

ásháana

MenstruateJoy

be

X1

wáa

TRUSTED

beróo

Because

lothel

Know

be

X1

lawida

BePregnant

rahóo

NEG + FOCUS

behé.

X1 + EMBED

She menstruated joyfully because she knew that she was not pregnant.


2

Bethany, being very pregnant, dreams of chocolate.

Heather made it clear that her intention was for the English phrase “very pregnant” to be translated “widazhad” (pregnant, late in term and eager for the end).

Do you remember the idiom for “about X”? We use “bethu” [be (X) + –thu (PARTV)], literally “of him/her/it”. This is what we would use for “of chocolate” in #2.

Bíi ozh widazhad Bétheni beháa ahanath bethu wáa.

Bíi

DECL

ozh

Dream

widazhad

BePregnantNearTermEager

Bétheni

Bethany

beháa

X1 + EMBEDrel

ahanath

Chocolate + OBJ

bethu

X1 + PARTV = About

wáa.

TRUSTED

Bethany, who is pregnant, near term and eager for the end, dreams about chocolate.


3

No one understands her clitoris like her new lady lover.

Grammatically, we cannot modify “lover” with both “new” and “lady”; the relativizer will operate on only one verb at a time. We’ll therefore incorporate “lady” into “lover”: “lilahá” (doer of the female sex act). The feminine suffix is superfluous when considering the verb “lila;” it is the female sex act, after all.

Bíi en rawith nemeháalish bethath zhe en wobun wolilahá betho wáa.

Bíi

DECL

en

Understand

rawith

NoOne

nemeháalish

Clitoris

bethath

X1 + POSSbirth + OBJ

zhe

BeAlike

en

Understand

wobun

REL + BeNew

wolilahá

REL + FemaleSexAct + DOER

betho

X1 + POSS

wáa.

TRUSTED

No-one understands her clitoris like her new lover does.


From Layne:

4

Hot flash at midnight! She runs naked out into the Blind Snow Storm.

The first sentence isn’t, in fact, a sentence; it seems more in the nature of a warning.

We needed a word for “hot flash”; that word is “zháahóowadin” (hot flash, primary indicator of full menopause) [zháadin (menopause) + óowa (fire)] {AB & LA}; it was coined during the writing of this lesson in response to Layne’s expressed need for a word for this meaning and has been added to the official Láadan dictionary.

Another word we require is “honáal” (the hours between midnight and dawn) {SH}.

The phrase “Blind Snow Storm” doesn’t really mean that the storm cannot see; it means that the storm is so severe that we cannot see in it—seems like a job for a degree marker.

Bée zháahóowadin honáaleya wo! Yime be, bud raden, rohorothúul hishethudi nil.

Bée

WARN

zháahóowadin

HotFlash

honáaleya

HoursMidnightDawn + TIME

wo!

MADEUP

Yime

Run

be,

X1

bud

Clothing

raden,

NON + ASSOC = Without

rohoroháalish

Storm + DEGextraord

hishethudim

Snow + PARTV + GOAL

nil.

Inside

[warning] Hot-flash in the wee hours! She runs, without clothing, into the extraordinarily intense snow-storm.


5

She is the wrinkled Sage
She turns blood into water
And then drinks her fill
Beneath the blood moon

We’re translating “turn blood into water” as “[CAUSEto + Change] [Blood + OBJ] [Water + GOAL]”.

To drink her fill” we’re translating as “[Drink] [X1] [Be full] [X1 + EMBED + TIME] [Until]”. The rest should be fairly straightforward.

Bíidu bi wozháa wowothám;

Bíidu

DECL + POETIC

bi

XHon1

wozháa

REL + Wrinkle

wowothám;

REL + Wisdom + DOER = Sage + IDENT

[Statement, poetic] She is [a/the] wrinkled sage;


Dósheb bi luhilith ilidim

Dósheb

CAUSEto + Change

bi

XHon1

luhilith

Blood + OBJ

ilidim

Water + GOAL

She changes blood to water


Id rilin bi ume bihéya hathobéeya

Id

AndThen

rilin

Drink

bi

XHon1

ume

BeFull

bihéya

XHon1 + EMBED + TIME

hathobéeya

Until

And then she drinks until she is full


Óol luhilithusha yil wo.

Óol

Moon

luhilithusha

Blood + PARTV + PLC

yil

Below

wo.

MADEUP

Below the moon of blood.


6

desháana: a rose tattoo left behind on the upholstered seat

This is given as a definition, so it is translated as “in teaching”—despite the poetic nature of its form.

We have no word for “tattoo”; we’ll use “uzh” (symbol—of notation, alphabet, orthography)—loosely, “glyph.”

We also have no word for “upholstery” or “upholstered”; we’ll translate this as “the cloth of the chair;” the word for “chair” is dalelewodewan [dalel (object; made-thing) + wod (sit) + –wan (PURP)].

The phrase “left behind” is an idiom for which we have no counterpart in Láadan; we’ll render it using the clause “she departs” as an embedded Time-case element.

Bíidi desháana náham woshahina wohuzh od dalewodewanethusha nasháad behéya arileháam wa.

Bíidi

DECL + DIDACT

desháana

MenstruateEarly

náham

CONT + BePresent = Remain

woshahina

REL + Rose

wohuzh

REL + Symbol

od

Cloth

dalelewodewanethusha

Chair + PARTV + PLC

nasháad

BEGIN + ComeGo = Depart

behéya

X1 + EMBED + TIME

arileháam

FUT + EMBEDrel + IDENT

wa.

MYPERC

Early menstruation is the rosy glyph that remains on the fabric of a chair after she departs.


7

wesháana was her worry, but all she could do was wait

Note how Láadan is creeping into Layne’s sentences; it’s so much more convenient to have the right word!

We’ll need a word we haven’t seen heretofore: “neril” (to wait).

Bíi eril wesháana lhitharil bethom, izh thad neril neda be wa.

Bíi

DECL

eril

PAST

wesháana

MenstruateLate

lhitharil

Worry

bethom,

X1 + POSS + IDENT

izh

But

thad

BeAble

neril

Wait

neda

Only

be

X1

wa.

MYPERC

Menstruating late was her worry, but she could only wait.


8

with herb tea and a pillow nest,
painful menstruation made her take a rest

It feels odd in Láadan, but for poetic emphasis we’re deviating from standard Láadan word-order to more closely mirror the English.

We’ll also need a verb here that we haven’t seen before: “dul” (to refresh; to give rest); in this construction husháana, rather than “refreshing” (dul) her, causes her to “refresh” (dódul) “herself” (beth beyóoth).

We also lack a word for “nest”, so we’ll use a circumlocution, drawing a word-picture of many pillows around her.

Bíidu zhu theshethudan i thomedan menedebe besha o,

Bíidu

DECL + POETIC

zhu

Tea

theshethunan

Herb + PARTV + INSTR

i

And

thomedan

Pillow + INSTR

menedebe

#>5

besha

X1 + PLC

o,

Around

With tea of herbs and many pillows around her,


eril dódul husháana beth beyóoth wo.

eril

PAST

dódul

CAUSEto + GiveRest

husháana

MenstruatePain

beth

X1 + OBJ

beyóodim

X1 + REFLX + GOAL

wo.

MADEUP

painful menstruation caused her to give herself a rest.


9

Labia hide the beautiful clitoris,
Both wet with wanting
to share
sweet lover’s touch

We’ll need a verb we haven’t seen before: “rumad” (to hide; to cover; to put away) {SH}.

Another word we’ll need is “shimá” a straightforward “doer” form derived from “shim” (to sex-act).

Bíidu merumad liliháaláa woháya wohabathedeth,

Bíidu

DECL + POETIC

merumad

PL + Hide

liliháaláa

Labia

woháya

REL + BeBeautiful

wohabathedeth,

REL + Clitoris + OBJ

Labia hide the beautiful clitoris,


Melili bezh woho mahawáan;

Melili

PL + BeWet

bezh

X2-5

woho

#All

mahawáan;

SexDesire + COZ

They all are wet from sexual desire;


Menéde mehedethi bezh woho

Menéde

PL + Want

mehedethi

PL + Share

bezh

X2-5

woho

#All

They all want to share


wolema wodama shimáthoth wo.

wolema

REL + BeGentle

wodama

REL + Touch

shimáthoth

SexAct + DOER + POSS + OBJ

wo.

MADEUP

sexual partner’s gentle touch.


10

All she did was sit and weep
But the other got busy and began to sweep
All she did was wonder why
As the other washed the windows and looked out to the sky

Notice the parallel construction in the English distinguishing “she” from “the other.” In Láadan we have no way to phrase “the other” so Layne approved the recasting of the poem in terms of “I” and “she.”

Bíidu eril wod i delishe neda lehóo,

Bíidu

DECL + POETIC

eril

PAST

wod

Sit

i

And

delishe

Weep

neda

Only

lehóo,

I + FOCUS

I only sat and wept,


Izh nahal i nawush behóo wo.

Izh

But

nashóod

BEGIN + BeBusy

i

And

nawush

BEGIN + Broom

behóo

X1 + FOCUS

wo.

MADEUP

But she began to work and sweep.


Bíidu dibáa neda lehóo bebáawáanehée,

Bíidu

DECL + POETIC

dibáa

Question

neda

Only

lehóo

I + FOCUS

bebáawáanehée

Qprn1 + COZ + EMBEDq

I only asked why


Úyahú dóhéthe behóo demeth i il behóo thosheth wo.

Úyahú

CONJtime

dóhéthe

CAUSEto + BeClean

behóo

X1 + FOCUS

demeth

Window + OBJ

i

And

il

PayAttn

behóo

X1 + FOCUS

thosheth

Sky + OBJ

wo.

MADEUP

When she cleaned the window and regarded the sky.


11

Put some bom in the palm before putting the palm on the bom and the bom palm will palm the bom quite pleasantly.

There’s a new word (invented for this exercise, and since added to the official Láadan dictionary): “niloma” (palm of the hand) [nil (inside) + oma (hand)] {AB}. Added to the dictionary along with “niloma” was “raniloma” (back of the hand) [ranil (outside) + oma (hand)] {AB}.

There’s another word that we’re encountering for the first time: “méeshim” (sexual pleasure) [méesh (pleasure, not sexual) + shim (to sex-act)].

As with so many plays on words—even ones, like this one, intended to work on puns in another language—the translation is nowhere nearly so elegant as the original. Indeed, part of my difficulty with the punning aspect of this piece is that we’re not using “niloma” (palm) as a verb. Try your hand (oh, my! pun discovered) at it; you may do better than I.

Bíida bere dóham ne bom nilomasha nil dama ne bometh nilomananehéya eril, ébere dama wobom woniloma bometh méeshimehalenal wa.

Bíida

DECL + JEST

bere

If…

dóham

CAUSEto + BePresent = Put

ne

You1

bom

Oil

nilomasha

PalmOfHand + PLC

nil

Inside

dama

Touch

ne

You

bometh

Penis + OBJ

nilomananehéya

PalmOfHand + INSTR + EMBED + TIME

eril,

PAST

ébere

…Then

dama

Touch

wobom

REL + Oil

woniloma

REL + PalmOfHand

bometh

Penis + OBJ

méeshimehalenal

SexPleasure + DEGunusual + MANN

wa.

MYPERC

[Jest] If you put oil in the palm before you touch the penis with the palm, then the oily palm touches the penis quite sexual-pleasurably.


On the other hand (there’s that pun again), what if we did use “niloma” as a verb? And, if we’re going that far, what about using “bom” as a verb, as well? We might come up with something quite a bit more elegant….

Bíida bere bom ne nilomath niloma ne bomethehéya eril, ébere niloma wobom woniloma bometh méeshimehalenal wa.

Bíida

DECL + JEST

bere

If…

bom

Oil

ne

You

nilomath

PalmOfHand + OBJ

niloma

PalmOfHand

ne

You

bomethehéya

Penis + OBJ + EMBED + TIME

eril,

PAST

ébere

…Then

niloma

PalmOfHand

wobom

REL + Oil

woniloma

REL + PalmOfHand

bometh

Penis + OBJ

méeshimehalenal

SexPleasure + DEGunusual + MANN

wa.

MYPERC

[Jest] If you oil the palm before you palm the penis, then the oiled palm palms the penis quite sexual-pleasurably.

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