Elisson wrote a terrific post about made up languages, which as is often the case with Elisson’s stuff, is both informative and hilarious. Here is a snippet, which deals with a very specific made up language, namely Klingon (Whe knew?):
And, of course, there’s that perennial favorite of Trekkies: Klingon, created and designed by Mark Okrand, a linguist hired by Paramount Pictures. There have been books published in Klingon, including at least one Shakespeare play; furthermore, there are people who are able to carry on entire conversations in Klingon, generally in the context of trying to get laid at Star Trek conventions. A more futile quest is hard to imagine.
Read it all (but only after you’ve finished reading the rest of this most interesting post).
Elisson also noted that there are made up languages that are spoken by one person or only a few (even fewer than the number who speak Klingon, methinks), and such a languages is known as idioglossia.
The idioglossia stuff triggered a bunch of memories from my days as a yoot, when it was not uncommon to use made up words. Similarly, other words, while not made up by someone I actually knew, often would not have been understood beyond a couple dozen miles from where they were regularly spoken.
Here are s couple that I remember:
1. ”Dewemplin”. One of my favorites is the term “dewemplin,” as in “You’re a dewemplin!! (pronounced “doo-EMP-lin,” or sometimes con brio as “doo-EMMMMMM-plin”).
Defining the made up term “dewemplin” is particularly interesting, because it requires a two-cushion lexico-shot. You see, before you can define the term “dewemplin,” you first have to know what a blivit is. (Definitions within definitions – lawyers love that shit.)
A blivit is, “Ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag.” (I was surprised to see that the term has made it into the Urban Dictionary.
Sooooooo, the definition of a “dewemplin” is, “One who stuffs blivits,” or a “blivit stuffer.” At least that’s the technical definition of the made up word, although it came to be used to describe a feckless douchebag of a person.
2. Kerr. I think the same kid who made up the word “dewemplin” (Let’s call him Frank) also coined the term “kerr.” “Kerr,” was the made up term for “dog shit,” but wait, it gets better.
Frank and his buddies (all of whom were more than a bit twisted) took delight in flinging dog shit at people they thought warranted it Their criteria for who would get “splattayed” (“spla-TAYED” as they would say it) – are lost to history, but I am happy to say that I was never a splatayee.
What made it even more weird was that the shit flinging was very ritualistic, which brings me back to the word “kerr.”
When Frank and his buddies decided that someone was deserving of a “splattay,” they would use bits of paper to pick up the dog shit, and when they flung it they would all shout, “Kerrrrrrrrrrrrr forrrrrrrrrr yeeeeeeeeee!” (pronounced with rolling R’s).
I booshit you not.
Clearly, Frank and his minions were all dewemplins.