Avoidance Language

Apparently in some parts of the world it is common place to choose words specifically for conversations with in-laws. A new article by Bryant Rousseau reports that in parts of India, Africa, and Australia there are rules for certain cultures that bans certain words with your spouse’s parents. In Ethiopia, the Kambaata language has a rule called Balishsha, which forbids them from using words that starts with the same syllable of their father or mother in-laws name. For the Zulu and Xhosa people in southern Africa, married woman are forbidden from using the name of their father in-law and any other words that have the same root or similar sound. In Australia, there are groups of indigenous people who ban the husband and mother in-law from addressing each other directly. All of these rules have led to what is called ‘avoidance language’ where words are replaced by synonyms or often words from an entirely different language in order to follow the rules. It is unknown what the source of these rules are, but they continue to have an impact on languages today.

Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/world/what-in-the-world/avoidance-speech-mother-in-law-languages.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FLanguage%20and%20Languages&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=collection

Picture: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004016.html


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