Req: "dirty" words in Sanskrit

Allen Thrasher athr at
Fri Nov 1 22:10:13 UTC 1996

The y-root is the equivalent of the f-word.  Otherwise there are no taboo
words I can think of, indeed one of the oddities of Sanskrit is that the
vocabulary for sexual parts or things has no particular distinction into
the obscene, the neutral, the euphuistic, the medical, etc.; the words are
unmarked that way.  

(Or are they, and we are just deceived because the
traditional dictionaries work by series of synonyms, and in fact words
have differences of meaning and use the dictionaries don't discuss?
Didn't V. Raghavan do an article or two about this problem?  I believe
Kenneth Langer discussed the differences in words for women in his
dissertation (Women and love in Sanskrit coutry poetry : a semantic
approach, Harvard, 1978). If there are differences not noted in the
traditional dictionaries and therefore in the European language
dictionaries based on them, the vocabulary of sex may be marked.)

Allen Thrasher

On Fri, 1 Nov 1996, Hueckstedt wrote:

> One of my beginning Sanskrit students this year asked me today if 
> Sanskrit had any "dirty" words. As many students who step into my 
> Sanskrit class assume, especially if they come to Sanskrit from an 
> interest in the study of religion, she assumed that it couldn't possibly 
> have any "dirty" words. Ever eager to disabuse students of the idea that 
> Sanskrit is a language in which only spiritual or religious ideas can be 
> expressed, I quickly assured her that it did have some such vocabulary. 
> When asked for an example, I was stumped, red-faced and ashamed of my 
> ignorance. Any suggestions will be most appreciated.
> k.rtaj~natayA saha,
> Bob Hueckstedt 
> Robert A. Hueckstedt, Associate Professor of Indic Languages
> Asian Studies Centre, 328 Fletcher Argue, University of Manitoba
> Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2 Canada
> fax 1 204-261-4483 phones 1 204-474-8964, 1 204-488-4797

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