Words for epilepsy

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Words for epilepsy

Postby Tikolm » Tue 18 May 2010 11:45 pm

This thread isn't totally about conlangs, but I couldn't find a more appropriate forum for it. I hope nobody thinks this thread is weird, but I've been working on epilepsy/language stuff for maybe a few weeks and thought I'd talk about it.

The word "epilepsy" comes from Latin, which borrowed it from a Greek word that comes from a word for "to seize beside" (epilambanein). I have speculated that these words come from an old and outdated idea that the person/animal having a seizure was being seized by some sort of evil spirit. (I find it scary to think what the original cures for epilepsy were.) The story I am working on involves a family with epilepsy and that's why I am trying to figure out how to say epilepsy in Tikolmian (and my other conlangs too). The problem here is that Tikolmians don't believe in spirits and wouldn't ever come up with the idea of them being linked to epilepsy. I am still struggling to figure out what exactly they would call it. I have looked up various words for "seizure" and the only ones I can figure out are linked to the evil spirit idea (French "saisie" for example). I am interested to know if my speculation about spirits is right and I would like to figure out this conlang problem. I'd also like to know what you all think of this.
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Conlangs (current): tikolmil, llyffws, Arliks, dilir
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Re: Words for epilepsy

Postby vegandiste » Wed 19 May 2010 12:29 am

Yes people used to believe in evil spirits a lot so probably thought seizures were caused by them, since they couldn't easily explain seizures any other way and they seemed frightening and unrelated to any obvious cause.

Anyway I don't think it's weird to write about seizures, it's an interesting topic like thousands of other topics. Maybe you could post your story sometime, I'd like to read it :)
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Re: Words for epilepsy

Postby Tikolm » Wed 19 May 2010 12:36 am

Hi! ;) I'm glad you don't think it's weird. I'd love to see more of your comments because I like what you say. Please do post more comments in the future.
Native: English
Fluent: français
Basic: Cymraeg
Really basic: Español, lingua latīna
Conlangs (current): tikolmil, llyffws, Arliks, dilir
(Website is at http://risteq.net/ if you ever want to visit. It's supposed to be in 4 languages.)
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Re: Words for epilepsy

Postby Gesithan » Wed 19 May 2010 2:43 am

Well, aside from the spirit possesion system, how about you pull a Dwarf Fortress and use something along the lines of "fey mood"?
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Re: Words for epilepsy

Postby linguoboy » Wed 19 May 2010 3:05 am

An alternative to "seizure" in Modern English is fit, which derives from Old English fitt "conflict". (Possibly from a root meaning "juncture", i.e. the coming together of two forces.) Though I suppose this still carries the notion of a struggle between the epileptic and some unseen (possibly supernatural) force.

Popular Welsh terms for epilepsy are clefyd cwympo "falling disease" (cf. Irish titimeas from titim "falling") and haint digwydd "befalling faint" (cf. German Anfall "[epileptic] fit", literally "on-fall"). And Polish padaczka is related to padać "to flop, to drop [to the ground], to fling [oneself]".
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Re: Words for epilepsy

Postby Gesithan » Wed 19 May 2010 3:13 am

But the problem with fit is that, at least in my (Louisville, KY region) dialect, "fit" is normally just used to refer to someone who is angry, along the lines of "tantrum", "rage" or "having (birthing) a cow". So usage of fit might not be the best idea. And on an aside note, the "conflict" could also be between mind and body (as in, I'm not exhibiting intended behavior).
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Re: Words for epilepsy

Postby Caenwyr » Wed 19 May 2010 9:00 am

linguoboy wrote:Popular Welsh terms for epilepsy are clefyd cwympo "falling disease" (cf. Irish titimeas from titim "falling") and haint digwydd "befalling faint" (cf. German Anfall "[epileptic] fit", literally "on-fall"). And Polish padaczka is related to padać "to flop, to drop [to the ground], to fling [oneself]".
In Dutch too the expression is "vallende ziekte" (falling disease). Not very inspiring, perhaps, but at least it's not mentioning or referring to spirits. Of course the more common word nowadays is "epilepsie", probably because it sounds more scientific ;)
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Re: Words for epilepsy

Postby Tikolm » Thu 20 May 2010 3:02 am

Thanks for the advice and info, everyone. What did you mean about "Dwarf Fortress" and "fey mood"?

It's not just your dialect. I hear "have a fit" all the time used to mean something along the lines of getting angry. I'm not about to translate "fit" because that would mean running it through my special encoding and I don't really like the resulting word.
Native: English
Fluent: français
Basic: Cymraeg
Really basic: Español, lingua latīna
Conlangs (current): tikolmil, llyffws, Arliks, dilir
(Website is at http://risteq.net/ if you ever want to visit. It's supposed to be in 4 languages.)
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Re: Words for epilepsy

Postby Gesithan » Thu 20 May 2010 5:03 pm

Dwarf Fortress is a ludicrously insanely complex "game" where you command, wait for it, a fortress of manic-depressive, alcoholic, sociopathic, retarded dwarves. In ASCII graphics.

The "fey mood" was an in-game event where a random dwarf would suddenly feel the burning urge to produce a very specific item, meaning you either had to find a way to acquire a dozen random materials and set up a high-tech workshop to lock Urist McDwarf in, or you had to watch as he flipped out and killed everything inside the fortress, directly or indirectly.

Well, I couldn't be too careful, because my dialect sounds something like this:
Yeah y'all needa be goan down by that trailer with tree growin init, an dhin y'all wanna go down that way for two or three songs until you get by the bridge o'er Injun Creek, an then y'all gonna turn left when y'all get to Big Jim Slucher's cornfield, and then y'all get back on the highway.
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Re: Words for epilepsy

Postby linguoboy » Thu 20 May 2010 5:42 pm

Gesithan wrote:Well, I couldn't be too careful, because my dialect sounds something like this:
Yeah y'all needa be goan down by that trailer with tree growin init, an dhin y'all wanna go down that way for two or three songs until you get by the bridge o'er Injun Creek, an then y'all gonna turn left when y'all get to Big Jim Slucher's cornfield, and then y'all get back on the highway.

You say "creek" steada "crick"? How WEIRD! Nex yer gunna tell me yuh say "roote" steada "route"!
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