The Ecphorizer

Strine
Dyvid Durst

Issue #19 (March 1983)



Strine is the language spoken by the inhabitants of a large empty island to the west of New Zealand (which itself has a good claim on the title of One of God's Chosen Spots on Earth, as those of you who went to Conpac '83 well know). This island is called Striya, from which the name "Strine" is derived. Strine is a member of the English family of the Western Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages, but is hardly recognizable as such. Even in the capital village of Sinny, where Strine culture reaches its highest level, this categorization is evident to only the most expert linguists. Considerable academic controversy rages, in fact, over whether Strine is a unique language deserving its own category.

But enough of such theorizing -- let's get on with it. Let's Talk Strine1. Let's start with sex (aha!).  "Sex" in Strine refers to large cloth containers: e.g., sex of potatoes (not what you expected, huh? But the language is full of such quirks). Sexual forms of address, by the way, are "slidy" and "smite." To show one's appreciation the word "teng" is added, as in "teng slidy" or "teng smite."

Foodstuffs provide a rich area for study of the language2. For example, "baked necks" is a common breakfast food, as are "emma necks," "scramblex," and "fright shops." "Egg jelly," on the other hand, is a Strine expression best translated as "in fact" or "really," and "egg nishner" refers to a mechanical appliance which cools the air in a room. Other food terms include "semmitch" (often pointed out as evidence of a Western Germanic connection) and "vegemite," a substance which fortunately has no equivalent in the civilized world.

Strine religious practices could easily warrant a whole book, but a few aspects can be described briefly here. The principal deity is usually called "Aorta," especially when appealed to for solutions to the average3 Strine's problems. A typical supplication begins with the deity's name, followed by a request, often in the imperative: "Aorta make a law against..." (the words following "Aorta" have been rendered in English; the Strine equivalent would be unreadable).

Young Strines are often taught proper ethics through morality lessons called "furry tiles." These rather gruesome lessons are well liked by children. In addition to their principal messages ("morls"), furry tiles often introduce animistic concepts through the Strine spirit "mare chick," which resides in various objects and bestows both its name and supernatural powers on them: for example, "mare chick ring" or "mare chick sword."

There are numerous aspects to the study of Strine; but having touched on sex, food and religion this introduction can be brought to aclose4. I recommend that the serious student visit Striya for firsthand experience. For the full impact, go beyond Sinny and visit such places as Camberr, Mebn, Peff, Darn, and Exxrock. The city of Useless Loop, on the other hand, is another story.
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1. This rousing call is also the title of the definitive work on Strine, written by one Aufferbeck Lauder of Sinny University. Where you find the book outside of Striya, God only knows. If you're a real masochist, read Nose Tone Unturned too.

2. Striya has carried the art of food-to-go to new extremes. The generic term is "ty kwies."

3. The Strine term is air fridge." The root, "air," can take on many meanings, depending on the suffix used. Thus we have "airman wry" (a variety of semmitch), "airpsly fair billis" (an expression denoting high praise), or "airp's trek" (a type of Strine art).

4. Politics is an obvious omission, but Strine politics defies description. Besides, you wouldn't believe me if I did tell you. 

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Dyvid Durst




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