Whoredom

I’m drunk so I’m going to be crude.

Although Turks enjoy fornication as much as anyone else, there exists one sexual act which they prefer to discuss exclusively through the medium of loanwords.

That, dear friends and enemies, is the act of paying for sex. Whoring (and to a certain extent, pimping) seems to be discussed predominantly through Indo-European and Semitic loanwords in all Turkic varieties.

You see, in Turkey, a whore is referred to predominantly with the Persian word روسپی (rôspi), rendered “orospu” in accordance with traditional Turkic phonological rules. However, among both Persians and Turks, it is common to use the Arabic word فاحشة (faa7isha), rendered in the local accent of course (Uyghurs say پاھىشە, which is humourously close to پاشا/paşa, which in its apparent ancestral form “baccha” in Çağatay can also refer to a kind of prostitute). It is also common to hear “kahpe”, from the Arabic قحبة (qa7ba, same meaning).

It also appears common among Central Asian Turks to use varients of the Arabic word جلب (jalab, meaning “to bring”) to refer to prostitutes, which furthers the well-established theme of Turks viewing prostitution as a “foreign” “import”. In Kazakhstan “жәлап” (jälap), in Kyrgyzstan “жалап” (jalap), in Türkmenistan “jelep”, in Chinese Türkistan جالاپ (calap). The same root is also used in its original sense in some of these same varieties of Turkic speech, although the pronunciation is modified slightly.

Dr. Kuzban Gunz (this entry being more or less the result of conversations with him) has also noted that in much of Eastern Europe, the go-to word for “prostitute” in casual use among non-Slavs is the Slavic word (курва/kurva/kurwa, seemingly related to the vulgar term for “penis”). Its use in Yiddish, for example, is unsurprising given the Slavic cultural geography in which Yiddish has been spoken, but Albanian friends of Dr. Gunz’s have asserted that the use by Albanians of the Slavic “kurvë” proves the whorishness of Slavic women as compared to Albanian women (among whom, naturally, no women of loose morals are to be found). Presumably, a Hungarian nationalist could make a similar claim citing their use of the Slavic word as evidence, although considering what my Hungarian friends (and Dr. Gunz) have told me about Budapest, this might not come off as convincingly.

As a final note, the most common word for “pimp” in Turkey is “pezevenk”, which is of Armenian origin. The Armenians themselves now make common use of the Arabic word “قواد” (qawwaad, in Armenian “կավատ“, also in use in Turkey in most local languages, as in Kurdish “qewad”). However, outside of this, it appears most of the languages listed have their own words for “pimp”, so if the men can boast of their women’s honourability compared to the whorish outsiders, they can immediately be taken down a peg (outside of Armenia and Turkey) by pointing out the localness of the words for “pimp”.

Finally I would like to point out this:

  • Slavic: Kurva
  • German: Hure
  • English: Whore

Is the Germanic word cognate to the Slavic one? Perhaps even the Persian “روسپی” (rôspi)? How early were the Indo-Europeans (other than the Albanians of course) engaged in the selling of women compared to the Turks?

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