At first glance this seems idiomatic, as there are lots of places for lots of different kinds of necessities. However, almost all languages use a euphemism for the feces-receptacle-place in polite conversation. There is not strictly speaking a bath in most public bathrooms. Nor is a restroom primarily a place of rest. Toilet derives from a french word for small cloth and until quite recently was associated only with personal grooming, not with human waste. You can certainly construct an Esperanto word to be completely transparent about where you are going to relieve yourself, but your friends will certainly be thinking "too much information."
But to Esperanto speakers this is not a euphemism. This is the name for that little room down the hall. Do remember also that Zamenhof was developing this language at a time when such facilities were not quite as developed as they currently are. And when people were actually being a bit more squeamish about having bodies that needed to do things.
Actually, I looked up what Esperanto for urinal is, and it's urinejo, which is not a euphemism at all. (A place for urinating.)
Though I assume it's a more modern word than necesejo? Although I'm not too sure. (I thought urinals were relatively modern, but it turns out they already existed in Zamenhof's time) But the word for urinal already starts with the letters urin- or pis- in most European languages, so why not follow suit.
What if I don't tell you why I am going there? Maybe I am just going to wash my hands. The urinal is in the restroom. I suppose I could be specific. " Mi devas uzi la urinejon en la necesejo. " but then I could just say "Mi devas urinas.". I think it is less important what I am going to do and more important that I am going to leave and go there to do it now. So that whatever we are doing will be interrupted and then I will come back.
Yes, I would not have thought it needed explaining. However, were I going to construct a language, as opposed to speaking one that grew through layers of cultural assumptions and shared taboos, I would look for a very specific word for each room, each function. When I am hungry, my kitchen is necessary for me. When I am sleepy, my bedroom is necessary. Indeed, I would say they are necessary for me for a much larger part of the day than the little room where I wash, urinate, and defecate.
Some sort of taboo is pretty standard for defecation and urination for humans. The fact that the necessary room means the bathroom is hardly the hardest part of Esperanto.
Not only that, if I were going to construct a language that would sweep the world of 1900, starting with those I could reach easiest, Europe and to some extent North America, I'm going to worry about not offending them first, and not create a theoretically perfect language they won't adopt.
While we're aiming for precision of meaning, (and avoiding cultural assumptions), I'd like to point out that in most English speaking countries you never conflate "bathroom" with toilet.
(They're not even in the same room half the time.)
No offence, but the US seems to be the odd one out on this point.
In most English speaking countries, you conflate "toilet" with lavatory. Because long before toilet meant anything have to do with defecation, it meant "One's style of dressing; dress, outfit." (Not that lavatory is not itself euphemistic, as it basically means the washing room.) The fact that toilet has come to obsolete older meanings doesn't negate the fact that it too is a euphemism.
Ja, I think that lavatory would the best option (if people still knew what it meant).
And yes, the word toilet is a euphemism, but it's still pretty hard to say that it's not the next best word, it's quite hard to misinterpret out of context and doesn't really violate any taboos or "give too much information".
Indeed, I was trying to think whether we had a word that was neither a euphemism nor considered unacceptable in official speech. Urinal has always meant the thing attached to the wall in a public men's room, I think, rather than the room. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ was a brand name, I think. My grandfather would refer to it as the outhouse or WC, but those are euphemisms as well.
It is, indeed, which is the result both of US English being a natural language, rather than a precise, constructed language, and of American toilets being installed in the same rooms with bathtubs and showers since the nineteenth century. I would not aim for precision of meaning in learning a natural language, but if I were creating a constructed language, I most certainly would.
I did make it clear that I meant no offence, and I was trying to point out that, as a natural language, English make this distinction by default.
That said, I do accept your explanation of why Americans speak as they do.
People, please don't assume that other people are being nasty just because they point out that they do things differently in other countries, we're actually sharing our knowledge, not forcing it on you.
Devas is must and bezonas is need. Vi bezonas ion = you need something. Vi devas fari ion = you must do something.
I'm sorry if some Americans have taken offence at the above comment, offence was definitely not my intent. I was hungry and not in a good mood that day, and unfortunately some people seem to take that the wrong way.
And in lieu of any convincing answer to the (admitedly implied) question of "Why do Americans say 'Bathroom' when they really mean toilet?", (seriously, nobody's actually answered this question), I share the following.
I've recently learned that the Spanish word "Baño" means three things in English,
- Bath (as in "Bathtub")
- Bathroom (that is, a room with a bath in it)
(I pretty much thought "¡Ai caramba!" when I saw that last one.)
This leads me to believe that the Spanish word has been Claqued into American English as "Bathroom", (I've also seen "Tardy", an English spelling of "Tarde", the Spanish word for late), not really surprising given the historical overlap of the two languages in geographic range within (what is now) the US.
Again, I'm not "out" to cause offence to anybody.
Which seems unlikely, given the general lack of Spanish loanwords in English outside borrowed concepts. (Tardy comes from the Middle French tardyve; the first recorded cite is Caxton, spelled as tardyue, with the medial v being written u.) It's far more likely it was simply a bathroom, which became the place for the indoor plumbing, and eventually including rooms that had toilets only; the Americans, more prudish than the British, refused to use the word toilet for it.
Except that it had, and has, nothing to do with prudishness. The toilet was put into the room with the bath in the United States, and there it stayed. British houses do seem to have separate bathrooms and toilets, but American ones never do. We have always used the word toilet for the apparatus, and if we were prudish about the word toilet (already a euphemism), we would not. As for Americans being more prudish than the British, I find that not universally true, especially in any period during which such words would come into the language. For many years, filmmakers had to shoot scenes of women topless a second time with bras so that they could be released in Britain. Indeed, I believe there still is a British Board of Film Classification, something that does not exist in the United States. A film may not be widely released in the US, if it gets an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (a private industry organization), but it may be shown by anyone who wants to show it, and usually is quite widely. I find that claims of public prudishness often result from misunderstandings over how local government works in various countries.
Given that we're talking about the 19th century, film has nothing to do with it. The lack of a US board of film classification has to do with (1) politics, where the MPAA was formed "voluntarily" to keep it in movie company hands and (2) the First Amendment, and is really irrelevant to the discussion.
Not certain, but having had a quick peruse of the dictionaries I think that banĉambro wouldn't be a good fit for the toilets (the American sense of the word bathroom), and would be a better fit for a room with a bath/shower in it. Not that that matters when talking about bathrooms in houses (where they're usually the and place), but maybe not quite right when describing public toilets.
No. It's just because bathroom in the USA both mean bathroom where you take the bath