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.
Your explanation for how "Tardy" entered the English language is quite enlightening.
However, (and I can't stress enough that I mean no offence) your attempted explanation for why most Americans don't say toilet doesn't make sense to me.
The reason being that the English have the reputation of being prudish (at least on the outside) and the Americans have a reputation for being gung ho and acting like nobody gives a .....
I promise you that I'm trying to understand, I just hate it when I can't figure something out, (and I hate it just as much when people don't understand me), but every attempted explanation that Americans have come up with to explain this has failed miserably to stand up to basic scrutiny.
I know that you've done your best, but sadly, sometimes our best just isn't good enough.
The Americans are proudly descended from Puritans and are and have been much more religious and dominated by religion than the English. One set of stereotypes does not an argument make.
If you want to know, look up the OED2 or 3 (OED1 is online, but apparently had no entry for bathroom) or a good etymology dictionary.
Because Americans AREN'T embarassed to say "toilet", it's just not a common word for us to use. That's how we talk. You received an acceptable answer.
No one's asking why English people are embarrassed to say "elevator" or why Australians are embarrassed to say "shrimp". That'd be silly. It's just a difference in words used based on dialect.
@JohnReid8 I have literally just entered this conversation now and have not been involved until the post which you replied to. I am not saying anything "nasty". I do not need to "stop myself". You, however, should not be so condescending. Your recent comment directed at me was wholly unneeded and unnecessarily patronizing.
You say you googled "Why are Americans embarrassed to say 'toilet'?" and found no answer. You say no one can give a satisfactory answer, when it looks like you are just refusing to accept one that is given. I am a native speaker of American English and I can assure you that we just do not commonly say we are going to the "toilet", and it is just because of our dialect, not prudishness. If someone were to say "toilet" instead of "restroom", or "bathroom", they wouldn't be looked at as if they just committed a cardinal sin of vulgarity. Onlookers would not blush in embarrassment at what a disgusting term had just been uttered. That person might just get looked at funny for saying a word that seemed "out of place". Same, perhaps, as if they had called it a "loo".
I believe that is indeed "sound logic", as being a native speaker of a language gives me the necessary experience pertaining to its qualities. You on the other hand, have offered nothing in the way of "logic" other than your general disdain for American English being too "prudish". I'm not sure which dialect you would prefer, but you have gone to the point of insulting Americans and their language because it is "different" from other dialects of English, and it has approached a point where it is reaching a personal level.
If answering your original question will put an end to this ridiculous debate, here goes: Americans use "bathroom" most commonly because, in most houses, the room that contains a toilet also contains a bathtub. In fact, that is so common in our houses that a room with a toilet and no tub is typically called a "half bath". As children, when we are learning to speak English, we call the room-whose-name-is-being-debated the "bathroom", as the largest and most prominent feature in it is the bathtub. As we grow older, we call all "toilet rooms" bathrooms in casual conversation, simply out of habit. Because when we were two years old and learning how to use the toilet (which in AmE is strictly the porcelain throne itself), the "bathroom" was indeed the ROOM we were going to in order to do that.
In short, the object itself is the toilet, and the room it's usually found in is the bathroom. Though in public, you will probably hear people call it a "restroom" often.
@JohnReid8 I see you still have failed to spend any time in actual research, instead harassing us about our explanations, which are distinctly more believable than yours. Spanish is the type of answer that pure logic without the counterbalance of any evidence would get you.
And, yes, "what is it with those weird people and the way they talk? It makes no sense at all." is pretty offensive.
During the 1630s, a great many Puritans did migrate to New England, though more remained in England, where they killed their king. We then had an enormous amount of immigration in the nineteenth and twentieth century. I dare say more of you are descended from Puritans than we (though I myself am). In any case, that is a matter of the seventeenth century, which is less relevant than the twentieth century matter I refer to below. In any case, your equation of religion and prudery is not obvious to me. In my lifetime, both Soviet and Chinese cultures have been notably irreligious and notably prudish, for instance.
Am I getting nasty just because I find something hard to work out? Am I lashing out for no good reason? No I'm not, and it will help for people to take you seriously if you can just spot when you're in a mood to say something nasty and stop yourself.
Oh, and if you can use sound logic when making an argument, that can go a long way for some people too.
Etymology is the science of where a word comes from, it has nothing to do with how a word is used now.
Upon seeing your comment (David), I did an internet search to try to figure the answer out, and the closest that I came to an answer was that Americans are too embarrassed to say toilet.
So I googled "Why are Americans embarrassed to say toilet?", and guess what, nobody can say why, at all, it's just more "Oh, we don't talk like that".
A satisfactory answer just hasn't made its way on to the internet.
We aren't embarrassed, but originally, people did bathe inside the home (whether they had a specific room or just a tub in the corner) and relieved themselves in an outhouse. As indoor plumbing became more common, water was hooked up to the tub but toilets were slower to make their way inside the home. Eventually, toilets did move indoors and at a time when homes were much smaller and simple, it made sense to put the water appliances together. It was not uncommon for homes to be only 1-3 small rooms. The toilet was added to the room where people bathed, the bathroom. The term simply became common use.
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
I still don't get it. There are lots of places and circumstances to ask about bathrooms in Esperanto. Plus Duolingo is not known for teaching practical phrases. I'm left with a sense that you are simultaneously missing the point and stating the obvious - and yet, knowing that it's a joke makes it difficult to know how much to explain and how much to ignore and move on to other questions.