Monday, September 1, 2014

Slave Mythology: If It Quack's Like a Slave: Slave Speak

Okay, so a lot of people seem super concerned about how s-types talk to d-types or how they speak in general. Because, apparently we have to talk in some specific subly way in order to be considered proper s-types. I've heard all the ridiculous notions about addressing all d-types with honorifics, which I discussed my opinions on in a previous post. One of the most ridiculous things I've ever read was "a submissive should always speak in a small voice when speaking to dominants." Considering this was written in a forum, I'm not sure how one is supposed to type in a small voice. I don't really know what a "small voice" is, and the commenter wasn't inclined to tell me even though I asked.

But, there are a number of different types of submissive speech, or weird things subs are supposedly supposed to do when talking, several of which are only usable in written communication anyway, so I am not entirely sure why they are the benchmark of trueness. There are three major kinds of speech affectations I've seen in the context of BDSM; arbitrary capitalization, slashy speak, and what is commonly called slave speech.

1. Capitalization of Dominant-Associated Words

This is probably the most common and widely used of the three different speech quirks. It's also the one people find least offensive. People capitalize words like Dominant or Master, or the pronouns associated with d-types. I don't personally engage in it. It bugs my inner grammar Nazi.

I admittedly mercilessly judge someone who capitalizes their own personal pronouns, as many dominants do. I just find it silly and a little pretentious. I ARE AWSUM! BEHOLD MY CAPITAL LETTERSSS!!

The inspiration for this topic was some truebie idiot who decided to resurrect a discussion on third person speech protocols to insist that all s-types should refer to their masters with capital letters and themselves only in lowercase and that this was "BDSM 101." Um...yeah, I'm pretty sure my primary education in BDSM did not cover random online speech protocols. No one can tell when I talk out loud if I'm speaking with capital letters. BDSM 101, my lily white ass.

The most bizarre version of this that I've seen are those who write dominant-associated words in all caps. As in: "My MASTER told me that HE was going to talk to other DOMINANTS at the party." However, it is absolutely fucking hilarious to read posts like that out loud as if this person is randomly shouting mid-sentence, because that's what it sounds like in my head.

2. Slashy Speak

This random capitalization thing gave birth to the dreaded "slashy speak," which is viewed with a fair bit of annoyance by most of the people I see online. It's basically an attempt to address a group of people or refer to a group of people on both sides of the slash while maintaining the capitalization thing. Such as:

"W/we are happy that Y/you A/all could come to O/our house." 

Now, I read this as if the person typing is stuttering the whole way through the sentence, because how else would that translate to audible speech? I find it fairly annoying to read. I mean, at least the random all caps can be funny. It's like reading the infamous "Slutty Fuck Bimbo Whore Doll"  speech in the manner of "Whacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man," or reading any number of the 128 Basic Rules for the Female Slave out loud.

Slashy speak just looks like stuttering in print.  Even worse than slashy speak is slashless slashy speak, where they just nix the slash all together a la:

"Wwe are happy that Yyou Aall could come to Oour house." 

I can deal with slash speak far easier than slashless slashy speak. The latter just screams lazy to me. Which is kind of sad, since you have to put in the extra effort to type the unnecessary extra letter in the first place. Why not the slash?

This used to be a more prevalent practice a few years ago, but lately I haven't witnessed it as much. Or the places I frequent tend to frown upon it, so fewer people do it in those places. Or perhaps I've developed blinders to it and I just automatically skip over posts that use it. However, it seems to me like the popularity of slashy speak has dropped off a bit.

3. Slave Speak (Third Person Speech)

This one is probably the most contentious of the three. Some people really seem to have a hang up about this one, one way or the other. The truest of the true do it, apparently, and everyone else is annoyed by it. I think much of the annoyance comes from the lack of skill people demonstrate with this mode of speech. They can't write in a way that makes themselves clear, so things become murky to understand. There's a jumble of pronouns and it's not always clear when the speaker is referring to his or herself and not others.

I've only encountered a few people who could pull it off well, but one of them tends to do it while basically describing how everyone else's slavery is pillow princess slavery compared to hers because of all the degrading and disgusting things she does at her master's behest. The superiority complex couched in a literary affectation supposedly meant to evoke humility kind of detracts from the whole point of it.

The most common reasons I see for the use of it are that the d-type requires it of the slave to evoke humility or take away from one's sense of self, to take the focus off the slave, or to emphasize their status as property, or for objectification. I can kind of see the objectification aspect, but when the protocol is employed outside of the relationship, I think it actually attracts more attention to the slave who uses it. It's definitely a bit of an attention grabber when an unowned person does it for no reason at all besides they think they're supposed to or they think it makes them look more submissive.

I notice the practice tends to be popular among the Gorean crowd, as well as a bone of contention. I know I've seen an argument about whether slave speak was used in the books.

My roommate, who used to take part in a few online Gorean communities told me this when we were discussing the issue earlier:

"I've not read enough of them [the books] to know, but I do know some of the most adamant Goreans blieve that a slave doesn't have a name unless given one and that they're only allowed to use it when referring to themselves as 'name, so and so's property.' The rest of the time they're limited to third person or just simply not referring to themselves at all, as doing so implies importance or some such." 

Now, I have read perhaps 7 of the books, and slave's names are used quite often when they speak. When told to ask for something "as a slave" they would switch from "I would like..." to "Vella [or whatever name you please] would like..." and the slaves would often refer to each other by their names instead of using second person or first person. So I'm not sure how the name thing works in that community. It's not something I've spent any time in.

As for myself, I have never had a speech protocol of any kind, let alone third person. However, I have used it. My roommate and I will often do it with each other because we like to play with language.

Daddy actually talks to me and refers to both himself and me in the third person a lot. I typically respond in kind, but it's not something I do unless he initiates it, and I never do it on a public forum. He just thinks it's cute and it's never consistent. We will cover first, second, and third person throughout a conversation. He actually hates the use of "this girl" or "this slave." He finds it irritating, but he constantly refers to me as Rabbit in the third person.

I dunno. It feels like more of a personal protocol to me, one meant for interactions between the people in the relationship rather than with outside parties. I think the capitals are better suited for that as well, especially on the dom's part. Because I seriously roll my eyes every time I see a d-type capitalize the word "my" in the middle of sentence. It's not really something I have any desire to do. I just kind of wish people were a bit better at it so shit would be easier to read.

You don't have to do any of them to be a twue submittive/swabe. Most of the slaves I know actually don't.

Okay, well, some of them do the caps thing, but typically only when referring to their owners.

What do you think? Do you practice any of these? Have you ever used "slave speak?"



    Lmao! so true, so true.

    I tend to capitalize dominant and master. Not sure why I started except that it was probably because I thought I should, then it just became habit.

    I'm with you on the whole slashy speak thing--it makes the writing so fragmented, that it really does become difficult to read.

    As for the whole third person thing, most people just can't do it. I mean, they try, but it's bad. Oh so bad. I personally find it an awkward way to write, and he could care less, so I've never even tried. I have run across a few who truly do have it down though, and if someone is good at it, then it can be enjoyable to read and doesn't bother me at all.

    Though the one that takes the cake for me is the Doms who capitalize "me" and all other words referencing themselves. Besides being rather cumbersome to reading flow, it often comes across as rather pretentious and canmake it terribly difficult to take them seriously...

    1. I capitalized them too, at first, because everyone else did it. Then I figured I should just stop it since I don't think it's necessary. I can say that I have never done slashy speak. That just takes too much extra effort and it looks funny.

      And yeah, I have a rule about groups I moderate. If you cap your personal pronouns, you can't be a mod of any group I own. lol

  2. i capitalize when address a Dom, Master, Sir, You, etc as that is what i was instructed to do. i do not do it when typing to someone unless they have identified themselves as such. if anyone flips out and hasn't been forthcoming or immediately recognizable as a Master, then i have permissions to delete/block, etc. no need to be rude. i hate slashy and third person speak annoying as well. i think Master had me use third person once when we were role playing and it irritated Him. but while He doesn't make fun of those who do use it, when He shares conversations we giggle together at how hard it is to follow sometimes. it's become weird for me to see my words my "i's" capitalized and am a self-proclaimed grammar nazi too. i enjoy your posts!

    1. I'd delete and block anyone who flipped out because I don't use text protocols. Well, maybe not. I may let them stick around so I can poke at them a bit. My social sadism includes the willfully stupid and the douchey. :D