May 13th, 2004

breaking bad

All that is solid melts

From languagehat, a description of a highly refined form of irony, employed in Ethiopia, and called Qene.

Qene can usually be expressed in a poetic form or in a prose, containing the two parts of sem and werk (wax and gold), all within the same expression. The wax and gold analogy comes from the craft of the goldsmith during the making of jewelry. The image is first formed in wax, because wax is soft and pliable to carve. The wax is then covered with clay, plaster, or porcelain, which hardens. When the molten gold is poured into the plaster or clay, the wax melts away, leaving the gold, with the desired image. Thus, encrypting a hidden message in Qene is an ancient art of creating more than one meaning, where the apparent wax and the hidden, gold, are intertwined in the same sentence.

You know who you are.