Do you speak more than one language? Have you long wished to be multilingual but have felt too intimidated, or unequipped? I suppose you might think about the nature of language in very traditional sense, as cultural constructions attached to or deriving from geographical regions, but language formation is very much a product of the consciousness, and as such, linguistic construction and practice transcends geography. For a moment, I would like to take you out of your usual conceptions about the meaning of language. Seeing language as a product of geography is a very normal thing to do and it happens when your consciousness has been instructed to think about language and life through the limitations of The Literal and The Simplistic; but there are other, abnormal, less literal, and more complex, ways of looking at language that are –just as if not– more fulfilling.
You have, no doubt, encountered “sign language,”– American Sign Language (ASL), but the study of language, through lexicology and semiotics, tells us that that the signs and symbols that comprise human languages expand beyond individual systems of application or titles.
Have you ever wondered what a LESBIAN LANGUAGE might look like? Lesbianism is not traditionally thought of as a language, but there have been lesbians, like poet Adrienne Rich, who have urged readers to consider that there are shared experiences among lesbians that should be recognized and honored through language and linguistic practices. Rich’s The Dream of a Common Language suggests that the connection between consciousness and language can play a role in the development and survival of communities, particularly of communities that are oppressed or endangered in some way.
Sapphic languages exist and hexist: that they have existed since the dawn of Sappho.
I have created this website to share with you fragments of my what I call my ‘Sapphic consciousness’ as well as to introduce to you the substitutive linguistic practices in which I strive to disrupt and dismantle certain traditional linguistic practices, including some normative uses of the ‘rules’ of grammar and punctuation in Standard American English.
Hex Linguistics, or Sapphix, is one of many projects that are part of my ongoing study of language and identity.
Let’s get started.
SAPPHIX is part of the Sapphic system of HEX LINGUISTICS. It is a hexperiment with language and is always in-process. SAPPHIX is ever-evolving and non-static, like Judith Butler suggests about gender performativity; it comes to hexist via the mobility of SAPPHIC SUBSTITUTIVE PRACTICE. In this way, it is practice writing theory rather than theory generating practice. I began engaging in Sapphic substitutive practice on a whim, in the spirit of fun and just playing around with words, especially with the beginnings and endings of words. Over time, I became a hexpert and a mistress (or mystic /mistrexx – linguistic subversions ‘master’) in the Sapphic substitutive practice.
While I had no prior knowledge of Mary Daly’s work in Wickedary (what she did not call but what was Sapphic Substitutive Practice) when I began engaging in these linguistic hexperiments; I consider Mary Daly’s Wickedary, as well as the work of Gertrude Stein, as being source material for Hex Linguistics and Sapphix, and in all of my applications, I recognize and give credit to Daly and Stein for laying the foundation for what has evolved into Sapphix and Hex Linguistics. I recommend highly that if you are interested in learning Hex and speaking Sapphix fluently, you first read something by Stein and Wickedary by Daly. A dose of Chaucer wouldn’t hurt, either.
Before you proceed any further–
If you engage in SAPPHIC SUBSTITUTIVE PRACTICE, or if you practice THE ART OF HEX LINGUISTICS, and if you apply the language of SAPPHIX, please note, in the spirit of citation, that you are doing so.
Hex Linguistics is an art, and, therefore, what I consider a form of magic. Lavender Magic. (Anyone can read ‘the classics’, but very few know how to read (the) Sapphix…)
The most basic of all Sapphic Principles:
The (x)=(ad) Head/Hex Substitutive Principle from The (Hypo-thetical) Book of Sapphix.
If He(x) = He(ad), then (x) = (ad).
See ‘figure’ below for a compelling example.
Hex Substitutive Principle (x)=(ad):
(X) = (AD) / (x) = (ad)
Application Formula: Insert substitutive principle (X)=(AD)/(x)=(ad) into any linguistic context in order to perform a substitutive linguistic hex on –or to HEX– the patriarchal use and to engage in the Sapphic subversive linguistic practice of the language SAPPHIX.
If you want to Sapphically encode something and make it hard for others to understand, you can apply the principle: as much or as little as you see fit. You can apply it in instances in which it looks aesthetically pleasing to you and can be understood by others, or you can apply it to baffle and totally confuse your reader, rendering yourself in some way safer from comprehension and judgment, which may be of use or interest to you, depending on how interesting you find language and whether you want to try to develop a degree of proficiency in the art of coding, ala Sapphix.
Sapphix must always be used with a sense of humor and with linguistic longing. It will not work otherwise (for instance, if you don’t know the traditional meaning of the word “parody,” don’t even think about trying to understand Sapphix).
There is a formula to the Sapphic principle of Sapphix (as you witnessed above), but subverting the formula to suit your Sapphic needs is always encouraged, as long you cite Sapphix and the Sapphic Sphinx.
Hexamples for your Sapphic Codification Pleasure:
Sex –> Sead (“I haven’t had Sead in ages” or “God you’re so Seady.”)
T-Rex –> T-Read (“Look out; Tyrannosaurus Read is about to eat you!”)
X-Ray –> Ad-Ray (“How long has it been since we took ad-rays of your crooked mouth?”)
Examine –> Eadamine (“It is time for me to eadamine you; get on the table.”)
Flex –> Flead (“Flead those non-existent muscles”)
Exact –> Eadact (“Eadactly: that is Eadactly what I did not mean.”)
Experiment –> Eadperiment (“I want to be your lesbian eadperiment.”)
Elixir –> Eliadir (“She poured the Sapphic eliadir down her throat, and voila!”)
Juice box –> Juice boad (“There is too much high fructose corn syrup in this juice boad!”)
Read –> Rex (“What do we do after school? We rex. We rex books. Ever heard of them?!”)
Bedspread–> Bedsprex (“She lay buried beneath a bedsprex infused with lilac extract”)
Saddness –> Sxdness (“Her eyes were transfixed on the sxdness of the portrait.”)
Radical –> Rxical (“Rxdical lesbians support transgender rights!”)
Misadventure –> Misxventure (“I begged her to take me on a misxventure”)
Steadfast –> Stexfast (“My love for Fraggle Rock was stexfast; nothing could move it!)
Advent –> Xvent (“The cat was grateful for the xvent of the French Angel Fish in her terrarium.”)
Hex linguistics involves the deliberate practice of Sapphic substitution: the substitution of traditional morphemes (prefixes, suffixes, roots) and letters for Sapphic morphemes (prefixes, suffixes, roots) and letters.
Of course, the most effective uses of the (x)=(ad) Sapphic Substitutive Principle are those that involve words that have ‘HEAD’ or ‘HEX’ built into them.
Spearhead = Spearhex
Fiddlehead = Fiddlehex
Beachhead = Beachhex
Blackhead/Whitehead = Blackhex/Whitehex
(Or, if you’re a witch, the obvious: Greenhead = Greenhex)
Metalhead = Metalhex
Heady = Hexy
Headstart = Hexstart
Headcase = Hexcase
As far as HEX words becoming HEAD words: the reversal can and should be done. However, the hex words, in and of themselves, warrant attention just as they are for the purposes of hexification (or Sapphic Redefinition).
Hexarchy is a word that traditionally refers to a group of six states, but the Sapphic definition is this:
Hexarchy: An alliance of six Sapphic states of mind that combine in a cauldron of Sapphic consciousness to perform Sapphic anarchy against patriarchal and heteronormative govern(mental) forces.
This is the magic of hex. The magic to create Sapphic meaning, at will. And it is only the beginning, only scratching the Sapphic surface of Hex Linguistics.
Who might be interested in hex linguistics? Anyone interested in language or lesbian culture and writing.
Hex linguistics will expand with the hexpansion of your consciousness, but only if you, by Sapphic nature or Sapphic nurture, have developed a Hexth Sense.
A hex is spell conjured by a linguistic witch.
The application of a linguistic hex has to do with dismantling grammar and disrupting patriarchal, heteronormative usage. Hex linguistix creates space for something else to exist (to hexist). It is the art of creating Sapphic meaning– the subversive creation of something new.
What, for instance, is a ‘beachhex’? What is ‘fiddlehex’ and what is ‘spearhex?’ New language uses creates opportunities for new definitions and applications. This is what some writers do!
Such words, of my invention, warrant an dictionary entry in the Sapphic Dictionary of Hex. Words invented using Substitutive Principle of Head/Hex (ad)=(x) become part of the language of SAPPHIX, and I define them using my Hexicology and background in Sapphology.
Hex is synonymous with Head for preliminary purposes, but when the substitution of ‘hex’ for ‘head’ occurs, the synonymic limits of language dissolve.
Note: Reproduction rights to the image from Madchen in Uniform were purchased from ASP for personal, non-commercial use by the webmistress, HJ.