curses to lob at Faux Christians


from Cecil Adams, we read:

The Straight Dope: Do other languages have obscenities like those of English? English obscenities are a pale shadow of the invective used in other languages. The F-word is the least of it. If there's a language that doesn't have an equivalent, I've yet to hear about it. Poles have pierdolic, the French foutre (from the Latin futuere), Soviet Georgians secems ... you get the idea.

As for fangooloo (in my neighborhood we pronounced it fongool), I'm afraid you've heard the expurgated translation. According to Kevin Beary's Florentine Locutions (1991), it's properly spelled vaffanculo, a contraction of va a fare in culo, and literally means “go do [it] in the ass,” i.e., bugger off, fuck off, fuck you. “Some Italians affirm that the ass referred to is that of one's interlocutor, while others assert that the orifice in question is not yours or mine or anyone's in particular, but rather the universal anus,” Beary says.

Vaffanculo is merely the best known of a rich tradition of Italian oaths and imprecations, although the consensus is that Spanish is the champ in this department. Herewith a few of the more printable international classics, culled from the pages of Reinhold Aman's Maledicta: The International Journal of Verbal Aggression:

Mecagum les cinc llagues de Crist, “I shit on the five wounds of Christ,” Catalan. Even more bloodcurdling is Mecagum Deu, en la creu, en el fuster que la feu i en el fill de puta que va plantar el pi, “I shit on God, on the cross, on the carpenter who made it and on the son of a whore who planted the pine.”



I loved it wwhen I learned the "Me cago en la cabeza de tu madre" from Spain and all of the drills of "me cago" using church imagery. No, we don't have that in Brazil. I would like to point out what Monty Python has pointed out: the f-word is a noun, a verb, an adjective and so on and so forth, giving on e the impression we are poor devils at swearing. And the word rhyming with runt is never used. I think we are doing fine.

I am still on the hunt for the originator of the f-word as noun, verb, adjective, so on. In the Napster days, I downloaded several versions, purporting to be from George Carlin, Monty Python, etc. I want to find the original source, as my copy is full of cracks and pops. I found a YouTube video once...

I never knew it was spelled 'vaffanculo' until justice Scalia had that run-in with a reporter. It was also pronounced 'fongool' in New York.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on September 30, 2006 12:01 PM.

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