Please Read “Curse + Berate In 69+ Languages” and Post the Good Parts

I wanted to insult Grandad a few posts ago and had to call in K8 to help. I was looking for some alliteration. I asked her if “putting on a holy show” (meaning acting in an embarrassing way was actually used in Ireland.

She assured me it was. I didn’t use it, instead referred to Grandad as a Gobshite, which she said would be perfectly OK with him.

Turns out, a few days later I run across a book review that was compiled by the folks at the Gobshite Quarterly.

Why Gobshite? It is a word that gives offense to some. But one must hesitate before giving in to the easily-offended. By controlling speech, one controls thought; why else would the censors be so vigorously censorious? Wasn’t it Pulitzer who said journalism should comfort the afflicted & afflict the comfortable?

Gobshite is used primarily in Ireland & England; one dictionary, I forget which, lists Gobshite as a “pernicious blatherskite, a contemptible person.” On BBC America, & according to friends living in the U.K., the word is freely used, sometimes as a verb or adjective, and usually not without some grudging affection. …

…refers to a wad of expectorated chaw, and to the Middle English shiten. According to OED online, the U.S. Navy used Gobshyte, in 1910. Again, according to OED online, at the time of Adm. Perry’s expedition to Asia, the “Orientals” called the American sailors Gobshites.

Well fuck a duck.

Gobshite Quarterly is way to erudite for my tastes. Lots of words, all black on white. Journal stuff. Literary stuff. Not blog stuff.
But I am intrigued by the comment in the review that said some of the translations of cursing was very funny.

I guess I could wait for the audio book, but I love good cursing. And “fuck a duck” is about the best I can do.

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Please Read “Curse + Berate In 69+ Languages” and Post the Good Parts — 17 Comments

  1. Well hey! You know what? Even though I must use the word Gobshite at least 184,498,625 times a day, I had no idea what it meant!

    I’ve learned more from this post than I did in 6 years of secondary school.

  2. Being British I can confirm I regularly use these phrases – and the ever popular “you can’t polish a turd.”

    Thinking about it Gobshite would be an excellent name for my new dawg…

  3. @Gretchen: LOLCatz would love shitten kittens.
    @Cowbag: Thank you for chiming in. I think polish a turd is universal. Gobshite is parochial for certain. Will you read the book? Or scan it for the good parts and write about it?

  4. My British girlfriend and her family use “Pratt” all the time. “That silly Pratt!” “Pillock” is another one. Translates as basically a dick, only it sounds so much funnier, especially in their accent.

  5. @FHB: Bollox is another good one… yes, accents other than yours are always fun, especially if you don’t hear it often. Pillock is a good one.

  6. I love British slang! Ben had an old California custom license plate that said “U BERK”, a berk being an idiot (original meaning, a c*nt). And prat. And twonk. “Bollocks” is a good one too — when I was a kid I remember my mom saying someone had bollixed something up, only to realize years later she was talking about a balls-up, a cock-up.

    This is another of my nerdy obsessions, BTW. I own I think seven slang dictionaries, two devoted to UK slang. But I’d have to go count to be sure.

  7. @Gretchen: sorry I misspelled bollocks. Grandad uses it a lot with *’s so over there it really IS a bad word. Next time I need an insult for someone “over there” I will know who to contact.

  8. Good Lord, like any American knows that word in its original form. I’m just a big Anglophile (and, needless to say, a freakin’ dork).

  9. Sure sounds right up my alley. I have been buying a crapload of books lately, though, and should really either stop or get a higher-paying gig.

  10. Actually, now that I read the review more closely, it does little good to translate English insults into other languages because vernacular just doesn’t translate well — it’s like saying “tres fromaged off” in fake French; it doesn’t fly. One of the worst Polish cuss words translates into “dog’s blood” or “wolf’s blood” in English. And while “pig-dog” is always a good insult, “schweinhund” just sounds so much better.

  11. @Gretchen: priortize. Certainly reading about cussing would be at the top.
    And – you don’t have to do a literal translation. Go with the interpretative translation!

  12. Yeah, well, I’m a purist. Plus keeping my boys from cussing is pretty much a full-time job. “Stop saying ass! Stop saying penis! Stop talking about your nuts! And please, please stop farting!”