Monday, November 10, 2008

Once Again...Kvelling.

Also, I have much nachas. (Not nachos, dammit...it means joy). I have realized over the last few days that Yiddish is the official language of cursing on network television.

Any number of times I've seen someone called a schmuck or a putz on t.v. Last night, I was watching when someone on some show said something along the lines of, "But you were schtupping her!"

You can't say that in English and you can't say it in Spanish. You could probably get away with saying it in Senegalese or Lithuanian, but nobody'd know what the hell you were talking about.

So, let's all give a cheer to Yiddish...the official blue language of television.

Yay!

21 comments:

Tania said...

Oy! As far as things I didn't already know, this is bupkis!

Hee! You're absolutely correct. Pardon me as I go schmooze with the kitties and we nosh on some tuna.

Yes, none of those are blue, the only other off color words that I can think of are schlong and tuchas, and tuchas is fairly ok.

So speaks the zaftig woman. :)

Ilya said...

That shlemiel shtupped that shiksa! Oy, gevolt! Meshugeneh!

Ilya said...

On a different note, "kisch in tuchas" is a commonly used phrase in our household, freely substituted for "suit yourself".

Jim Wright said...

I think we have Mel Brooks to thank for this - he used yiddish swear words in damned near every movie he made.

And if stupenaggal isn't a word in yiddish, it should be. As in Young Frankenstein: "Zat vould mean he vould have an enormouz stupenaggal!." "Yes, yes, I believe you're right."

Konstantin said...

"I am ferklept!"

I've always considered Yiddish a language of great joy.

When someone in my family uses it, it's either to make a snarky comment, or make a joke. People always laugh when Yiddish is spoken.

Nathan said...

Jim,

In my family, stupnagel was always used as a sort of friendly way to call somebody an idiot. I just did a little internetty search to see if anything would back up that definition. I couldn't find an actual definition anywhere, but I did find a couple of places where it was used in that context. (There's also a bunch of Generals named "Von Stupnagel", but that's probably a play on words.) I'm pretty sure it's actually a made up word.

And in the context of your quote, I think the word you're looking for is shvantz.

mattw said...

Didn't Yogurt tell Bill Pullman to use the shvantz to defeat Rick Moranis?

(In defense of my geekiness I know he really said schwartz)

Random Michelle K said...

Now what I find interesting is that in Firefly, when they used Chinese, I remember Joss Whedon saying they didn't use the equivalent of the FCC 7.

Maybe it was just a matter of writer/director perspective?

John the Scientist said...

Maybe it's a matter of too many Chinese speakers in the US who might write to the FCC?

Random Michelle K said...

Really?

I somehow imagine older Jewish folks who speak Yiddish as more likely to complain about cursing than Chinese folks.

But maybe Firefly--which was adored by my grandmother--had a broader appeal than whatever Nathan was watching?

Or maybe there are cultural differences for cursing.

Nathan said...

Michelle,

I'm pretty sure the age group you're thinking of has always thought of cursing in Yiddish as the "polite" way of cursing in front of the children. That being the case, it doesn't really offend them.

Random Michelle K said...

Are the connotations of the word as strong as they are in English?

I mean, is there a Yiddish equivalent of the f-bomb?

And now that you say that, I do remember some of my Chinese friends were pretty mortified by the idea of using/teaching Chinese curse words. But I'd frequently hear them use "shit" and "hell" because they said it "wasn't the same."

Nathan said...

While schtupping is literally fucking (and quite vulgar), there is no equivalent of the exclamation "fuck", that I know of.

Putz is more coarse than schmuck, but neither are exactly friendly.

Nathan said...

Then again, both could be used in the same vein as us calling Jim an asshole. :D

Random Michelle K said...

So wait, is it equivelent to "fucking" or more like "screwing" or "boinking" or "fornicating" which means the same thing, but you can say on TV.

Random Michelle K said...

(I really wanted to come up with more gerund synonyms for boinking, but alas my brain has failed me.)

Nathan said...

I'd say it's more the equivalent of "fucking"...the one you can't say on TV, but you can if you say it in Yiddish for some reason. :D

Random Michelle K said...

Though we do have that supreme court case!

Random Michelle K said...

BTW, I know that's not what the supreme court case is about. It's only about inadvertent f-bombs.

But it was funnier pretending it wasn't.

Steve Buchheit said...

Random Michelle beat me to it, but if we cursed in Chinese we would be on Firefly.

And Jim, I believe it was "He would have an enormous Swanstupper," said Inga.

"That goes without saying," said Frederick.

"He's going to be very popular," said Igor.

Anonymous said...

@Nathan:
Yes, our family used "stupnagel" too, and it meant idiot in the extreme. (We had both Northern Germans with Jewish surnames in the family and also some family from the Swiss/Alsatian-Palatinate pacifist-nonconformist religious background). I never thought about where we got it from, but maybe a pacifist Amishman would think calling someone a Prussian General's name was very perjorative.