Ilivetolearn's Blog

October 20, 2005

the vulgate

Filed under: Spain — ilivetolearn @ 11:59 am

Apparently Spaniards are accustomed to using language that is, to quote our teacher, “muy fuerte.” That is, they swear a lot. The boys, of course, have a growing arsenal of the local obscene vernacular, but Bill and I are sadly lacking. Today in a lesson on the subjunctive I learned that when one is really angry at somebody, one could say, “Que te den!” but Jose was at a loss to translate accurately. I think the literal meaning is “May they give it to you,” but the “it” is understood in the way that when we say “Up yours” what goes up, and where, is understood.

Eliot reports that one of his recent Spanish classes dealt with how to use exclamations of this sort and the teacher made fun of one girl’s attempts to express anger, saying that her chosen Spanish phrase was the equivalent of “Oopsy-daisy!” Apparently in Elliot’s host family, the daughter, who is about 20, is apt to exclaim, “Joder!” (the f-word…nothing left to the imagination) at any provocation, including just dropping her fork on the floor during dinner. In fact, we were eating dinner when he told us this, and I started to laugh at an inopportune moment—I had a mouthful of wine—at which point Evan said, “Oopsy-daisy,” and the wine threatened to exit through the nasal passages.

I don’t really cotton to the idea of getting vulgarity lessons from my sons, and Jose seems reluctant to do the job. (He’s only 28…it would seem like teaching swear words to his mother and father, I’m sure.) I think I’ll ask our neighbors. Rafa and Nothing have invited Bill and me on a weekend with two other couples that live on the block, as well as Miguel Angel and Pilar, our landlords, who of course were neighbors here until a year ago. If it really happens, we could come back talking a blue streak.

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