Meet the Porn Artist, ethologically-oriented (NEW)
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- PRETTIER THAN A MUD BATH -
Samantha: Oh look, seamen on the streets!
My friend - Jesus, was it? - has got me musing about slang differences. You see, I learned my English in a British school. Even though we have loads of American series and movies and my slang is a bit influenced by it, British English is my template. This has given rise to all sorts of fabulous confusions, case in point being my previous post.
I was pretty sure about my use of slang, i.e. it was so ingrained I just used it without giving it much thought. Until one day not so long ago. I had an American staying with me for a few weeks and was telling her a very unkind joke about a gipsy (there was an Anthropological point to it, worry your PC little heads no more) and her fanny. A British one, a vagina. She looked doubtful and asked for clarification regarding anatomical terms.
"You know what you are saying when you say fanny, right?"
"Er, yes. Fanny. Our twat. Your pussy so to speak."
"You're wrong, a fanny is an ass for the Brits as well."
Right. Funny thing about being an English-speaking foreigner. Even though you may feel damn sure about the things you say, when natives tell you you're wrong you are led to consider that it might just be so and your inclination will be to assume they're right - she's pretty articulate usually - especially if you aren't sleeping so much, are doubling too many consonants and your mind is fusing all the languages you once spoke or even merely heard of (I have this notion there are a lot of "KK" in the Finnish word for "shoes"). (Decided have a look at it, it seems our friends the Finns are shoe-worshippers: jalkine, kengittää, kenkä, liukukappale. I knew there had to be "KK" somewhere, I once went shoe-shopping with a Finnish exchange student.)(I love the internet.)
So I assumed that a fanny is a fanny is a fanny. When I wrote the previous post I meant it in what I, post-correction, thought was both the British and the American sense. Our bum, your butt.
Then Jesus started me thinking (alright, I am now resisting the pull of the vortex created by this last sentence, there are so many levels on which to work it, Jewish Holyday and all)
So yes he started me thinking about that. Because that nagging fanny feeling persisted. So I got out the dictionary and yes, she was partly right because in the US fanny is an innocuous way of referring to a bum. She was bloody wrong in correcting me though because I was right*. We had valid, different definitions for the same thing. So it would seem that I do know more British English and should stick to my smoking words. We also had an argument regarding hire and rent. I was taught that we hire anything mobile and rent immobile assets. As in hire car and people, rent houses. She said it wasn't like that in America. I can't be bothered to even confirm it. I'll go on hiring cars, I suppose, I can't bear the alternative - there will be a clipped voice in my ear saying "I beg your pardon! I believe you know better than to say that.".
But this is a recurring theme. I once had an argument with an Australian who tried to convince me that both people and objects were hung. They are not. People are hanged. Do you know how long we went over matters like these at school? How many exercises we did? How many sentences we rephrased? How many essays we wrote? How long we were forced to utter "Edinbra" till we could roll our "rr" in all their proper glory?
I'm keeping my britlieves.
So when I say "Blow me [down]!" I'm just surprised and not actually asking for oral sex, nor could I be unless I grew a willie (and yes when I first heard of "Free Willie" I thought it was hilarious because a willie is a penis and Bob's your uncle. Orcas pop into my mind a good while later - as well it should be). I have two pussies and they purr, my car has a boot and a bonnet, letters are posted, a "Z" is a "Zed", I live in a flat and my kitchen has taps, knives are blunt, people are dull, I love aubergine, school starts in a fortnight and I can't be fagged to think about it or I'll be gutted, and I think this post will go down like a bomb. Which means of course you'll think it's smashing.
Almost forgot: anatomy, UP YOUR BLOODY YOURS.
* - She has apologised in the most grovelling manner and informed me that there is a "Cafe Fanny" where she lives and she'll take a picture and send it over. I can barely contain myself.
I have been neglecting my plaphora and it deserves to be etherised. This is how plaphora came to be.
I was talking to an American friend who speaks Portuguese but needs to practice. It was one of those bilingual conversations involving 3 people. I think it was smack in the middle of an insomnia bout - the problem with insomnia is that your synapses are the first to go and you end up with a fair amount of amnesia surrounding different periods of your life even if you were sleeping during some of them. So have a care.
Another problem is that whenever I start speaking several languages at once something always goes awry (yet another funny thing is that there are words I use but have never heard spoken. Say, “albeit”. Because of German, I convinced myself it’s pronounced “I’ll bite” - instead of “al-be-it”. Imagine my dismay and the listener’s glee. But that’s a whole different post). I will sometimes use a word from one language with the accent of another and be very surprised when I’m blankly stared at. I find myself thinking in English often even when I’m alone (i.e. no visitors) but the mental verbal transition sometimes create problems. Wires get crossed and I find myself saying the most astonishing things. Even in Portuguese, which is beyond humiliating since I can’t stand native speakers badly speaking their languages (When foreigners do it it’s cute - except for when I’m the foreigner, then we’re back to the pride issue again).
So we were in the car and - we’ve just entered another fuzzy area, please bear with me - and I was trying to translate a word for her, I think. It came out as a cross between “plétora” (plethora) and “metáfora” (metaphor). PLAPHORA. (Accent on “pla”. Obviously.)
It immediately came of age on its own and we watched it soar. I wiped a discreet tear. And now I can say the whole thing is plaphora [nonsense, distasteful, unpleasant]. I can curse the blasted plaphorisms one hears on occasion. I’m plaphored at times [disgusted, outraged, hurt, devastated]. Funnily enough, Thesaurus is not convinced - and that is a bit plaphorous, wouldn't you say?
It works in English + French + German/Dutch + Scandinavian languages, I should think (Plaphora; to plaphor + plaforer + plaphoren/ + need help); Portuguese (Pláfora; plaforar) + Spanish (Plafora; idem) + Italian (idem; plaforare); and even Hebrew (plaforah; Le'hitplafer)!
Isn’t it the most excellent little word???
NOTE: plaphora has been copyrighted along with whole blog. You're very welcome to use it, but if you appropriate it, I'll hurt you badly in every sense of the word - and you'll be plaphored before you know it. Ha.