Thursday, October 18

The Friday Random Ten+5 battles our nation's lack of foreign-language proficiency.

You know, we live in a weird country where certain people will decry immigration both legal and illegal and demand that English be made the official language -- and then they'll turn right around and retire to their patio for a pilsner and a croissant, or maybe hop in their coupé and head down the boulevard to buy a quesadilla from some schmuck at a restaurant. Whether we like it or not, foreign-sourced words make our own language richer and more interesting, and I've got five candidates for foreign words we would do well to welcome into our own language with open arms. Here's this week's +5, the Five Amazingly Concise Foreign Words We Should Start Using In English:

This word has been bandied about before on this blog, but it bears repeating; the literal translation of the German is "one who sits when he pees." The word was conceived in response to a trend in Germany whereby women were evidently forcing their husbands or significant others to sit when they peed so as not to splash urine on the seat. It has come to refer to any wimp or easily intimidatable man.

Ex.: Despite his outwardly hawkish stance on national security, Joe Lieberman's willingness to fall in lockstep with Bush administration policy makes him one of the biggest sitzpinklers on Capitol Hill.

Bahasa (Indonesian) for someone who has a creative idea that only ends up making things worse.

Ex.: The "Who's Now" fiasco would seem to indicate that there are entirely too many neko-nekos running the show up in Bristol, Connecticut.

Slampadato (fem., slampadata; masc. pl., slampadati; fem. pl., slampadate)
Pretty simple: It's Italian for a person with an obviously fake tan.

Ex.: Back when I was in high school, you always knew Spring Break was right around the corner when the rich slampadate came to school the color of a buffalo wing.

OK, so this one's two words, but they kind of go together and they're both awesome. Bon-kyu-bon, literally, is Japanese for "big-small-big," in reference to a woman with big breasts, a small waist, and curvaceous hips. Apparently, thanks to an increasingly American diet (among other factors), Japanese women are getting taller and heavier, and a society that once liked its women petite and girlish is gaining a newfound appreciation for boobs and a badonkadonk; clothing designers are embracing the "bon-kyu-bon" trend as a result. A "bakku-shan," on the other hand, is pretty much the same as a "butterface" or a "Cleveland Brown" -- a girl who looks good from the back but not from the front.

Ex.: Miss June 2004 Hiromi Oshima, while certainly bon-kyu-bon, is most definitely not a bakku-shan.

Another German word that's been explained on this blog before, but man, it's just so awesome. Literally it means "a face that cries out for a fist in it," and if that's not a German word that would fit into the English lexicon every bit as comfortably as "schadenfreude" or "sauerkraut," I don't know what is.

Ex.: Few things in the world would give me more pleasure than to suckerpunch Sean Hannity right in his backpfeifengesicht.

And the Ten:

1. KRS-One, "Step Into a World (Rapture's Delight)"
2. DJ Shadow, "Mutual Slump"
3. Biz Markie, "Just a Friend"
4. Pet Shop Boys, "Disco Potential"
5. Banamarama, "Venus"
6. Avenue Q cast, "Mix Tape"
7. Madonna, "Ray of Light"
8. The Clash, "Straight to Hell"
9. The Chemical Brothers, "Piku"
10. Prodigy, "Everybody Is in the Place"

Drop your own Tens and/or favorite foreign words in the comments, s'il vous plait.


Anonymous said...

Foreign profanities are always especially satisfying; "merdechienne" is probably my favourite (the feminine gives it extra zip in translation.) Best said with a fine Gallic sneer and an ostentatious sniff of disgust, as if you can't believe you're even dignifying such a repulsive specimen with your contempt.

Anonymous said...

1. I Better Be Quiet Now - Elliott Smith
2. Chupacabras - Super Furry Animals
3. Backwash - Archers of Loaf
4. Fling - Built To Spill
5. Guns of Memorial Park - Sparta
6. I Gotta Know - Teenage Fanclub
7. Sleeping Lessons - The Shins
8. Salvation Day - Jonathan Rice
9. The Gold Finch and the Red Oak - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
10. This Time - The Verve

Kanu said...

Tres bien Doug, y feliz fin de semana a todos los chicos y chicas.

First off, that new Radiohead album that you've been hearing all the hubbub about because of the name your own price thing? It's great- I highly recommend you shuffle over to and pay as little or as much as you like for it.

Et maintenant, le dix.



1. "Maputxe + Merry Blues by Manu Chau & Fermin Muguruza, from 'Trabendo Disc 1'

2. "Travessa De Peixeira" by Cesaria Evora, from 'Rogamar'

3. "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley, from 1980 Concert at The San Siro

4. "Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind, from Third Eye Blind

5. "Badfish/Boss DJ" by Jack Johnson, from Live Performance in Rio De Janeiro

6. "Beloved Wife" by Natalie Merchant, from 'Tigerlily'

7. "Year Of The Dragon" by Wyclef Jean, from 'The Carnival'

8. "Primavera" by Santana, from 'Supernatural'

9. "Shadrach" by Beastie Boys, from 'Paul's Boutique'

10. "Hidden Agenda" by Craig David, from 'Slicker Than Your Average'

Have a great weekend.

Will said...

I've found Atlanta traffic has brought out some hidden appreciation for modified Yiddish in me. My favorite invective to hurl towards the myriad of inept motorists clogging GA 400: dipshaygetz.

Also found from looking up Yiddish swears online: Shtick holtz - A person with no personality. Lou must be so proud.

ACG said...

A friend of mine taught me how to properly dismiss people with a sniff and a "Je suis allergique" -- "I'm allergic to you." A properly raised eyebrow is essential to the delivery.

JasonC said...

In Spanish you have:
rubias de farmacia - drugstore blondes
naranjas - when brunettes get bad dye jobs trying to go blonde, but they end up with that horrible orange-colored hair