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Pojebali kone voz!

Now that everyone’s thirtysomething angst has been set free to roam about the blog, I feel—not good, certainly, given the circumstances—content that, for the time being, I’ve entertained enough doubt. It will most certainly return in a month or so; however, for now, may the horses fuck the carriage!—as they say.1

1 Except for the fact that a lot of thirtysomething angst has been released, this is obviously a total lie. I just wanted to write the expression and the link to LanguageLog. You lot are linguists and speak a half-dozen languages between you. Educate me! What else doesn’t translate to English?



In Afrikaans, a common response to either a trespassing dog or African was (is?) “Voetsek!” (F-uht-S-ek!).

Literally, it means something to do with feet and sacks, but carries the connotation of “Get the F—- Off My Lawn!”

Afrikaans is a fun language, in that it borrows from its German and Dutch heritage the habit of stringing many different words or phrases together if they relate to a single entity…

coño, coña


of course these are all perfectly translatable words, but their street use is rather untranslatable

hostia (the host) can mean a really, really hard slap; something really intense and disagreeable; or, something really, really great.

the difference between the last two being the negative refers typically to physical experience, un frío de la hostia; the latter to a really great thing, una casa de la hosita is a huge beautiful car, a lamborghini would be a coche de la hostia.

the other word is literally c*nt and typically has a negative connotation, especially when used in the superlative coñazo… otherwise it is used quite interchangeably with any of the regular expletives in their interjective mode

i’d have to look around for some of the more florid phrases like what happened to poor cart

somewhat related, i heard a great put down…

he’s so cheap, he eats less to save money on toilet paper.

I’m not so much for words or phrases at the moment, but there is the wonderful condition in (ancient) Greek called the optative of unfulfilled desire. That’s translatable enough, I suppose, but how many languages put that in its own separate mood? (There’s also an ordinary subjunctive for more mundane wishes.)

I think Trotsky wrote an essay arguing that the common people of Russia had an especially foul, sexually-oriented form of cursing.


I’ve got a few examples of my own, but I’ll wait till I’m using a Turkish keyboard.