buffalaxing in reverse

February 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Years ago on this blog we discussed the youtube craze of subtitling Bollywood songs as if what they were singing was in English.
Here’s a clip from youtube (via bbbbrainbow.com) of a track composed by an Italian to sound like English, but is in reality constituted from entirely possible English words rather than actual ones.


‘Silver foxes looking for romance’ Beck lyrics

February 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Behind the times as I am, I have just discovered a great new blend …
The term ‘cougar’ an older female looking for young male prey .. as it were … has been round for a while, but have you ever wondered how to redress the gender balance? Need a useful term for the male counterpart? Now here it is …. MANTHER. Derived clearly from man+panther.

Here’s a definition by perhaps a self-proclaiemd manther:

a Manther is an older male bachelor who pursues young women for frivolous sexual encounters.

Apart from the fantastic morphological blend of manther, what is also interesting about manthers and cougars is the constant use of animals to signify human behaviours and traits.
Fernandez Fernecha and Jimenez Catalan (2003) produced an interesting contrastive study of gender pair animal terms in English and Spanish. Specifically they looked at fox and vixen ~ zorro, zorra and bull and cow~toro and vaca.

The cunning little vixen, a beloved Czech Opera

With respect to the first pair in English, the male animal term could be applied to both genders with reference to craftiness. This was more readily available to speakers as applicable to both genders than the ‘attractiveness’ meaning of terms such as foxy, which were more likely to be used with reference to women.

The gender differences, however, were much more extreme in spanish, were (f) zorra could mean prostitute, a meaning which never applied to males. The male animal term could be applied to both male and females to denote craftiness, as in English. An interesting difference with this term in Spanish is that it also connotes laziness. So much for the English quick brown fox …

The bovine metaphors indexed size, aggression and strength in both languages as well as fatness and clumsiness. No need to guess which of the gendered animal terms indexes fatness or to which gender it was more often applied! The term cow had also a meaning of coarseness in English which might also trigger ideas about hygiene and foolishness which vaca did not. However the authors not that in South American varieties of Spanish, vaca could index prostitution.

It is clear then that animal metaphors are gendered, and the female gender animal term is more likely to be more negative than the male term, and also more likely to be applied to female humans.

Fernandez Fonetecha, A & Jimenez Catalan, R. M (2003). Semantic derogation in animal metaphor: a contrastive-cognitive analysis of male/female examples in English and Spanish. Journal of Pragmatics 35, 771-797.

let them eat cake

February 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

In a previous post we discussed the Guido phenomenon currently taking centre stage in American reality tv, but north of their border, a similar situation has set apart young affluent Italian-Canadians in Toronto. An article, calling them the Armani Generation, singled out this group as materialistic and flashy, presenting the stereotyped Ginos and Ginas as undervaluing education (Giampapa 2004, p.199)

Here is an extended analysis of the Gino/Gina stereotype from AllExperts

Gino (Pronounced Gee-noh) in Canadian or Australian slang (although the term wog is often preferred in Australia) is the masculine form (the feminine form is Gina) of someone of European descent, particularly Mediterranean (eg Italian, Greek, Portuguese) descent, who dresses in tight clothing (particularly denim), uses excessive amounts of hair gel, wears gold chains, diamond stud earrings, and has a macho attitude.

The term “Gino” may be considered a racial slur against Italian men, but many young people associate it exclusively with the Gino/Gina subculture with or without a negative connotation. In putting a lot of effort into their physical appearance, some may consider ginos to be metrosexual, or perceive them as being homosexual. As with any other subculture, this is a poor generalization since sexual orientation depends on the individual.

In the case of young Italians, particularly in Montreal, during the late 1990s the term “Gino” was prominently substituted for Bro. The older generation of ginos might be seen as different as they have an old-school style deriving from the 1980s and early 90s. They tend to drive domestic cars, and wear not-so-tight denim apparel, accompanied by dress shirts and leather jackets.

Canadian ginos (especially Montrealers, Torontonians, and Hamiltonians) show a lot of interest in clubbing and promoting. They also tend to be DJs, glowstickers, and have a passion for nightlife. These ginos and ginas usually drive imported cars (e.g. Honda Civics) (unlike the ginos and ginas of the 80s who mainly drove Iroc Zs and Ford Mustangs.) They listen to European techno which includes Eurodance, House, Trance, and Freestyle music – referred to as “gino beats”. They tend to wear European designer clothing (Gucci, Diesel, D&G) or European sports apparel (Adidas, Puma, Kappa, European sports Jerseys).

In Toronto, the suburban community of Woodbridge (belonging to the municipality of Vaughan), is considered the epicentre of the gino population as it has a high population of Italians. Other communities with high Italian or other European populations are also likely to have a high gino population (eg Richmond Hill, Weston, Mississauga, Hamilton etc). In the case of Montreal, the St-Leonard borough, also having a high Italian population, is commonly regarded as the epicentre of the Bro population. However, the Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles borough easily rounds off at second, as demographically, it has seen a drastic increase in number of Canadian-Italian occupants.

What is interesting is that Gino seems to be moving towards an adjectival function just as hori has discussed in earlier posts:

Cover is cheap and drinks are TO priced, which is fine, parking is free and they got valet if you want. This club is soooo gino/gina/european crowd and thats honeslty what I like, they have a strict dress code and ppl are always sporting there best threads. My friends and I club in TO every Saturday and for what???….If Splash had this same party going on Sat I would never go to TO anymore. All in all this gets a 10/10 and this club smokes TO clubs by a long shot, TO’s got nothin on “Splash on a Friday With HAMMER & DJ DAMMY D”!!!!!!

So we have another ethnophaulism derived from a proper noun, i.e., a name. But this group has an interesting name for the surrounding majority Ablog saxon and Anglophone majority, but the term mangiachecca ‘cake eater’ is an ethnophaulism based on perceived culinary habits, just as an old man in my Vanuatu village calls urban dwelling Ni-Vanuatu milk drinkers, a european introduction to the Melanesian diet unavailable in rural sectors of the country. Mangiachecca has been anglicised to cake eater or in a nice piece of new word formation, caker. To be cakerised describes Italian-Canadians who have assimilated.

Giampapa, Frances. (2004) The Politics of Identity, Representation, and the Discourses of Self-identification: Negotiating Margins and periphery, in Aneta Pavlenko, Adrian Blackledge Negotiation of identities in multilingual contexts Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

roots rappers

February 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Linguists with rhythm!

I ‘borrowed’ this from Helendipity. thanks tag surfer!

Translating nonsense

February 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Linguists love two things. Well teaching linguists, anyway. They love cartoons and they love children’s literature. It is hard to find an introductory textbook without a Dennis the Menace cartoon or a quote from Alice in Wonderland. Me, not so much the cartoons, and usually rather than Lewis Carroll, I illustrate lectures with bits of Dr Seuss. His creation of nonce words can easily illustrate syllable structure and phonotactic constraints of possible words. This got me ildly thinking about Suess in translation. So for example, how would There’s a Wocket in my Pocket (1974) appear in other languages. Well here’s the Spanish:

Here the equivalent for wocket is molillo, a Spanish nonce made to rhyme with pocket. In Dutch, Ik heb een gak in myn Zak.

Lewis Caroll’s famous nonsense poem . Here’s the English, or should that be ‘English’ of the first two verses:

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

In the book, Humpty Dumpty explains some of the nonsense words meanings. Brillig, for example, means four o’clock in the afternoon. Others appear to be blends. Slithy might consist of lithe and slimy, and frumiousfurious + fuming?

‘The Jabberwocky’ seems also to have captured the attention of translators. Here are a few translations. Look out for how the translators dealt with such terms as frumious, gimble, wabe. Do the translators interpret the nonsense words as types of blends and look for words they can blend in the target language?

Mae’n brydgell ac mae’r brochgim stwd
Yn gimblo a gyrian yn y mhello:
Pob cólomrws yn féddabwd,
A’r hoch oma’n chwibruo.

‘Gwylia’r hen Siaberwoc, fy mab!
Y brathiad llym a’r crafanc tynn!
A rhed pan weli’r Gwbigab
A’r ofnynllyd Barllyn!’

German 1:
Es brillig war. Die schlichte Toven
Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben;
Und aller-mümsige Burggoven
Die mohmen Räth’ ausgraben.

»Bewahre doch vor Jammerwoch!
Die Zähne knirschen, Krallen kratzen!
Bewahr’ vor Jubjub-Vogel, vor
Frumiösen Banderschntzchen!«

German 2
Es sunnte Gold, und Molch und Lurch
krawallten ‘rum im grünen Kreis,
den Flattrings ging es durch und durch,
sie quiepsten wie die Quiekedeis.

»Nimm dich in acht vorm Brabbelback,
mein Sohn! Er beißt, wenn er dich packt.
Reiß aus, reiß aus vorm Sabbelschnack,
vorm Jubjub, der dich zwickt und zwackt!«

Buririggu datta. Soshite suraivi na to-v ga
We-bu ni jairu shite jimburu shita
Baroguro-bu wa totemo mimuji de
Mo-mu rasu ga autogure-bu shita.

“Jabawo-ku to iu kaijuu ni ki o tsukete
Kamitsuku ago ni, hittakuru tsume ni
Jabujabu no tori to iu kaijuu ni ki o tsukete
Furu-miasu na Ba-ndasnatchi o sakeru no da!”

And just becuase it exists! Klingon:(the second verse)
puqloDwI’ ja’pu’vawq Dayep
pe’vIl chop Ho’Du’Daj; pe’vIl Suq pachDu’Daj
Ha’DIbaH puv juchyub yIyep
bInDepSuHach vaQeHmuS ghombe’ DanIDjaj

You can read the complete translations and more here

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