Remember my curses and insults book? It still hasn’t come out in the States, but last month the “international radio news magazine” The World did an interview with me about it that will be broadcast today. The show is created by WGBH in Boston; on my local station it’s on at 3 PM. If you’re not in the US, or if your local public radio station doesn’t carry the show, or if you just don’t feel like being glued to the radio for an hour, as of 5 PM Eastern time it will be available on their website (and they are kind enough to link to individual segments, so you don’t have to listen to the whole show).
I did not use any English obscenities, but I mentioned some in other languages, one of which was Greek maláka ‘jerk, dumbass’ (or, more literally, ‘wanker,’ to use the handy British insult); my wife was listening in the anteroom (I was connected to GBH via the studio of my local station, WFCR, where everyone was exceedingly nice), and she tells me a guy who happened to be in the room smiled when he heard it and said that he once worked in a Greek-run pizza place and that was the first word he learned.
Addendum. On the subject of “bad language,” Avva posted the results of a Google search for “enbreasties.” Take a look at the results and see how long it takes you to figure out why this non-word occurs so often (e.g., “President Bush identified eight enbreasties operating in North Korea, Iran, and Syria…”). I’ll post the answer below the cut.
Some sort of nanny software is automatically replacing “tit” with “breast.” Other examples mentioned in the Avva thread: penisroach, peniser spaniel, buttessment, mbuttacred, buttbuttination… and someone found the excellent sentence “I know the difference between a transvesbreaste and a homoloveual”!
Another addendum. Just got to this, on p. 317 of The Book of Ebenezer Le Page:
I was scared he would get onto the subject of the ancient monument; but it was our patois he was interested in now. Its roots. He had discovered it was really the language of the religion of the witches of old, and all the dirty words in it was holy words. He said ‘Baise mon tchou!’ [‘Kiss my ass’] was a royal salute. I had never thought of it that way, me.