Monday, December 07, 2009

What's in a phrase?

As a rule, I'm not someone who uses foul language. Well yes, I use bloody and hell and damn and several satisfying swear words, and all too frequently at that. But there are certain forms of profanity, which I have simply chosen not to include in my vocabulary, because I've never really felt I need them. I mean, it is so much more fun to call someone a schmuck and watch them become all puzzled while they try to figure out what that means.

At times of extreme irritation with any individual, I tend to tack on a "-and-a-half" to whatever I'm calling them - something I picked up from my friend while i was idle back in school. And at times of sheer out-and-out frustration, I label them a "dash-and-a-half" - and leave it to the listener to fill in the blanks. Juvenile? Perhaps. But it works for me.

In recent months, however, I have started finding comfort in the phrase "Je m'en fous". Loosely translated, for those not familiar with fran├žaise, it means "I don't give a damn." Literally, however, it translates into a line I wouldn't use in my everyday language.

I've always known it's one of those phrases you should be careful about using - our French professor warned us that the very first time she told us about it. But there's something so succinctly expressive about it, that honestly, my dear, je me'n fous.

4 comments:

The Seeker said...

Sometimes you just need to air your frustration, and all these harmless (or foreign phrases, however rude they may be in that language) won't do.

antiglam superstar! said...

I swear in urdu. My favourites are- MOOORRRKH! BADTAMEEEZ! BADBAKHHT! EHMAKK!
In hindi, I love to call people mand-buddhi. B-)

a traveller said...

Oh I like caling people "mundu". No idea what it means, but it just sounds right! :D

ZiggyStrauss said...

I wouldn't cuss someone out in a language that wasn't my own simply because of how unnatural it sounds. I think it's obvious when someone means an oath and when they're just forcing it. Since I am native-angrezi speaker most of my gaalis are limited to english. Even though english gaalis are way milder than hindi ones, I'm better with the language itself so I don't need to resort to 'fuck's except in moments of sheer frustration, usually to myself. Otherwise an incredulous 'good gosh, you're stupid' usually does the trick better than a 'fuck you'