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Author Topic: Question about the f-word(from Unforgiven)  (Read 13613 times)
Jack J. McClinton
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« on: December 13, 2002, 10:17:41 PM »

I was wondering about for how much time the word "[email protected]#k" had been around? Was it avaialable in the West  ???

Thanks for your help,

Jack McClinton
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Doug
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2002, 10:38:10 PM »

Jack, apparently you missed the rather, umm, interesting thread from the old board a couple months ago.   ;D  The word has been around over five hundred years, and probably comes from German.  Its use in Unforgiven, to the best of my knowledge, is quite accurate for the time period.

Quote
The earliest cite in The Oxford English Dictionary dates from 1503. John Ayto, in his Dictionary of Word Origins cites a proper name (probably a joke or parody name) of 'John le F*cker' from 1250, quite possibly proof the word we casually toss about today was being similarly tossed about 750 years ago.

That's from snopes.com.  I don't have the books the site is referencing, but you could seek them out, if you're that interested.


By the way did G not reregister?  
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Jack J. McClinton
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2002, 08:41:54 AM »

Where could you register? I didn't find a plce. I registered and it said I was already registered. And I have a new e-mail  ::)

Thank you for the interesting info.

Jack McClinton.
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gwb
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2002, 08:50:25 AM »

This may be a little off topic (Unforgiven), but when I was watching Bank of Brothers on HBO, I did notice the 'F' word being used on more than one occasion, and for some reason it didn't sit right with me.  In articles / interviews with surviving members of Easy Co., they said that the only cpmplaint they had of the series was the use of the 'F' word, saying they didn't use it, even though it was available.
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Antipatros
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2002, 09:50:36 AM »

The word has been around over five hundred years, and probably comes from German.  

Well, do you remember what the "original" german word was?
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Doug
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2002, 09:18:33 PM »

no.  From what I've read no linguist knows for sure, only that they think that is where the word derives from.  But then Old English directly evolved from German (with a lot of french and greek and everything else thrown in later), so maybe that's why they think that.
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Brendan
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2002, 09:50:12 PM »

The following comes from dictionary.com:

Word History: The obscenity [email protected]#k is a very old word and has been considered shocking from the first, though it is seen in print much more often now than in the past. Its first known occurrence, in code because of its unacceptability, is in a poem composed in a mixture of Latin and English sometime before 1500. The poem, which satirizes the Carmelite friars of Cambridge, England, takes its title, “Flen flyys,” from the first words of its opening line, “Flen, flyys, and freris,” that is, “fleas, flies, and friars.” The line that contains [email protected]#k reads “Non sunt in coeli, quia gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk.” The Latin words “Non sunt in coeli, quia,” mean “they [the friars] are not in heaven, since.” The code “gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk” is easily broken by simply substituting the preceding letter in the alphabet, keeping in mind differences in the alphabet and in spelling between then and now: i was then used for both i and j; v was used for both u and v; and vv was used for w. This yields “fvccant [a fake Latin form] vvivys of heli.” The whole thus reads in translation: “They are not in heaven because they [email protected]#k wives of Ely [a town near Cambridge].”
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KC
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2002, 10:05:45 PM »

Actually, both modern German and modern English evolved from common roots ... along with Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, and a few others. They are all "Germanic languages."

The "f-word" in modern German is so similar to the word in English that it's obvious they are "cognates" ... meaning they derive from a common Germanic root. But the English word doesn't "come" (so to speak) from the German word, or of course ... vice versa.  ::)

As far as I know (Antipatros can correct me if I'm wrong) the "f-word" (or forms of it) doesn't get thrown around as a curse word in modern German the way it does in English. Germans are more likely to use the "s-word." As for the Swedes, Norwegians and Danes ... they eschew the words for sexual activity and the scatological words altogether when they really want to curse. Instead, they invoke various words meaning "Hell" and "Devil."  :o

Andere Länder—andere Sitten!  ;)

KC
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Doug
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2002, 12:15:28 AM »

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Actually, both modern German and modern English evolved from common roots ... along with Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, and a few others. They are all "Germanic languages."

That is more clear than my post ... I was not trying to imply that German has remained unchanged over the last thousand years, while English has evolved from Old English to Middle English to Modern English.  Languages are always evolving, and Old German (is that correct?) would be as foreign to German speakers as is Old English to us.  


Quote
The "f-word" in modern German is so similar to the word in English that it's obvious they are "cognates" ... meaning they derive from a common Germanic root. But the English word doesn't "come" (so to speak) from the German word, or of course ... vice versa.  

Yes, from a common Germanic root.  That's what I meant, if I wasn't being clear.  

I'm not an expert, so please excuse my lack of clarity.  I check out from the library linguistic books, but I don't own any at this time. :)
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2002, 12:53:39 AM »

Well, it should be clear that English didn't evolve from any form of what we think of as German, but from a remote "West Germanic" ancestor. English has more in common with Dutch, evolutionarily speaking, than it does with modern German.

Here's a link to a tree of the Germanic languages (modern German is shown as "High German, New").

http://softrat.home.mindspring.com/germanic.html

KC
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Doug
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2002, 01:39:23 AM »

Yes, and Spanish and Italian probably are more similar to each other than they are to Latin.  English and German are branches from the "Proto Germanic" language group which evolved from the "Indo European" language group.  And there are probably thousands of languages that we will never know even existed.  English's standing in the world is as much a part of luck as it is it's willingness to accept vocabulary from any and every source.  English came from very humble beginnings, and if I remember correctly, a group of Anglo-Saxon peoples cut off from their origins, with a modest population to begin with.  Had history been different, English could have become just another exinct language.  So I've heard.  Though of course, at that point, it would hardly have been recognizable as English to you or I.

I'm sensing you're in some sort of "mood" KC, and if so, then I'll quietly bow out of this conversation, since I'm not coming from an area of expertise, and can't really make any statement that I can back up with years of schooling.
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"Yes, well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of a park in full view of a hundred people, I shoot the bastards, that's my policy."  Frank Drebin, Police Squad.
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2002, 01:53:40 AM »

Who's in a "mood," Doug? I hope I don't sound touchy ... but I guess we have strayed a bit off topic.  :-\

Anyway, if anyone has any more documentary evidence of how cowboys, ranch hands, sheriffs and outlaws actually talked in the nineteenth century, and what terms they favored when they were in a "profane" mood ... please do post it here!

KC
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Antipatros
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2002, 09:51:11 AM »

As far as I know (Antipatros can correct me if I'm wrong) the "f-word" (or forms of it) doesn't get thrown around as a curse word in modern German the way it does in English. Germans are more likely to use the "s-word." As for the Swedes, Norwegians and Danes ... they eschew the words for sexual activity and the scatological words altogether when they really want to curse. Instead, they invoke various words meaning "Hell" and "Devil."  :o

Andere Länder—andere Sitten!  ;)

KC

Well, your right... We use the F-word quite often, for example just for expressing that we don't like something...

What can you say in english for that, without using anyone of "these" words? Is there a "good" word to use?
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KC
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« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2002, 09:18:02 PM »

Why, shore, Antipatros ... here are a few.

Oh, fudge!

Shoot! Shucks! CRAP!

Golly gee! Gosh darn it all anyway!

Dag nab it!

I don't give a freakin' gol darn!

Lots of other good ones ... none of which are heard in Unforgiven (except maybe the edited-for-TV version). If anyone is interested in continuing this train of thought, perhaps it had better be down in the Off Topic forum. ;)

KC
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Antipatros
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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2002, 09:47:04 AM »

well, in the german version of Unforgiven, Clint says "Verdammt" all the times, what means "damned" in english... But that's in all german-versions of Hollywood films, the best scenes are cut out and the text is transalted very bad...  :-\
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2002, 07:04:01 AM »

well, in the german version of Unforgiven, Clint says "Verdammt" all the times, what means "damned" in english... But that's in all german-versions of Hollywood films, the best scenes are cut out and the text is transalted very bad...  :-\

Well, how would you translate it? With "Fick?" Nobody says that in german. But we do say "Verdammt" or "Scheisse". And that's the whole key in translating a movie. Adapt it to any language necessary. That includes finding the right equivalent for a swear word.

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KC
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« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2002, 12:41:33 PM »

Actually ... the "f-word" only occurs about a half-dozen times in Unforgiven, and when it does, it most often is used in the literal sense (referring to the professional activity of the prostitutes). I don't have a German-dubbed copy of the film, but I have a German-language novelization, which is based on the finished film and follows it exactly (there was never an English-language novelization). And every time someone says "[email protected]" in the literal sense, it's translated with the appropriate grammatical form of "ficken."

Quote
LITTLE BILL: Oh, you figure nobody'd wanna [email protected] her now, right?

Quote
LITTLE BILL: Du meinst, niemand will sie jetzt noch ficken?

KC
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2002, 02:38:11 AM »

In this case, KC, it is possible and usually done, but in the other cases it's undoable to translate "[email protected]#k" with "fick" like in "The [email protected]#king radio is broken" or "You little [email protected]#k" There's no exact translation for that.
They'd probably translate it with "Das verdammte Funkgerät ist kaputt" and "Du kleiner Mistkerl"
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« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2002, 11:14:47 AM »

Yeah, you're right, but as far as I understood the meaning of the f-word, it's ever translated too "harmless". Well, another example would be the translation of "Punk" from Dirty Harry in the documentary "Out of the shadows"... It's "Rotzlöffel". And well, "Rotzlöffel" is a word that a grandmother would say to her grandson when he hadn't behaved nice, but not a word that Harry himself would say...

It's often in into german translated films (I don't know if that's in other languages, too), that the words are expressed bad, or even wrong. You just have to look at some title-translations...

Well, I guess I "drifted" a bit away from the topic, but it had to be said  ;)
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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2003, 08:01:39 PM »

The F-word appears in several civil war letters I've read, so during that time period at least, it was popular.
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