Friday, June 22, 2007

l33t

Jangari over at matjjin-nehen has raised an interesting question: aside from the usual English-based acronyms like omg and lol, are there any acronyms based on other languages used in their respective variations of 133t5p34k?

My answer: sure there are. Here are just some of those Slovak ones I found in my ICQ logs.
(Warning, foul language ahead!)

d = ďakujem = thank you.
p = prosím = you're welcome.
nzc = nemáš za čo / niet za čo = you're welcome (cf. German "keine Ursache" or French "de rien").
mfp = mám f piči (correct spelling: mám v piči) "I have it in my cunt" = I don't give a fuck.
ppf = po piči front = totally cool. Or totally fucked up, depending on the context.
jj = jo jo (Czech: jo = "yes") = yup; sure.
njn = no jo no (no = "well") = yeah, well; what can you do.

The first three are pretty self-explanatory, although it should be noted that they are used alongside their English equivalents (ty, yw and also np).
As for mfp and ppf, they further illustrate the popularity and varied usage of the term "piča" (discussed in brief here). Please don't ask me what "po piči front" is all about. All I can tell you right now is that "po piči" (lit. "alongside a cunt"?) means something along the lines of "cool, great, awesome" and can be used both as an adverbial as well as an adjective (both predicatively and attributively). Just who added "front" ("front" as in military front or weather front) and what it's supposed to mean is still a mystery to me.
mfp also provides additional material for the comparative study of abuse language: as michael farris pointed out in the comments to the aforementioned thread, in Polish,

There's also 'mieć X w dupie' (have X in (one's) ass) which means (IMO rather counter-intuitively) 'don't give a shit about'.

The Slovak version is not only counter-intuitive, but also anatomically inappropriate, since it is used prevalently by male speakers (no surprise there, since a statement like that made by a woman would probably invite a response of the "Oh really? So what else..." kind). Considering the number of such anatomically impossible insults and terms of abuse, I'm starting to think there is a pattern to it: the more outrageous, the more unlikely, the more unreal the connection, the stronger the insult is. Time to look closely at the semantics, wouldn't you agree?

UPDATE

Dang my stupid head, how could I have forgotten this gem?

c2 (courtesy of enzo)

Doesn't ring a bell, does it? One tiny hint: try prounouncing it as if it were an English acronym (and it helps if you're not a native speaker of English). You get something like [sɪ tu] which, by sheer coincidence, sounds almost exactly like Slovak "Si tu?" meaning "Are you here?"
Pretty cool, heh?

20 comments:

jangari said...

I think it's easy enough to construct acronyms that work for any given language, so it's not surprising that plenty of languages have their own internet acronyms. The "c2" is a bit more interesting, although it relies on an English pronunciation.

Cooper posted a comment on my blog that I find very interesting. I'll paste the juicy bits here (sorry, no tones):
9494 ‘jiu si jiu si’, "exactly"
4242 'si er si er', "yeah, yeah"
88 'ba-ba', "bye-bye"

Although the last one could be 'ba-ba' as borrowed from English, I don't know.

So, do any Slavic languages (or any others that you know) use numbers to represent common morphemes, that you'd have to know the language to understand?

bulbul said...

Numbers, of course!
There's 5, which should be pronounced (IPA) [pæc] in theory, but in fact is pronounced [pec] by most Slovak speakers. The number 5 can therefore be substituted for that syllable in words like s5 "back" or o5 "again". Same with 3 [tri], although so far, I've only seen it used in the name of my college dorm, "a3aky" (officially "Átriové domky" = Atrium Houses) and its derivation, the unofficial name for the dorm network, a3net.
I can't think of any other examples right now, but after some sleep and some more thinking, I might. I vaguely remember something similar in Dutch or perhaps Finnish...

michael farris said...

"I'm starting to think there is a pattern to it: the more outrageous, the more unlikely, the more unreal the connection, the stronger the insult is. Time to look closely at the semantics, wouldn't you agree?"

In some cases I think it's the reverse. Almost 20 years or so ago (in the US I can't dig up a reference I'm afraid) I remember reading an article on expletive use in Hungarian (at the village level).

Anyway, one of the ideas in the article was that the more outlandish and improbable a curse was, the more socially acceptable it was. Wishing for God's great white horse to slam it's dick into the ass of someone you were mad at was a perfectly acceptable thing to say because it was so unlikely to happen.
Wishing for their house to burn down or for them to catch typhus was far more likely to actually happen and thus far more taboo.

michael farris said...

I don't spend that much time where I'd find info on Polish l33t. About the only thing I've noticed was using q for the syllable ku. Q isn't normally part of the Polish alphabet and the name of the letter is 'ku'.

pustaq = pustaku (voc. of pustak, roughly 'dope', 'airhead' from pusty)

qrwa = kurwa (self explanatory I hope)

There's also purposeful mis-spelling that's also used, often to impute the intellgence of the person being addressed (I think the idea is the writer is suggesting that the addressee would write the word the same way out of ignorance).
examples: guwno instead of gówno (shit), morzliwe instead of możliwe (possible), 'na hlep' instead of 'na chleb' (for bread, the most common reason for emigration).

David Marjanović said...

There is a whole, if contrived, poem in German where every -acht- is written 8, but that's it.

The French are well known to use "c" for "c'est" and "a+" for "à plus", and to make various other jokes about their orthography, like "salut les zamis".

The Chinese number examples are often somewhat difficult. Often 2 is used for its Classical value ni rather than the modern er, and 5, wu, is used for wo... as in 5i2 (with the English value for i).

I can explain 4242: sì èr sì èr = shì a, shì a = eh, yes, it is. (If you want, I can write all that in characters, but I won't burrow through the Windows character table at a quarter to 3 at night.) The same copula/affirmative shì is probably also involved in 9494.

but in fact is pronounced [pec] by most Slovak speakers.

It may not precisely be the cardinal vowel [ɛ], but it's far closer to that than to anything else. I know a Slovak here in Paris who speaks fluent French but still fails to get the [e] right most of the time.

David Marjanović said...

To be fair, it was a peculiar decision around the founding of the IPA to use the symbols e i o u for the closed vowels. There doesn't seem to be a single [a e i o u], as opposed to [a ɛ ɪ ɔ ʊ] or at least [a ɛ i ɔ u], language in the whole of Europe! What did they have in mind -- isiZulu? ~:-|

John Cowan said...

David: What about Spanish?

In Alfred Bester's 1951 novel The Demolished Man (from which "Tenser Said the Tensor" gets his name), many characters have digits and symbols as part of their names, used for their phonetic value. Thus Wyg& for Wygand, T8 for Tate (in the first edition only), @kins for Atkins, ¼maine for Qua(r)termaine, S&erson for Sanderson, and most subtly $$son for Jackson (again, in the first edition only).

David Marjanović said...

Spanish has [ɛ ɔ] as the short allophones and somewhat raised versions as the long allophones, but they never reach [e o], common transcriptions notwithstanding. It's not like German, where the long versions really are [e o]. Failure to get [e] right is an important feature of a Spanish accent in French.

So $$ is pronounced "Jack"?

John Cowan said...

"Jack" is American slang for money, David, more usually used in the negative (what you lack, rather than what you have). The author decided it was too subtle.

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