Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fack You Man, Japanese Swear Words or All Your Base Are Belong To Us

An entry in my sisters blog reminded me of an urban legend about the Japanese language. I've hear in many places that the Japanese language does not have any swear words in it. It's a total lie, and is a result of Western ignorance, which tend to mock everything that it does not understand. As a follower of Myth Busters, I feel it's my duty to fight against this myth.

There are two reasons behind this myth. First of all, there are complex levels of respect that is built in the Japanese language. Almost every word has versions of varying respect levels. Take the pronoun "you" for example, "Anata" is a very respectful way of saying "you", where as "Teme" is a form of "you", so rude, that is almost equivalent to saying fuck you every time you address a particular person [1]. They have different versions of numbers, so the two in "two people" is not same as the two in "two dogs". If you refer two fellas on the street with the animal version of two, you're into big trouble as all the Japanese are karate experts. So there are ways to swear in Japanese, that is unimaginable in other languages.

Secondly there are swear words in Japanese as we know it in Western languages ( interested can refer to this link for a list of such words). However the Japanese believe using such bad words bring bad luck to themselves, as they associate power to the words themselves. So they avoid using them.

As a matter of fact, word fuck has been imported to Japanese language, albeit in Engrish, the Japanese version of English. Pronounced Fukka or Facka or Fack, it leads to intimidating graffiti such as the one above.

Speaking of Engrish, here's my favorite Engrish instant:

7 comments:

zeynep said...

Japonlardan adam olmaz. Tuvaletlerinde muzuk caldigini, pek de utangaclar, ve klozetlerde otomatik bide olduguni biliyor muydunuz? Isteseniz de istemeseniz de oturdugunuz anda calismaya basliyormus...

Ozan Korkmaz said...

Fack?
Bir de "frack" var.
(Battlestrar Galactica)

Ahmet C. Toker said...

godsdamnit ozan, hicbirseyi kacirmiyorsun. Battlestar Galactica dedin iki mesaj vereyim tum dunyaya:

"Adama for President!"
"Sharon Valerii Forever!"

Ozan Korkmaz said...

Demek ki neymiş?
Ordunun müdahelesi her zaman kötü bir şey değilmiş...

Ahmet C. Toker said...

Baskan Roislin'in yaptigi hareketi aslinda sivil bir otoritenin cezalandirmasi gerekli idi, bu Galactica'da olmadigi icin Adama bu hareketi yapmak zorunda kaldi. Sonrasinda siki yonetimi ilan edne ise beceriksiz Colonel Saul Tigh idi.

Ozan Korkmaz said...

Demek ki neymiş?
Sivil otorite ortadan kalmışsa ordunun müdahelesi gerekebilirmiş tabi ki orduyu yönetenlerin doğru becerilere sahip olmasıyla şartıyla.

Afag said...

Hej hej..soylediklerinizde gercek varda, ama pek degil, heralde simdi Japonyadan size sunlari soyleyebilirim, swear words de var, Zeynep, istedigin anda calisan bide de ;)))
(Istemedigin zaman calismaz yani...;)