Thursday, March 22, 2007

Our Four-letter Words Are Two-syllable Ones

Does Bahasa (Indonesia) have four-letter words? Yes and no.

Yes, of course we have swearwords. Any language who don't have them is either a programming language or a fictitious one. Although I'd very much like the former to have one. Learning HTML would be a lot easier if it has alternative swear-commands.

[block@$#$*&@#quote this you moron]This is supposed to be a harmless quotation.[/block#*$^#*&#quote]
But back to real swearing: No, our swear words are not exactly four-lettered. In fact, I believe Bahasa doesn't have a swearword that only consists of a single syllable. Take "bodoh" ("dumb"), "tolol" ("stupid"), "goblok" ("moron"). Two syllables. Check any Indonesian swearwords that refer to certain body parts. Two syllables. Indonesian swearwords that refer to sexual activities? Two syllables.

Apparently, our language was designed so we could only drive a point at the second syllable. Any single-syllable word will be harmless. Even if we scream it out loud. Just try screaming "Bod!" or "Tol!" or even "Gob!" People will only think you're calling somebody with a funny name and bad hearing.

But add one syllable. And any words you mutter will sound like a curse. Even if it doesn't make sense. I dare you. Approach a huge, muscular guy, and see him eye to eye. Get a ladder if he's too tall. But look at his eye and say any two-syllable nonsense like "Toldoh" or "Goblol". You'd better have a will ready.

Of course, the pronunciation also matters. The first syllable must be uttered as if your tongue is recoiling, ready to deliver the next one; the punch-syllable. And deliver it you will. Let loose on the second. Even the nicest words like "Hebat" ("Great") or "Pinter" ("Intelligent") would be considered offensive when flung out this way.

Got it? Pinter.

7 comments:

ryo said...

cuk!

the fool said...

Hahaha. Even that one is an abbreviation. And in Javanese, as well.

bodhi said...

sebagai orang yang sehari2 dipanggil BOD, kayaknya saiia tersinggung.. huh.. :)

the fool said...

Hihi. Setidaknya kau jadi tahu Bodh, kalau panggilan itu bukan makian. (Atau justru karena itu kau jadi tersinggung? Hehe.)

hardono said...

dancuk [d-ah-n-ch-oh-k] is a common swore word used in Indonesia. Especially in East Java

serenity said...

Welcome back Man...

the fool said...

Well, yes, Hardono. Two words.

Thanks, serenity!