Etymology of a vulgar word?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Dinosaur, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Can't find that either, but that doesn't mean it's not a word. However, it doesn't conform to the normal pattern of German phonetics: no K after a diphthong. More likely it would be freichen, fraichen or freuchen but I can't find them either. We need a native speaker here.

    I found this website that is one guy's list (probably un-peer reviewed) of German profanity:

    http://www.geocities.com/me_sh_ug_ge/swear.html

    He says that:
    • German has no single word for "fuck."
    • The word and the concept are not considered nearly as obscene in German culture as in others.
    • Germans have picked up the English word.
    • The one example of a literal translation in his list shows ficken, which is the same word my German-born friend remembered.
    This gives me two personal citations for ficken, which strengthens but does not certify the etymology of "fuck" as a native Anglo-Saxon and possibly proto-Germanic artifact.
     
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  3. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I think (not certain) that acronyms are a 20th century phenomenon: No earlier than late 19th century.

    The real reason for not accepting an acronym as an etymological source is that they are almost always contrived to spell an existing word or abbreviate some phrase. I was terse because I though this was obvious to any thinking person.

    BTW: If somebody actually saw a wood cut suggesting the use of the acronym, could he/she provide a reference? I have seen various illustrations in books showing people in stocks (not stockades) with no signs indicating their crime. In the era when stocks were used, everyone knew the person in the stocks and no signs were necessary. There are often times when I suspect posters of making up stories to support their view. This type of story telling seems more prevalent when the subject is the paranormal or pseudo science (Although maybe there are some teachers/professors with some weird notions).
     
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It is a game to pick a word and contrive an acronym for it. Usually the object is humor but trying to think up a plausible one would be an interesting exercise.

    There are several varieties including Felonious Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Wikipedia says that Jesse Sheidlower researched them for his 1999 book The F-Word and could find no references before the 1960s.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
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  7. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    un-peer?
     
  8. Sputnik Banned Banned

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  9. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Somewhat off the topic. In my youth, I sometimes claimed to have graduated from the Fresno University of Classical Knowledge or the Colorado University of Nuclear Technology. Some of my firends claimed to have graduatied from the San Houston Institue of Technology.

    BTW: Does anyone here know the etymology of politics?
    • From the Greek poly meaning many and tics meaning blood sucking parasites.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Well sure. Haven't you ever had the misfortune of having your work judged by your un-peers?

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    Nicely collected. They completely demolish the acronym legend and present a plausible suggestion going back to the 1200s. They also corroborate all those cognates in other Teutonic languages, some of which were challenged in earlier posts on this thread. Clearly, F-vowel-K was a word spoken by the ancient Norse tribe before some of them came south and became Germans.
    We used to call it Houston Tech and then wait patiently for the light bulb to come on.

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  11. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I always thought the antonyms for peer were inferior or superior.

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  12. Kaz Registered Member

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    Considering they didn't speak English...
     
  13. darini Registered Senior Member

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    I knew ficken as the literal German word for fuck. Once I read that in Austria they say abgefuckt ("Das ist ein abgefucktes Auto", for example) for something that's very good, exactly what happens with the BR-PT "foda".

    A fucking good coincidence, I guess.

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    cheers
     
  14. Blue_UK Drifting Mind Valued Senior Member

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    A german told me that ficken comes from the English fuck, rather than the other way around.
     
  15. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed the very term "acronym" wasn't coined until 1947. Although acronyms were popular in other languages, they were hardly used at all in English until the late 19th century. The few acronyms that were commonly used in English before then were almost all borrowed from other languages (like A.M. and P.M.)
     
  16. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Pfft, AM and PM aren't acronyms....
     
  17. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Not sure is that's supposed to be serious or not...
     
  18. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Acronym: a WORD made from initials.
    PM is not a word and AM is never pronounced as a word...
     
  19. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    The Oxford English Dictionary lists I.R.A. (for Irish Republican Army) as an example of an acronym, so making the sequence sound like a word by pronouncing the letters phonetically does not appear to be a requirement for acronymhood.
     
  20. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Then the Oxford is on this occasion incorrect.

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  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    No. Just about all of the dictionaries have caved into imprecise usage and now allow "acronym" as a synonym for "abbreviation."

    But for clarity of this discussion let's stay with the stricter definition, shall we? Cobol and laser are acronyms. USA, the way the Hungarians pronounce it as OO-sha, is an acronym.

    Abbreviations of any sort would have been incomprehensible in vernacular speech until the technology of printing made literacy more common.
     
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    That's consistent with phonetic shifts. If it were an ancient word that both the Anglo-Saxons and the continental Germans inherited, that K should have turned into CH in modern German.
     
  23. darini Registered Senior Member

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    Hmmmm... so, when there are abbreviations, you all speak letter by letter in English? UNO, NAFTA etc? Down here they all become words, mainly if we have consonat-vowel-consonant types.



    cheers
     

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