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Apr 02 2009

It’s bleak to me

or

Shut up, woman!

Say what you will about Spinster Aunt Global’s Comparative Language Lab; our legendary world-famous notoriety is well-known for two reasons. One is our extraordinary subtlety, an almost, um, what’s the word … undetectable expertise in our field of study.

The other is that we’re perpetually contemplating opening a branch office in Crete.

The latter of which would mean brushing up on our Greek. To that end, I recently took it upon myself to type the word “woman” into one of those free online English-to-Greek translators. There I found a range of extremely useful idioms. I know you will be as excited to learn them as I was.

Note: another of the award-nominated legends of our celebrated high-quality lab is that we famously don’t know how to make the Greek alphabet display in WordPress, so the gist of today’s post is presented in the exciting JPEG format!

greek

Since they have no practical modern application, I haven’t bothered to include translations of the three less pejorative phrases suggested by the translator (“woman doctor,” “woman suffrage,” and “woman plays an important role in …”).

Maybe you’re wondering why I didn’t type “man” into the translator, by way of fairness or comparison. As a matter of fact, I did, but holy cow. Whereas “woman” returned a dainty 1 1/2 pages of results, the search on “man” returned twenty-effing-nine pages! I guess I just didn’t feel womanly virtuous enough to tackle such an embarrassment of riches. So if you need to know Greek for “man is the measure of all things,” “I captured fewer men, but I won the game,” or “man began to observe the cycle of seasons,” you’re on your own.

43 comments

  1. Aunti Disestablishmentarian

    Hysterical.

  2. Orinoco

    Kind of OT, but I wanted to add as a potent chaser, something on the flip side. Perhaps we could start a collection of “I blame the Patriarchy!” in different languages.

    Here’s Korean:
    ?? ????? ????!
    naneun gabujangje-leul namuranda!

  3. Kaethe

    French:

    Je blâme le patriarcat!

  4. Magdalena

    ¡Echo la culpa al patriarcado!

  5. Aunti Disestablishmentarian

    Whell, isn’t this just the polyglottal stop, now!

  6. JRoth

    an almost, um, what’s the word … undetectable expertise in our field of study.

    Just absolutely brilliant. I love your prose, Twisty.

    Also, much as I love the wildlife, I would adore [nonidentifying, if need be] pics of Rancho. Just in case you doubted that the Blametariat hungers for suchlike.

  7. Orange

    Ho. Ly. Shit.

    Why the hell is “Shut up, woman” translated? Is it something in Greek other than “shut up” and “woman” together? I cannot read Greek so I don’t know.

    Nice to see “misogynist” in its original Greek lettering with the “woman-hater” translation. I guess that’s for nimrods who don’t know the word “misogynist” but admire the concept all the same?

    Twisty, you’ll do the chapter on non-English languages in our gendered language guidebook, OK?

  8. admirerofemily

    So – still contemplating a move to Crete?

  9. Azundris

    Can we a database or wiki or such, a bit like the CIA worldbook or wikipedia, except that a country’s entry actually (also or exclusively) lists how women fare there?

    I’m still looking for that (nicely warm) Island of Feminists, too! I’m just boring and would prefer it to be a place where English is spoken. Here’s my preliminary look at Malta:

    http://katze-mit-wut.azundris.com/archives/233-Malta-White-Slavery-and-Potatos.html

    (I hope to read up on Gibraltar next, though rents may be out of my league. And yes, I know that that’s not an island.)

  10. Lin-z

    Here’s ‘i blame the patriarchy’ in arabic — Thanks liberal arts education!

    ???? ???? ???? ????

    And the Farsi–I think this is right

    ????????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ???

  11. Twisty

    Sadly, Lin-z, this blog is mono-alphabetical. I don’t know how to make it otherwise. But I’m totally down with people translating the phrase “I blame the patriarchy” into as many languages as possible, and littering the internet with it.

  12. Martha Maus

    Ich tadele das partriarchy.
    Where ‘tadele’ means reprehensible.
    Das Patriarchat ist schuld.
    Where schuld means ‘at fault’
    German translations for blamers; the versions depending on how much blame needs to be attributed on the day/moment.

  13. Comrade PhysioProf

    But I’m totally down with people translating the phrase “I blame the patriarchy” into as many languages as possible, and littering the internet with it.

    Comrade PhysioProf is working on cuneiform. I just need some fucking clay and some fucking sticks.

  14. Meg

    Watashi wa kachyousaido wo nasuritsukesu.

    Your blog is probably using ASCII encoding instead of UTF-8. ASCII uses 7 bits instead of UTF-8′s 8, so it takes up a little less disk space, but it can only encode half as many different characters as a result. Each letter that exists in ASCII has the same code for UTF-8, so changing ASCII to UTF-8 shouldn’t mess up anything you already have. (Doesn’t mean it *wouldn’t* though. Computers are sadists. :) )

  15. Twisty

    “Your blog is probably using ASCII encoding instead of UTF-8.”

    Nice try, but I checked this already. UTF-8 is the default. Apparently I need to install a whole nother Greek-friendly version of the blog software on my server, a process that seems a whole lot like work, so I bagged.

  16. Sabayon

    What is a “daily woman”? Aren’t most of us women on a near daily basis?

    Also, while “Je blâme le patriarcat!” does mean I blame the patriarchy it seems a bit school french-y and unatural. “C’est le faut de le patriarchat!”, or “C’est le patrirchat qu’est coupable” is much more what one would say in the middle of an arguement before stabbing out one’s Gauloise and storming off. Also, did you know the French for sexist pig is un phallocrat. If you ask me, that’s just five kinds of awesome.

  17. Sabayon

    What is a “daily woman”? Aren’t most of us women on a near daily basis?

    Also, while “Je blâme le patriarcat!” does mean I blame the patriarchy it seems a bit school french-y and unatural. “C’est le faut de le patriarchat!”, or “C’est le patrirchat qu’est coupable” is much more what one would say in the middle of an arguement before stabbing out one’s Gauloise and storming off. Also, did you know the French for sexist pig is un phallocrat. If you ask me, that’s just five kinds of awesome.

  18. Barn Owl

    I think the JPEG version gets the point across perfectly fine. Does “there’s a woman at the bottom of it” refer to the village well, after some woman has displeased the local menfolk, and been punished accordingly?

    In “The Pillars of Hercules”, Paul Theroux writes that Greek men spend an inordinate amount of time scratching and fondling their genitals in public. I can conclude at least two things from this: 1) the genital-scratching behavior reminds me of monkeys, and 2) I won’t be traveling to Greece any time soon.

  19. MissPrism

    .. / -… .-.. .- — . / – …. . / .–. .- – .-. .. .- .-. -.-. …. -.–!

    You can hear it here!

  20. Twisty

    “.. / -… .-.. .- — . / – …. . / .–. .- – .-. .. .- .-. -.-. …. -.–!”

    MissPrism, what am I doing wrong? It just outputs a longer string of dots and dashes (and question marks) when I click “translate.”

  21. MissPrism

    If you put “I blame the patriarchy” in the top box and click Play rather than Translate, it beeps it for you, but annoyingly it doesn’t seem to translate it back from Morse to English.

  22. TheLady

    Russian:

    “Vinovata patriarchiya!” (It’s the fault of the patriarchy!)
    “Ya vinyu patriarchiyu!” (I blame the patriarchy!)

    Hebrew:

    “Ze ashmat ha patriarchiya!” (It’s the fault of the patriarchy!)
    “Ani ma’ashima et ha’patriarchiya!” (I blame the patriarchy!)

    In both languages the former usage is more generally conversational than the latter, which would be deployed in more specific cisrcumstances.

  23. meijusa

    German:
    Martha, “Ich tadele das partriarchy.” is a bit off.
    “Ich tadele das Patriachat” would mean something more like “I scold the patriarchy”

    “Das Patriarchat ist schuld” is better, or: “Das kommt vom Patriarchat”, or, more literally “Ich beschuldige das Patriarchat”, “Ich laste das dem Patriarchat an”, “Ich mache das Patriarchat (dafuer) verantwortlich”

  24. Joan

    I will attempt to answer some of the questions about Greek but bear in mind I abandoned that language when I went to kindergarten.

    “Shut up, woman” in fact actually translates to something closer to “Suffocate, lady (of mine)”. It’s an odd juxtaposition of politeness and telling someone to die – Greek is hilarious that way.

    A daily woman seems to be referring to perhaps a cleaning lady?? Some sort of worker that comes to your home every day. Oh wait, that’s what we all do anyway. Never mind.

  25. Orange

    I’m changing my terminology. “I blame the phallocracy!” (Dictionary definition: a society or system that is dominated by men and in which the male sex is thought superior. Not too mcuh different from patriarchy’s definition, but it’s always good to expand one’s vocabulary.)

  26. Balanophage

    Láadan:

    Bíid ninálh le dólhorado thulidethoth wa.

    (Best guess, as there’s no word for ‘patriarchy’ in the dictionary. “Dólhorado” is “domination with evil intent” and “thulidetho” is genitive of “fathers”. Apologies if the accents don’t come out properly.)

    Incidentally, the translation of misogyny, lhebe withethu, also means misanthropy (hatred of women = hatred of humans/people).

  27. evilgumball

    In Italian: Do la colpa al patriarcato.
    In Latin: Potestatem patria culpo.

    The Latin is not literal, as there is no direct translation of ‘patriarchy’ that I know of, so I used “the authority of fathers”. I feel it’s an apt substitute, but I’m willing to be corrected.

  28. Deanna

    Did Twisty just use an ellipse?

    [Dies of shock]

  29. rootlesscosmo

    @azundris: Have a look at the South Indian state of Kerala.

  30. Laima

    Balanophage,

    Thanks for the Laadan reference. I have a dictionary of it around here somewhere – that reminds me to look for it…

  31. roesmoker

    Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience:

    http://tinyurl.com/dmqsua

    The continuum of the patriarchy and the GAGFUW extends from paying to rape “porn stars” to paying to rent rape girlfriends to raping wives.

    Doesn’t anyone see this? Why is the review of this film: “Soderbergh has captured some truly stunning visuals and has delivered a non-linear narrative that is both engaging and not overly complicated” instead of talking about the inevitable march towards the blatant enslavement of female sperm receptacles.

    How can we start the feminist revolution? I can’t stand much more of this.

  32. speedbudget

    Can we get the yiddish? I imagine that would be a great phrase to throw out.

  33. eibhear

    Irish Gaelic:
    Cuirim millean ar udaras na h-uasalaithreacha.

  34. yttik

    Someone on another blog used the term, “the powers that pee standing up” to describe the patriarchy. I like it.

  35. SoJo

    eibhear are you totally sure of that one? Because I’m tempted to tattoo it between my hips.

  36. Kuleana

    So while looking for a more direct Dutch translation than the one I know off the top of my head, I came across a random Dutch phrase generator. Thinking it would be fun, I clicked and got the following:

    Laat je zus niet weer gaan zingen. We willen niet dat ze de raam weer kapot maakt.

    Translation:
    Don’t let your sister sing again. We don’t want her to break the windows like last time.

    Seriously. I know this isn’t as bad as the stuff Twisty found, but does the entire online translation business get paid more for phrases that demean women?

    Het is de schuld van het patriarchaat.

  37. PandanCat

    Oy, to have my Yiddish dictionary at hand! It’s been a few years since I was a student, and I can’t dig up the word for ‘blame’ from my memory. Plus, I don’t think ‘patriarchy’ ever showed up in any of our readings, though I’m sure there’s a good word for it. For all of this, ‘kh zog az di oves zenen di shuldikes!

    It literally means ‘I say that the forefathers are guilty!’ I’m sorry; it’s stilted and weird, but until someone figures out a better one, it’ll do.

    In other news, one Indonesian feminist blogger exclaims “Oh dunia patriarkis!” (oh patriarchal world!) in the same way we blame. While pondering what it could be in Malay, I came up with an ironic little jingle: keranamu, patriarkiku! (Because of you, my patriarchy!) I kinda like it.

  38. lysistrata

    So, how about ‘action’ verbs beyond blame?

    ¡Me cago en el patriarcado!, or I shit on the patriarchy, has a great sound, is very earthy and certainly would raise more consciousness than just blaming.

    This being Holey-in-the-head Week in Spain, with throngs of sickos following processions of cone-headed men, carrying tortured characters down the streets, I´m going to have lots of chances to use it.

    Now, I just need a new button, down here that says ´Shit´.

  39. Azundris

    J’accuse: While I believe the proposed German variants to be correct, they sounded a bit funky to me at first. It seems the equivalent of “I blame” is correct, but not commonly used (which is the real problem, of course — people should be blaming (the P) left and right). The “Ich beschuldige” variant of course gives you the option of leaving out the pronoun so it will render the imperative, same as with the obscured “I” in this weblog’s title. Meanwhile I think I’ll settle for, “Das Patriarchat? SCHULDIG!!” as a recurring phrase as it strikes me as slightly catchier; besides once the meme sticks, it will give others the chance to chime in on the verdict.

    J’emmerde: “Ich scheiß auf Euer Patriarchat!”/”Auf Euer Patriarchat ist geschissen!!” (“Euer” being plural you familiar (possessive), “Dein” for informal singular, “Ihr” for both singular and plural formal, and “das” for simply “the.”)

    Free colourful bonus: “Das Patriarchat kann sich von mir aus ins Knie ficken.” (“For all I care, the patriarchy can go fuck itself in the knee.”)

  40. Marinus

    Afrikaans:
    Ek vind die skuld in die patriargie!

  41. cgrandiflora

    Okay,, in the classicalishe Greek (since it’s basically all the fault of the Athenians [fucking citizenship laws)]: ehmoi ge ten patriarchen aisthanomai.

    (In general the “e”is pronounced “ay” (as in hay) and the “i” (unless otherwise specified) is pronounced “ih” (as in bit). Everything else seems self explanatory: if I’m wrong, please let me know and I will supplement.

    As for Latin, do you want idiomatic (i.e. “the way shit works”) or accurate “the patriarchy”?

  42. cgrandiflora

    Except that the “e” in “ge” is short and should be pronounced as “eh.” I grovel. I can’t believe I missed it: only the most important particle in the classical language.

  43. rootlesscosmo

    @cgrandiflora: “Aisthanomai” is interesting–it looks (to this non-Greek speaker) like “sensation” plus “ordering.” Can you explain if that’s more or less right, and how it works? (Off topic, sorry.)

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