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25th of September, 2017

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Etymological Curiosities

Acidman, of Gut Rumbles, ruminates a bit on English words that sound dirty, but ain’t.  A lot of that comes from the fact that English is a bastard language.  It’s a language with many possible fathers, none of which will claim it as their own.  Its closest linguistic relative, Dutch, is completely unrecognizable as such.  Dutch more resembles a sort of cartoon German than English.  Therefore, words with sexual meanings often sound similar to words that have nothing to do with sex that came into English along different routes.

German, on the other hand, is a much purer language than English.  Germans, historically, have done the conquering, and thereby have spread their language’s elements among other European cultures, instead of the other way around.  Nevertheless, German has many words that are completely innocuous, yet sound “dirty” to English speakers.  Here are common examples, with the English translations of what they actually mean:

Ausfahrt - Exit
Nebenhöhlen - Sinus Cavities
Analverkehr - Traffic Jam
Gummifetischist - Librarian
Pudelficker - Lion Tamer
Fick mich hart, du dreckiges Stück Scheisse! - Beer glass

 As you can see, even the most innocent expressions can sometimes bring on an immature giggle.

Comments

Acidman

Actually, English is a Germanic language, heavily polluted by Latin and Greek. American English is a mutt language, just as we are a country of mutts.

If you read Chaucer in the original Early Middle English, you can see the Germanic roots clearly.

Rube

English is a Germanic language, but not in the sense that it descends from German. It's more of a second cousin to German than a descendent. The Saxons, Angles, and Jutes, all from northwestern Europe, derived old English from old Frisian (a Netherlands dialect, also in the West Germanic family) so they could sell conquered Celtic slaves to each other in a mutually agreed-upon language. Then, the Vikings brought a flood of North Germanic noise into the language.

By the time Chaucer started writing, English was already unrecognizable as a descendant of any continental language. Damn in-breeding.

Lexicography.com

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