Thursday, 28 June 2012

Euroswearing 2012, second semi-final
So, boastfully, I can still claim a perfect score. Five games, all correctly predicted by my (completely scientific) swearing algorithm. Now to the sixth . . .

Germany vs Italy

As before, I first take into account the two team’s previous. In particular, what are the two nations’ favourite swear. So . . .

Germany: Scheisse! Italy: Strongo! Both shit. Both two syllable words starting with the same sibilant, both with a feminine (unstressed) ending. Neither that fantastic compared with, say, fuck! Nothing to separate them there then.

How to figure it? I put some thought into this and eventually decided on comparing the two languages’ swearing capabilities via  genital analogies from the natural world.

Germany first. Its women have a prune (Pflaume). Italy? Its women have figs (la figa). Young German boys have snails (die Schnecke). Italian men have artichokes (carciofi). Well, I make that one each. Figs trump prunes and snails make more sense than artichokes.

So to the final round. Flicking through my book, Filthy English, I found a head-to-head comparison of slang words for the clitoris  in Anthropophyteia, a 19th century German publication which collected European 'Idiotica' - popular words and phrases. It was quoted by psychoanalyst Leo Kanner in A Philological Note on Sex Organ Nomenclature, a paper written at the depths of WW2. It’s an investigation of the comparative rareness of slang words for the clitoris.

The relevant findings by Kanner? Two from each of tonight’s competing nations. Italian allegria (gaiety) and the southern Italian ribrenzulo (seat of shivers). Germany was represented by a pair of regional examples, the Prussian Schiepe (little strip) and the Westphalian Kujon (bad man). There is a little more, though . . .

He also found one word for the clitoris common right across German-speaking central Europe: der Jud, the Jew. Which, given what was going on in that part of the world at that time, is something of a surprise, not to mention shock. In Viennese German, there was even the phrase, 'Am Jud'n spiel'n'. Like all early psychoanalysts, like Freud himself, when faced with uncomfortably direct sexual expression, Kanner retreated into fanciful Latin, translating the phrase as 'fellare vel irrumare clitorem'. In simple English its meaning is clear: 'play with the Jew'. Or rather, play with the male Jew. If this clitoris were female, it would be die Jude. But it's not. There, I guess, is the derivation. The reference is to the glans of an uncircumcized penis. Which suggests that at least some central-Europea German-speaking women must have known the visual reality of their masturbation metaphor.

So, it’s got to be Italy, hasn’t. Simply a better class of clitoral metaphor.

My footballing brain would go for Germany. So this really is a test of my algorithm.

Next The final prediction. I’ll post this over the weekend, possibly on Saturday.

No comments: