Friday, 27 May 2016

sacrebleu ou tabarnouche, tabarnouche will you do the fandango?

Isolated from other French speaking populations and surrounded on all sides by Anglophones, the Québécois have cultivated a quite charming arsenal of swears, as Atlas Obscura reports.
The essay is quite a good one and explores the broader nature of profanities and shifting intensities, and does well to remind us that our vocabulary of curses and what we find unspeakable usually reflects what we fear as a society and the fount of that power.  While the English borrowing fuckée means merely broken (as in “La doorbell est fuckée”), there’s a whole colourful litany of metaphors, interjections and expletives derived from the trappings of Catholic mass called sacres that aren’t to be used in polite company (with the vulgar context, at least). One might employ the diminutive of the French for tabernacle, tabarnouche, to express mild displeasure—like saying darn. The words for show-breads and the communion chalice convey far greater displeasure and are reserved for choicer occasions.