FRATASTIC FUCKTARDS

For my job, practically all the work I do is in English. In the office I speak a mix of English and Russian, even though there are no other expats or semi-expats among my colleagues (it took me a year to get comfortable with this – when I started out, my Russian was completely dormant). Everyone’s English skills range from proficient to fully fluent. It’s really impressive, and pretty great for me.

One of the functions of my department is to monitor what is being said and written about our organization in the [primarily English-language] media. This includes professional outlets, such as newspapers and high-profile blogs, as well as social media – Twitter, Facebook, etc. One of my colleagues aggregates this information on a daily basis, and then it gets translated into Russian.

As an ‘English carrier’ I have become somewhat of a reference resource for when our translators get stumped by particularly colorful colloquialisms, puns and slang.

Here are some words and expressions I had fun explaining:

To stop short of doing something

To scare the bejesus out of someone

Snark

Being all things to all people

That’s not to say that…

Groovy!

He is no spring chicken

Image credit: Factory Direct Craft.

Image credit: Factory Direct Craft.

To have a thumb on the scales

Cunt

In the cross hairs

Co-opting credibility

Moronic

To be caught red-handed

It’s in the offing

Also, I had to explain why we must stop writing ‘BJs’ in presentations. No, for most people it does not stand for ‘broadcast journalist.’ Even for broadcast journalists.

Occasionally there are words and idioms that actually stump me – a large chunk of our commentariat is in the UK, Canada and Australia, so their specific slang usually goes over my head, unless it’s something that’s popped up in Harry Potter. A couple of things that I remember having to look up were spooks (an informant or a spy) and berk/berkdom (an idiot/idiocy or acting in an idiotic manner).

Finally, below are two gems that will stay with me forever:

FUCKTARD.   Image credit: Cheezburger.

           FUCKTARD               Image credit: Cheezburger.

and

                                                     FRATASTIC                                                          Image credit: Quick Meme.

FRATASTIC             Image credit: Quick Meme.

Try explaining THOSE to a foreigner!

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29 thoughts on “FRATASTIC FUCKTARDS

  1. Ha ha ha! The BJ thing is classic! I crack my Canadian friend up whenever I say I need to ‘hoover’ – seemingly it means blow job in that part of the world 😉 A few of those things you had to translate, I wouldn’t know either!

  2. LOL! I was going to ask how well you cope with British slang 😉
    One thing I know that cracks up the antipodeans is the expression “We are rooting for you!”
    “Rooting”, in downunder English, I learnt from a Kiwi ex, refers to a rather more… erm… intimate activity.

  3. Me too! There I was innocently referring to my housework and she thought I was on the hunt for manflesh 😉 I knew the ‘rooting’ one though – if you fancy a root, hop in me ute 😉

  4. Man, English is weird! I always looked forward to the weird things my students would bring in to be explained. Most of it was awkward stuff that came from their favorite rap songs.

    And LOL @ BJ!

  5. I never realized how weird English was until I had a brief stint teaching it here (rarely to Swedes, mostly international students at Stockholm University) and my students would ask me to explain certain idioms or grammar idiosyncrasies and I would have absolutely no idea. I wonder if English is the only language in which native speakers stumble over pronunciation sometimes?

          • It reminded me of a much shorter poem I had read a few years ago. I went home last night, searched for it in my books and found it. It is by T.S.W. (1970)

            I take it you already know
            Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
            Others may stumble but not you
            On hiccough, thorough, lough and through.
            Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
            To learn of less familiar traps?

            Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
            That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
            And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead-
            For goodness sake don’t call it ‘dead’!
            Watch out for meat and great and threat
            (They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).

  6. just so you’re aware, i read this title to justin over the weekend, in a little bit of a shock. and we (not the biggest curse word users, but they sneak in) have being using the word ‘fucktard’ for almost anything irrelevant since. 😉

    • Hahaha. Hm, should I be proud of my influence? Actually, it’s pretty funny – my mother minds A LOT if I swear in Russian (which I almost never do), but doesn’t care at all if I do so in English (which I do a fair bit), because ‘it’s a primitive language. It doesn’t count, because all the swears are derivative of ‘fuck.’ It’s just like a dog barking’ :-O

    • Lol, I tell it like it is! Still, it’s one thing to do this on a personal blog, and entirely different when you’re saying/writing it and other ‘uncouth language’ around the office all day!

      And I’ll definitely take you up on the Aussie offer! The hardest part is actually figuring the origin of the slang/comment. For example, when I was looking up ‘spooks’, it turned out that it actually used to be racial slur against African Americans in the US. But I think this use isnt common anymore. At the same time it’s a current Brit slang against spies, especially government agents.

  7. We have an American friend who is about to return to the US and is desperately trying to train her daughter to start using ‘eraser’ for the thing that rubs out pencil mistakes. She doesn’t want to be called into school when her daughter asks the teacher for a ‘rubber’!

    • Oh gosh, I remember Emma Watson (Hermione?) talking about this in an interview, when she’s been asking for a rubber in her class at Brown U.

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