Anglo-Saxons must have been a fiercely efficient race. I suspect that the Protestant work ethic and eating in cars during a commute are vestiges of that efficiency, the same efficiency that has left its mark on the English language—the language of getting things done.
Mediterranean cultures, on the other hand, like a three-hour lunch. Much to the horror of Strunk and White, they’ll not only use two words when one will do, they’ll probably use ten. It’s hardly surprising that Romance languages lend themselves to meandering and entirely uneconomic profanity. A hasty “fuck you!” would never do, oh no.
Much was made of the agglomerative nature of French profanity by the Merovingian in the second Matrix movie:
I have sampled every language, French is my favorite. Fantastic language, especially to curse with. Nom de dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d’enculé de ta mère. Like wiping your ass with silk.
Well. That is a long string of nested prepositional phrases that doesn’t make all that much grammatical sense. That may be enough for Gallic cyber-demons, but in Spain, we take pride in the grammatical correctness of our impossibly long invective.
Case in point: the Me cago en… (literally, I shit on…) construction. Common toilet substitutes include the sea, everything that flies, your mother/father, and all manner of blasphemous locales too sacrilegious to transcribe in English.
But the mark of a wordsmith, of a cultured man or woman of letters, is the ability to generate, on the fly, original, long, and grammatically correct receptacles in which to void. Though non-native speakers can never hope to attain a true mastery of this particular cultural form, using my handy Java-powered insult generator can at least open their eyes to its endless possibilities.
Here are some particularly juicy examples, in the original and translated:
Me cago en un pasaporte. (I shit on a passport.)
Me cago en todo lo que mira a tu supervisor que aparece a tu padre que come el oceano a mi hermano que navega de tu Dios a esas uvas. (I shit on everything that watches your supervisor who appears before your father who eats the ocean of my brother who sails from your God to those grapes.)
Me cago en las jorobadas hormigas de mi abuela. (I shit on my grandmother’s hunchbacked ants.)
Me cago en los olvidados franceses. (I shit on the forgotten French.)
Never better said.
The insult strings are generated recursively using the code described here and the following grammar:
S -> Me cago en NP
NP -> todo lo que VP
NP -> NNP PP
NP -> NNP
PP -> P NP
PP -> P Pos Per
PP -> P Pos Per QP
QP -> que VP PP
VP -> V
VP -> V NP
VP -> V PP
NAF -> AdjF NF
NAM -> AdjM NM
NAM -> NM
NAF -> NF
NPAF -> AdjFP NFP
NPAM -> AdjMP NMP
NPAM -> NMP
NPAF -> NFP
NNP -> DetF NAF
NNP -> DetM NAM
NNP -> Pos Per
NNP -> DetFP NPAF
NNP -> DetMP NPAM
DetF -> la | una | esta | esa
DetM -> el | un | este | ese
DetFP -> las | estas | esas
DetMP -> los | estos | esos
NM -> mar | sol | coche | oceano | pais | gobierno | presidente | sueño | pastel de cumpleaños | perro | gato | sombrero | plato | futuro | chorizo | pasaporte | coño
NF -> mar | sombra | cama | hostia | leche | lluvia | verdad | tortilla | mierda | cumbre | polla | leche
NMP -> americanos | franceses | pantalones | zapatitos | cojones | primos | antepasados | albondigas
NFP -> embarcaciones | hipotecas | gafas | uvas | sillas | hormigas | ruedas
P -> a | de
Pos -> tu | mi
V -> come | ve | mira | vuela | salta | conduce | escribe | navega | fomenta | aparece | apesta | huele
AdjM -> puto | asqueroso | maloliente | podrido
AdjF -> pegajosa | sucia | mísera | pobre | desesperada
AdjMP -> olividados | sucios | malditos | putos | poderosos
AdjFP -> putas | malditas | jorobadas | odiosas
Per -> padre | abuela | prima-hermana | bisabuelo | madre | Dios | supervisor | jefe | hermano
Grammatical gender presents certain problems, as do different prepositions. A truly robust generator would separate nouns into different types (locations, people, activities, organizations, etc.) and pair them with appropriate verbs and prepositional phrases. But I can do this without a computer. It’s more interesting to see how a computer squeeze together phrases that, while grammatically correct, I would never say in tandem.
I shit on your birthday cake.