Monday, December 15, 2008

Blagofuckinjevich?

Geoffrey Pullum writes on Language Log:
But somehow you don't get the measure of Rod Blagofuckinjevich's coarseness and contempt for the public by merely learning that he regarded his gubernatorial privilege as valuable; "a fuckin' valuable thing" gets across more of the flavor of the man.
Blagofuckinjevich? The insert almost invariably goes before the stressed syllable - the exceptions are, to my knowledge, all after a prefix, such as unfuckingbelievable - and so, surely, this is wrong. Especially since the governor's name is pronounced much more closely to blagoy-evich than blago-yevich. Just try saying that out loud: Blagofuckinjevich. Now say Blafuckingojevich. The first one turns into that pseudo-Swedish prosody. The second one allows you to hit the "goy" with satisfactory savagery.

I believe Professor Pullum has erred.

Update: He agrees, saying:
Here's my mistake: I don't know Serbian, and I get my news mainly from print. And at the point when I wrote, I thought the name was Blago-JE-vich. It isn't. It's Bla-GO-jevich. The readers who have objected in comments on Ben's latest post are correct: I put the insultingly inserted expletive into his name in the wrong place.

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7 Comments:

At 1:16 PM, December 15, 2008 Anonymous Deborah Godin had this to say...

I think both pronounciations are ineffable (pun intended)

 
At 1:22 PM, December 15, 2008 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Snort! Too funny.

 
At 11:33 AM, December 16, 2008 Blogger Nameless Cynic had this to say...

Excuse me, Deborah, I believe you mean "infuckineffable" (pun or not).

("pronounciations"?)

 
At 8:13 AM, December 17, 2008 Blogger Jun had this to say...

So, the point of this post is that Professor Pullum fucked Governor Blagojevich in the wrong place?

...

...you Americans...

 
At 10:20 AM, December 17, 2008 Anonymous earnest had this to say...

As a native of Illinois who knows the local Serbian community, let me assure you you're both wrong. In the local dialect, it's Blagojefuckevich.

But then, it's also Ellinois, since you're asking.

 
At 11:56 AM, December 17, 2008 Blogger MN had this to say...

The problem here is that a lot of people (and me included though I know better) are pronouncing it as BlagOH Jeh-Vich (with the J actually making the J sound). And when you do, Blagofuckingjevich (Blago-fucking-Jevich) sounds better than Blafuckingojevich (Blah-fucking-oh-jeh-vich).

 
At 12:35 AM, December 18, 2008 Blogger coriander had this to say...

You are right about Blafuckingojevich, but I would argue that 'fucking' ALWAYS goes before the stressed syllable. I don't consider unfuckingbelievable to be an exception to the rule as much as a botched version of (one of my most frequently used words) unbefuckinglievable.

 

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