Text: Ki esett a csöcs a szájából
Transliteration: ki → off / esett a → fell / csöcs → tit / a szájából → from the mouth
Translation: “The tit fell from the mouth”
Context: My informant, a 20-year old Hungarian student, explained to me that this Hungarian phrase is often used to describe when someone “said something they weren’t supposed to,” whether intentional (in a fit of anger) or not. She also explained that the phrase “is meant to be playful” and is not intended to directly insult or offend.
Analysis: This phrase has some resemblance to the work of Sigmund Freud, who was born and carried out much of his work in the Austro-Hungary Empire, of which Hungary was then a part (“Sigmund Freud”). His theories, then, which originated geographically very close to present-day Hungary, seem to be a plausible influence for much of the Hungarian folk speech I have collected: the similarities are almost too striking to be coincidental. The text harkens to Freudian developmental theory, specifically the characteristic “oral” stage that takes place during infancy (Lantz). According to Freud, when humans are infants we have a fascination with oral sensation: a desire to constantly taste and put things in our mouths brought about by the need to breastfeed (Lantz). This is the first stage of human psychological development which ends once we are weaned, but these are the behaviors that are expected from us and considered normal during this stage (Lantz). The phrase Ki esett a csöcs a szájából (“The tit fell from the mouth”) indicates a severance from the breast and a brief, accidental deviation from the expected behavior during infancy (latching and breastfeeding). This connection to Freud can be further reinforced by thinking of these verbal faux pas as “Freudian slips,” where our subconscious feelings accidentally seep into our consciousness, and we inadvertently reveal what we were thinking about subconsciously. Placing this in context with Freudian psychosexual theory, Ki esett a csöcs a szájából refers to going against social expectations by saying something lewd, offensive, or otherwise surprising in a moment where it is uncalled for. In terms of Freud, you are accidentally and momentarily stepping outside of your expected social behavior, like an infant in Freud’s “oral stage” that fails to latch. The “slips” can include any display of uncharacteristic aggression that contradicts the “latent aggressive or passive tendencies” of the Freudian oral stage (Lantz).
References for historical research:
Lantz, Sarah E. “Freud Developmental Theory.” National Library of Medicine. StatPearls Publishing, 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557526/. Accessed 22 Feb. 2023.
“Sigmund Freud” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Feb. 2023, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud.