Tag Archives: saying

“Is there a worm in your butt?” – Arabic Saying

Context:

She heard it a lot in her childhood from her aunts when she was in Jordan. If someone is restless, and can’t sit still, they would ask that person, “Fi doodeh bi teezak?”

Text:

Original Script: في دودة بطيزك؟

Transliteration: Fi doodeh b-teezak?

Literal Translation: Is there worm in your butt?

Smooth Translation: Is there a worm in your butt?

Thoughts:

This was a saying I heard when I was a kid, and I still find it funny to this day; it has the listener imagine someone unable to sit still because of the discomfort of having a worm in their butt. Because that situation would be considered abnormal, and it is being compared to a person who can’t sit still, the saying implies that Arabs see it abnormal for someone to not sit still and rest.

NO SLOW FRIENDS ON A POWDER DAY

MAIN PIECE: 

Informant: So one thing is like… “No slow friends on a powder day.” Which is just a way to say that you’re like picky with who you ski with when there’s powder, you know? Like you don’t wanna have to be responsible for someone slow on a powder day. You don’t wanna miss out on the fresh tracks. 

INFORMANT’S RELATIONSHIP TO THE PIECE:

Informant: It’s the weirdest thing but, other than your mom, I don’t need to ski with anyone else. ‘Cause I like to go at my tempo which is probably more than other people want to do, you know? Like I’m… You let the monkey out of the cage on a powder day.

Interviewer: Why powder days specifically?

Informant: It’s just… It’s like the ultimate… For me it’s a huge part of why I live in the mountains and what I look forward to. I have certain areas nailed and I know exactly where I’m going and it’s just a little hidden area of paradise that, you know, ninety percent of people don’t know about. And you’re skiing it on a good powder day and it’s just amazing… The sensation of skiing untracked powder is one of the biggest lifts for me.

REFLECTION:

Being from a ski town, I can attest to the fact that, amongst avid skiers, there is a deep enthusiasm for powder days. People will wake up incredibly early––before the mountain has even opened––so they can be first in line at the chairlift and ski “first tracks” or “freshies” (areas that haven’t been skied yet, and so are still covered in fresh snow). Going alone or with a group that skis at your pace ensures you have a better shot at getting to those areas before anyone else skis them up, disrupting the powder. Proverbs are ways to pass on wisdom and give advice. This proverb is a way to advise others not to ski with someone slow, as they will then have to wait for that person and risk missing out on untracked snow. Proverbs also make it easier to say harsh things. If someone wants to ski with you on a powder day, you can use this proverb to express that you’d like to ski alone. 

“Wear it in Good Health”

 The informant explains how a common Jewish expression came into existence and the importance of it within the community.

L: Why do the Jews say “wear it in good health?” 

M: Okay, so that’s something– um, basically every adult in my life, whenever I got a new pair of shoes, would tell me to “wear them in good health”. And for years, I just thought that was a thing that people said, until I moved away from south Florida and was made aware, no that’s just Jewish people. 

So, I asked my one grandmother who’s still alive about it and she told me it’s because, like, growing up in New York– or not even New York — growing up as a Jewish person in the 40s and 50s, like, there was always this sense that you could just die. So, when someone tells you to wear something in good health it’s both like a command to tell you that you need to be healthy, but it’s also, like, a wish for your well being. Because, like, there’s a culture of worrying about people. 

Like, there’s a stereotype of the Jewish grandmother who’s always worried. Those things sort of come from the same place. They’re sort of like, a wish for your health — like, don’t do something stupid!

Thoughts:

Upon further research, this Yiddish saying is directly related to the saying “Use it in good health”. “Use it in good health” is simply a version of “wear it in good health” that has become popularized throughout the United States.

It’s interesting how much Yiddish vocabulary has made it into the American vernacular. Words like “schmuck”, “bagel”, “glitch”, and “klutz” are just a small selection of words that have crossed over from Yiddish into American English. It’s no surprise that Yiddish sayings have followed with the Yiddish words themselves.

“Bhaghnikt Anush Lini” – Armenian Saying

Informant’s Background:

My informant, AD, is an undergraduate student at USC who grew up in Glendale, California. Her family immigrated to the United States from the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Context:

The informant is my girlfriend and we share an apartment together. I asked her if she could share some Armenian folklore with me, and this is one of the pieces that she provided.

Translation:

  • Original Script: Բաղնիքտ անուշ լինի:
  • Transliteration: “Bhaghnikt Anush Lini”
  • Translation: “Have a fresh shower” or “Have a sweet shower”

Performance:

AD: “So there’s thing that’s like pretty common in like Armenian families that like my parents don’t really do that often but sometimes it happens. So there’s this thing in Armenian culture where after a shower you-or before a shower they will say like “Bhaghnikt Anush Lini” which means like… Uhm, it’s like a blessing for the shower, like they’re blessing the water from, like, the bathroom so that you have a nice fresh shower.”

M: “Where do you think it originated from?”

AD: “Uhm, probably like pagan beliefs that have just like carried over, over the years in like y’know the sanctity of water and stuff in Armenian culture, and in most cultures. It’s probably just a carry-over from those years.”

Informant’s Thoughts:

AD: ” It’s, uhm, a very common saying, and I don’t think I’ve heard any other saying that’s quite like it, so that’s interesting. It’s a way of giving thanks, and like, asking for good fortune, right? I think that’s very nice.”

Thoughts:

I don’t really feel I have much to say about this one. It seems to fit in well with some of the other traditions I’ve collected from this informant, as it seems that based on my collection many Armenian traditions are based around giving thanks for “small” things, such as bread in a previous article of mine, so this fits very nicely in with that category of traditions.

Sorority Apartments

MAIN PIECE

Sorority Apartments

“A lot of Sorority girls at CSUCI have fought over who gets to live in a Sorority apartment building like most sorority girls at other schools would fight over living in the Sorority house.  To call something a Sorority apartment came from a stupid law in Camarillo from the olden days that prohibits more than ten unrelated women to live in the same house, so sororities have gone around the issue by leasing specific buildings in apartment complexes around the school.   That’s how the term came to be!”

BACKGROUND

SM is from Camarillo, California and has grown up in the area since he was born.  He says he knows this from his sister who went to CSUCI and was in a sorority that had to do this.   He remembers specifically being confused about why her friends would always call it the Sorority apartments cause on TV, people would always talk  about sorority houses,  but never apartments.

CONTEXT

SM is an old high school friend of mine.  I invited him to a  Discord server and I watched him play The Witcher.   He was open to talk about folklore of the area we grew up in during cutscenes he said he had already watched when he had played the entirety of the game before.

THOUGHTS

Folklore acting as a sort of counteraction against a law is nothing new, but the fact that it has stuck around as long as it has is impressive.  The saying of this word must come out of a unique sense of being and is probably not just specific to CSUCI sorority girls, but CSUCI students as a whole.  It must be somewhat nice for this folk group to know they get to say something that would seem a bit odd to the average person, but completely relatable and even political to those who knew the issue.