Sep 15, 2015

6000 Ways to Say "Penis"

As an undergrad Modern Languages major, I studied Spanish, French, German, and Greek.  In grad school in Comparative Literature, I studied Italian, Russian, and Turkish.  Since then, I've studied several other languages.  Of course, I didn't get far in most, and they fade away over time; today, about all I can get by in are the original Spanish, French, and German.

But I'm still interested in languages, particularly isolates, the remnants of ancient language families that have somehow managed to avoid the encroachment of economically-superior English, Spanish, Urdu, Chinese, or Arabic.

Actually, after my execrable dating experience with Ari the Linguist, I don't really want to learn the languages; I just want to meet men who speak a language unlike any other in the world, and maybe learn a few new words for penis or My hotel is nearby.

1. Burushaski: 87,000 speakers in mountains of far northern Pakistan, near the borders of China and Tajikstan.

Their valley, Hunza, was the source of the Shangri-La legend.  Travelers said that they had no wars or disputes, and eternal youth.  So this Burushaski gym rat could be over 100.  He's had a shipen since he was about 20; before that, it was a sushun.

Tash chom means pull, sex appeal, and to find someone to spend the night with.

2. Tarascan (Purepecha), the remnants of an empire that threatened the Aztecs in precolonial Mexico, now has 240,000 speakers in Michioacan.

Kuini in Purepecha means penis, bird, and prison term.  I'm wondering about the prison term.

3. Mapuche: 250,000 speakers in southern Ecuador.  Their leader Capulican is memoralized in a Beefcake statue.

The slogan of the Mapuche civil rights movement is Newen penis, "Power to Mapuche Brothers."

The Mapuche word for penis is punun, which, by the way, is the same as the Quechua word for bed. 

They specialize in a novelty carving called an Indio Picaro, a smiling Mapuche Indian who, when you raise him up, displays an erect penis.

4. Basque, with 720,000 speakers in the Pyrenees of northern Spain. Yuri and I visited Basque country in 1999 in search of the world's largest penis.

Which, in Basque, is zakil.

5. But the biggest of the language isolates is Korean, with 78 million speakers.

The average Korean penis length is 3.8", the smallest in the world (the 5.0").

There's a blog that attempts to answer this unjust accusation, offering proof that the Korean eumgyeong is just as big as anybody else's.

See also: 10 Ethnic Groups on my Bucket List; The Linguist who Wouldn't Shut Up.

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