Re: YAEPT: Australian Milo
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, July 1, 2006, 16:20|
Mark J. Reed wrote:
> Tristan Alexander McLeay wrote:[snip]
>> (Incidentally, I never knew "twat" was a swear word, nor that it
>> referred to female genitalia. I just thought it was a bit of a light &
>> dated insult. Well within the range of what a teacher might say to a
>> student they considered mature in reference to someone else.)
> Well, in the context, despite being a British show rather than
> American, it was definitely being used in the way I'm familiar with.
Yep - but Tristan's an Ozzie, not a Brit :)
But I am am a Brit and in view of the fuss over this little word, I
thought I'd consult my dictionary. It gives;
- the pronunciation as either /twQt/ or /tw&t/.
- the primary meaning as a vulgarism for the vulva; the secondary
meaning as a coarse term of reproach.
- the etymology unknown.
Therefore, it is hardly surprising that it might be heard on a British
show (one assumes well past the 9.00 pm 'watershed') with the meaning of
vulva, nor that it was pronounced /tw&t/. As a fellow Brit earlier
wrote, both /twQt/ and /tw&t/ are used here - as the dictionary confirms.
FWIW, I have rarely heard the word in use & always IIRC with the
pronunciation /tw&t/. I believe I have heard it used in both meanings
given by the dictionary.
I guess that in Oz, from Tristan's mail and that fact he said the term
was "dated", that the primary meaning has been forgotten, so the
secondary meaning has, presumably, lost its coarseness. I'm sure a
teacher who said it to a student here could well find himself in trouble.
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760