Flatus Vocis

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I don’t know about the next person, but I’m starting to find the phrase putang ina – and all its derivatives – completely and utterly meaningless.  “Putang ina,” often contracted to “tangina,” is of course the Filipino equivalent of “your mother’s a whore.”  While it’s used in the same way and frequency as the curse-word “motherfucker,” the direct translation is different and rather difficult to say: “Sumasampa ka sa nanay mo.”

Putang ina is supposed to be a very offensive phrase that violates the dignity of mothers and women everywhere, but if you use a curse too often, it loses its power.  People flick middle fingers too often nowadays that I stopped using it; these days, I use The Shocker.  Putang ina can be used to begin a sentence, as a conjuction, as an interjection, as a verb, as a noun, as a conjecture, as an adverb, as an adjective, and so on and so forth.

There is no single mode in Filipino or Taglish that putang ina does not fulfill.  Putang ina can be a subject, it can be a predicate, it could be an object, it could be a referent, it could be a signifier, it could be a signified…

What was once a genuinely offensive figure of speech is so common, that you might as well be offended by the word “The.”

I surmise that there was a time that putang ina was the stuff that would make a good plot device in a Ronnie Ricketts film: the hero’s mother is called a whore, the hero goes berserk, and an old schoolbus explodes.  These days, it’s too common; putang ama doesn’t have the same kick.  Putang aso mo is merely a reiteration of the word “bitch.”  Puta madre?  Nah, too common.  Puta ka?  You’re not exactly Vilma Santos.

So don’t be so surprised why I use the words “dickshit,” “monkeyfucker,” and “dogfister.”

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