Your mother, your rat, your infidel house, your God, etc.

Andrew Brown points us to an illuminating article by Bernard Nežmah on swearing in Serbian. Though the article is five years old, I daresay its theme is timeless.

According to Nežmah’s piece — published in Central Europe Review or, as we must now call it, Transitions Online — the Serbian language is blessed with a dazzling, perhaps unsurpassed richness of vulgarisms. Even English, no slouch at that sort of thing, pales in comparison: such are the subtleties of the Serbian variants on the F-word that Serbian-English dictionaries (the more comprehensive editions, one imagines) are reduced to explaining in an aside whether a given word for ‘fuck’ is jocularly offensive, just plain offensive, really really offensive, so offensive it should be used only in the event of war, etc.

A tip of the jaunty afoe fedora to Andrew (who surprises us by revealing he used to speak Serbo-Croat in addition to English, Swedish, Caenorhabditic and whatever else he has up his sleeve).