This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. How could I deny my Mashed Radish regulars this language fun from afar?
..and it was delicious.
Alright, there’s no coprophagy going on here, but I can’t resist sharing a scatological–and multilingual–anecdote with our readers.
My wife and I recently had the fortune to visit the temples of Angkor outside Siem Reap, Cambodia. Perfumed with the incense of the green jungle and rising steeply out of the red dirt into the white sun, these ancient temples–layered with spiritual symbolism from their broadest stones to their most intricate carvings–stand as astonishing testaments to man and woman, myth and memory, might and moment, impermanence and time. They are the soul of Cambodia, as our gracious and intelligent guide, Sokkoy, explained. He typified the generosity of service and spirit we experienced in the resilient Cambodian people. Yes, he well explained the rich history of the temples, but he also shared wonderful local foods and, as the language nerd in me never takes a vacation, insights into the Khmer tongue.
Just past one temple, he pulled his tuk tuk over to a roadside stand where women hacked at the fruit of the palm tree. The fresh seeds are nearly fist-sized, milky-clear, and jelly-like, cooling your mouth with a refreshing juice. Sokkoy then presented us some more mature seeds, which harden when too old but, at just the right age, take on a chalky-spongy texture, orange hue, and subtle coconut flavor, best when iced.
“How do you like it?” Sokkoy asked.
“It’s really good!”
“Well, you’ve eaten crap now,” I hear him say.
“–krahp tnaot. We call this krahp tnaot. You have eaten krahp tnaot,” Sokkoy repeated with a shit-eating grin. Krahp tnaot, as I attempt to transcribe here, is pronounced very much like crap now, as I’m sure you’ve gathered. “When you go home, you must tell everyone that in Cambodia, you have eaten krahp tnaot.”
“I have eaten krahp tnaot,” I laughed, taking another bite into this tasty treat (whose exact identity, and a better transcription of which, I have not been able to locate since home). Like a little kid trying out a new schoolyard swearword at the dinner table, I tried out my new phrase on all the staff, and I mean all the staff, at our lodgings.
OK, crap is extremely mild for Strong Language standards, but Sokkoy’s (rather linguistically complex multilingual) pun proves that a poop joke knows no borders.