Who is the real Languagehat? December 18, 2007 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Languagehat revealed! Who is he? An insider tells all in his explosive new book!

In a post on his blog, Languagehat reveals himself as the author of a new book and gives his real name there for the first time.
posted by Mo Nickels to MetaFilter-Related at 9:49 AM (97 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

Someone should celebrate this momentous occasion by flaming out spectacularly.
posted by dersins at 9:56 AM on December 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


MY ARM FOR YOU!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:57 AM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Moreover, he reveals that he doesn't really like hats!!
posted by found missing at 9:58 AM on December 18, 2007


This is a victory for old cranks everywhere! Even those who don't speak real good. Too bad it isn't available in the US. This would make a great present for a certain curmudgeon I know.

Still, "yay" for LH!
posted by Lola_G at 10:01 AM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


The real scandal lies in the fact that he turns out to have been the chairman of the National Ministry for for the Promulgation of Prescriptivism all this time.
posted by koeselitz at 10:01 AM on December 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


I got him a deleted FPP as a congratulatory offering.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:02 AM on December 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Very nice. And I love it that he quotes the wonderful and forgotten H. L. Davis in the very first entry.
posted by LarryC at 10:03 AM on December 18, 2007


you're all such prumphænsnies.
posted by yeoz at 10:03 AM on December 18, 2007


Congratulations, but why are we poor Brits denied the sparkling LH-patented introduction? Also, you may want to have a word with your distributor...
posted by patricio at 10:03 AM on December 18, 2007


Heh. Now that my head is all swolled up, you'll be getting bills for my services in your MeMail, alla youse carriage-fuckers.

Special sneak preview, just for my fellow MeFites: the saying I quote from my mother-in-law is "Oh, for shitting in the sink." Next time something goes wrong, try hollering that and see if you don't feel better!
posted by languagehat at 10:04 AM on December 18, 2007 [16 favorites]


Congratulations, you beautiful bastard*. Also, I never would have guessed you were working on a book of international curses and insults.

*I don't know languagehat's birth status, but it seemed like the right thing to call him at this time.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:05 AM on December 18, 2007


Wow, congratulations languagehat! I had no idea you could write.
posted by Mister_A at 10:05 AM on December 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: Oh, for shitting in the sink
posted by shinynewnick at 10:08 AM on December 18, 2007


I INSIST THAT SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THE FUCK A FARTCHICKEN IS SUPPOSED TO BE!
posted by shmegegge at 10:08 AM on December 18, 2007


DING, gratz!
posted by studentbaker at 10:10 AM on December 18, 2007


Well we had been warned ahead of time. Congrats LH!!!
posted by peacay at 10:18 AM on December 18, 2007


Evidently, languagehat is actually Ron Jeremy, because languagehat.com is blocked at work for me. Curse you, randy linguist!
posted by scody at 10:25 AM on December 18, 2007


I had no idea you could write.

LOL.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:26 AM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Congrats hat. Now all we need is for him to reveal his social security number and mother's maiden name and all of the pieces will fall together.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:28 AM on December 18, 2007


Yes, yes, but what's going on with asavage????
posted by ORthey at 10:35 AM on December 18, 2007


Metafilter: A genial but pointless collection of affronts
posted by patricio at 10:38 AM on December 18, 2007


I am looking forward to this coming to the US. I remember cracking up at the literal translation of "je m'en fous et le contrefous" in International Dictionary of Obscenities years ago (what's a "counterfuck?"), and a whole book of untranslatables will be welcome.
posted by lleachie at 10:42 AM on December 18, 2007


Yay, languagehat, you randy linguist! Did you include "kolopaido"?
posted by taz at 10:42 AM on December 18, 2007


what's a "counterfuck?"

$20 SAIT
posted by found missing at 10:43 AM on December 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Divulging your real name is over rated.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:44 AM on December 18, 2007


Yes, yes, but what's going on with asavage????

He just bought a bike.
posted by dersins at 10:44 AM on December 18, 2007


Congratulations! This is my gift to you.
posted by OmieWise at 10:45 AM on December 18, 2007


Congrats Steve-o!

(& I promise never to call you this again.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:46 AM on December 18, 2007


lol, OmieWise!
posted by taz at 10:48 AM on December 18, 2007


Gay kocken offen yom, Languagehat. I am tired of you being smarter and funnier than me. Color me gone! Here's my right hand as a parting gift, you shitsmoking stumpfucker.
posted by melissa may at 10:51 AM on December 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'm back! But one more stunt like this and I'm really leaving, you wordy damn fartchicken.
posted by melissa may at 10:52 AM on December 18, 2007


It's a fake name. Let me demonstrate.
NEDRY: Dodson!
[Dodson hurries over to the table.]
DODSON: (as he sits) You shouldn't use my name.
NEDRY: Dodson, Dodson. (loud) We got Dodson here! See, nobody cares. Nice hat.
QED.
posted by Plutor at 10:54 AM on December 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


Why doesn't the FT review list LH as an author? We should deliver a full pitchforks-and-torches beatdown to the reviewer, whoever he is.
posted by matthewr at 10:55 AM on December 18, 2007


More like Conhats, amirite?

No. No, I am not.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:01 AM on December 18, 2007


Yay for Languagehat!!!
posted by serazin at 11:02 AM on December 18, 2007


shmegegge: I INSIST THAT SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THE FUCK A FARTCHICKEN IS SUPPOSED TO BE!

Well, being the source of Icelandic insults in languagehat's book I suppose this falls on me. A fartchicken is a chicken that farts. Or possibly some hybrid between a chicken and a fart. Perhaps even a chicken made from a fart. This multilayeredness is what gives prumphænsn its uncommon rhetorical force.

However, the crucial question of which came first, the fart or the chicken, remains unsettled.
posted by Kattullus at 11:06 AM on December 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


more like steven dodfat amirite lol

Damn. That's doesn't work as well.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:08 AM on December 18, 2007


I can't wait to read the book and deliver blistering attacks to friends and enemies. Not that they will understand, of course.

Does anyone else get super paranoid in a LH-related thread that you will make a minor grammatical error and look like an unwashed Philistine? Anyone?
posted by SteveTheRed at 11:08 AM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why doesn't the FT review list LH as an author?

Because the book doesn't list LH as an author, damn its skullfucking eyes. The contract with the English publisher was apparently finalized before I came on board as coauthor, or that's what they told me. I'm not reading the FT or any UK review if I can help it, because it will just raise my blood pressure. To quote another immortal line from the book, "The jury has found you guilty of being a red-neck, white-bread, chicken-shit motherfucker!" (Yes, I got Dr. Dre in there, and I'm pleased as punch about it, even if they cut "evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet"—sorry, Canadians, your insults just aren't as vile).
posted by languagehat at 11:14 AM on December 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yay for the 'hat!

I wonder if it's too late to put it on my xmas list...but I don't live where the cool kids do, obviously, since it's not available in the U.S. yet. Dang it!
posted by rtha at 11:19 AM on December 18, 2007


Does anyone else get super paranoid in a LH-related thread that you will make a minor grammatical error and look like an unwashed Philistine? Anyone?

No, I'm more paranoid that we'll start playing the dozens, because I'll be knocked out by round one, even if I don't understand that he just called my mother a goat who cavorts with soldiers in Rom.

On preview: damn, that sucks, languagehat. Are you at least getting a royalty cut? Because I sure don't want to line the pockets of a bunch of red-neck, white-bread, chicken-shit motherfuckers otherwise.
posted by melissa may at 11:19 AM on December 18, 2007


Great! This will go well on my shelf labeled Assorted Books by Learned Mefites concerning Vices, Not available in the United States, next to Miguel's recent book on cocktails.
posted by vacapinta at 11:20 AM on December 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Rom wasn't goat-fucked in a day, melissa may.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:21 AM on December 18, 2007


Well done, Stteeeeeeeeeve. Do let us know when the US version drops.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:24 AM on December 18, 2007


I remember learning the Ancient Greek equivalent to "Go to hell." Βαλλ' εισ κορ&alphaκησ is literally "Throw yourself to the crows." Although I probably munged the hell out of the spelling there.
posted by sciurus at 11:24 AM on December 18, 2007


Congratulations, LH!

I demand they reprint all the books with, "MeFi's Own Languagehat" on the cover. With an additional preface by Matt Haughey and a rebuttal immediately following the book by quonsar.

Oh, and all the pictures in the book (especially the carriage-fucking chickenfart pictures) need LOLCAT captions under them.

and Plutor, I love you for the JP reference.
posted by misha at 11:26 AM on December 18, 2007


Huh that's odd - I was listening to an interview with the author on This Way Up, a radio show in New Zealand. Was it you languagehat? Or the other bloke?
posted by meech at 11:26 AM on December 18, 2007


Yes, yes. I see that I did.
posted by sciurus at 11:27 AM on December 18, 2007


A million congratulations, Languagehat, you Brutish Product of the Mineral World!
posted by grumblebee at 11:29 AM on December 18, 2007


he's still a man of mystery....

congrats lh
best of luck with this book
posted by caddis at 11:32 AM on December 18, 2007


What a cunning stunt languagehat. Congratulations.
posted by Sailormom at 11:33 AM on December 18, 2007


Are you at least getting a royalty cut?

Nope. Work-for-hire. But hey, it gets my name out there, and hopefully I can use it to get an agent and a contract for my own solo book with a publisher who will pay me royalties.

Or the other bloke?

The other bloke. But I may be doing radio interviews when the US edition comes out (hello, Terry Gross! can I say %$&@*!! on the air?), in which case I'll alert the assembled multitudes.
posted by languagehat at 11:50 AM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


it gets my name out there

Not in the UK.

sorry.
posted by dersins at 12:05 PM on December 18, 2007


You there, boy!
What, me, sir?
Go down to the butcher! Get me a fartchicken. The biggest fartchicken in all of London.
Wha, the fartchicken as big as me?
posted by WCityMike at 12:07 PM on December 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Thank you, languagehat. This is going to make flameouts all the more interesting!
posted by mds35 at 12:10 PM on December 18, 2007


Congratulations! I look forward to seeing it in the flesh. The book, that is.

And I guess your two cents are shinier than mine.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:29 PM on December 18, 2007


*dances in anticipation of the variety of insults that will replace the usual MeFi snarks*
posted by Cranberry at 12:31 PM on December 18, 2007


Congrats languagehat. One question though; will you take it personally if I buy the book expressly for the purposes of hurling arcane and obscure invectives at other Mefites? What if I say that I'm quoting you when I do it?

I only ask because this is exactly what I plan on doing when I get a hold of a copy of your work.
posted by quin at 12:43 PM on December 18, 2007


Sailormom: "What a cunning stunt languagehat."

No, you're thinking of someone else.
posted by Plutor at 12:43 PM on December 18, 2007


Shouldn't this be in projects?
posted by cmonkey at 12:54 PM on December 18, 2007


Felicitations! And sympathy, as someone who has also been a work-for-hire, no-name-on-the-goddamn-cover author.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:08 PM on December 18, 2007


Congratulations!

I can't wait to see MeFi have at the amazon.com comments.
posted by spec80 at 1:19 PM on December 18, 2007


Huh. And I was so sure this was him.
posted by homunculus at 1:26 PM on December 18, 2007


But I may be doing radio interviews when the US edition comes out (hello, Terry Gross! can I say %$&@*!! on the air?), in which case I'll alert the assembled multitudes.

Oh, you have to do "As It Happens" on CBC. They'll run your profanities. All you fucking profanities. And they'll love that evil reptilian kitten-eater got cut.
posted by GuyZero at 1:40 PM on December 18, 2007


Nifty
Note to self: do not attempt to trade international curses and insults with languagehat
posted by Smedleyman at 2:31 PM on December 18, 2007


Congratulations, hatman. This certainly beats getting listed among the 27 contributors to "The People's Almanac Presents Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People".

But now the BIG revelation: Dr. Robert Vanderplank is MetaFilter's Formerly Own ParisParamus!!

Would you believe Keyser Soze?

Stan Chin?

madamjujujive?

stavros? is that you?
posted by wendell at 2:39 PM on December 18, 2007


I sure hope there was entry for "Walking the Vanderplank."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:45 PM on December 18, 2007


w00t!
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:46 PM on December 18, 2007


will you take it personally if I buy the book expressly for the purposes of hurling arcane and obscure invectives at other Mefites?

I will take it as a personal compliment. (Fortunately, I have access to the ones they didn't print, so I will never lack for return ammunition.)

Incidentally, I got a "w00t" from quonsar in the LH thread! W00t!
posted by languagehat at 2:48 PM on December 18, 2007


W00t! W00t, I say! Word UP, Steverino!
posted by Lynsey at 2:48 PM on December 18, 2007


I would suggest that if worldwide sales of this book do not exceed 63,500, that we track down all the MeFites who did not buy it and force them to wear a hat shaped like an ass. (And those of you with multiple sockpuppets MUST buy one for each username)

It's the least we can do, even if LHat isn't getting royalties. It'll make selling his first solo book idea a lot easier...
posted by wendell at 3:16 PM on December 18, 2007


Big congrats! I can't wait for this to come stateside.
posted by snsranch at 3:17 PM on December 18, 2007


And those of you with multiple sockpuppets MUST buy one for each username

Can't afford to.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:19 PM on December 18, 2007


MeFi has already taught me so much about cursing in Hindi, I don't know how much more I can take. We'll just have to buy the book and see, I guess.
posted by carsonb at 4:01 PM on December 18, 2007


The decision to cut ‘May the horses fuck the carriage’ shows a total lack of judgement. These are the kind of phrases that make a book sell. Congrats!
posted by ersatz at 4:25 PM on December 18, 2007


So, LH: Were there any they didn't print because they were too scandalous?

(Also, I am totally getting this book when it comes to the US)
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:06 PM on December 18, 2007


I'm going to look for it at my local bookstore.
posted by tellurian at 5:44 PM on December 18, 2007


So, LH: Were there any they didn't print because they were too scandalous?

Not at all; they loved the scandalous stuff I brought to the project. They just had to cut it to fit the available space, and they got rid of some of the less scandalous material (sorry, Canada).

Now, here's the kind of thing that pisses me off, and why I try not to read the reviews of the UK edition. From this review:

We also get the sensation of an academic uncomfortable about writing in an informal, chatty style. When Vanderplank quotes NWA’s ‘Fuck Tha Police’, for example, it is impossible not to feel a twinge of embarrassment.

That wasn't Vanderplank, you fartchicken! Bah.
posted by languagehat at 5:48 PM on December 18, 2007


Vanderplank sounds like a character in Starslip Crisis, which already has a Vanderbeam...
posted by wendell at 5:59 PM on December 18, 2007


Whoa, awesome! Congratulations!
posted by equalpants at 6:14 PM on December 18, 2007


If it helps your blood pressure, LH, Cherwell is a mere student newspaper, and an Oxford one at that. The FT reviewer, until recently, edited one of the papers at my university. Have you done something to offend British studentdom?
posted by matthewr at 6:22 PM on December 18, 2007


Wonderful! Congrats on the publication, languagehat. Hope it leads to many, many more.

Gay kocken offen yom

Heh. My grandma taught me that one.
posted by mediareport at 7:06 PM on December 18, 2007


"Have you done something to offend British studentdom?"

Of course he has. Who hasn't?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:19 PM on December 18, 2007


languagewho?
posted by The Deej at 8:31 PM on December 18, 2007


His birth name is muteshoe, by the way.
posted by The Deej at 8:31 PM on December 18, 2007


Congratulations on pulling more great stuff from that hat of yours!
posted by Songdog at 8:49 PM on December 18, 2007


oooh. Congrats!
posted by stagewhisper at 8:50 PM on December 18, 2007


Fartchicken indeed. Fartchicken indeed.

I attempted to assist LH with some choice Korean cursing when he asked, way back when, but was almost entirely unable to do so, to my eternal shame.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:17 PM on December 18, 2007


¡Me cago en la leche de la santísima virgen. Enhorabuena guapetón!
posted by Wilder at 3:23 AM on December 19, 2007


Hey hey! Congratulations languagehat!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:15 AM on December 19, 2007


Oooh, this looks *awesome*! Can't wait for the US debut! And congratulations!!!!!!!
posted by mothershock at 5:39 AM on December 19, 2007


Gay kocken offen yom

I didn't include that one, but I do have Gey in d'rerd!.

I should mention that not only did Kattullus basically write the Icelandic chapter for me (and I'm thrilled that his sléttubönd poem made it through to the final product!), but the infinitely learned zaelic handed me the Eastern European intro on a platter (I mean, how the hell would I have known that "Romanian cursing seems to have fixated on oral sex along the 'suck my dick' line, which is curiously absent in Hungarian swearing"?). And if the wonderchicken had only been more up on his Korean cussing, he could have been immortalized in the acknowledgments along with his fellow MeFites.
posted by languagehat at 5:52 AM on December 19, 2007


I offered to contribute Chinese since I recently did some work on that, but alas, I was too late.

Congratulations though! You're already reasonably well-know outside of mefi. I've seen you mentioned on ADS-L a few times, and your site is one of the options for Google Reader. Not to mention Language Log. None of those are small accomplishments.

(And if anyone wants a list of 100 Chinese put-downs, largely of the schoolyard variety, and optimized for the Northeast Dialect, send me a mefi-mail and I'll send you a copy.)
posted by strangeguitars at 8:08 AM on December 19, 2007


Go you! I'll be keeping my eyes open for it.
posted by hippugeek at 10:58 AM on December 19, 2007


As usual, most cool guys are named Steve. Or SHOULD be.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:45 PM on December 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was given this book a couple of months ago and have been studying it daily in preparation for the forthcoming family Christmas. Good job, chap.

Additional text by Stephen Dodson.
posted by blag at 12:59 AM on December 20, 2007


The book, Uglier Than a Monkey's Armpit, was reviewed in Atlantica, Icelandair's inflight magazine along with the Helvetica documentary and Radiohead's In Rainbows. This is the text:
HE HAS A HAIR IN HIS HAND
Uglier than a Monkey's Armpit, by Dr. Robert Vanderplank

We move now from the basics of the written word, to things that probably shouldn't be written down at all. Bringing a collection of the world's worst and most imaginative insults together in one book is a fun idea that was overdue, probably because of the immense amount of work that its creation clearly involved.
     The aforementioed insult about having a hair in the hand comes from French and means lazy. It conjures images of the civil servant who has better things to do than help you—because he has a hair in his hand. The book is a good mix of bizarre and amusing examples like that, as well as the downright offensive. Too funny to be an academic work, but also too academic to be bedside reading, Uglier Than a Monkey's Armpit (a graphic Spanish insult, by the way) is best kept for reference when going on foreign holidays, receiving foreign guests, or just for spicing up your French homework.
posted by Kattullus at 3:51 PM on December 22, 2007


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