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  1. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I need a phrase similar to this . . .

    Discussion in 'Research' started by KhalieLa, Dec 17, 2015.

    I need a phrase similar to "screwed the pooch."

    Two of my wizards have seriously messed up. As in completely misinterpreted a prophesy, currently have the MC half a continent away from where she is supposed to be, and they are chasing after the wrong group of people. The third wizard shows up and says, "You two have really screwed the pooch this time."

    Unfortunately, 'screwed the pooch' feels too modern and doesn't fit with the flow of the book. If I change it back to the original, "You've fucked the dog," it reads better. The problem with that is I didn't use a single swear word in the first book and at 40K I've not employed one in the second either, so 'fucked the dog' sticks out like a sore thumb.

    This is complicated by the fact that I need an animal reference because the phrase needs to remind one of the wizards of the time Loki was a horse. The story is at a tipping point which is dependent on remembering that event.

    I'd be open to any archaic 'screwed the pooch' type phrases you can offer. (Reference need not be limited to dogs, however, it would be helpful if it didn't directly mention a horse.)
     
  2. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    'You two have really ballsed up'
    ...ditto 'cocked up','messed up','made a booboo','dropped a clanger','blundered big time' or...to keep the canine theme: 'made a dog's dinner of it'
     
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  3. Lewdog

    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    "Royally screwed up"
     
  4. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I cannot use the word 'screwed' because the culture I'm working with has no word for sex. The closest is wos-o, which means remain the night. That's why the phrasing of this is giving me trouble. I end up saying things like "they were joined" or "they coupled," etc. There are only about 1500 words in Proto-Celtic and it feels like most of them are for hit/strike. There is an old inscription, translated in to Latin, which is believed to read, "Come Girl, take my penis," so they weren't prudes. I just have to be mindful of the limitations of the language and make sure to keep the reader immersed in the period while at the same time, ensuring it makes sense and is easy to read. Modern phrases stick out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  5. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Have you got any that involve animals and sex? I like 'ballsed up' but there is no animal attached to that.

    One of my favorites (which won't work here) is, "Democrats are like cats. It sounds like they're fighting, but really they're just making more Democrats!"
     
  6. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    How does everyone feel about this phrase: "It seems you two have been out milking the bull."
    It's not exactly sexual, but it might work.
     
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  7. sidtvicious

    sidtvicious Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Dropped the ball" "fell on your face" "made a mess of" "shit the bed" "gummed up the works" "crashed and burned"
     
  8. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Assuming you mean, screwed up, and you have wizards in a sexless society, that shouldn't be too hard.

    Kissed the wrong toad
    Fell off the broomstick
    Opened the demon's cage
    Lost your wand
     
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  9. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    "Looks like we're waist deep in magic without a stave."

    :p
     
  10. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    The society is not sexless. The MC is a whore. The problem is there is no WORD for sex in Proto-Celtic. Much of the story's plot revolves around sex, hence the reference to "that one time when Loki was a horse." I've wrote 110K words in my first book and so far 40K words in the second book without using words like sex, screw, and fuck. (I think I deserve a medal! LOL) That's why the euphemisms "screw the pooch," and "fuck the dog" stick out and disrupt the flow of the novel.

    That said, "kissed the wrong toad," has potential.
     
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  11. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Um, er, * digs deep into his animal profanisaurus...

    For screwing the pooch, how about 'dipped the wick in the doggy', 'gave the dog a bone'? Or to widen the mammalian choice; 'boned the bear','laid the llama','humped the camel','jiggery-poked the porker','mingled limbs with the lambs'

    Enough now, or I'll need therapy.

    Ok, one more. 'Waxed the ass's ass'.
     
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  12. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    *doubles over laughing reading that thread*

    You guys are awesome, I can't say it often enough! There I am, seriously depressed to the point of tears by the last two scenes I've had to write and worse to come and you go and make me laugh.
    Seriously! We are all screwed!:supergrin:
     
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  13. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    KhalieLa, remember the fifteen hundred words we know of proto-Celtic are the ones we have been able to reconstruct from very limited sources. This was a largely, if not entirely, unwritten language, so there are probably quite a few words, including very many for sex, that have been lost for all time. I don't think there is any society that lacks words for this most primordial act. That said, 'milking the bull" sounds like the best of breed here, and really captures the idea of a big and very obvious mistake with serious consequences.
     
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  14. Blighters

    Blighters Member

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    To throw a late spanner in and keeping down the animal route:

    "Looks like you idiots have been sat around waiting for the cock to lay"

    "You two could find a pig and assume someone had shorn the bleeding sheep for you!"

    Or do you want to specifically include some notion of sex in the reference?
     
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  15. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I was hoping for some specific mention of animals and sex. This scene is supposed to be laugh-out-loud funny. (At least it was the way I originally wrote it and I'd like to keep it that way.)

    Wizard 1 says something to the effect of (thanks @GingerCoffee ): "You two have been kissing the wrong toad?" or "You two really screwed the pooch this time?"
    Wizard 2 takes him literal and says something along the lines of: "Mythical beasts occasionally but never a toad/dog!"
    Wizard 3 says: "I can't believe you."
    Wizard 2 says: "Don't tell me you've never fancied Ra."
    The scene devolves from there with them eventually remembering and retelling, for the MC's benefit, the situation involving Loki. (For those who don't know their Norse Mythology Loki turned himself into a mare in order to keep a stallion occupied one afternoon so the horse's owner would be unable to finish building a wall.) This is a turning point in the story where the MC finally realizes that the shamanistic practices of consuming cannabis, opium, and fly agaric mushrooms have left the wizards without a working brain cell between them, so she heads off into the wilds on her own.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  16. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Hi @Lew ;
    I know the Celtic and Germanic peoples were non-literate and that most of what was known is now lost. All we have are reconstructions from inscriptions in Greek and Latin. That said, the Romans were not impressed with their bluntness. (Hence inscriptions like, "Come Girl, take my penis," or "Give me penis mouth" [first written reference to oral sex???])

    I just make a conscious effort to avoid words that don't fit with the basic language structure.
    Example
    *bratto- is the word for clothing. It evolved into breeches.
    In my writing I use the word breeches and not pants which would be out of place because the letter P does not exist in Proto-Celtic.

    HERE'S A CHALLENGE FOR YOU (or anyone else who cares to try):
    This has actually been eating at me for a while and I'd like to know what this corresponds to in Latin/English.
    Proto-Celtic word: *blVdV-
    This means monster or large predator. They have words for bear and wolf; European wild cats could never be considered large. So what is this thing? There is no PIE reference in my dictionary. They think it evolved into prostitute (blesc) in Old Irish in the same way lupa is Latin for prostitute, having derived from lupus, wolf.

    Any idea what this predator is? And what is the connection between predators and prostitutes?
     
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  17. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nt sure of the transliteration... * but a glottal stp wouldn't fit before a consonant. V is that a V or a W or short u UH? Biodo, or something like that? I will have to think on that
     
  18. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    In my dictionary it's a V not a W. The V is a stand in for a vowel, but no idea which one. All five vowels appear in the language in both the long and short form, plus there is a usage of y. It's not a stop. In my dictionary stops are W.

    blVdV is very similar to bleda, year, but there are no other similar words near it.

    In the notes it says evolution into Goidelic is bled, monster, large animal (whale?). The semantic motivation is the same as in Latin lupa from lupus. The Goidelic word might actually be a calque of the Latin word. There is suggestion that blVd- is borrowed from a non-IE substrate.

    Proto-Celtic has words for demon, mora & sebro-, but those don't seem to match at all. The word for bear is arto-; wolf is waili.

    I assume Latin has more loan words simply because they came into contact with more people. (Only about 6% of proto-Celtic is loan words.) I was just wondering if you have any weird words for monster/preditor that might fit here.
     
  19. psychotick

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    How about something like:

    Wiz 1: Wow, you two have really been humping the wrong end of the bear! I'm surprised you have any body parts left!

    Wiz 2: Indignant: I'd never get the wrong end!

    Wiz 1: Sighs heavily and rolls eyes: Why don't I believe you?!

    "Wiz 2: Well there was that time I tried the brown mushrooms! Couldn't see anything for days!

    Wiz 3: Laughing: You couldn't piss straight either! And you wanted to do unspeakable things to the mule! I don't think he's ever forgotten.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  20. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think just use bleda as it is easier for the readers to get their tongues around it, and you can just translate it as monster, simpler is better. Give them the atmosphere, but don't asphyxiate them with it.
     
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  21. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    This has no play at all in the book, I'm just curious.
    I mean, if it's not wolf or bear, what is it?
    Since it evolves in to prostitute I started look for people words, but they have a very distinct word for madman/lunatic, g(w)elti-.
     
  22. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps you know this already
    "Studies in British Celtic Phonology," by Peter Schrijvner, has variations on Bled as both wolf and sea monster. Results from a Google Search on Proto Cetlic Monster, but I can cut or paste anything into this site including links.
     
  23. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I did not know - - Seldom on the internet. Thanks. Next stop, Google!
     

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