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  New information regarding the origin of taffer

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Author Topic:   New information regarding the origin of taffer
posted March 09, 1999 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kyloe   Click Here to Email Kyloe     Edit Message

When this first came up, one of the designers, Laura Baldwin aka "boojum" quickly ended all speculation, saying she made up the term. I was quite happy with this explanation, but since then, the question has come up a number of times amongst junior members.

The last time, it was tracked down to the Anglo Saxon Chronicle. Although this turned out to be a fake, it reminded me that there could very well be an origin for taffer, even though boojum made it up. After all she could have read it somewhere long ago.

The most probable explanation is that she unconsciously remembered the nursery rhyme "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief."

But I found some new candidates:

  • tàfa This is Dolomite Ladin (sic!), one of the obscure languages that are collectively known as Rhaeto-Romance. It means buttock or bum, and is either onomatopoeic (although I don't see how) or derived from the Arabic word
  • tafar This was translated as Schwanzriemen in my source (tail thong in English, but very obscene in German). I couldn't verify this, however, because I can't read Arabic and therefore couldn't find tafar in the dictionary.
  • tafur This is Old French and my best candidate. Amongst other things, it means tramp or, CMIIW, bum (again).

If you've read all the way through this, why don't you post a reply, so that the topic stays on top of the list for future newbies. Just say what a language freak I am, or find a better translation for that obscene Arabic word.

-Kyloe, language FREAK

posted March 09, 1999 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for redEye   Click Here to Email redEye     Edit Message
Blasen mein schwanz.
Or is it schwanz mein blasen? Logically, the latter doesn't make any sense (to me, anyway), but some german dude once told me that's what it was... ah well.
You know, of course, that most students of language are only interested in the curses, right?
Ah well. I gotta read some stuff for my French class in an hour...


heh... i'm gonna get a C in my elementary german class. I know the language, but he's docking heavily for absences, and it's my first class and i'm nocturnal and narcoleptic, so I don't go as much as I should. Ah well.

posted March 09, 1999 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for grendel   Click Here to Email grendel     Edit Message
Anyone familiar with a Brit. TV series called "Cracker?" It was on the other night while I was at my computer. (Yeah, I know that's frowned upon, but it wasn't like I was playing Thief.) Anyway, I'll be damned if one of these homicide detectives on the show didn't refer to a suspect as a taffer. I asked an Aussie friend of mine, cause he's helped define some other Brit. slang for me, and he said, "Sure, a taffer's like an A-hole." Anybody have any Brit. friends to ask?

O barbarous and bloody spectacle!

posted March 09, 1999 09:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kyloe   Click Here to Email Kyloe     Edit Message
Hey Crackers rules!

It's "Blase meinen Schwanz!", and that's very obscene, redEye (and somewhat stilted)!
But you're right, that's what we really want to know. I've been wondering about the spelling of 'booger' for years, (you know, the things in your nose) and I'm still not sure about the spelling.

Those who ha' w' Garrett bled

posted March 09, 1999 11:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for redEye   Click Here to Email redEye     Edit Message
heehee... i knew it!
i usually see it as "booger," fyi, and that's how i've always spelt [sic] it. anything else about the vernacular that you'd like to know?
hrmm... how many languages can you curse in, dude (include dead ones)? ;o)

oh, and if i'm catching your meaning right, that's not quite how stilted is usually used, methinks. and sorry if i offended anyone with my weak attempt there...
grrr... i just realized that i forgot to capitalise the nouns again. ah well.

one more thing, Kyloe (and anyone else here who learned english as a second language) - would you consider your knowledge of english to be british, american, or both?


[This message has been edited by redEye (edited March 09, 1999).]

posted March 10, 1999 03:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cadfael   Click Here to Email Cadfael     Edit Message
Anuther fine example of a thread divergin. Yer realize that yer discussin the right spellin fer the crud up yer nose, don't yer?


Hist and Ho

posted March 10, 1999 07:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JordanCS   Click Here to Email JordanCS     Edit Message
Hey redeye, maybe the reverse of the term is the way to make it non-obscene or something. As you may know, the phrase "Ich bin heiß." is not something you should say in public, but instead "Mir ist heiß." (when the temperature is too warm) The first, if you don't know, means that you're horny. Stupid, but real. Or, it could be regional dialect. It was strange, I was taught northern German dialect in school, but I've only visited Bayern and Austria. I understood the Austrians a lot better than the Müncheners. (is the Austrian dialect closer to the the northern German dialect than the bavarian dialect? for you, Kyloe)

posted March 10, 1999 08:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kyloe   Click Here to Email Kyloe     Edit Message
What you learn in school is the language of your teachers. Some of them have spent a year in High School in America, but that's the young generation. Most of my teachers have learnt an English English (and that's a sensible remark!), with an RP accent.
As far as I'm concerned, that's the accent to achieve, because it's so unnatural and at the same time the most prestigious. Most people pick up bits of a language phonetically. They remember little pieces of speech with the accent. If I was to play back the things I want to say in the exact way that I've heard them, this would be a fine mess of accents.
I could never master a more natural accent; it's too ridiculous to start in a Northern accent and continue in a Southern accent. You lose credit quickly that way.
I've often heard that people like to hear where you come from in your accent. But as a German, I can't do that. There's a difference in perception of a mock French accent (lovable) and a mock German accent (teutonic). Even if English spoken with an educated German accent sounds rather pleasant,
"His virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault." [Hamlet 1:4]

PS: My last teacher's name was Kraut. It must have been hell in High School!

Those who ha' w' Garrett bled

posted March 10, 1999 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for redEye   Click Here to Email redEye     Edit Message
heehee... that's like having a french prof named "froggie" . actually, my current french prof is named Schlossman, which sounds more German than French (to me, anwyay).
uhh... what's an RP accent? is that that arrogant british one (IIRC, it was created just so the nobility would sound different from the peons)?
and if a native speaker heard me speak any language other than my own, they'd probably have _no_ idea what i was saying. maybe after next semester that'd change... actually, i'm pretty lucky in that my mom forced me to speak correctly (she's a speetch pathlolgist). if she weren't, i think i'd have a horrible accent - a mix of New England, New York, and New Jersey. at least i'm not picking up pittsburgh speak... yet .


what was the original topic again? ;-)

posted March 10, 1999 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Coot     Edit Message
I like the idea...

Taifeid (Gaelic) bow-string.

Tahur (Spanish) gambler, cheat.
Tajar (Spanish) to cut

Nothing seems to fit in Japanese (the "f" sound is a stretch anyway) but I'll keep looking.


Mom was right : Silence IS golden.

posted March 10, 1999 06:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Archdaemon   Click Here to Email Archdaemon     Edit Message
I couldn't think of anything in Japanese... and a quick search of a pocket dictionary didn't produce anything remotely useful... but for anyone who wants to say 'thief' in Japanese, it's dorobo... or zoku... but I can't find anything near to Taffer except maybe 'Tofu'... heh... bean curds, anyone?

Anyway, I'm impressed people found this much background to something s'posed to have none... Laura must really be imbued with language, eh? Heheh... in tune with that language vibe...

Archdaemon, Grandmaster of Perdition, otherwise known as "He Who Names His Lint"

posted March 10, 1999 08:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kyloe   Click Here to Email Kyloe     Edit Message
JordanCS, what you’ve learnt is probably High German (originally from the South) in a northern accent, as opposed to Low German, or Platt (cf. flat), which is the northern vernacular. Dutch and Anglo-Saxon are variants of Low German.
Austrians are easy to understand, because they speak sooo slooowly (must be the thin air) and their accent isn’t too far from the standard High German, which is spoken in its purest form in and around Lower Saxony (in the North). Lytha will probably speak that way.
It’s hard to understand Bavarians if they don’t adjust. And they would never do that for a ‘Prussian’ like me.

redEye, Schlossman/Schloßmann is indeed German (‘he who lives in a castle’). If he’s from France, he could be Alsatian (woof!). Or he’s from Switzerland. Or he’s Jewish.
RP = Received Pronunciation, or Public School English. It’s modelled on the educated dialect of Southern England. Oh, and yes, it’s that arrogant British one.

I have to check Japanese tomorrow. And where’s that Russian who bought Thief for four dollars? He could check the Slavonic languages for ‘taffer’.

Those who ha' w' Garrett bled

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