Slang from Around the World

BLF 2013 features a diverse bunch of authors. Hailing from more than twenty countries, they come from the South Africa (Sifiso Mzobe) and Sweden (Karin Tidbeck), Ireland (Paul Murray) and Slovenia(Andrej Blatnik), Haiti (Makenzy Orcel), Israel (Eshkol Nevo) and even the exotic American Midwest (Chad Harbach)

They’ll bring great writing and provocative ideas, and yes, slang, transforming The Bookworm into a modern Tower of Babel.

Get ready with our handy, dandy slang sampler.

Bikkie (Australia): biscuit (and for further translation for American friends, biscuits are cookies not the stuff you eat with sausage and gravy)

Snowdrops (Russia): a body that lies buried in the winter snow, emerging in the thaw.

Babbelas (bub-a-lars)(South Africa): a hangover - usually rather a bad one. From the isiZulu word for hangover isibhabhalazi. “Hello, hello. Great party last night. How’s your head? Are you a bit babbelas?”

Ki sa’w gen yen? (Haiti): What’s wrong with you!?

Balagan(Israel): A mess. A complete catastrophe.

The power (Algeria): the small clique of generals, politicians, diplomats and even intellectuals who have long ruled the country.

Agyilag zokni (Hungary): stupid. Literally “mental sock.”

Cheese Off (Ireland): angry or annoyed.

Face fungus(UK): facial hair, i.e. moustache or beard.

Scuddy running (Scotland): running to the bathroom naked either in the middle of the night or just before you go for a shower.

Tits Mcgurk (Midwestern US): the best of the best.

Fredagsmys (Sweden): Mash-up of the words for Friday and cozy. Essentially a Swedish family tradition of hanging out, eating junk food and watching TV together.


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