Wednesday Word: Crunchy Speech

Idioms fascinate me. And when you work with other languages as I do, it becomes even more interesting. Sometimes (you think) you can explain the idiom, the supposed connection between form and meaning. But more often than not, it’s actually quite arbitrary.

In Palawano, harsh or disrespectful speech is (literally) CRISPY or CRUNCHY.

Can’t you just hear it? Surely somewhere a teenager’s mom is yelling, “Don’t you talk to ME in that crunchy tone of voice, young man!”

If you think you have the explanation for this one, or a just-so story about the origin of this idiom, let’s hear from you…


About Bill Davis

Writer, speaker and translation and language learning consultant. I write technical articles, poetry and humor, and I am working on my first novel which is set on the island of Palawan in the Philippines.
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2 Responses to Wednesday Word: Crunchy Speech

  1. In English there are more idioms than you can shake a stick at . . . oops, there’s another one: where does it come from? I’ve searched from here to Timbuctoo . . . and another.

    My favourite is ‘back to square one’: most people guess this to have come from the board game ‘Snakes and ladders’: Nope: It apprently originated when BBC Radio broadcast a football match (World Cup final ? in the 30’s?) , and unsure whether listeners would follow the game without visuals, the Radio Times published a diagram of the pitch with numbered squares. The centre spot was square one: so after every goal it was ‘back to square one.’ Neat?

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