Friday, 19 September 2008

Our lovely word gatvol makes it to New York

Is our lovely local word 'gatvol' about to enter New York slanguage? In this morning's Times, there's a smashing photograph of a portrait of Richard Fuld, CEO of bankrupt US investment bank Lehman Brothers.

The artist, New Yorker Geoffrey Raymond, displayed his canvas outside the Manhattan HQ of the bank on Monday and Tuesday this week, asking pedestrians to scribble their comments on the canvas. Link.

Among comments such as 'Greed!', 'Bloodsuckers!' and 'I hope his villa is safe!', we have, in large capitals just above Fult's head, the word 'GATVOL!' If you're not a South African, you may be wondering just what this delightfully expressive Afrikaans word means. Well, it may be loosely translated as very irritated or fed up. Says the Urban Dictionary: 'Literal translation: gat (ass or hole) vol (full). Probably intended to mean a dug hole full to the brim (“up to your neck with…”) but given a slant by the double meaning of the word “gat”. '

It's prounounced gutfall, with the 'g' a gutteral sound, as in the 'ch' in 'loch'.

Wonder who the South African is?

Here's Geoffrey Raymond's blog, The Annotated Fuld.

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