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View Full Version : What is the true meaning of "yakshemash"?


JMEB
12-30-2005, 07:06 AM
in AliG, dressed as barat he uses the word "yakshemash" a lot. what does it actually mean

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
12-30-2005, 07:27 AM
It sounds almost like 'yaxemosh'*, which was a casserole based on ground beef, egg noodles, and corn, that my mother and her mother used to make. They were from the upper Midwest, so I've always wondered if it was a regionalism. It doesn't seem to explain AliG using it, though.

*Guessing at the spelling, since I never saw the word written down.

Chefguy
12-30-2005, 08:33 AM
It's actually Polish and is the equivalent of "hello" or "how's it going". Don't know the actual spelling.

It's a funny bit, since Barat is supposed to be middle eastern.

Max Torque
12-30-2005, 08:58 AM
Huh. Sounds like Czech to me. My dad usually starts phone calls to his mom and brother with "Jak se máš" (pronounced more or less like "yock say mosh"), which is basically "How are you?" We are of Czech lineage.

hajario
12-30-2005, 09:49 AM
It's a funny bit, since Barat is supposed to be middle eastern.

No. He's supposed to be from Kazakhstan.

hajario
12-30-2005, 09:51 AM
Sorry for the double post. I mean to add that Sasha Cohen's ancestory is from central Europe so it's not suprising that he would pull out a phrase like that.

Crandolph
12-30-2005, 09:52 AM
Is the Polish and Czech phrase similar in Russian? If so that'd make a lot of sesne as most Kazakhs speak some degree of Russian for obvious reasons.

Cat Jones
12-30-2005, 09:55 AM
From memory the Polish spelling is something like "Jak sie masz", there probably is a very similar phrase in Czech (the languages are both Slavic obviously but with more common words than say Polish and Croat).

Chefguy
12-30-2005, 09:57 AM
My former in-laws were Polish on one side and Bohemian on the other. I used to hear family members exchange the greeting and assumed that it was Polish. As noted above, there are many similar words in both languages.

pulykamell
12-30-2005, 10:15 AM
Is the Polish and Czech phrase similar in Russian? If so that'd make a lot of sesne as most Kazakhs speak some degree of Russian for obvious reasons.

No, in Russian it's something like "kak dyela." Actually, I always assumed AliG was speaking Polish, but now that I think about it, he also uses the phrase "Děkuji" (Czech "thank you") which I at first thought was an Englishman's attempt at the Polish "dziękuje," but now, if I'm remembering it right, is closer to the Czech pronunciation. However the "sheh" pronunciation in "yakshehmosh" points more towards Polish.

So, it's definitely either Polish or Czech (or both) he's doing there. Probably Polish.

UselessGit
12-30-2005, 10:46 AM
So, it's definitely either Polish or Czech (or both) he's doing there. Probably Polish.

He always sounds Polish to me; you can clearly hear him say Jak sie masz and Dziękuję at least. Admittedly, Polish, Russian, Czech and the likes are very, very similar.

Cat Jones
12-31-2005, 03:42 AM
He always sounds Polish to me; you can clearly hear him say Jak sie masz and Dziękuję at least. Admittedly, Polish, Russian, Czech and the likes are very, very similar.During and after WW2 a lot of Poles (Jewish and Christian) came to or stayed in the UK, there is a sizeable community in London I'd guess that even if Sacha Baren Cohen doesn't have a Polish background himself he could well have heard Polish phrases when he was younger.

ntcrawler
01-01-2006, 01:55 PM
It's definitely Polish, and yes the phrase is "Jak sie, masz?" our equivalent of the Canadian "so how's it going, eh?"

In Czech, the phrase is "JAK SE MÁTE?"

[proceeds to crack up laughing, mumbling about how Czech sounds like Polish spoken by little kids]

Happy 2006, everyone!

pulykamell
01-01-2006, 02:10 PM
[QUOTE=ntcrawler]It's definitely Polish, and yes the phrase is "Jak sie, masz?"[//QUOTE]

There is no comma in the phrase. It is exactly this:

Jak się masz

Jak = "how"

Się = 2nd person reflexive ("yourself")

masz = 2nd person familiar MIEĆ "to have"

It's not slangy at all. It's simply the familiar way to say "how are you". Equivalent to German "Wie geht es dir" or French "Comment vas-tu" in connotation (at least to my ears).

yBeayf
01-01-2006, 02:13 PM
It's definitely Polish, and yes the phrase is "Jak sie, masz?" our equivalent of the Canadian "so how's it going, eh?"

In Czech, the phrase is "JAK SE MÁTE?"
It could also be Czech -- "Jak se maš". I've seen cars with that as a bumper sticker.

pulykamell
01-01-2006, 02:27 PM
[proceeds to crack up laughing, mumbling about how Czech sounds like Polish spoken by little kids]

It's funny, because the Czechs and Slovaks say the same about us (I'm assuming you're of Polish extraction) with the Polish "Ł" (English "w" sound) replacing some instanced of the conventional "L" sound in other Slavic languages. My Russian-speaking ex-roommate said Polish sounded like a Slavic language spoken by Elmer Fudd.

And, looking back at your post, I'm not sure whether you intended to say that jak się masz is colloquial or slangy at all, I just got that sense from the Canadian comment. It's a familiar greeting, the formal version being jak się Pan(i) ma or--in certain versions of Polish--jak się macie.

But there is one curious thing: I've never seen the comma used in the phrase, and all the Polish texts I have omit it. However, I have found two web sites, out of a hundred that I bothered to quickly google, that do include the comma. So perhaps what I initially perceived as an error is not, although I cannot see any reason Polish would insert a comma between the reflexive and the verb.

John Mace
01-01-2006, 02:33 PM
You guys have me curious. What is AliG and who is Barat?

pulykamell
01-01-2006, 02:40 PM
It could also be Czech -- "Jak se maš". I've seen cars with that as a bumper sticker.

The two different versions you see here correspond to the familiar and formal versions of the phrase. You can even see some of the trademark softening of consonant sounds Polish exhibits versus other Slavic languages.

Jak się mas = Jak se maš
Jak się macie = Jak se máte

In Polish the "s" is softened to a "sh" and the "t" is softened to a "ch." It's also worth noting that Polish has two different "sh" and "ch" sounds, the softer one being represented by si/ś and ci/ć, and the harder one represented by cz/sz. For an example of a word with all four in one syllable, see szczęść (used in the phrase szczęść Boże "May God give you fortune/God bless you") or the more common, but two syllable szczęście "luck/fortune/happiness."

pulykamell
01-01-2006, 02:43 PM
You guys have me curious. What is AliG and who is Barat?

Both Ali G and Barat are alter egos of British satirist Sascha Cohen. The Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_G) will inform you better than I can.

You can find clips of his work at http://spikedhumor.com

ntcrawler
01-01-2006, 04:41 PM
[QUOTE=pulykamell][QUOTE=ntcrawler]It's definitely Polish, and yes the phrase is "Jak sie, masz?"[//QUOTE]

There is no comma in the phrase. It is exactly this:

I know that, grrr.. it was a typo. bad keyboard, bad!!!

ntcrawler
01-01-2006, 04:46 PM
Yes, I am Polish 100%, born and raised in Warsaw. And yes, it's always fun to put Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks together. It raises the familiar jokes of whether a translator is needed, especially when we have foreign dignitaries visit each other's countries.

About the comma: it was a typo, I swear!!!

The thing about "Jak sie masz?" I noticed is its more informal use between friends, people on the street, or tourists, or people here when they discover I speak Polish (and they try to as well). The older generations that I've known, or my family definitely does not use it as a greeting, and you'd probably get chastised in my family if the first thing you say to your parents or grandparents after a long absense is "jak sie masz?" :)

pulykamell
01-01-2006, 09:43 PM
About the comma: it was a typo, I swear!!!


Well, you're more Polish than I am. My parents were both born in southern Poland, but I was born here in--where else?--Chicago. My use pretty much corresponds to yours. I probably wouldn't use it with my parents or grandparents either. In fact, I can't think of using the phrase with anybody in my immediate family outside of cousins or other people my age. I would probably use the more exact jak się tata czuje "how are you (dad) feeling" or something of the like. But that does have a slightly different meaning. That said, the more familiar co tam ("what's up" or, literally, "what's there") is certainly used in my family between older and younger generations.

As for the comma, I really wasn't sure after I did the Google search. It did strike me as odd, though, and it's good to hear that the native Pole agrees. :)

Cat Jones
01-02-2006, 02:20 AM
The thing about "Jak sie masz?" I noticed is its more informal use between friends, people on the street, or tourists, or people here when they discover I speak Polish (and they try to as well). The older generations that I've known, or my family definitely does not use it as a greeting, and you'd probably get chastised in my family if the first thing you say to your parents or grandparents after a long absense is "jak sie masz?" :) When I was in Warsaw, in the mid nineties, I got the impression that "Jak sie masz" was kind of universally acceptable while the twenty-somethings I hung around with used "Co slyhaç?" with each other - a habit I picked up, I guess I shouldn' try to impress your folks with my Polish eh ? ;)

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