I. G. DOBRODOMOV
A HUNGARIAN OBSCENITY IN BATIUSHKOV’S CORRESPONDENCE
(Supplement to a Commentary)
Besides various borrowings from Latin, Italian, French etc. , the epistolary vocabulary of Batiushkov also includes more “exotic” accretions, and in particular Hungarian (at least one). In a letter to Gnedich on 30 Oct. 1813 describing the “Battle of the Nations” at Leipzig there is an episode with the officer of the Austro-Hungarian army: “Bassamtarata tarara!, the Hungarian shouted”. The initial section of this phrase is a real Hungarian swear-word baszom ‘futuo’, with which the obscene curse baszom az anyad(at) ‘matrem tuam futuo’ begins. Incidentally, this word, as well as some other Hungarian obscenities, is also found in two fragments of Gogol’s unfinished novel, The Hetman (18301832), in his Dead Souls, and in his comedy The Gamblers.