Are there cases of something similar to e.g. "house" -> "hizouse" in non-English hip-hop?
December 3, 2008 5:12 AM   Subscribe

Help me multilingual Mefites: In American hip-hop, there are hundreds of examples of the infixation of "iz" into a word, e.g. modifying the word "house" to "hizouse", street -> strizeet, boss -> bizoss. Since American hip-hop is arguably the prime influence on hip-hop/rap in other cultures, I wonder: are there any cases of a similar phenomenon in the hip-hop/rap of other languages?

I am not looking for any old case where a word is altered, but rather that some morpheme getting inserted in various words in a similar fashion to "iz", and is not a normal process in the language. (Or even if something worked almost the same but was attached as a prefix or suffix, that would be cool too!)

Here is a more in-context example of the "iz"-infixation from the lyrics of an American hip-hop artist:

And lizines (lines) get crizzossed (crossed)
Devils get tizzosed (tossed)
Angels get hizigh (high)
But no time gets lizost (lost)
You must want to wizalk (walk)
The talk you tizalk (talk)
You should have repented when Fly said time was shizort (short)
And Fly won't get kizaught (caught)

If there is any of this happening, I'd love to see actual samples!
posted by kosmonaut to Writing & Language (12 answers total)
Wikipedia says carnival workers have also used the -iz. Nothing about similar constructs in other languages, unfortunately.
posted by vytae at 5:58 AM on December 3, 2008

It's not the same thing, but you might also be interested in French Verlan slang.
posted by aught at 6:00 AM on December 3, 2008

The old song "Double Dutch Bus" by Musical Youth makes use of it (prolly on youtube, but I'm really lazy today), though many youngsters would say Snoop was the first perp.
posted by dontrockwobble at 6:21 AM on December 3, 2008

I listen to a lot of spanish hip-hop where adding an iz would not make any sense at all as adding it to any word would not make any sense (unless they use the actual word in i have heard some rapping inserting a fo Shizzle just for kicks in an otherwise completely in spanish song)...I know you wanted examples....but I just wanted you to rule out spanish from your search.
posted by The1andonly at 7:19 AM on December 3, 2008

Response by poster: vytae
I have never heard of this carny origin before, but if true, then it is definitely the earliest usage I have ever heard!

I have heard about Verlan slang, and it's interesting because many totally unrelated languages have similar word games to that French game. That is part of the reason that I think it would be so neat if any other languages did this hip-hop word game.

It's definitely also interesting to know if it doesn't happen at all too (although a bummer).

Just to clarify myself a bit: the added item doesn't have to be "iz" per se; it could be "un" or "ap" or "bu" or whatever else, really, as long as it is inserted.

In English, there are other variations too, like in one song where someone uses "in" (e.g. "train" -> "trinain"), and another where someone uses "ig".
posted by kosmonaut at 7:51 AM on December 3, 2008

Echoing The1andonly, infixing doesn't happen in Spanish rap.

Not quite what you want, but Japanese rappers have made some other grammatical alterations to create a rapping style that mimics English rap prosody in ways that are not "native" to Japanese language -- specifically, use of rhyming and stress accents. They leave off verb endings, for example, and borrow foreign words to have a wider range of rhyming possibilities.

There's a good article about it, available online only through subscription to Project Muse, unfortunately:
Manabe, Noriko. 2006 "Globalization and Japanese Creativity: Adaptations of Japanese Language in Rap." Ethnomusicology50(1). 1-36.
posted by dr. boludo at 8:22 AM on December 3, 2008

There's the a Ukrainian hip hop group, 5'nizza, but I've never been clear on if their name is an 'izm' or just an odd happenstance of romanification of their cyrillic name.
posted by nomisxid at 9:24 AM on December 3, 2008

Response by poster: nomisxid
As it happens, I have a Russian office mate, and he informed me that 5'nizza (pjet nitsa) is just the normal word for Friday as is. So there is no "iz" sound inserted there. It looks like it's probably just the romanification, like you wondered about.
posted by kosmonaut at 11:19 AM on December 3, 2008

I don't think there is anything like that in rap français, just verlan, also slang from English and Arabic and maybe African languages (eg Wolof). Makes it slightly more staccato than usual though IMHO french is a language very well suited to hip hop.
posted by citron at 12:08 PM on December 3, 2008

Response by poster: Could anyone familiar with French rap point me to an example of Verlan being used in a rap song? It's pretty tough for me to find real examples :)
posted by kosmonaut at 1:16 PM on December 3, 2008

Sorry I can't give a specific example, but, according to my brother who listens to some, usually songs are not gonna be totally in verlan, just a few words here and there. And you might want to search with the term 'Peura' which is the verlan word for rap.
posted by domi_p at 5:04 PM on December 3, 2008

this isn't exactly what you asked but there's a coded way of speaking Farsi where you insert "za" in between syllables. It's nothing to do with hip hop, but otherwise the same kind of thing. It's called "Zaban zargari"
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 1:22 AM on December 4, 2008

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