Grandma doesn't know what she's saying.
June 14, 2010 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Polish(?) Language Filter: My grandma often says something that her mom used to say that sounds like this: "Yat-skoo, Yat-skoo, Spee-yet-o-gah-me!" Help us figure out the language and meaning of this phrase so we know what she's actually calling us!

My grandma was born here and speaks English. But she says this phrase quite often, usually instead of how I might say, "OMG I can't believe you just did that!" or "What am I going to do with you!?" or "You are a dumb ass!" She has no idea what it means and neither do the rest of us. We just know that it has been said for at least 5 generations in our family. We think it's Polish only because that's where her family came from, but can't find anything on the internet while searching phonetically.
posted by thorny to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Could Yat-skoo actually be a corruption of Yah-Zoo (i.e., Jesu, aka Jesus)? as in, "Jesus! Jesus! something-something-something"

There are real (TM) Polish speakers that will pick up where I left off.
posted by Doohickie at 11:07 AM on June 14, 2010

My Polish co-worker says that the second part might be "spjerdalaj" which mean (more-or-less) "get the fuck out of here!"
posted by paulg at 11:59 AM on June 14, 2010

Best answer: I'm going to go with "Święty Jacku z pierogami!" (sorry, link is in Polish), pronounced roughly "Sh-vyenty Yat-skoo s pyeh-roh-gah-mi". Meaning, "St. Jack with Pierogies!".

Pierogies have a patron saint.
posted by ellenaim at 1:01 PM on June 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: This is way more interesting than I thought! Thanks! This is probably right. Although I'm sure grams will keep saying it her old way.
posted by thorny at 3:56 PM on June 14, 2010

Ilike ellenaim's answer... I do know that "c" in Polish is pronounced like "ts" in English; that works better than trying to force it into Jesu.
posted by Doohickie at 10:29 AM on June 16, 2010

Ellenaim is absolutely right, strange as it may seem.

Pani Paris Elk (my mom) says it's roughly the equivalent of "Oh, for Pete's sake!" or, "Oh, for Christ's sake!"
Pan Paris Elk (my dad) used to say it all the time.
posted by Paris Elk at 11:57 AM on June 17, 2010

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