The jinxing game

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by DreamerX, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. DreamerX Junior Member

    In North America, there is a very popular children's game. I'm not sure how far back in time it goes, but it is pretty well known throughout the US and Canada. Whenever two or more people (usually just two) happen to say the exact same thing at the same time, the person who reacts faster puts a "jinx" on the other person by yelling "Jinx!" The only way that the jinx can be broken without penalty is if the "jinxer" (as the person who initiated the jinx is informally known) speaks the name of the person he or she has jinxed. If the jinxed person violates the jinx by speaking first, he or she has to pay a penalty to the jinxer by buying the jinxer a Coke or doing something else that the jinxer requires of him or her.

    This is a game that I remember very well from my childhood and that I didn't used to think about very much until I joined this forum. Since people from all corners of the world are able to provide some insight into their native cultures on this forum, I thought this would be an interesting question to ask. The fact is, I heard that most world cultures have their own traditions of reacting to two or more people saying the same thing at once (with some exceptions, of course) and that these traditions are typically rooted in religion and superstition. Not only that, but the traditions are very different in terms of form, function, and even age group. For example, the jinxing game is not considered anything more than a fun children's game, whereas in some cultures, the "reaction" is something that is taken seriously across all age groups, and sometimes even only by adults. Also, the jinxing game involves inflicting a malevolent spell on other people and making them do your bidding if they so much as talk out of turn. In other cultures, it is exactly the opposite: a word or phrase intended to ward off evil spirits who might bring bad luck because you said the same thing at once. Sometimes, it might even involve doing something, like touching certain objects. Nothing to do with a game whatsoever.

    I would like to ask the following: in your country, what is the traditional reaction to when two or more people happen to say the exact same thing at the same time? Is it a children's game or an affair that is taken seriously across all age groups or even only by adults? What exactly does it involve? How does it sound in your language? What does it mean and what is its function? I am not sure whether this is the right section to be asking this question in and I should refer to Cultural Discussions, but I still thought it would be interesting.
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi, we have something similar in Greece also a children's game:
    When two or more children happen to say the exact same thing at the same time, one of them shouts «πιάσε κόκκινο!» ['pçase 'kocino] --> touch red! and they search for anything sporting red colour to touch. If they touch it simultaneously, then they make a wish which is believed it comes true.
    The game is called «πιάσε κόκκινο» ['pçase 'kocino] --> touch red.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  3. learnerr Senior Member

    In Russia: Have never heard of anything like that.
  4. bazq Senior Member

    In Israel we have: צ'יפס מסטיק (tships mastik) = literally "french fries gum".
    If you say "tships mastik" the other person isn't allowed to speak until you "release" him (or until a third party, beside you two, releases him, which adds diplomacy to the game). If he does speak, he owes you a piece of gum or a meal/pack of french fries (which is kinda stupid since a piece of gum is cheaper... :) ).

    I started to doubt the popularity of this game when I enrolled in the army and met people from different parts of the country. Some were not familiar with it at all. I think it's rather popular (or at least was when I was younger) in the center.
  5. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    In Turkish:
    If this happens between two lovers, or there is at least affection, we say: kalp kalbe karşıdır, which I'm not exactly sure what it means... :p It literally means heart is against heart: probably in the sense that, the hearts "see" each other; they're connected, etc.

    If this is between two friends, we can say: Benden çok yaşayacaksın - lit. "you'll live longer than I." - this is a good wish: I hope you'll be more advantegeous in life. Honestly, I have absolutely no idea where this comes from.
  6. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Hong Kong
    One can hear an exact equivalent in Egyptian Arabic (3omrak aTwal men 3omri "your life is longer than mine" عمرك اطول من عمري), perhaps they're related? Have no idea.

    In their 1959 classic work The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren the Opies devote a special section ("Saying the Same Thing at Once") for the lore, although the "jinxing game" detailed by DreamerX above is not mentioned.
  7. DreamerX Junior Member

    Interesting responses. It really is fascinating how something as trivial and accidental as saying the exact same thing simultaneously gives rise to all sorts of traditions and rituals that not only differ in what is done but also in the age groups involved. I would really like to take a look at the book mentioned by Ghabi. In North America, we only have the jinxing game that I described in my initial post, and it actually involves making your friends bend to your will if they dare to violate the terms of the jinx that you forced upon them. We don’t really have a universal phrase that protects you from the bad luck that speaking the same words at once supposedly brings.
  8. arielipi Senior Member

    I know it as צ'יפס פרטי chips prati - private fries, sometimed added with בלי סיסמאות אסור לך לדבר אחת שתיים שלוש bli sisma'ot asur lecha/lach ledaber akhat shtayim shalosh - with no passwords you're not allowed to speak one two three.
  9. Hrdlodus

    Hrdlodus Senior Member

    Czech republic (a little country in a heart of Europe): I have never heard of anything like that.
  10. Thime

    Thime Senior Member

    Italy (Venice)
    In Italy there's something like that, and it's only a children's game that haven't a name.
    When two children happen to say the exact same thing at the same time, you have to touch your nose as quick as possible.
  11. DreamerX Junior Member

    Just as a reminder, I’m not looking for a children’s game specifically. I’m looking for an equivalent tradition of reacting to people chancing to say the same thing at once. It might be a children’s game or a ritual that is observed across all age groups. In North America, it just happens to be a children’s game that, incidentally, involves casting a malevolent spell rather than warding off evil spirits.
  12. bibax Senior Member

    In Bohemia (the place of origin of Pilsner and Budweiser) we say:

    Platíš pivo! (you're buying beer)

    It is not meant seriously. Sometimes the rule is applied recursively (esp. in the pub). :)
  13. ancalimon Senior Member

    As a children's game, when two children say the same thing at the same time they say: "Cips kola kilit" (chips, coke, lock). The kid that speaks the first has to buy the chips and the coke.
  14. Словеса Senior Member

    In Russia: to laugh, I think. Or saying something like "вот именно" ("exactly"). Two people hardly can ever say the same thing using the same words, though; was that what you meant? Or you meant expressing the same thing with different words?
  15. origumi Senior Member

    LOL here it's דום שתיקה צ'יפס פרטי שלי etc. Seems that chips is an incorrect correction (that is, a meaningful word that replaces a meaningless one) for jinx.
  16. DreamerX Junior Member

    Actually, that was exactly what I meant. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire sentence; it can be a phrase, or even a single word. These things do happen, and it sounded to me as though different cultures had their own “traditions” of responding to this occasion. In North America, we only have the “jinxing game” described in my first post, and if something like this happens to adults, they might remember their childhood game and make a joke about it, but they usually just ignore it. However, some of the posts here mention phrases such as “You’ll live longer than me,” which seem like they are said by an older age group and have their origins in popular superstition, bearing no relation to children’s games whatsoever. I am asking about anything in general, including phrases pertaining to longevity, luck, success, happiness, peace, prosperity, etc. meant to ward off evil spirits allegedly summoned by two people saying the exact same words. However, there might be something else entirely.
  17. bibax Senior Member

    Saying the same words at the same time is not so rare. It is usually triggered by a discrete event. For instance, when two people are watching TV, they can simultaneously make exactly the same comment on an action on the screen. Or when someone has said something unlikely or stupid, two people can say "bullshit" (Quatsch, hloupost, глупость, ...) at the same time.
  18. Словеса Senior Member

    I mean, two people can make the same comment, but the exact language is usually triggered by personality as much as by the events, if not more. That two personalities are the same, it happens very seldom; most likely, one would say one word, and the other another. For example, in your case there is a great choice of words that mean "it''s stupid"; plus, one might comment on the action, and the other on the person, and so on. It never happened to me that people say the exact same thing, and it's unbelievale to me that it may often happen.
  19. Словеса Senior Member

    Well, maybe it's just my ignorance, but I stumbled on such things only in books and films where it was supposed to make a comical effect, "equating" two people (those were complete phrases there); never in my (I confess, short) life. So, I can only guess, then. ;-)
    Maybe "you'll live longer than I" is caused by the same feeling of "equation"? Like, "I need to break this equation, so I say this about you and about me". I see no room for evil spirits here…

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