Uwe moer!

zzjing

Senior Member
Chinese - Mandarin
This is from Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day:

He shifted a few dishes, climbed on the table, announced, “The ‘Quadrantal Versor Asana,’” and commenced a routine which quickly became more contortionistic and now and then you’d say contrary-to-fact, drawing the attention of other diners and eventually the maître d’, who came running over waving a vehement finger and was two steps away from the table when Dr. Rao abruptly vanished.​
“Uwe moer!” The functionary stood fingering his boutonnière.​

Is “Uwe moer!” proper Dutch? What does it mean in English?
 
  • zzjing

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    Why would this be Dutch?

    It could be, but why do you think it is Dutch?
    Good question. The location of this scene is Ostend, Belgium. It does not look like French or German, so it's most likely Dutch or Flemish. Google Translate suggests Dutch, for what it is worth.
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    OK. If it is in Ostend, your assumption at least makes sense. :)

    Nevertheless, it is not standard Dutch or Flemish.

    Since the rest of the text is in English, I don't know how this quote was transcribed, but suppose it is transcribed with the standard Dutch spelling conventions, I suspect it is something in the line of "your mother", if that makes any sense.

    I'm not a specialist in the West-Flemish dialect (Ostend is in West-Flanders), so you may have to wait till @ThomasK joins to know if that makes any sense.
     

    zzjing

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    OK. If it is in Ostend, your assumption at least makes sense. :)

    Nevertheless, it is not standard Dutch or Flemish.

    Since the rest of the text is in English, I don't know how this quote was transcribed, but suppose it is transcribed with the standard Dutch spelling conventions, I suspect it is something in the line of "your mother", if that makes any sense.
    That's also the suggestion from the Pynchon Wiki. From the context, it's obviously some sort of exclamation. Pynchon does make mistakes with foreign terms from time to time.
     

    bamia

    Senior Member
    Dutch
    It is Dutch, it means 'your mother'. It's an insult but it can be used playfully among friends. I have to say 'uwe moer' sounds odd to me (Netherlands based native speaker of Dutch) though, I'd say 'je moeder' is more idiomatic.

    EDIT: I see OP mentioned the story taking place in Ostend. I suppose it's dialectal Dutch then, an expression peculiar to one or more Flemish dialects.
     
    Last edited:

    Pedro Paraíso

    Member
    Flamish
    En dan nog dit: In het Nederlands zegt men wel als iets niets uitmaakt: "Het maakt me geen moer uit". Verder is er nog de uitdrukking "de duvel (duivel) en zijn ouwe (oude) moer", verwijzend naar buitenstaanders, om het even wie.
     
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