Untranslatable Words #18: yaourter

Hello peeps! @ailindigo here! :)

We're now on the 18th week of Untranslatable Words and I found out there's a word for something I'm pretty sure we all have done at least once, in France they have a word for this.

This week's word is the french: yaourter.

Gif by Wordstuck


This is something we all do, not only when learning a new language but even in our own language, when not knowing the lyrics lol I've been doing this since I was a kid in both english and spanish, and even when attempting to sing in german lol!

yaourter literally means to yoghourt and refers to the attempt to speak or sing in a foreign language, and incorporating many mondegreens (errors arising from mishearing) *

I never thought there was a word for this and I'm glad there is. The word comes from yaourt that means yoghurt and also refers to "a song where the singer makes up the words as they're singing, either as dummy lyrics as part of the songwriting process, or because the singer doesn't know the real lyrics of an existing song; used primarily with a verb: chanter en yaourt" *

Even though I tried to inquire more into what a yoghurt has to do with attempting to speak or sing in another language and nonsense imitation. I found that there has been discussions regarding this word, however its central is imitating other languages sounds rather than scatting. *

When we chanter en yaourt (a synonim) we could be replacing lyrics with sounds or words that sound similar, we could just be fake-singing in a different language, or just make up words. This difference between scating and yaourter is very little, when scatting even though the sounds are also improvised, they’re also intentional to create a musical effect; but when we yaourter it's just us trying to join in with a song. *

The Good Doctor gif by coldasyou

Though, songwriters use this sometimes to make lyrics and melodies work out during the writing process, they “yaourter” till it eventually becomes actual lyrics. But also, this might occur during live presentations lol the singer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers (one of my fav bands) Anthony Kiedis tends to do this, which has caused him to be made up a lot of memes, he tends to change lyrics during live shows because it seems he actually forgets them lol despite the many years he's been doing live presentation all along his career with his band; if you're a fan you'll notice he does this a lot.

Now, this reminds me when I knew the "momentos tenientes" which is basically yaourter with real/proper words but only between different languages, while mondergreens occur whithin the same language. A classic mondergreen example is hearing "The ants are my friends, blowin’ in the wind." instead of “The answer, my friend, is...”; and a classic momento teniente would be hearing "enano" (which means dwarf in spanish) instead of "and I know". They both are very similar misunderstandings that could be the result of "singing in yaourt". * *

Basically, yaourter is like doing karaoke without lyrics, could it be? It's implied a relaxed and fun approach to the action, so I think this would be a good example. Even though I've never had to many karaoke sessions I do like it because I like singing, however I'm not a good singer lol, but it's always funny not only to make mistakes while singing, when accidentally changing the lyrics because I wasn't paying attention to the screen, but watch others do the same too. There's no doubt yaourter is very fun.

What do you think? Do you think yaourter is an interseting and fun "linguistic event" or not? Do you yaourter often or you're a pro singer? Please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments!

Thank you very much for passing by! And if you have an Untranslatable Word you'd like to suggest, please don't hesitate to do so! :)

Previous Untranslatable Words:

#1: Torschlusspanik
#2: Mono no aware
#3: Rasāsvāda
#4: Cavoli riscaldati
#5: Nefelibata
#6: Sturmfrei
#7: Jootha
#8: bilita mpash
#9: resfeber
#10: Vāde mēcum
#11: sankofa
#12: annus mirabilis
#13: voorpret
#14: pikit mata
#15: ranorànilac
#16: gagung
#17: gumusservi

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