More incompetence from the Real Academia Española

The failure on the part of Romance lexicographers to include common words and meanings (eg bragueta = codpiece) in their bibles forms a formidable obstacle for those who would better understand their societies. Stanley Brandes published a really cool book 25 years ago–ie before the advent of easily searchable corpses–called Metaphors of Masculinity: Sex and Status in Andalusian Folklore. In it he analyses a skit which goes as follows:

Man A: De aquí pa’ arriba pa’ mí.
Man B: ¿Y de la bragueta?
Man A: ¡Pa’el que tiene la chaqueta!

Brandes translates this thus:

Man A: From here and above is for me.
Man B: And [what about the part of the body] with the trouser fly?
Man A: For the one who’s holding the jacket!

He then comments that

the punchline receives its primary effect from the implication that it is the man’s fly–or, really, what lies inside it–that belongs to the woman who is holding his jacket.

I think Brandes has been responsible here and checked the Royal Academy’s 1970 dictionary (the current entry is unchanged):

bragueta. 1. f. Abertura de los calzones o pantalones por delante.
(“A front opening in pants or trousers.”)

It is absurd and pathetic that the RAE has not only failed to note the historical meaning–“codpiece”–but also misses the continuity that the metonym {bragueta = bulge} enjoys up to the present day. For example, José Manuel Caballero Bonald (Dos días de setiembre, 1962) writes of some blessed person that

La bragueta formaba una bolsa que le subía hasta medio pecho.”
(“His bragueta formed a bag that extended to half way up his chest.”)

That the RAE hasn’t got the message is all the more extraordinary because {bragueta = testicles} is one of the many items included Cela’s Diccionario secreto in protest at their having been excluded from RAE lexicons. Cela published his dictionary in 1969, so I guess linguacrats are either slow readers or continue to believe that–despite the advent of democracy and deconfessionalised public education–social convention is more important than scientific accuracy. This page of images of academy life points towards the former.

God knows why they’re funded out of taxation.

(One of the interesting usages cited by Cela (vol 1, p 165) is bragueta llena de viento, “wind-filled codpiece (or whatever)”, which makes me wonder about the etymology of “windbag”: was it in fact a sexual epithet?)

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