Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    frindle2 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    191

    Smile mission alpha-shmalfa / TIYL

    Hello.
    The following is a secret message from a secret agent to another one.
    Would you please tell me what 'alpha-shmalfa' means in the context below?
    And one more! What does TIYL stand for?
    Thank you.


    from <The Way Downtown> by Inna Gertsberg----------
    Changing trains and getting lost means that Agent Rybka's arrival downtown will be delayed.


    MISSION ALPHA-SHMALFA,
    AGENT 008 ARRIVING LATE
    TIYL

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    31,862

    Re: mission alpha-shmalfa / TIYL

    TIYL usually means This Is Your Life.

  3. #3
    frindle2 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    191

    Re: mission alpha-shmalfa / TIYL

    Oh, I misread TTYL as TIYL.
    Do you happen to know what TTYL stands for?
    Thank you.

  4. #4
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Matthew Wai is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    8,327

    Re: mission alpha-shmalfa / TIYL

    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
    Skrej's Avatar
    Skrej is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    3,688

    Re: mission alpha-shmalfa / TIYL

    Repeating a word but adding 'shm' to the beginning of the second repetition is a way of indicating skepticism, mockery, or disdain for something. It has crossed over into English from Yiddish.

    For example, if you're talking about your fancy dinner party, I might reply "fancy shmancy" in mockery.

    I just recently learned this linguistic phenomena actually has a name, called "shm-reduplication'.

    However, I agree with Piscean that in this context, the authors have just done it to make an amusing name for young readers. It's still a little bit of a joke for adults who might be reading the book to their children, however.
    Last edited by Skrej; 28-Aug-2017 at 17:15. Reason: typo - thanks tzfujimino!
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  6. #6
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is online now Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3,349

    Re: mission alpha-shmalfa / TIYL

    I'm sure you meant "beginning", not "begging".

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •