Saturday, April 9, 2016

Of hovercraft, eels and linguistics

Via e-mail this week, I was reminded of the Monty Python Hungarian phrase-book sketch.

It seems there's a Web site that has translated the key phrase into almost every language known to humankind (and some that may not be - known, that is).  Examples:

Amharic:  የኔ ማንዣበቢያ መኪና በእባቦች ተሞልቷል
(yäne manžabäbia mäkina bä'əbaboch tämoltwal) - ["snakes"]
(there is no word for eels in Amharic)

Gujarati:  મારું હોવેરક્રાફ્ટ ઈલ માછલીઓ થી ભરાઈ ગયું છે
(maru hovercraft eel machhalio thi bharay gayu chh)

Spanish:  Mi aerodeslizador está lleno de anguilas
(for those Spring Break trips to Mexico)

Yiddish:  מײַן פּראָם (שוועבשיף) איז פֿול מיט ווענגערס
(Mayn prom (shveb-shif) iz ful mit vengers)
(for that special trip to Jerusalem)

There are many more at the link.

I wonder how many hours of effort went into compiling that (very exhaustive) list of translations?  I knew the Internet could be a time sink, but that has to be one of the more spectacular examples . . .



OldAFSarge said...


Thanks Peter, I needed that.

Ray - SoCal said...

Funny! My Taiwanese wife just shook her head for the Chinese translation.

Eric Wilner said...

I kind of wonder how one comes up with a Sumerian or Quenya word for "hovercraft."
An older (and not as well kept) collection of translations is that for "Oh my god! There's an axe in my head."

Tirno said...

I'm teaching an IT remote training course today with about 5 Polish students, and I told them that I had prepared for them by learning a Polish greeting.

And there was much rejoicing.