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Wordplay with languages

By simplissimus, in 'Other Languages', Mar 13, 2010.

  1. Gregorius Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    It was only a matter of time before something involving that particular pair of false cognates emerged. LOL!
  2. Akela dat affluenter

    • Princeps Senatus
    This is just awesome :hysteric:

    I feel so guilty for laughing at this :( :hysteric:
  3. JaimeB Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    San Francisco, CA
    Well, if you liked that one, here's another. There's an English-Spanish bilingual newspaper in the city where I live, and the copy editors are evidently more careful with the English than with the Spanish side of it.

    The following headline appeared on the back page: Violada muchacha de dieciséis anos. It was fairly obvious that they meant años; but while the news in itself was pretty shocking, its shock value was nothing compared to that of the error.... A girl of sixteen years, or a girl of sixteen anuses? Diacritics are sometimes critical!
  4. Akela dat affluenter

    • Princeps Senatus
    The años vs anos is something I still remember us being warned about in the first year Spanish. English speakers make this mistake too often to sound proper *shifty*
  5. Nikolaos schmikolaos

    • Censor
    Well, I haven't studied too much Spanish, but it was a while before I realized that the pronunciation of z (or c in some cases) as the English th not only didn't apply in Mexican Spanish, but was considered by many to be pretentious.

    At least I found out by the grace of the friendly neighborhood Internet instead of being told by a native speaker.

    Back to the case at hand, though - are you sure it was a misprint? She could have been born to a family that works in a nuclear power plant with frequent meltdowns : P
  6. bAndie91 New Member

    "Comam uram, miles fiam!"
    Haec sententia et Latine et Hungarice intellegitur.
    Pars prima Hungarice amicum vocat circa "domne amice", "mi comes".
    Secunda illum stimulat circa "quid tibi, mi filii?"
    Akela likes this.
  7. Trethiwr Member

    Many years ago, I worked in a shop selling camping equipment in central London.
    One day a delightful American lady and her teenage daughter came in.

    Trying on some jackets the lady who was a little more generously upholstered than her daughter found the jacket did not come down far enough for her liking.

    "Do you have anything that will cover my fanny?" she asked.
    Of course I knew this transatlantic difference in meaning, but I was worried that other people she met might not, and I felt obliged to enlighten her; politely.
    So I picked out another jacket which was cut for the feminine figure and said, "by the way the word fanny in English has a different meaning."
    "Oh she said, what does it mean?"
    "Ummm, it refers to a uniquely feminine part of the anatomy...located at a similar level... but at the front." :oops:
    "OH!" she replied, her daughter was in absolute hysterics. :hysteric:
    I managed to keep a straight face throughout. 8)
    Lysandra and Akela like this.
  8. Trethiwr Member

    I liked the thing I heard, probably here actually, about the Latin quote, which translates as,
    An Iberian is lucky because for him 'to live' is literally 'to drink'.

    I don't need to find the correct version in Latin because you will all know it or be able to work it out anyway.
  9. Trethiwr Member

    And here's one, I will apologise in advance OK. But I do still like it.
    (You do need to read it in a French accent.

    Two French cats had a swimming race.
    One was called Gaston, the other was called Un-deux-trois

    Which cat won?

    Gaston obviously because Un-deux-trois-quatre-cinq.
  10. Trethiwr Member

    Many years ago in the late forties my friend's dad was in Paris.

    He wanted the station but found passers by unwilling to assist him, no matter how many people he asked "Ou et le guerre?"

    My sister was on an exchange trip in France and was trying to wrap a present for our mum. Her host asked her if she would like some scotch.
    My sister, being at the time about 14 years old and quite sheltered was shocked. She knew the French had more liberal attitudes to alcohol than the English but offering a child whiskey seemed beyond the pale. She never told me how she managed to wrap the parcel without the "Scotch Tape" that would have made it so much easier.

    I myself, visited Belgium a few years ago. I knew a smattering of French but had forgotten most of it and was busy trying to learn Italian which I was getting pretty good at.
    I made a bit of a twit of myself asking for very beers instead of three beers in a bar, but I managed just about.
    Then we needed directions to the hotel and for the life of me I couldn't think how to ask in French.
    I spotted an Italian restaurant and went inside.
    "Scusi, dove il hotel whatevername?" I asked in my best Italian.
    They all looked utterly perplexed.
    "Scusi, sono Inglese, non parlo Francesi, parlo picolo Italiano" I explained.
    Suddenly they burst out laughing and chattering in a mixture of French Italian and English all at once.
    They all spoke perfect English!!!
    The last thing they were ready for was an English tourist speaking broken Italian.
    Akela likes this.
  11. Gregorius Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I had a recent business meeting of sorts with my supported living coordinator, and I had with me the textbook I am currently using to learn Ancient Greek. She gave me this smirk as if to say "Only you, Greg," picked it up, and leafed through it briefly. "Oh, geez! Look at this! I can't read a word of this!" she said. I responded without hesitation, "Yep. It's all Greek to you."

    For any non-native English speakers: "It's all Greek to me!" is a fixed expression that is used when someone is presented with exotic and incomprehensible text or speech, no matter what the actual language is.
  12. Iohannes Aurum Technicus Auxiliarius

    • Technicus Auxiliarius
    In most other languages, that phrase is translated as "It is Chinese to me!" or "It is Spanish to me!" depending on the language spoken. See this article.
  13. JaimeB Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    San Francisco, CA
    In French, it's "pour moi, c'est de l'hébreu": "It's Hebrew to me."

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. Trethiwr Member

    Yep, years ago my mum was up on stage at a holiday camp.
    "What's your name?" the compère asked
    "Pleione." she replied
    without a blink he responded,
    "I dunno, its all Greek to me."

    Actually, now I think about it again, its odd that he even knew about Greek mythology. :shock:
  15. Trethiwr Member

    You had better update that wikipedia article then.

    I was about to mention double Dutch until I read the article, and it was the first one listed.
  16. Decimus Canus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    This is a story I read from a journalist writing about her experience as a schoolgirl staying en famille with a French girl on a language exchange scheme. At first she found the food was too rich for her stomach compared with the bland food she was used to in England and she had trouble finishing her meals. The French parents were insistent that she should eat more and she was trying to explain to them that the food was delicious but she was full. She turned to the mother and said, "Je suis pleine."

    This produced gales of laughter from the father so she fished out her pocket dictionary and looked for another word for full. Finding one she turned to the father and said, "Je suis complète."

    This time the mother dissolved into helpless laughter. Having just told her, in a rather vulgar way, that she was pregnant the English girl had then announced to her husband that she was a complete woman.
    Akela likes this.
  17. JaimeB Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    San Francisco, CA
    I love wikipedia, but it's not always the Gospel truth. Certainly you can say that it's another "exotic" language, and I'm sure people say more than one thing about which other language something they don't understand resembles; but I assure you that Hebrew is one of the languages referenced by the French. It's the expression I learned when I studied French (which I pursued through to doctoral-level courses), and It's the one I heard from other teachers and taught to my students.

    Et voilà, tu vois? Ce n'est pas comme si chacun qui écrit dans wikipedia sait tout ce qu'il y a à savoir! Peut-être que c'est l'auteur de l'article qui devrait lui-même redacter son travail!
  18. Cambrinus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    A centurion goes into a bar on the Appian Way: 'Give me a Martinus', he says to the barman. 'Surely you mean Martini?', replies the bemused barman. 'If I want a double, I'll ask for the one', replies the customer.
    Quasus, Nikolaos, Akela and 1 other person like this.
  19. Adrian Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Akela likes this.
  20. bart New Member

    A delightful thread. The "gare" - "guerre" mistake is almost universal in the U.S., I fear. I'm glad it has veered a bit off topic to include issues of pronunciation and "false friends."

    It reminds me of a dinner party in the wine country outside Sancerre. My French is okay when it comes to reading, passable when speaking, but not very good in processing what is being said to me, especially when spoken at more than a snail's pace. I had a delightful but increasingly puzzling conversation with a woman seated next to me. She spoke, in regionally accented French, about her enthusiasm for "yoga" while I talked about the various kinds of "yogurt" ("yaourt"). Several glasses of wine later, she spoke about her daughter (something, I still don't know what, had happened "a Natalie") while I expressed concern and asked questions about the daughter's non-existent trip "en Italie."

    Long before that, when I was 19, my companion and I were staying in a small hotel in Amsterdam. We needed fresh towels. This was before the days when English-speakers could assume that everyone in the travel industry shares our language. I resolved to write a note to the maid in Dutch, a language about which I knew nothing, relying on a miniscule pocket dictionary. Not grasping the dictionary's format, I copied the English phonetic pronunciation for each Dutch word. It was gibberish but we did get the towels.
    Quasus likes this.

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