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   Clodfobble  Saturday Feb 28 11:30 PM

March 1, 2009: It's Greek to Me!

Did you know that the expression "it was Greek to me" was first coined by Shakespeare? Yep, Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene 2. But what do the Greeks say, when they find something to be incomprehensible? Well, turns out they have expressions that indicate something is either "Arabic" or "Chinese." But what idioms do those cultures use as the pinnacle of confusing nonsense? Wait, wait, this could get complicated. Let's make a chart. Or rather, let's just look at one that someone else already made, posted on Strange Maps.





Looks like we're not alone; five other languages reference Greek. The most universally-confusing language is apparently Chinese, with eleven languages deferring to its incomprehensibility. And the only language the Chinese think is beyond them? Oh, just the language of God.



xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Mar 1 01:26 AM

I wonder why the Russians get two arrows to Chinese?
It's interesting the Chinese, with half the world pointing at them, only point to "Heavenly Script". Guess they think everyone else is scrutable.



Kolbenfresser  Sunday Mar 1 05:32 AM

German?

Since Germany is not mentionend at all, I suppose there is nothing incomprehensible for us at all :-)
And don't bug me with alternative interpretations.
By the way, I personally like to refer to Portuguese and Polish.



DanaC  Sunday Mar 1 06:22 AM

How the hell is German missing from that map? lol

Lovely idea though

I like that the two end points are Heavenly Script and Hindi.

apropos of nothing: i wish I could remember the words, but as a youngling I was rocked with a Hindi lullaby.



Trilby  Sunday Mar 1 09:22 AM

Where's Navajo?



Flint  Sunday Mar 1 09:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
I wonder why the Russians get two arrows to Chinese?
Two separate sayings, i.e. "Chinese is nonsense" & "Chinese are full of sh!t" ???


Gravdigr  Sunday Mar 1 06:13 PM

No Sanskrit? Where is Sanskrit?? The Sanskritians (Sanskrites?) are gonna be pissed.



Beestie  Sunday Mar 1 06:19 PM

Well, if you can understand German then you can understand pretty much anything.



monster  Sunday Mar 1 06:19 PM

English should have an arrow to Dutch too. Cool idea for a map, though



TheMercenary  Sunday Mar 1 06:36 PM

And what about those Galic speakers. I think it is racism.



newtimer  Sunday Mar 1 07:57 PM

Oh.
At first glance, I thought this was a chart showing what kind of restaurant different peoples prefer when they go out to eat.

That would explain why there are so many Chinese restaurants in the world, but not many English or Croatian restaurants.



Pie  Sunday Mar 1 10:39 PM

How about Xhosa, one of the African "click" languages?



ZenGum  Sunday Mar 1 10:51 PM

Whole thing looks double dutch to me.



ferret88  Sunday Mar 1 11:39 PM

Y'all are missing the point.

<snip>Did you know that the expression "it was Greek to me" was first coined by Shakespeare? <edit> But what do the Greeks say, when they find something to be incomprehensible? Well, turns out they have expressions that indicate something is either "Arabic" or "Chinese." But what idioms do those cultures use as the pinnacle of confusing nonsense?<snip>

The map is not a map of language relationships. It is a map of what idiom is used by speakers of one language when referring to incomprehensible language.



xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Mar 1 11:48 PM

Mmmmm idioms. Salt & pepper, bacon wrap, parsley, lightly broiled. Delicious.



monster  Monday Mar 2 12:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ferret88 View Post
Y'all are missing the point.

The map is not a map of language relationships. It is a map of what idiom is used by speakers of one language when referring to incomprehensible language.
who's missing the point? seems to me everyone so far understood that.... some chose to take the piss and/or play the race card.... but what's new?

btw zengum, I already covered the English > Dutch, although in hindsight, I should have suggested two arrows.....


SPUCK  Monday Mar 2 05:55 AM

That map is bogus.. Where's Klingon??



Clodfobble  Monday Mar 2 09:54 AM

I would think the Klingon idiom for "this makes no sense" would be "Kill them!"



Beest  Monday Mar 2 01:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clodfobble View Post
I would think the Klingon idiom for "this makes no sense" would be "Kill them!"
Only sounding like they were trying to cough up a gerbil


richlevy  Monday Mar 2 05:17 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clodfobble View Post
The most universally-confusing language is apparently Chinese, with eleven languages deferring to its incomprehensibility.
That's because everyone is ordering from the same takeout menu.


ZenGum  Monday Mar 2 05:31 PM

The ancient Greeks thought all foreigners sounded like sheep and made Baa Baa noises. This is where the word barbarian comes from. True story. Well, I haven't checked it, so: sincerely told story, at least.



Gravdigr  Monday Mar 2 06:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by newtimer View Post
That would explain why there are so many Chinese restaurants in the world, but not many English or Croatian restaurants.
England - not necessarily known for gourmet cooking.


Tick  Tuesday Mar 3 11:31 AM

這是所有英語給我。



mrputter  Wednesday Mar 4 05:25 PM

> 這是所有英語給我。

I dunno, man. It might be, but I can't read that stuff to save my life.



ZenGum  Wednesday Mar 4 07:14 PM

English gives me much more, including some good laughs from Babelfish.

I work for a company called Bradford. Via Chinese back to English it translates as "lays mines buddha". WTF?



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