1 of 2
1
Scherzo Interlude from serious etymology:  Prisencolinensinainciusol
Posted: 24 September 2011 09:10 PM   [ Ignore ]
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  53
Joined  2007-02-14

This example of English gibberish of Italian origin from 1972 is going viral, and I thought it might be of interest to some of the less serious denizens of this board (such as myself) under the topic: how one language sounds to the speaker of another language.  Is there a word for that?  maybe “ Prisencolinensinainciusol “

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcUi6UEQh00

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2011 01:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  650
Joined  2011-04-10

I found a translation. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EsTeKt134o

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2011 03:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4790
Joined  2007-01-03

In a slightly different vein, this one has always been a favorite of mine. If you don’t watch the whole thing, be sure to skip ahead to the Q&A, which begins around the three minute mark.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2011 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  246
Joined  2007-02-16

Dave, While the Reb’s was pretty paltry, yours was really foul !  ;-{)

PS Come to think of it, shouldn’t you have posted it in the ‘Hen night’ thread?

[ Edited: 25 September 2011 06:12 AM by Skibberoo ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 September 2011 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  53
Joined  2007-02-14
sobiest - 25 September 2011 01:07 AM

I found a translation. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EsTeKt134o

actually, this is the authorized translation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz04IBZqfFE&feature=related

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 September 2011 03:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  429
Joined  2007-02-14

how one language sounds to the speaker of another language. Is there a word for that?

Well, if the word had not been taken already, barbaric would cover it, I’d say. 

Etymonline says: “from PIE base *barbar- echoic of unintelligible speech of foreigners”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 September 2011 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2032
Joined  2007-02-19

Modern Hebrew has lebarber (actually, levarber; accent on the last syllable) = to talk nonsense, to babble; noun: birbur nonsense talk, babble. I don’t know how old the Hebrew word is.
Could “babble” be from the same PIE origin as “barbaric”? I was always told “barbaric” had originally to do with wearing a beard, which always struck me as a bit far-fetched, considering that beards were common among both Greeks and Romans

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 September 2011 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  53
Joined  2007-02-14

Le-bar-ber is New Hebrew, similar to the Hebrew word “barbari” = barbaric, i.e. straight from how English has made use of the Greek.

“lebarber” does not exist (as far as I can see) in the authoritative Even-Shoshan dictionary from 1981, but is found in the popular Sapir dictionary of 2001. My guess is that this word “to speak nonsense” is taken straight from the original Greek “to babble.”

btw: Hebrew often assimilates words from foreign language (especially Aramaic) and creates neologisms in verbs using this format> le-x-a-x-e-x. E.g, to telephone: le-tal-phen.  Bayit is “house”, le-va-yet” is to domesticate. to torpedo:  le-tar-ped.  Le-bal-bel, as in Tower of Babel, means to confuse.

Question for those who know Persian:  the very common Hebrew word “balagan” (disorder, a mess) is said to come from a Persian word meaning “market” or “street theater”. Others say “temporary wooden structure for folk performances” - “balachane”. Either/both right?  In Hebrew, the word has come to mean “disorder”, and then the verb: le-val-gen—to create disorder.

Hebrew has a single word for all foreign languages:  “lo’azit”. Aside from the Greek “barbar”, does anyone know if other languages have a single term for all foreign languages?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 September 2011 08:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  650
Joined  2011-04-10

As a less serious denizen, I quote:

...does anyone know if other languages have a single term for all foreign languages?

[drum role...]

“It’s Greek to me!”

[slapstick, symbol crash, etc...]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 September 2011 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2344
Joined  2007-01-30
Reb Wlm - 26 September 2011 07:39 PM

“lebarber” does not exist (as far as I can see) in the authoritative Even-Shoshan dictionary from 1981, but is found in the popular Sapir dictionary of 2001. My guess is that this word “to speak nonsense” is taken straight from the original Greek “to babble.”

Interestingly (under the OED entry for Barbary) we find that there is an Arabic term barbara, ‘to talk noisily and confusedly’, which, as OED specifically states, “is not derived < Greek βάρβαρος”.  Could the Hebrew word be cognate with this?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 September 2011 06:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  53
Joined  2007-02-14

Aldi: that is fascinating, and I am sure that Lionello would agree.

Lots of Arabic seeps into Hebrew, as well, because the majority of Israelis have their roots in Muslim countries. Maybe the Hebrew word is connected to the Berbers, of Barbary coast fame. Alas, the etymology of the word Berber does seem to go back to the Greek, through Latin and Arabic. “Barbaros” has certainly made the rounds!.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 September 2011 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  820
Joined  2007-06-20

I wouldn’t be surprised if the idea that speakers of another language were saying something similar to “bar, bar” was found in a variety of cultures: even in English, extras in crowd scenes are traditionally supposed to go “rhubarb, rhubarb” in order to imitate indistinguishable speech. So yes, it seems perfectly plausible that Arabs and Greeks both thought, independently, that those funny-speaking foreigners were saying “bar, bar”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 September 2011 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3136
Joined  2007-02-26

I’ve often wondered about this. One of Feynman’s party tricks was to impersonate other languages which he could not speak but (he fancied) could phonetically replicate well enough to sound, to another non-speaker, as though he was speaking the language in question. If you see what I mean.

I’ve wondered how someone trying to sound as though they are speaking English would sound, but it would be hard to find someone who had heard enough English to be able to impersonate it without actually learning some of the language.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 September 2011 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  650
Joined  2011-04-10

I’ve wondered how someone trying to sound as though they are speaking English would sound, but it would be hard to find someone who had heard enough English to be able to impersonate it without actually learning some of the language.

I was at an “extreme sport” event recently.  The enthusiasts (mostly in their early 20’s) seemed to have perfected this technique.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 September 2011 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  429
Joined  2007-02-14

This appears to be very much on topic. Gosh, I absolutely love this scene.

Edit: and let’s not forget the Ketchup Song.. The chorus is supposed to be mock-English.

And while we’re at it; turtle soup anyone?

[ Edited: 28 September 2011 11:55 AM by Dutchtoo ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 September 2011 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3136
Joined  2007-02-26

I’m’a call the Ketchup Song chorus a fail, then. The vowels do not sound English, and the unvoiced plosives are unaspirated.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
‹‹ hen night      HD: Webster's Third's Fiftieth ››