Friday, July 21, 2006

The Germans are known for being a pretty humorless bunch, which doesn't really make since, since German has quite possibly the funniest looking words of all. Seriously -- Dumbkopf? Glockenspiel? Hintergrundinformationen?

And yet, if you use Babel Fish to translate a joke, such as:
Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to the other side!
You get:
warum kreuzte das Huhn die Stra├če?

Damit er an die andere Seite gelangen kann!*
Not a funny-looking word in the whole damn thing (well, "gelangen" is kind of funny). Maybe it's because the English word "chicken" is one of our funnier words (hello "K" sound) and the German word for "chicken", "huhn", is not funny at all.

That's where it hinges, I think. Maybe way back when the Germans developed their language, they didn't find chickens funny, and if you don't find chickens funny, then there's really no hope for you.

*You do have to tweak the english version a bit to read "so that it can arrive at the other side!" to get the grammar right.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"My dog has no nose."
"How does he smell?"
"Awful!"

Mein Hund hat keine Nase.
Wie riecht er?
Schrecklich!

cheers, david

Matt Fugate said...

Heh.

The best thing about this is that I did that same translation while deciding which joke to use for this post! We still have that psychic thing going!

Anonymous said...

meine Frau nehmen... bitte