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Omniglot's Tower of Babel Has Grown!
May 23, 2009 6:43 PM   Subscribe

The site Omniglot has grown somewhat since its previous mention on the blue. Creator Simon Ager has added glossaries of useful phrases, tips on learning a foreign language, assorted "useful phrases" from other sources he's found amusing (an Esperanto book he quotes shows you how to say "there is a frog in my bidet", for instance) and even more writing systems. Plus -- a page telling you how to say "My hovercraft is full of eels" in 79 different languages.
posted by EmpressCallipygos (14 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
The "frog in my bidet" phrase in Esperanto is a Red Dwarf quote. I wouldn't be surprised if it actually made it into an Esperanto phrasebook though.
posted by jozxyqk at 6:48 PM on May 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's the hovercraft/eel page.

(Usually I feel sort of immature for thinking written Scots looks funny, but "Ma hoovercraft's breemin' ower wi eyls" is just about the funniest thing I've seen all week and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Hoovercraft! Hooooooovercraft!)
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:51 PM on May 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


D'oh! Sorry, I thought I had the right link -- can that be fixed at all?....

Usually I feel sort of immature for thinking written Scots looks funny, but "Ma hoovercraft's breemin' ower wi eyls" is just about the funniest thing I've seen all week and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

The Irish Gaelic translation is how I discovered this site first. But my love for the Irish has been replaced by the fact that he actually also has it rendered in KLINGON.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:04 PM on May 23, 2009


An Esperanto book he quotes shows you how to say "there is a frog in my bidet"...

How do you know that's useless? Maybe it's necessary. Have you ever been to Esperana?

I didn't think so.
posted by rokusan at 7:28 PM on May 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


But there aren't any phrases describing how to get the eels out of the hovercraft, so not very helpful.
posted by pointystick at 9:22 PM on May 23, 2009


also, Ethnologue.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:31 PM on May 23, 2009


The "frog in my bidet" phrase in Esperanto is a Red Dwarf quote. I wouldn't be surprised if it actually made it into an Esperanto phrasebook though.

I wonder which came first? Was the phrasebook edited by a Red Dwarf fan? Or did Rob Grant / Doug Naylor, paging through the phrasebook while writing that episode, happen to come across that phrase?
posted by rifflesby at 9:50 PM on May 23, 2009


But there aren't any phrases describing how to get the eels out of the hovercraft, so not very helpful.

You don't need any. Just drive your hovercraft over to Tokyo and park it at the dockyards. There is a whole ISO certified process for unloading the eels and transferring them to the Tsukiji market where you can put them up for auction.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:16 PM on May 23, 2009


(BTW, a shout out to Paul Lewis, Editor of the Ethnologue, brilliant sociolinguist, good friend and colleague and all-around awesome guy.)
posted by darkstar at 11:47 PM on May 23, 2009


โฮเวอร์คราฟท์ของผมเต็มไปด้วยปลาไหล
posted by Meatbomb at 1:54 AM on May 24, 2009


The added bonus with the Thai phrase is that if you can't read it, you can still see the visual representation of a hovercraft full of eels.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:55 AM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would expect to pay extra for having a frog in my bidet. Keeps the flies and mosquitoes down!
posted by Goofyy at 6:17 AM on May 24, 2009


Thanks for this post—I had no idea he'd added all this stuff to Omniglot. These phrases for "I don't understand" demonstrate beautifully the great diversity of modern spoken Arabic:

(Egyptian) (ana miš fāhim) أنا مش فاهم
(Modern Standard) (lā afham) لا أفهم
(Moroccan) (mafhemtš) مافهمتش
(Syrian) (māfhemit) مافهمت
posted by languagehat at 7:40 AM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've learned that the word "eels" looks remarkably similar in many languages. The word "hovercraft," not so much.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:02 AM on May 24, 2009


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