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Off topic: Termination of the English Language
Thread poster: Russell Jones

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:35
Italian to English
Oct 23, 2003

Language Plans for Kalifornia

The New California Governor has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the state, rather than German which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, The Terminator's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Austro-English" (or, if nobody will be offended, "Austrionics").

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped favor of the "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter. In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

If zis mad yu smil, pleas pas it on to oza pepl.

[Edited at 2003-10-23 12:24]


United States
Local time: 14:35
French to English
+ ...
Russell - I am kraking up! Oct 23, 2003

Very funny - and I will "pas it on to oza pepl."

vat vil be in hollyvud?


Anthony Green  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:35
Italian to English
+ ...
Terminator can't count Oct 23, 2003

Herr Gropenführer (as Doonesbury is currently calling him) has made a gross political miscalculation.

If he iz expekting to mak _hanjis to ze kibod, he vil ef to _hanj ze speling ov the word _hanj (or however we are supposed to spell it).

(otherwise we wicked English speakers will insist on keeping our beloved C so that we can represent a CH sound - unless of course we have to use an Austrionic "TSCH")



Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:35
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Gret newz Oct 23, 2003

jus think ow kwikli we kan translat evn difikult stuf. Wat wil hapn tu prises 4 ur work? Zer is much les typin tu du.

[Edited at 2003-10-23 14:07]


Diogo Santos
Local time: 21:35
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Zis is vonderful Oct 23, 2003

Zancs a lot!!icon_biggrin.gif


Alexandru Pojoga
Local time: 23:35
Japanese to English
+ ...
Looking forward to that Swartzenegger library Oct 23, 2003

In the movie "Demolition man" he gets to be President too. Why, I'd vote for him...


Local time: 22:35
Italian to English
Rusel, zats inkredibl Oct 24, 2003

zis is vonderful newz for evrivun


PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:35
English to Polish
+ ...
and new job opportunities Oct 24, 2003

for translators


nordiste  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:35
English to French
+ ...
old European stuff ?? Oct 25, 2003

Well, it's a funny story of course.
But I have the feeling that I already read it , here in Europe. It was about a future European common language ; there were different versions : the French one (how to get rid of all these non-spoken letters and complicated French spelling) , an English one (about "th" becoming "z" and so on), and a German one at least. I'll try to find them. As far as I remember the examples given were exactly the same as with the new Governor.
I must say I prefer the European stories because they were not making fun of a real person ; I've worked in England with my French accent and I don't really think it's a nice thing to do to laugh and laugh about somebody just for being a foreigner with prounounciation (and spelling) difficulties. Well, I never got in trouble because of it but I sometimes could feel very uncomfortable although I was quite unable to do better.
In this particular case I am sure there are a lot more things to say about Terminator's politic or general views - but maybe it's not the right place here in this forum.


United Kingdom
Local time: 21:35
English to German
+ ...
Thanks Nordiste Oct 26, 2003

I couldn't agree more. This is just pathetic. Have a look at this thread:


EdithK  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:35
German to English
+ ...
Think?! Oct 26, 2003

Please .....

Like the old saying ... England and America are one nation divided by a common language ... not all German-speaking folk feels that Austria - because of a shared language - shares the same culture..


Thierry LOTTE  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:35
Member (2001)
English to French
+ ...
Corny jokes about inmigrants ! Oct 29, 2003

Not funny at all : vulgar, easy, and furthermore a very old corny joke...

This is just "lousy" - or shall I write "loozee" to adapt my style of humor to Russel Jones' one ?...

Do try to think that not such a long time ago USA had some kind of "Cow Boy" as president (who made his posible...).

Right now, there is another one : let us see if you have some funny joke about him ...

Easy to fiddle about austrians (and maybe a future United States President - if they amend the constitution) but harder and more risky (at least on this website)to make "smart" jokes about GWB.

Is'nt it ?


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:35
Italian to English
Aren't we serious! Oct 29, 2003

If a version of this has been used in the past with more sinister motives, I can understand the sensitivities - no offence intended in making it visible to the community.
No doubt there are English speakers who hold and express unhealthily stereotypical views on German speakers. Most Brits of my acquaintance regard them as fellow Europeans and, as such, a perfectly valid target for humour, as we are for them.
From my own perspective, this passage, as it stands, is no more than a joke (or fantasy)about the changing nature of language - and a quickly forgotten one at that - that doesn't warrant deeper analysis in a Lighter side of Translation forum.
A lesson in the dangers of humour in a translation context perhaps?


John Bowden  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:35
German to English
Sorry to join in again Oct 29, 2003

[quote]Russell Jones wrote:

If a version of this has been used in the past with more sinister motives, I can understand the sensitivities - From my own perspective, this passage, as it stands, is no more than a joke (or fantasy)about the changing nature of language - and a quickly forgotten one at that - that doesn't warrant deeper analysis in a Lighter side of Translation forum.

...since I've commented on this before, but I simply can't understand how the "Euro-Language" text can be seen as *anything but* poking fun at German speakers - whether this is felt to be a serious matter is, of course, a matter of opinion, since Germans seem to be just about the only national/ethnic group it's still permissable to ridicule (the fact that a Liberal like Doonesbury can get away with using a term like "Gropenführer", on analogy with a Nazi rank, speaks volumes...

But back to the text: it has been circulating on the Internet since at least 1996, and I saw it in type-written form long before then. If you research the Internet versions, you will find that the overwhelming majority of people who circulate it see it in "German" terms; here are just a few examples, with the contributors' comments, from various websites:

"...This joke is a variation on one which Peter tells very well indeed. When he tells it he slowly builds up a German accent in the second half of the story - the script helps..."

"Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst place "

"...And zen ve vil tak over ze world!"

"..Very interesting as a folk critique, through analogy, of the EU. I am
assuming that replacing "th" with "z", and "w" with "v", is a deliberate
attempt to produce a pseudo-German accent-- And thus the reason for German (rather than French, which would be a more
logical "contender," for the official language. In which case, the capital
word punch-line is suggesting that the EU is the Fourth Reich..."

Blasted German domination!"

"Ze drem vil finali kum tru! And zen ve vil tak ova ze vorld!"

"...Ze drem vil finali hav kum tru.
If u do not find zis funy, ve hav vays of makin u laf!".

"...Ze drem vil finaly kum tru and ve kan say mizout kvestion zat ve hav vays of making yu talk!"

"Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru. Heil Hitler!!"

I could go on - these are just a few of the hundreds of versions I've collected. I know very well that linguists circulate this text purely as a satire on English spelling/changing language etc, and have absolutely no anti-German intent. But: there is no such thing as a neutral text, and we have to be aware of the original purpose (to make fun of Germans and supposed German "urge to dominate", and the use to which the majority of people put the text. Therefore I would urge colleagues to think carefully before they "send zis text to ozer pepl"!


María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just my 2 cents... Nov 2, 2003

1) Isn't this posted under the heading "The Lighter Side of Translation/Interpretation"? or am I having hallucinations? icon_wink.gif As the lyrics of one of my favorite songs go --> Why sooo seeeriouuus?

2) I followed the other link Olaf posted above, and all I could think of when I read one of the many comments was the film "Snatch" --> As Turkish says to Tommy: Protection from what? "Zee Germans"? (remember, this *was* a British film)

3) There is also, among the numerous versions of this joke, a Spanish version. Supposedly written (or proposed by) Mr. "Nobel Prize of Literature" Gabriel García Márquez himself. And I don't believe anybody was offended by it in any way.

4) I guess we Latin Americans are all so used to making fun of people that we don't take things too seriously when people make fun of us icon_razz.gif

I'm just joking here... Please let this remain in "the lighter side of..." Thanks!


P.S.: So they were four cents instead of twoicon_smile.gif

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