Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tongue Twisters, Translated

The water-demon hissed in an elevator. (Vesihiisi sihisi hississä.)
The black cat's fat cheeks. (Mustan kissan paksut posket.)
The bean-pot of the assistant chaplain of Appila's chaplaincy boils and foams on the hob. (Appilan pappilan apupapin papupata pankoolla kiehuu ja kuohuu.)
I'll wind the R around the pole, S I'll put in my pocket. (Ärrän kierrän ympäri orren, ässän pistän taskuun.)
Don't torment the poor corncrake! - But I am not tormenting [it]! (Älä rääkkää rääkkä raukkaa! - En mä rääkkääkkään!)
Gather up the whole bonfire! - The whole bonfire? - The whole bonfire. (Kokoo kokoon koko kokko! - Koko kokkoko? - Koko kokko.)

(The Finnish-language originals in brackets. I am aware of some flaws in the translations - orsi is not really a pole, pankoo not really a hob. But some things have no translation, and sometimes the words are lost in time and the translator's poor mind.)

Ok, so god knows what makes me want to post such stuff.


nmj said...

Mustan kissan paksut posket.

I love this! Just love it. I hope your children came home for the dinner you cooked . . .

Anna MR said...

Hey hun, yes they did, and they felt all the sweeter for having been away. We had tacos, and pancakes too.

happeningfish said...

I am so using these, all of these...


Hello. I got pointed in this direction by NMJ and I usually try to follow her advice (and I am pretty sure I've seen you over at her house before, too). But what have I just walked into? You could be totally making these up and innocently ignorant folk could be reading bad Finnish swear words without knowing it. Something to think about for the future, certainly, if you are at a loose end.

So it is hard to know what to say to you, really. In these circumstances, I usually just talk about myself. So....

It is cold in Ireland today and my girlfriend just told me to assemble a fire.
"Koko kokkoko?", I hississä malevolently.
"Koko kokko," she replied with icy calm. Jeez. what a drag. I asked her if I could take the dog with me to gather some wood.
"No, let her sleep and stop bothering her."
"En mä rääkkääkkään!" I shrieked with indignation. She pushed me out the door.

I think it is only fair to say that whilst gathering up the wood, I never once saw a black cat. Let alone mustan kissan paksut posket. So I can't work that into my "story", unfortunately.

I was suddenly struck, however, by the nagging fear that the assistant chaplain of Appila's chaplaincy may have forgotten to take the bean-pot off the hob. He had certainly seemed sleepy the last time I spoke to him.

I stopped a policeman to tell him this news.
"Hyvää huomenta, officer", I said, "Puhutteko Englantia?"
"Of course I do, you retard, this is Ireland," he replied, kindly.
"Phew. That's a relief. Anyway, officer, I have a nasty feeling that appilan pappilan apupapin papupata pankoolla kiehuu ja kuohuu."

He just looked at me. Then he ran. Good to see he was taking the problem seriously.

"Jutellaan toistekin!" I shouted after him, cheerily. He just kept on running. "But Minä rakastan Sinua, officer," I shouted even louder. He just ran even faster.

Anyway, I just pushed the button and got in the elevator - by this time I had chased the officer into a hotel lobby - and could hardly believe my eyes. You'll just never believe what was inside.

Hauska tavata, Anna Mr. Greetings from Ireland.


nmj said...

Hey hon, I think you can now see there was a great point to you posting these lovely tongue twisters, it has given PE a chance to be stunningly creative, please don't tell him the bad swear word or he will be using it on all our blogs. I actually printed out 'mustan kissan paksut posket' and put it on my pinboard, the sounds are just so beautiful.

PE, you are just too funny, might have know I'd find you here. If you behave well in Finland, I might just reconsider dumping you for Caroline . . .

Anna MR said...

Dear all, thank you for enjoying. PE, your story has me in stitches. Your Finnish is remarkable, I sense either a Finnish connection or a learner's web site. Just to let you know, it is the national sport of Finns to teach innocently ignorant foreigners to say dreadfully rude things, but I haven't done so, and I can prove it - I taught you utterly useless things, but the people who are out to get you will teach you that "syö rautaa ja paskanna ketjua" means "May I have a ticket to Tampere, please" or something...


Yes, you have caught me out, Anna Mr. I have no Finnish connections (although I did once get drunk with some Finns in a Moscow hotel - they were on a "vodka weekend", I seem to recall, and sleeping arrangements became, well, messy) and I have never spoken a word of Finnish before. I had to steal stuff from the internet. I barely knew what I was saying by the end, but that happens to me in purely English responses, as well.

I had been planning on doing the whole response in Finnish, but this struck me as a needlessly ambitious thing to attempt on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

I'm very pleased it made you laugh, though, because I was laughing as I wrote it. I'm also very pleased to hear that Finnish people trick foreigners by teaching them bad words. This just seems sensible to me.

I look forward to trying out the sentence "syö rautaa ja paskanna ketjua" on someone. Part of the excitement of not having a clue what this means, is that I will have no idea what to expect as a response. I may get a slap in the face, or I may be welcomed with open arms. Who Knows? Well, you know, Anna Mr - but you've earned the right to know by being Finnish in the first place.

NMJ - good recommendation. And did you notice how well I behaved? God. I'm so needy.

Nice to meet you, Anna Mr.

Kind regards etc....

(I hope this sentence you taught me is not TOO disgraceful - because I will try to use it somewhere soon)

nmj said...

Dearest PE, if you misbehaved in Finland, I would be SO upset, and it would be my fault for bringing you here, knowing what you can be like when you are in full flow. I am very glad that you made Anna Mr laugh.

Anna MR said...

What I'm dying to know is why the Welsh flag (having a bit of a Welsh connection myself) -


Ha! Big mistake, Finland. You actually asked me a question, so now I can't be ticked off by NMJ for making a nuisance of myself.

Welsh flag because...I like how it looks, and as an act of solidarity with an American blogger living in Wales. He was feeling a bit sad about not feeling properly accepted. I hope that clears it all up for you. I think I'll only have it for a few days more, though, because I can't bear not seeing my own handsomely fat face when I leave a comment somewhere. I am actually hiding behind the flag right now, just dying to peek out and say hello. It is a rather beautiful flag though, don't you think?

What's your Welsh connection? And how come your English is so magnificent? (not as good as my Finnish, I know, but you're doing quite well)

Anyway, I'll get out of your hair. I am well aware that I can be an annoying tosser - just look at what cruel NMJ is saying about me. But you did ask me a question, Finnish Person.

Very nice to have found you, Anna Mr.

Kind regards etc....

Anna MR said...

Dear heart, now *you've* done it - you asked *me* a question. No, two! Ah yes, but this is my blog, so I am allowed to harp on as boringly as I like (and I do).

Wales is where I went to have babies (two in total, six years there). Wonderful place, brilliant flag. Left over ten years ago, still occasionally find myself really missing it.

My English is so magnificent (thank you kindly) because I am linguistically so stunningly talented. Ha. Although of course a mere stumble compared to your Finnish.