It’s a Spanish Village

March 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

This is what many speakers of Slavic languages say when they hear languages they don’t understand or are unfamiliar with – just as English speakers might say ‘It’s all Greek to me!’ or ‘Double Dutch!’  But what do the Greeks say or the Spanish for that matter?

Interestingly, the Spanish reference Greek and/or Chinese, and the Greeks say incomprehensible output sounds like Chinese and Arabic.

A clever soul, with more time on his hands than me, has constructed a cool map showing the ‘languages of incomprehension’. You can see it here

Cheeky speakers or Esperanto, and artificial language created in the 19th century and with 100 000 speakers as a second language, and maybe a thousand mother tongue speakers, respond to incomprehensible input with the phrase … Ĝi estas laŭ mi Volapukaĵo!  or Tio estas volapukaĵo por mi ‘It’s all Volapük to me’.   Volapuk was an earlier constructed language that was eclipsed by Esperanto.  This now begs the question what do Klingons say in this situation?  Visit the Klingon Language institute and perhaps you’ll learn!


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