Hungarian may be the most difficult language in the world for an English-speaker to learn, for a number of grammar, spelling, and pronunciation reasons, so misunderstandings may of course arise.
Today I rescue one of the funniest gags by Monty Python: the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook. So relax and have fun!
… Yes, I know they are just speaking gibberish and it’s not really Hungarian, but it’s so funny!
The Funniest Joke in the World
In my opinion, one of the best gags in the history of humour. It explains the story of the creation and the strategic military use during the Second World War of “the funniest joke in the world”.
Monty Python (sometimes known as The Pythons) were a British surreal comedy group who created the sketch comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus, that first aired on the BBC on October 5, 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series. The Python phenomenon developed from the television series into something larger in scope and impact, spawning touring stage shows, films, numerous albums, several books, and a stage musical. The group’s influence on comedy has been compared to The Beatles’ influence on music
Two translators on a ship are talking.
“Can you swim?” asks one.
“No” says the other, “but I can shout for help in nine languages.”
A mouse is in his mouse hole and he wants to go out to get something to eat, but he’s afraid there might be a big cat outside, so he puts his ear by the opening and all he hears is “Bow Wow” so he thinks, “Well, there can’t be a cat out there because there’s a big old dog”, so he goes out of his mouse hole and is promptly caught and eaten by a cat, who licks his lips and says “It’s good to be bilingual !!”
The importance of pronunciation 🙂
On a visit to the United States, Charles de Gaulle was honoured at a banquet in the White House. Seated beside his wife was an official who spoke no French, but who tried to engage her in conversation by asking
“Madame de Gaulle, what do you think the most important thing in life is?”
“A penis”, she replied.
Overhearing, her husband said gently “I believe, my dear, that in English it is pronounced ‘appiness.”
A list with interesting links for translators and interpreters appears at the end of this post. 😉
A familiar feeling for many freelance translators.
JOKE: Two highway workers were busy working at a construction site when a big car with diplomatic license plates pulled up. “Parlez-vous français?” the driver asks them. The two workers just stared. “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” The two continued to stare at him. “Fala português?” Neither worker said anything. “Parlate Italiano?” Still no response. Finally, the man drives off in disgust. One worker turned to the other and said, “Gee, maybe we should learn a foreign language…” “What for? That guy knew four of them and what good did it do him?”
Joke: How does a freelancer define “weekend”? Two working days till Monday.
Language joke: A big bird goes to psychiatrist, says ‘everyone ignores me’. Psy says maybe it’s because your ostridge sized.
When a fellow translator is under great stress, you can send him/her this meme: … Wise words.
Language joke: Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.
Language joke: Adverb bumps into an infinitive in a bar.
Adverb: “Bit crowded in here!”
Infinitive: “It is! Shall we split?
Two highway workers were busy working at a construction site when a big car with diplomatic license plates pulled up.
“Parlez-vous français?” the driver asks them. The two workers just stared.
“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” The two continued to stare at him.
“Fala português?” Neither worker said anything.
“Parlate Italiano?” Still no response.
Finally, the man drives off in disgust.
One worker turned to the other and said, “Gee, maybe we should learn a foreign language…”
“What for? That guy knew four of them and what good did it do him?”
.. I always wondered why.
“I’ve just had the most awful time,” said a boy to his friends. “First I got angina pectoris, then arteriosclerosis. Just as I was recovering, I got psoriasis. They gave me hypodermics, and to top it all, tonsillitis was followed by appendectomy.”
“Wow! How did you pull through?” sympathized his friends.
“I don’t know,” the boy replied. “Toughest spelling test I ever had.”
Language joke: A cat is sitting on the throne, and two dogs, an envoy and his interpreter, are standing before him. The interpreter dog is whispering to the envoy dog, “You’ll have to rephrase that. Their language doesn’t have a word for ‘fetch’”.
Language Joke: A gentleman wanders around the campus of a college looking for the library. He approaches a student and asked, “Excuse me young man. Would you be good enough and tell me where the library is at?” The student, in a very arrogant and belittling tone, replied, “I sorry, sir, but at this school, we are taught never to end a sentence with a preposition!” The gentleman smiled, and in a very apologetic tone replied, “I beg your pardon. Please allow me to rephrase my question. Would you be good enough to tell me where the library is at, asshole?”
Why is abbreviated such a long word?
The manager of a large city zoo was drafting a letter to order a pair of animals. He sat at his computer and typed the following sentence: “I would like to place an order for two mongooses, to be delivered at your earliest convenience.”
He stared at the screen, focusing on that odd word mongooses. Then he deleted the word and added another, so that the sentence now read: “I would like to place an order for two mongeese, to be delivered at your earliest convenience.”
Again he stared at the screen, this time focusing on the new word, which seemed just as odd as the original one. Finally, he deleted the whole sentence and started all over. “Everyone knows no full-stocked zoo should be without a mongoose,” he typed. “Please send us two of them.”
Joke: A Spanish speaking bandit held up a bank in Tucson. The sheriff and his deputy chased him. When they captured him, and the sheriff, who couldn’t speak Spanish, asked him where he’d hidden the money. “No sé nada,” he replied. The sheriff put a gun to the bandit’s head and said to his bi-lingual deputy: “Tell him that if he doesn’t tell us where the money is right now, I’ll blow his brains out.” Upon receiving the translation, the bandit became very animated. “¡Ya me acuerdo! Tienen que caminar tres cuadras hasta ese gran arbol: allí está el dinero.” The sheriff leaned forward. “Yeah? Well..?” The deputy replied: “He says he wants to die like a man.”
Language joke: A linguist walks in to a doctor’s office and says “Doctor, I have a rash around my mouth”. After close inspection, the doctor says “hmm, looks to me like it’s perioral dermatitis,” to which the linguist replies “yeah, that’s what I said.”
A guy, non English speaker, wanted to spend his honeymoon in London. he was convinced that the English he speaks is enough for that trip.
So, he went to London, and while they were in their hotel room, his wife told him (in their native language) that she saw a rat in the room and he should call the reception. It was a big problem for him to find the right word…. eventually he decided to call the reception:
– The reception, Good morning!
– Hello! do you know Tom and Jerry?
– Yes Sir!
– Jerry is here! come and get it out.
Let’s get serious…
If I was fond of giving advises, I would advise any young writer who finds writing difficult, to stop writing on his own for some time and to translate; to translate good literature, and some day he’ll realize that he can write with an ease he did not have before · Julio Cortázar, in Conversations with Cortázar, by Ernesto González Bermejo.
A man who knows four languages is worth four men.
Un hombre que sabe cuatro idiomas vale cuatro hombres.