Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hwæt! WTF?!

Speculative Grammarian ("the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics") offers a novel interpretation of an old text (in "a very, very conservative dialect of English"):
Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum,
WTF?! We was gardening in our backyard,

þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
when Theo came a-cryin’, “Them’s goofin’ on her,

hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
them who are the linguists1 Ellen’s so ‘fraid of!”

... then there was a fair bit more that I haven’t deciphered yet ...

Þæt wæs god cyning.
God! That was a lot of crying!
I suppose this is to writing what mondegreen "translations" are to speech or singing, and BadLipReading is to articulation. It also reminds me of what I called "Latinglish," although in that case an English message is rendered into text that looks like another language, instead of being derived by "translating" an existing text based on superficial phonetic or orthographic resemblances.


  1. I gave this bogus translation a while back to someone too lazy to do their Ecce Romani homework:

    Conspexerat Aurelia ingentem insulam e emittebatur magna vis fumi ac flammarum. Cornelia iam ad id aedificium summa celeritate currebat ...

    Bespectacled Aurelia was isolated in the gents emitting large amounts of fumes and flames. Cornelia had had some of the establishment's celebrated curried bat ...

  2. That is a hilarious translation!