Friday, March 23, 2007
Kuala Lumpur Chris sends me further news of the progress of Voltronese - English for the globalised, wired, wireless, online, distracted, spoilt and, of course, doomed world. The Germans, it seems, are as alarmed as the French used to be at English's creeping annexation of their language. In particular, they have been fighting the use of the word 'spam' to mean not 'luncheon meat' - a phrase that brings back my childhood in an instant and always make me wonder whatever happened to 'luncheon' - but dodgy emails. There seems to have been some kind of competition to find a German replacement with 'kaufkitzel', meaning something like 'tickle to buy', and 'knacksatz', untranslatable it seems, being strong contenders. But the winner is 'spruch' meaning slogan or saying or, I think, some kind of babble. 'Heidi, my mailbox is full of spruch!' Yeah, it kind of works. Chris also points out that the German word for a mobile phone is a 'handy', which, curiously, is an English word but not an English usage. However, I think the correct Voltronese word should be the Israeli 'pelephone', which means 'magic phone'. I like that.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:53 am