Okay, so this is my new favourite thing. I spent this morning with good chums Dan Schreiber and Ash Gardner in Docklands. Over lunch, Ash brought my attention to the And Jill Then Is Collapsed blog in which Masal Bugduv takes nursery rhymes and carols and pushes them through translation programmes from English to French to German to Italian and then back to English again. What results is a beautifully surreal form of English. For example:
'They are of teapot,
Large little ones and,
My sleeve my suggestion,
When I begin to hiss you feel it,
Here here to strike me and it passes to me!'
'Far away it is eaten in a bed for a bed,
The small Gentleman Jesus has given its beautiful head.
The stars in the luminous sky watched in down, where it has rested,
The little one who fall asleep on the Jesus hay.
The bovines are the following ones,
The wide awake child,
But less Gentleman Jesus cries that ago,
Jesus Gentleman he watches from the sky and my permanence to the morning it is near.
Near me, Gentleman Jesus I ask you to remain.
All around me always and I love to me.
Made happy all beloveds sons in tender cure yours.
And in the sky, to assume, with you over there of being.'
And the wonderful:
'Jack and Jill instituted on the hill
To the aim to try a bucket of water
Jack has fallen and has broken off the crown
And Jill then is collapsed.'
Truly joyous abandonment of the language. Do go and have a look.
While you're at it, have a look at these sites too. The first is an old blogpost of mine that tells the story of the unintentionally hilarious Road Safety Songs booklet.
The other is the Project Gutenberg free online edition of Pedro Carolino and Jose da Fonseca's monstrously innaccurate translation book English as she is spoke. If you don't know the story, it's an English phrase book ... but written by authors who could only speak Portuguese. Therefore, they used an Portuguese-French dictionary and a Frenche-English dictionary to write their book. The final masterpiece uses language that is quite unlike all three.
What other phrasebook would give you the popular idiom 'To craunch a marmoset'?