Monday, 12 August 2013

Do you have a beamer handy? Kreisiä bisnestä!

But German does something insanely more evil: It takes words from other languages and uses them for its own evil purposes, not caring at all about what the words used to mean in the language of origin.

Take for example this device - a projector:

At some point the German language need to find a word for it. Something that sounds dynamic and cool. Like "beamer". That's a perfect word for it, because a beamer is something or somebody that beams...

Or this:

Hey, let's call it "kicker", since it seems to be an underused word.

Or is this some kind of a counter-attack to the rest of the world calling it "foosball" (from German "Fußball")?

But evilest of them all is this:

"Handy"! Why? Why? A perfectly valid English word kidnapped and abused by German. And not even a noun. But we can make it a noun (laughter).

These readapted English words also cause Germans and other German speaking people to make silly mistakes when speaking English. They can also be used for confusing sentences: "Do you have a beamer handy, or a kicker?"

I admit that I have accidentally said "handy" in an English conversation (with Germans though) when I meant "mobile". I felt so German. Almost like saying "become" instead of "get" (bekommen).

But Finnish is not innocent either: we regularly take English words and either mispronounce them horribly or write them horribly wrong (to make the pronunciation right). The Finnish pronunciation is fundamentally different from the English pronunciation (basically, Finnish is pronounced like it's written, whereas English is pronounced exactly the opposite way).

So we take words like "business" and write it "bisnes" or "crazy" and write it "kreisi", so that when these are read aloud, they sound approximately like the original words but with a rally driver accent (*). But at least we keep the meaning intact! Or take the washing-up liquid "Fairy"-  we pronounce that "fairy", yes, with "ai" (as "ye" in "bye") and "y" (as ü in German or "ew" in "new" in some versions of English).

(*) Please watch this video. It will help you to 1) understand my obscure accent when I speak English 2) how we Finns (do not) communicate.

Next I just need to find a video reference which will help my friends understand why I don't hug them. After 2 years in Germany it's getting a bit awkward.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A cookie to take with

For non-geeks: When a web site shows you data, it can also tell your browser "set this cookie" (which is just a piece of information), and when you request data again, the cookie is sent back, and that's how the web site recognizes you.

This term "cookie" is difficult to translate, because it doesn't mean much and has nothing to do with the actual cookie.

However, in Finnish it has been translated ingeniously to "eväste". Let's have a look why.

"Eväs" (pl. "eväät") is food you take with, for example, on a hike or a train trip. Typical "eväät" is a sandwich, blackcurrant juice and maybe an apple. I'm not aware of an English word that would be an exact translation. "Packed lunch" is the closest that I know, but it seems somehow more restrictive. "Eväs" doesn't necessarily need to be lunch, it can be eaten any time of day. You can take "eväs" with you if you know you need to walk (crawl) back a long way from the bar past midnight, and calling this "packed lunch" seems weird.

The "te" suffix can be used for deriving words like this:
tieto = information
tiedottaa = to inform
tiedote = announcement (something that contains information)

eväs = food to take with
evästää = (abstract) to give advice before something big, so, to give advice "to take with"
eväste = to follow the logic, this must mean something that contains "eväs"; it's not used outside the technical meaning

But then again:

sammuttaa = to put off out a fire
sammute = a chemical that can be used to put off out a fire

Okay, I have no idea what the "te" suffix actually means. Yet, I'm able to speak the language. Weird.

I can imagine that when the HTTP request travels to the server, it needs a packed lunch to eat along the way. Something tasty. Like a cookie.