Friday, September 28, 2007

Let's See How Literate My Readers Are

I don't have the time tonight to write a full blog post, but I'll have something for you tomorrow. I made a good deal of progress on the Backyard Thingy, but the sun went down before I had the chance to get some good pictures.

So in the meantime, I have a challenge for my legion of fan:

Figure out the pronunciation of the word Årþørsgrößtetüðpik, and tell me what it means.

Winner gets extra brownie points. Have at it! ;-)

1 comment:

DavidK93 said...

The pronunciation would be approximately "Arthur's gross-tuh toothpick," and I assume it means "Arthur's biggest toothpick."

Lest you think I just Googled the answer (not that one could have), here's how I got it. First, looking at the word Årþørsgrößtetüðpik, I ignored all the diacritics that don't occur in English, rendering it Arþorsgroßtetuðpik; I'm so bad at pronouncing vowels whose phonemes I don't already know, anyway, I figured it couldn't make much of a difference. As luck would have it, I was already familiar with thorn and eth due to a fascination with obsolete letters (in English, anyway). And I don't know what it's called, but I know the thing that looks sort of like a B evolved out of the German "ss" digraph. So I was able to replace those three letters to come up with Arthorsgrosstetuthpik, and then the separation into the three apparent words seemed to come naturally. But I still had to decipher them.

"Arthors" and "tuthpik" seemed to be "Arthur's toothpick," transliterated without translation. I was pretty sure groß was German for big or fat or something like that, since I knew "gros" is fat in French. So I thought "großte" might be "bigger" or "fattest." I'll admit, I diddled a little on Babelfish to confirm it; I tried translating "big" to German and got "groß," but "biggest" translated into "am größten." But when I translated "größte" from German to English, I got "largest"--which translated back into "am größten." So, an oddity. But I'm pretty confident about my end result.

Incidentally, the reason I came across this post, four and a half years after the fact, is that I googled "Hojotoho" after seeing Die Walkure at the Met Monday night.