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Picture of BobHale
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The following is a post from my blog, due for release in two days. I wondered if those who have a more detailed knowledge of foreign languages would care to make any observations about it before I post it.

quote:
I've been greatly enjoying watching season one of the old Mission: Impossible TV series. One aspect of it that I had forgotten is the eccentric approach to foreign languages. Many of the adventures take place in made-up foreign countries and those made-up foreign countries have made-up foreign languages. The very first episode ever took place in the "country" of Santa Costa.

In general, the foreign countries fall into two groups - the ones which are approximately Spanish and the ones which are approximately Eastern European. The approximately Spanish ones use signage in a language that is a mixture of English, Spanish and Portuguese but with the added twist that almost all words end in vowels.

One episode contained signs that read "Material Radiocativo: No entrar", "Usar Anteojos Protectores" and "Escaleria de Salvamento".

Another had "Jardin Zoológico", "Estacion de Cuarentina" and, in consecutive scenes, both "No entrar" and "No entre".


I'm rather more partial to their unspecified Eastern European countries though which use a mix of English, German and a kind of Hollywood Bulgarian: featuring things like "Zöna Restrik: Entre Ferbaten". Another episode had both "Restrik Fumen Prohob" and "Varnung: Gaz Hydrocyanide - No Intreten" while the action of the one I watched last night took place mostly in a "Mortuari".


What I find most interesting about it though is that these made-up, mix'n'match languages that they use are all more or less instantly intelligible. They are clearly designed that way but it is interesting to me that in all the examples quoted above only "anteojos" wasn't clear to me. I don't know if this means I have an above average understanding of languages or if their executive in charge of making stuff up was especially good at his job. I suspect the latter.
 
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I used to watch Mission Impossible, but I don't remember that part. Interesting, Bob. I'll have to see if I can watch a few reruns.

When I was in college, I took an acting class where we all had to speak in a made-up foreign language. You'd have thought we were all in Beijing! Everybody was speaking in pretend Chinese. The professor said that always happens. I wonder why.
 
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Apparently the Eastern European "language" was known as "Gellerese". Wikipedia mentions it here:
quote:
Additionally, real languages spoken in East Europe are used: in the Season One episode "The Carriers," one of the villains reads a book whose title is the (incorrect) Russian Na Voina (About war); police vehicles are often labelled as such with words such as "polǐiçia", and "pőĮįia", and a gas line or tank would be labelled "Gaz" which is a Romanian translation. (This "language", referred to by the production team as "Gellerese", was invented specifically to be readable by non-speakers of Slavic languages; their generous use of it was actually intended as a source of comic relief.)


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I used to love watching those improbable old mission shows. And, with my interest in language, I had noticed what you write of, Bob. The other "convention" in most shows, is that the team members who are going undercover just happen to speak Gellerese, and nobody in the entire of Mitteleuropa is astounded by an African-American agent passing himself off as Gellerite.

One of my favorite made-up movie languages (other than Klingon and Na'vi), is the language in Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes. The country is called Bandrika, and it seems to be in the Balkans.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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There used to be a TV program called Private Schulz which had Michael Elphick as a German fifth columnist in ENgland in WW2. The only thing I can remember about it is that when he was supposed to be speaking English he had a German accent but when he was supposed to be speaking German he (so that we could understand) was speaking English with no accent.
 
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Hergé created two Slavic-looking languages languages for Tintin, Syldavian and Bordurian.
 
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"Usar Anteojos Protectores" ... They are clearly designed that way but it is interesting to me that in all the examples quoted above only "anteojos" wasn't clear to me.


It's been a while since this was posted and someone has likely told you this elsewhere by now but "Usar Anteojos Protectores" is pretty much straight up Spanish for "Use Safety (Protectiv) Goggles/Glasses" ... anteojos ... means glasses, goggles (before, in front of the eyes).


freespeller
 
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Thank you for that clarification. I am wondering where you are from, AnWulf?
 
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