Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day of the same year. In fact, it was 200 years ago today – February 12, 1809.

I wonder, what if they had been one and the same person?

His Galapagosburg Address might have sounded something like this:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that there is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

Lost in Translation

February 9, 2009

Translating between North American English and British English is a cinch. Automobile parts become apparel. For example, the ‘trunk’ is the ‘boot’ and the ‘hood’ is the ‘bonnet’. Furthermore, ‘exhaust pipe’ is ‘sweater’, and ‘seatbelt’ is ‘necktie’. No, not really.

In Bahasa Malay, the word for ‘water’ is ‘air’. But don’t worry about anything going down the wrong pipe, because the word for ‘esophagus’ is ‘trachea’.

In French, ‘bonjour’ means ‘hello’, or literally ‘good day’. It sounds a lot like ‘ben zhu’ which in Mandarin means ‘stupid pig’. Those Sino-Franco teleconferences must be a riot.