Mike Klitschko, The Cock Prohibited and The Icy Python

For a few days now, various contributors to Language Log have been exploring the fact that repeatedly typing one letter, character or syllable, or even a string of random letters, characters or syllables, into Google Translate results in ‘translations’ which a) have nothing to do with those letters, characters or syllables and b) are sometimes funny, baffling or seemingly meaningful. In the first such post, Mark Liberman reported that Japanese ュース (which Google Translate translates as juice) entered repeatedly eventually results in:

It is a good thing for you to do.
It is good to know the things you do not do.
It is good to know the things you do not mind.
It is a good idea to have a good view of the surrounding area.

I tried this with single Korean letters. Most of the time, this simply results in the same (Korean) letters in the English box. The most interesting results were with  ㅁ (the Korean equivalent of English m, but typed with the same key as English a), and ㅊ (the equivalent of ch, typed with the c key).

ㅁ translates as ㅁ.
ㅁㅁ  translates as Mike.
ㅁㅁㅁ translates as Klitschko.
ㅁㅁㅁㅁ translates as Whistler.
ㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁ translates as Klitschko.
ㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁ translates as Whistler.
ㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁ translates as ㅁ Klitschko Klitschko.
ㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁ translates as ㅁ Klitschko Klitschko.
ㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁ translates as ㅁ Klitschko Klitschko.
ㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁㅁ translates as ㅁ Klitschko Klitschko Klitschko.

Whistler could be anyone who whistles, the painter or the Canadian town. Klitschko seems to refer to the Ukrainian boxers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, but I can’t guess what the connection between them and the Korean letter ㅁ is. (The spell-checker on Pages for Mac doesn’t red-underline all three Ukrainian names; the spell-checker on WordPress does all of them.)

ㅊ translates as The.
ㅊㅊ translates as Cock.
ㅊㅊㅊ translates as Prohibited.
ㅊㅊㅊㅊ translates as Standard.
ㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊ translates as Prefix.
ㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊ translates as Acknowledgments.
ㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊ translates as Ancestry.
ㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊ translates as Prefix, prefix.
ㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊ translates as Pros and Cons.
ㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊㅊ translates as Pros and Cons.

I cannot see any rhyme or reason to that.

Repeated ㄴ (the equivalent of n, typed with the s key) randomly results in N, The and Home, even though Korean doesn’t have a direct equivalent of The and the word for home doesn’t have a ㄴ in it.

Repeated ㄹ (the equivalent of r/l, typed with the f key) randomly results in D, The, Thank you and For example, even though the two Korean words for thank you don’t have a ㄹ in them. The Korean equivalent of for example is 예를 들면 (according to Google Translate, which I hope I can trust now), which clearly has ㄹs in it.

Repeated ㅎ (the equivalent of h, typed with the g key) results in He, Haha and Hehe. Koreans use this letter in text messages to represent giggling.

Repeated ㅏ (the equivalent of a, typed with the k key) results in A, You, You are and You are here.

Repeated ㅋ (the equivalent of k, typed with z key) results in haha, Ha ha ha and LOL, As with ㅎ, Koreans use this letter in text messages to represent a more snickering kind of giggling.

Repeated ㅌ (the equivalent of t, typed with the x key) results in I, T, Work, As well as, As is, As yet and Tb & gt;, for which I cannot think of or find any remote meaning.

Repeated ㅍ (the equivalent of p, typed with the v key) results in The, Icy, Python.

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3 thoughts on “Mike Klitschko, The Cock Prohibited and The Icy Python

  1. Hi Elizabeth, Thanks for your comment. I wonder now how many other language bloggers have attempted and written about this since that LLog post.
    Looking at your ‘About’ page, I notice that you’ve written for Listverse. I was a regular reader and commenter on LV for about five years, submitted about 6 lists, and am still in contact with many of the people from those days on another forum. I occasionally look at the site, and am reasonably sure that I saw your literature and video lists.
    I don’t know any Japanese, so I’m not going to pick up any mistakes!
    Thanks, David

    Like

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