Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mystery of the (dry) Salty Peanut

The mystery: why is the Chinese word gan (土) inexplicably -- and frequently -- translated as everybody's favorite English swear word? I myself enjoy snacking on a local brand of packaged, salted peanuts, the label of which reads: "Salty to F*** the Peanut."

The mystery is solved by a couple of bloggers, including Victor Mair of the University of Pennsylvania.

Please visit these links if you're up for a frank discussion of 土, which is supposed to mean "dry," but often isn't translated that way, with hilarious results. Plenty of pictorial evidence.

The Language Log (UPenn)
The Etiology and Elaboration of a Flagrant Mistranslation
F***ing Stationery

1 comment:

Matt Basinger said...

Joel - that's so "dry"ing funny!

Man, I didn't read the articles, I just looked at the picture and they made me laugh outloud - which was much needed as I study for my qualifying exam, alone, in the basement of the engineering building, on a Saturday night at 8pm. (it will all be over soon, one way or another.)

I miss you joel, I hope you guys get to do something really special for your China Christmas.