Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Pumping Station, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.

You can learn a lot from subtitles.

In Stockholm at new year I caught a not-very-good American sitcom on my hotel TV that had Swedish subtitles. I was delighted to learn that the Swedish word for 'corduroy trousers' is 'manchesterbyxor'.

It must be to do with the city's history of cotton mills - I believe that in Australia bed linen is often referred to simply as 'Manchester' - but even so, it's a most unlikely word to discover in the Swedish lexicon.

A few days later in Copenhagen I watched an episode of Ice Road Truckers with Danish subtitles. (I do go out, by the way.)

This time I learned that the Danish words for 'oops' is 'ups'. Which must be good news for Fed Ex.


The Imaginary Reviewer said...

When I lived in Japan I learned that a slightly dated word for suit was 'Sabiro'. This is derived from 'Saville Row'.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching an episode of (Suchet's) Poirot in Denmark.

The subtitlers decided not to bother with the plot device where the little grey cells confused Keswick and Chiswick.

A wise move, as I'm sure it wouldn't have translated well. But I felt sorry for the Danes, missing out on the little red herrings and suchwhat.

Stanley Bear said...

How lovely. Bed Linen and Corduroy Trousers are conjured up in the minds of foreign people when I tell them where I am from. I never knew it but I like it. It's kind of friendly.