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USAGE: Belgium in H2G2 (was Re: USAGE: number concord in AmE, again)

From:Matthew Bladen <matthew.bladen@...>
Date:Saturday, June 22, 2002, 13:11
Saturday, June 22, 2002, 1:55:35 PM, Muke Tever wrote:

MT> From: "Philip Newton" <Philip.Newton@...>
>> On 22 Jun 02, at 7:48, Christopher B Wright wrote: >> >> > Reminds me of the Rory award for the most gratuitous use of the word >> > "Belgium" in a serious film. (Read _Life, the Universe, and Everything_ >> > by Douglas Adams if you didn't recognize that, and if you did, well, um, >> > read it again.) >> >> I've seen at lease two versions. One uses "Belgium", another uses a >> "four-letter word". (Not sure whether those correspond to UK and US >> editions of the book; and I don't remember which version was the >> bowdlerised one.)
MT> The Americans got "Belgium". I havent seen the UK version but I understand it MT> uses 'f*ck' directly. It does. The use of 'Belgium' in the US version (which I wasn't aware of) must be a nod to an idea from the second series of _The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy_ on BBC Radio 4 -- the original version of Hitch-Hiker, and my personal favourite. In a digression devoted to outlandish Galactic expletives, reference is made to a word that denotes a concept so disgusting that even Zaphod Beeblebrox will only use it at times of great stress, and which is taboo on all planets in the Galaxy except one -- where they don't know what it means. That word is... ... BELGIUM. Attempting to turn this back on-topic, does anyone have conlangs in which an innocent natlang word means something abominable -- or vice versa? -- Matthew


John Cowan <jcowan@...>Belgium in H2G2 (was Re: USAGE: number concord in AmE,