Friday, February 12, 2010

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "It's a little known fact that there was a Welsh seaborne raid on the eastern shore of the Baltic back in the Middle Ages. The Welsh raiders were last seen piling back into their boats on the beach near Helsinki, great big sacks stuffed full of vowels over their shoulders, and bloody severed W's and Y's hanging from their belts. The Finnish language never fully recovered; it was more than two generations before they could name their children anything other than Kktt and Ppjj."

46 comments:

og said...

This is certainly as plausible as any other reasons I've ever heard.

Tam said...

The looting was so great that the Welsh are still using thousand-year-old Finnish W's.

BobG said...

The remaining "A"s managed to reproduce rapidly, however. Hence they still are able to yell "Hakka Päällä" to this day.

Tam said...

That was thanks to a careful husbandry program. It's still a crime to take an A or a Y out of Finland. They check your bags at the airport, so make sure you have receipts for any that you brought with you from elsewhere.

og said...

The welsh like the Finnish W's so much, in fact, that a law prohibits the use of a word without at least one Finnish W in it. Most have at least four.

Rabbit said...

You can always tell if you're speaking to an extroverted Finn because he's looking at *your* shoes.

mita kuuluu!

Rabbit.

Bram said...

I thought it was the Mongol hoard that looted their vowels and left all their women pregnant with almond-eyed children

Anonymous said...

I don't understand -- how did all those vowels end up in Hawai'i, then?

JohnW said...

"I don't understand -- how did all those vowels end up in Hawai'i, then?"
From those cousins of the Welsh, the Irish, the original settlers of the Sandwich islands.
(What, you never heard of "Lovely Houlahans?")

Timmeehh said...

I can only imagine how THAT conversation started.

reflectoscope said...

Where do you suppose all those damned umlauts came from then?

Jim

Anonymous said...

You could use the Helsinki phone book to make up names for a whole series of science fiction novels.

Heikki, Tula and Markku did give me a sweet little boot knife when they came here.

Gerry

Joanna said...

That could explain the Winter War; the Russians came by looking for letters, and the Finns said "Oh HELLS no" and got their fight on.

og said...

yeah, the russians could sure have used some letters instead of the cryptic dorkograms they use, makes a bunch of sense.

You can almost sense Simo Hayha screaming "Die you russkie dogs! Nobody's gonna take away my O!!!

DaddyBear said...

Irish Gaelic must have taken more than their share of vowels. I got lost on more than one occasion because I was told to turn right at "Glen Garry", but couldn't find it because of all the signs for "Glen Georaoauaudhgh"

Flight-ER-Doc said...

I read this to my (Finnish Heritaqe) wife.

All she said to me was "Perkele".

Tam said...

I swear it's true. At the time, Wales was the world's leading producer and exporter of L's, but improved shipbuilding techniques in Finland were allowing mass-produced Finnish L's to horn in on the market and undercut the Welsh on price. Something had to be done.

1911Man said...

Yet another reason I love my daily (okay, several times daily) stop past Tam's place.

Let us take a moment to honor the great Finnish contributions to my life:
VihtaVuori powders
Lapua brass
Sako rifles
one very nice karvalakki from a beautiful but (thankfully) deceased supikoira

and some verrrry rusty language skills. Kamalan vaikkea kieltää...

Noah D said...

It's still a crime to take an A or a Y out of Finland. They check your bags at the airport, so make sure you have receipts for any that you brought with you from elsewhere.

It's a great deal of security, just to prevent illicit vowel movements.

Ed Rasimus said...

Strangely enough just a few months ago my first book, "When Thunder Rolled" was translated and published in Finland. When I got a comp copy I kidded the Finnish military pilot who did the translation that there were two many vowels. He replied that the Finns got a discount on all the left-overs when the Czechs were done creating their language.

Tam said...

I love my M28. It's just like the one Simo Häyhä used to kill a whole mess of Bolsheviks.

NYEMT said...

::wipes tears of laughter from eyes::

Thanks - to all. I needed that.

BobG said...

"Where do you suppose all those damned umlauts came from then?"

During the raid some of the letters got broken, so they piled the pieces on top of the stolen vowels so as not to leave them behind.

Rabbit said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lNFRLrP014

Regards,
Rabbit.

GuardDuck said...

"Where do you suppose all those damned umlauts came from then?"

Those are actually tags placed on the hatchery raised vowels so they can be distinguished from the endangered native vowel species.

Sam said...

Wasn't it P.J. O'Rourke who wrote (I think it was in the Holidays in Hell chapter "Seoul Brothers") that the closest language to Finnish was...Korean?

WV: sarks. Yes, I need to make some coffee.

Tam said...

Most people don't know it, but the closest living relative to Finnish is the Rock Hyrax.

staghounds said...

I thought the Welch traded the vowels to the French for shovels. Because they are awfully short in Wales.

BTW, did you know that it is required by law that every government sign or document in the principality be in both English and Welsh?

Thus, this.

The radio station has to be ALL Welsh- including the rap music, no lie.

Neutrino Cannon said...

The human race barely escaped a gristly fate when the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire. Had they been discovered instead by Poles and peacefully traded with, the resulting pidgin would be an unholy tongue called Wczqtl.

wolfwalker said...

Rap is not music.

Tam's post reminded me instantly of a ROFL-worthy piece somebody posted years and years and years ago, when there were wolves in Wales and the Internet consisted mostly of usenet and not much else...

-------------
Before an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday, President Clinton announced US plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn region of Bosnia. The deployment, the largest of its kind in American history, will provide the region with the critically needed letters A, E, I, O, and U, and is hoped to render countless Bosnian names more pronounceable.

"For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and Tzlynhr and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the world," Clinton said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up and say 'Enough.' It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some vowels in their incomprehensible words. The US is proud to lead the crusade in this noble endeavor."
---------------

(Full item here, if you want it)

(WV: losculth. Sounds like some obscure demigod from AD&D)

og said...

"Most people don't know it, but the closest living relative to Finnish is the Rock Hyrax."

I don't know what you're currently ingesting, but if you get another bottle/bag/box of it in you, P.J. is gonna have to find a new gig. The snark flows like fine wine.

SF said...


I love my M28. It's just like the one Simo Häyhä used to kill a whole mess of Bolsheviks


Mainly Bolshevik conscripts. Whose choice was either to be labelled 'traitors', and enjoy a decade in gulags, or get shot at by Finns. And if they survived that, they had the Wehrmacht to look forward to...

Some generations got a pretty raw deal.

Joanna said...

I love my M28. It's just like the one Simo Häyhä used to kill a whole mess of Bolsheviks

Was he the one who went up a tree one day and didn't come down 'til he'd killed like 800 Russians? And the only reason it wasn't more was because the Russians shot half his face off?

Weer'd Beard said...

That's him Joanna !

Ed Foster said...

Neutrino Cannon for the win by a hair. And how does one say "Taffy" in Finnish?

Also, did some of the Welsh stay behind? Back during a training exercise in the early 90's,a SEAL buddy of mine, the always entertaining J.B.Stern, introduced the Finnish army to the use of a rifle sling as a shooting aid, rather than just a toting strap.

His rationalization for the good deed was an amazingly Celtic looking little redheaded Finnish lady soldier he wanted to chat up.

doubletrouble said...

Noah D wins this round...
with...

"illicit vowel movements".

"Winning the Interwebs" service will be provided Thursday through Saturday, EST.

No refunds, all other offers denied unless explicitly stated, thereof, hereto...

Beaumont said...

Hmmm....apparently the Welsh also raided the Hebrews. In addition to vowels, they also stole all their lower-case letters.

rickn8or said...

Ed--
Redheads will make you give up all kinds of state secrets...
In my case, it's the name and address of every one in the U.S. Gimme $10 now and I'll leave your name out.

D.W. Drang said...

Wasn't it P.J. O'Rourke who wrote (I think it was in the Holidays in Hell chapter "Seoul Brothers") that the closest language to Finnish was...Korean?
Finnish, Hungarian, and Korean. And thereby hangs an epic tale...

Anonymous said...

wolfwalker, "Clinton Deploys Vowels To Bosnia" was originally published in The Onion back in 1995 or 1996. Alas, it's not on their web site.

Speaking of the Finns,we had a Finnish couple show up at last week's bowling pin shoot. They finished 2nd and 3rd place (out of 17 competitors).

Anonymous said...

Dw i'n hoffi darllen VFPT, ond dych chi'n byw yn Ffindir? Dych chi'n ynganu Cymraeg?

Dych chi'n ddysgu Cymraeg a ymchwelyd.

Tam said...

I don't speak a word of Cymric.

staghounds said...

I don't think it's possible to speak a word of Cymric.

Ken said...

staghounds, when you're born with the ability to sing "Men of Harlech" like that, do you really need to speak a word of Cymric? ;-)

Here's what you get (according to an article in Wired, many years ago) when you translate the Sesame Street theme into Thlingan Hol and back into English:

"Day of the daytime star
The clouds are filled with dread and forced to flee"

Joanna said...

"Day of the daytime star
The clouds are filled with dread and forced to flee"


Something tells me that if our kids were watching that instead of what's actually on, we'd be a lot better off.

Seriously, I can't stop laughing. I mean I literally can't stop.

Kristopher said...

Most people don't know it, but the closest living relative to Finnish is the Rock Hyrax.

Actually, Tam, Finns are the missing link between Humans and Russians.

( /me: puts on knife proof vest and flees )