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The Linguistic Politics of Kinder Surprise Eggs


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A talk I gave at the 2017 Boring Conference. Featuring new and exclusive translations of the warning messages inside Kinder Surprise Eggs!

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The Linguistic Politics of Kinder Surprise Eggs

  1. 1. The Linguistic Politics of Kinder Surprise Eggs Keith Kahn-Harris Boring 2017
  2. 2. WARNING, read and keep: Toy not suitable for children under 3 years. Small parts might be swallowed or inhaled
  3. 3. 35 Languages!
  4. 4. 22 Official EU Languages English Bulgarian Croatian Czech Danish Dutch Estonian German Greek Finnish French Hungarian Italian Latvian Lithuanian Polish Portuguese Romanian Slovak Slovene Spanish Swedish
  5. 5. 13 other languages 6 European: Albanian Macedonian Norwegian Russian Serbian Ukrainian 2 Middle Eastern: Arabic Farsi 1 Asian: Chinese 4 Central Asian/FSU: Armenian Azeri Georgian Kazakh
  6. 6. What’s missing?
  7. 7. 24 Official EU Languages
  8. 8. Irish • RABHADH, léamh agus a choinneáil: Toy nach bhfuil oiriúnach do pháistí faoi bhun 3 bliana. D'fhéadfadh codanna beaga a shlogadh nó a ionanálú [Via Google Translate]
  9. 9. Maltese WISSIJA, aqra u aħżen: Ġugarelli mhux xierqa għal tfal taħt it-3 snin. Partijiet żgħar jistgħu jinbelgħu jew jingibdu bin-nifs. [Thanks to Malcolm Callus for the translation]
  10. 10. Regional, minority and other languages with written traditions For example: Gaelic Catalan Basque Scotts Gaelic Manx Cornish Welsh…
  11. 11. Welsh Rhybudd, darllenwch a chadwch: Nid yw'r tegan yma yn addas at gyfer plant o dan 3 blwydd oed. Mae yna ddarnau bach y gellir ei mewnanadlu neu lyncu. [Thanks to Owen Shiers for the translation]
  12. 12. Cornish Gwarnyans, redyewgh ha gwithewgh: nyns yw an wariell ma gwiw rag fleghes yn-dann 3 bloedh. Rannow byghan a allsa bos lenkys po anellys a-bervedh. [Thanks to Tony Hak for the translation]
  13. 13. Languages where spoken and written form diverge Arabic Chinese Regional and minority languages that are rarely written: Bavarian Swiss German Veneto Cypriot Greek Luxembourgish…
  14. 14. Luxembourgish Opgepasst, liesen, an haalen: Des spillsaach as net geduet fir Kanner enert 3 joer. Kleng stecker kennen verschleckt oder inhaleiert gin. [Thanks to Louis de Luxembourg for the translation]
  15. 15. Non-EU countries with no language on the insert but where Kinder eggs are definitely sold
  16. 16. Korea
  17. 17. Thanks to Sebastian Suh for obtaining this for the photo
  18. 18. WARNING, READ AND KEEP: Warning! Do not aim at eyes or face. Injuries hazard.
  19. 19. Israel
  20. 20. Thanks to Abigal Wood for the photos
  21. 21. ‫ולשמור‬ ‫לקרוא‬ ‫אזהרה‬: ‫אזהרה‬! ‫חלקים‬ ‫או‬ ‫צעצוע‬ ‫מכיל‬ ‫המוצר‬ ‫צעצוע‬ ‫להרכבת‬. ‫מתחת‬ ‫לילגים‬ ‫להם‬ ‫לתת‬ ‫אין‬ ‫לגיל‬3‫או‬ ‫לבלוע‬ ‫עלולים‬ ‫הם‬ ‫כי‬ ‫הקטנים‬ ‫החלקים‬ ‫את‬ ‫לשואף‬. ‫השגחת‬‫מומלצת‬ ‫מבוגר‬ . Warning Read and Save: Warning! The product contains a toy or parts for assembling a toy. They should not be given to children under the age of 3 because they may swallow or inhale the small parts. Adult supervision is advised
  22. 22. 2000 years ago… Be warned, read and keep: this thing/object endangers children who are younger than three years because they might swallow small parts. Thanks to Alinda Damsma for the translation
  23. 23. 3000 years ago…
  24. 24. World’s Top 20 Languages 1. Mandarin 2. Spanish 3. English 4. Hindi 5. Arabic 6. Portuguese 7. Bengali 8. Russian 9. Japanese 10. Punjabi 11. German 12. Javanese 13. Wu 14. Malay 15. Telugu 16. Vietnamese 17. Korean 18. French 19. Marathi 20. Tamil
  25. 25. Redundancy?
  26. 26. Spot the difference…
  27. 27. Chinese
  28. 28. Czech UPOZORNĔNÍ, čtěte a uschovejte: Malé části by mohly být spolknuty nebo vdechnuty Slovak • UPOZORNENIE, prečitat’ a uchovat’: Maléčásti by mohli byt’ prehltnuté alebo vdýchnuté
  29. 29. Serbian UPOZORENJE, PROČITAJ I SAČUVAJ: Sitni delovi se mogu progutati ili udahnuti Or (Maybe): УПОЗОРЕЊЕ, чита и снима: Мали делови могу да се прогута или удахне Croatian UPOZORENJE, PROČITATI I SAČUVATI: Sitni dijelove moguće je slučajno progutati ili udahnuti
  30. 30. Danish Adversal. læs og opbevar: Smådele kan sæte sig fast I hals eller næse. Norwegian Advarsal, les og behold: Små deler kan sette seg fast I halsen eller nesen
  31. 31. Norwegian Bokmål Advarsal, les og behold: små deler kan sette seg fast I halsen eller nesen Nynorsk Åtvaring, les og behald: små delar kan setje seg fast i halsen eller nasen. [Thanks to Imke von Helden for the translation]
  32. 32. Romanian/Moldovan
  33. 33. What have we learned? • 35 languages are not enough – and too many. • Language is political. • Language is arbitrary.
  34. 34. I do solemnly pledge…
  35. 35. …to never buy a Kinder Surprise Egg again…
  36. 36. …until the warning message is translated into Cornish.