LINGUIST List 4.558

Thu 15 Jul 1993

FYI: Just for Fun: Ferenghi, Hungarian

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  1. "Marie Egan", Farang to Ferenghi
  2. Shlomo Karni, Hungarian ?

Message 1: Farang to Ferenghi

Date: 9 Jul 93 09:19:56 EST
From: "Marie Egan" <>
Subject: Farang to Ferenghi
Three recent posts (4.424, 4.459, and 4.492) dealt with the word
farang meaning foreigner and similiar words in a number of languages.
People speculated about the origin of Ferenghi, the name of a species
of traders who appear on the televesion shows Star Trek: The Next
Generation (ST:TNG) and Deep Space 9 (DS9) and in the related books.
I forwarded the discussion to some people who always seem to know the
Trek episode plots before they air (hoping information could flow two-
ways) and have finally gotten a response.
The following is the text of letter from Brad Kane (Prodigy id
HPVM55D). He is a frequent participant in Star Trek discussions on
Prodigy and has a friend who works at Paramount. Rick Berman is the
producer of ST:TNG and a producer of DS9.
 From: Brad Kane HPVM55D
 Subject: Help with name ...
 7/07 09:39 PM ET
Well, I asked my friend at Paramount
about it, and he asked Rick Berman, and
Berman just smiled and said, "You think
that's something, take a look at some of
the other names of races and planets
we've come up with." Supposedly, they've
used everything from Eskimo to Hitachi,
and no doubt some of them are pretty
vulgar. Good work, it's something I've
never thought of myself.
 Steven Brad
So now we know (3rd or 4th hand) that the similarity of Ferenghi to
farang and the other words is not a coincidence, even if we don't
know from which language they constructed the name Ferenghi.
The comment about the names of other races and planets sounds like
a challenge.
Marie Egan
P.S. For the acronym people
Show title In print In speech
Star Trek ST:TOS old Trek, original Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation ST:TNG Next Gen, new Trek
Deep Space 9 DS9 DS9
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Message 2: Hungarian ?

Date: Tue, 6 Jul 93 16:30:42 -0400
From: Shlomo Karni <>
Subject: Hungarian ?
This one was too good not to share.
Michael Everson
School of Architecture, UCD; Richview, Clonskeagh; Dublin 14; E/ire
Phone: +353 1 706-2745 Fax: +353 1 283-8908 Home: +353 1 478-2597
 ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Here is a true anecdote: Israeli children would imitate the Hungarian accent
by (jokes as per Zev Bar-Lev) and by made up phrases, sounding like the
accentuated Hungarian talk. One such sentence was , "una mesa est aqui",
from the Yiddish meaning "without a knife a cow eats." Sounds Hungarian,
all right? Well, when you come to the Southwest, where Spanish is spoken,
you find out, as I did, that this phrase, in perfect Spanish, means, "here
is a flat-top hill." (The more correct Yiddish would be "uhn a messer est
a ki", but the end result is the same.) Small world, indeed. Shlomo
I suppose most everyone can parse "una mesa est' aqui/" but for
German speakers with little experience reading Yiddish I'll render
into German: "Ohn' 'n Messer isst 'ne Kuh", which lacks the right
phonology. /u na me sa e sta: ki/
 /u:n a me s ist a ki/
Anyone know any Hungarian that sounds anything like this?
(I know, I know... but it's summer....)
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