Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Apparently useless information

is something that I seem to collect without effort. Why do I feel I need to know that "zorro" means "fox" in Spanish or that "karate" means "empty hand" in Japanese? Apparently the Sanskrit word for "war" actually means a "desire for more cows" - enough to make anyone feel bellicose.
Then there is the apparently indisputable fact that the national anthem of Greece has 158 verses. I wonder if they are ever all sung at the same time?
And why is it, so I am told, that left handed people cannot write Mandarin Chinese? I refuse to believe that one.
The letter J is not part of the Welsh alphabet - which might explain why it does not appear in the periodic table of elements either. The letter E is the one we use the most in English and the letter Q is the one we use the least. ( I wonder how they managed to use the alphabet at all when there was no punctuation until about the 15thC). Hawaiians manage with only twelve letters in their alphabet.
"Cop" means "Constable on Patrol" and apparently comes from somewhere in the north of England.
But, yesterday's new piece of useless information is one I really have difficulty with. When Captain Cook asked the locals for the name of the strange animal that hopped around he was told "kangaroo" . Apparently, in the local indigenous language, that means "I don't understand".


Adelaide Dupont said...

This is the sort of thing that might be on Stephen Fry's Quite Interesting.

158 verses for the Greek anthem!

Rachel Fenton said...

Is the anthem to put people off applying for citizenship - and now you must pledge your allegiance by singing all 158 verses, by heart!?

I like the kangaroo one, I imagine it would be something similar if not that exactly ;)