Archive for January, 2012

Skyrim’s Arrow in the Knee Translated

Posted on 06. Jan, 2012 by in Uncategorized

One of the latest memes on the internet sprouted from one of the most popular video game releases of 2011; The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A casual comment spoken by various town guards is, “I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee.”  It comes up frequently enough, and is quirky enough, that it caught on as a meme.  In the past two months, endless spin-offs and remixes of the phrase have surfaced.

Earlier this week, a blogger on Tech in Asia posted an article about the use of the phrase by Chinese speakers on the internet, and how that culture has adapted the meme to their own current events.  As a language learning company, our ears perked up at this concept.  Maybe the complaint that the meme is being overused would disappear if it were… in German?  Russian? 

When you’re learning a language, having fun with it is a big step in the right direction.  And so here we present some additional translations from our language team for when you take an arrow in the knee.  We’ve included both the original sentence, and a handy fill in the blank version for whatever it is you used to do.  

 1.       I used to be _______________ like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee.

2.       The original: “I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee.”

 

French

The first one is a bit difficult because “J’étais ________” is only correct if the next word describes the actual person. (Ex: I was an adventurer or I was short or I was happy.) However, if you want to say “I used to play” (so, in this case describing a habitual past action), the verb must actually be conjugated in the imperfect. Ex: Je jouais =I used to play. Here is a direct translation: 

1.       J’étais ________comme vous, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou. 

 2.       J’étais  un aventurier, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou.

Here are two examples:

I used to bake my own pies, but then I took an arrow in the knee.

Je faisais mes propres tartes, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou. 

Or, you could express it like this:

Je faisais moi-même des tartes, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou

(In either case, gender or speaker doesn’t matter because it’s the action.)

 

I used to be a language learner like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

J’étais étudiant de langues, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou

In this case, gender does matter because it’s describing the person.  In the example, it’s masculine. If feminine, it would look like this : J’étais étudiante

And, if you want to really designate that the “used to” was in the past, one might add the word “autre fois” (In the past).

 

Portuguese

1.       Eu era ______ igual a você, mas daí eu levei uma flechada no joelho.

2.       Eu era aventureiro igual a você, mas daí eu levei uma flechada no joelho.

 

Spanish

1.       Yo era ______________ como tú, pero me hirieron con una flecha en la rodilla.

2.       Yo era un aventurero como tú, pero me hirieron con una flecha en la rodilla.

 

Arabic 

       اِعتدتُ أن أكون ……….. مثلك حتى أصبتُ بسهم فى رُكبتى 

 

       اِعتدتُ أن أكون مُغامِراً مثلك حتى أصبتُ بسهم فى رُكبتى  

 And here are some examples:

        I used to be tolerant like you. Then, I got an arrow in the knee. 
         اعتدتُ أن أكون متسامحاً مثلك حتى أصبتُ بسهم فى ركبتى  
 
        I used to be a lover like you until I got an arrow in the heart. 
         اعتدتُ أن أكون محباً مثلك حتى أصبتُ بسهم فى قلبى 

       I used to go this restaurant until I got an arrow in the knee. 
        اعتدتُ أن أذهب إلى هذا المطعم حتى أصابنى سهم فى ركبتى  

       I used to use yahoo mail until I got an arrow in the hand. 
        اعتدتُ أن أستخدم بريد الياهو حتى أصابنى سهم فى يدى 

 

Danish

1. Jeg var engang _________ som du, men så fik jeg en pil i knæet.

2. Jeg var engang en eventyrer som du, men så fik jeg en pil i knæet.

The translations are not literal, but adapted to a wording that sounds more Danish. (Jeg plejede at…, I used to…, is more used with active verbs, like ”I used to swim each Friday”.)

 

Russian

This meme is doing fairly well on the Russian Internet. The full sentence is:

for a male: Я тоже раньше был искателем приключений, как и ты, но потом получил стрелу в колено.

for a female: Я тоже раньше была искательницей приключений, как и ты, но потом получила стрелу в колено

 

The translation of the phrase “I used to be___________ like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee” is “Я тоже был/была _________________ как и ты, но потом получил/получила стрелу в колено“. (I provided both male/female versions for the verbs)

The Russian meme also has such versions as Я тоже хотел/хотела…. (I also wanted), including this hilarious one - http://demotivation.me/vfw2rbpab5c7pic.html (I wanted to be a liberal president, but then I took an arrow in the knee)

 

Swedish

1. Jag brukade vara……….som du, men så fick jag en pil i knäet.  (but got shot in the knee) 

2. Jag brukade vara en äventyrare som du, men så fick jag en pil i knäet.

 

Irish

1.   Bhínn i mo ______________ mar thusa ach ansin bhuail saighead mé sa ghlúin.

 2.   (adventurer: eachtránaí)  Bhínn i m’eachtránaí mar thusa ach ansin bhuail saighead mé sa ghlúin

There’s a contraction now, “i’m” instead of “i mo,” because of the two vowels.  There are actually about half a dozen ways to say this, but I think this pattern is the most straightforward. 

 

German

1. Früher war ich auch ______________________ , aber dann habe ich einen Pfeil ins Knie bekommen.

2. Früher war ich auch ein Abenteurer, aber dann habe ich einen Pfeil ins Knie bekommen.

(Note: This says literally “Before, I was [an adventurer], too, but then I got an arrow into the knee.”)

or

1. Früher war ich ______________________ wie du, aber dann schoss ich einen Pfeil ins Knie.

2. Früher war ich ein Abenteurer wie du, aber dann schoss ich einen Pfeil ins Knie.

Note: In German we say “einen Pfeil schießen” (to shoot an arrow). This, again, expresses who is the agent/doer of the action, which is not the case in this situation.

So, when the speaker ‘shot himself in his knee’ say “aber dann schoss ich mir einen Pfeil ins Knie”. When someone else ‘shot an arrow in the speaker’s knee’, say: “aber dann schoss man mir einen Pfeil ins Knie” (like above). When you do not want to stress whom the speaker ‘shot in the knee’, say: “aber dann schoss ich einen Pfeil ins Knie” (also the same like above).

 

Polish

1.       Byłem (male)/Byłam (female) __________ jak ty, ale potem dostałem(m)/dostałam(f) strzałą w kolano.

2.       Byłem (male)/Byłam (female) poszukiwaczem przygód jak ty, ale potem dostałem(m)/dostałam(f) strzałą w kolano.

(updated with Eryr’s suggestions)

 

Greek

1.       (Συνήθιζα να είμαι) Ήμουν ___________ σαν και εσένα, αλλα μετά δέχθηκα ενα βέλος στο πόδι.

2.       (Συνήθiζα να είμαι) Ήμουν τυχοδιώκτης σαν και εσένα, αλλα μετά δέχθηκα ενα βέλος στο πόδι. 

 

Dutch

1.  Ik was eerst ____________ net als jij, maar toen kreeg ik een pijl in mijn knie.

 2.  Ik was eerst een avonturier net als jij, maar toen kreeg ik een pijl in mijn knie.

 

Esperanto

1.      Mi antaŭe estis ____ kiel vi, sed tiam sago trafis mian genuon.

2.       Mi antaŭe estis aventuristo kiel vi, sed tiam sago trafis mian genuon.

[literally: an arrow hit my knee]

 

Slovene/Slovenian
contributed by Boštjan

1. Včasih sem bil(m)/bila(f) ______________ tako kot ti, dokler me ni puščica zadela v koleno.
2. Včasih sem bil(m)/bila(f) avanturist tako kot ti, dokler me ni puščica zadela v koleno.

(Translation is not literal. It is adapted to a wording that sounds more Slovene.) 

 

Now you can tell all your Danish friends about your extreme archery misfortunes.  We’ll add new translations as we get them.  Happy language learning!

How to Learn 11+ Languages!

Posted on 05. Jan, 2012 by in Language Learning

A newly published book, “The Gift of Tongues,” explores hyperpolyglots–people who learn 11+ languages; (an interesting review of the book is found here).

It turns out that many hyperpolyglots rely on good ol’ flashcards to develop these skills: “At the end of his story, however, he finds a surprise in Mezzofanti’s archive: flashcards. Stacks of them, in Georgian, Hungarian, Arabic, Algonquin and nine other tongues. The world’s most celebrated hyperpolyglot relied on the same tools given to first-year language-learners today.” No wonder people love our declarative method!