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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
darkriver BS: Any one speak Globish? This is serious.. (66* d) RE: BS: Any one speak Globish? This is serious.. 01 Jun 05

Well, it looks like Esperanto has already hijacked this thread, so I don't feel too badly about mentioning the really global language--Porpoise. And it was at an Esperanto Web site that I found this translation of Porpoise Poetry (and let's take all the remarks about it having no porpoise as a given and move on, okay?):

Porpoise Poetry Revisited

Multaj homoj skribis al ni por demandi pri la "Porpoise Poetry" de S-ro F. Foceno en la lasta numero de Vortpunoj. Ni, kompreneble, turnis nin al Profesoro Mifaras Bontrompon je la Porpoise Linguistics Institute. Jen lia responda^jo:

In recent email with the Editorial staff of Vortpunoj, I received the
following message which is purported to be poetry written by a porpoise.
My assignment was to produce a translation of the meaning of the poem,
with the understanding that the poetic nature of the original might be

This task was considerably more difficult than the usual run-of-the-mill assignment translating geckos or cockroaches. Although non-standard transliterations are quite common, in this case the choice of
transliteration scheme nearly rendered the task impossible.
Representing porpoise speech entirely with the characters "E" and "e"
meant that much of the nuance of the individual words was lost.

However, I believe I have accomplished the task. Standard
representation of porpoise speech, which consists of a
pitch/volume/duration triplet for each squeak. Of course, the original is lacking in all three of those values. However, we made the simplifying assumption that the number of "e" characters correspond to a duration, we also assumed that the capital "E" characters indicated a higher volume than the "e" characters. We created for each squeak an estimated *range* of possible values, based on our simplifying assumptions. Then, we ran a computer matching program that generated every possible word that the might be indicated. In several cases there was only one possible word. Based on these we could eliminate some of the possibilities for other words, in some cases due to grammatical impossibility and in others on consistancy in meaning.

Here are the results of our efforts:


E               I-see-it [via echo-location]
Ee             good-luck!
EeEeEeEe       right [correct, exclamation of agreement]
Eee             thermocline
Eeee            behold or to-bite-the-flukes of
EeeeEeeeE       underneath-and-to-the-right
EeeeeEeeeeE    go-for-it [exhortation to strive, whatever the odds]
Eeeeeeee       so-near-and-yet-so-far [exclamation on the unatanable]
Eeeeee          look-out [exhortation to take care]

> Eeee! Eee! EeeeEeeeE?
Behold! Look underneath that thermocline and to the right!

> EeEeEeEe.... E E E!
Right.... I see it! There's [seaweed or tentacle] there!

> Eeeeeeee. Eeeeeeee.
So near and yet so far!

> Eee! Eeee! EeEeEeEe! E!
At the termocline! Look! You can get it! The [seaweed or tentacle]!

> EeeeeEeeeeE? Ee!
Go for it! Good luck!

> Eeeeeee. Eeeeee. E! E!
You're almost there! Look out! I see it! The [seaweed or tentacle]!

> E! E!
I see it! The [seaweed or tentacle]!

E E E!
I see it! The [seaweed or tentacle]! I see it!

The Web site, btw, is


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