The directed graph of stereotypical incomprehensibility

When an English speaker doesn't understand a word one says, it's "Greek to me". When a Hebrew speaker encounters this difficulty, it "sounds like Chinese".

Previously, previously, previously.


16 Responses:

  1. Pavel says:

    Disappointed to discover that it's a directed graph :/

    • jwz says:

      I think it's surprising and amazing that it's directed!

    • tfb says:

      It's extremely unsurprising that it's directed: what is surprising is that it seems to be acyclic. However that's almost certainly simply because it's hugely and conveniently incomplete: do Japanese speakers really not say 'it sounds like x to me?' for instance, and what about Hindi speakers?

  2. Dude says:

    For all the Euro languages, I just say "Sounds like Esperanto."

  3. ecc says:

    Why are there two edges from Russian to Chinese?

    • Ching Chong Wuhong says:

      Another error is calling it "heavenly script".

      "Bird language" is for spoken language, "heavenly script" for written.

    • thielges says:

      Their geographical taxonomy is hierarchical. So one arc for European Russia and the other for Asian Russia.

    • Brad says:

      I wondered about that too, but it turned out to be just an error.

  4. jonpsp says:

    They've missed out English -> Double Dutch

  5. Lloyd says:

    Ir's all graphs to me.

  6. dcapacitor says:

    It appears that at least some of these idioms are references to literary works or historical events: "Greek to me" is from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar; "Chinese writing" is the document received from Wanli Emperor during an official visit to China by Russian representatives that remained untranslated for decades.

  7. Ă–mer says:

    Turkish -> French is a bit of a stretch. Turks say "I'm French to that subject" to mean I am clueless about it, and it has little to do with communication.

  8. Zippington T. Whatsit says:

    Whar Moon-man Language?
    Is that the Heavenly Script?

  • Previously