The Problem with Universal Translators

I know a guy from the Gambia, which is a small country surrounded on three sides by Senegal. The Gambia consists of both sides of the Gambia River down to the Atlantic Ocean. I asked him what “Gambia” means. He said, “River.” I couldn’t help but laugh. @Foone once mused about these confounding names that just happen when translated into other languages as they would apply to a potential universal translator, the kind they use in the Star Trek Universe. Aliens would think us mad.

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These are called tautological place names, and Wikipedia has a list of them. It’s not exhaustive, because the Gambia is not included. There’s a lot more to the discussion in the Twitter thread, much of it laugh-inducing. -via Geeks Are Sexy

Source: neatorama

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