Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook
"Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook" is a Monty Python sketch that first aired in 1970.
The sketch is set in Britain. A Hungarian enters a tobacconist's shop carrying a phrasebook and begins a dialogue with the tobacconist; he wants to buy some cigarettes but his phrasebook is poorly written and the translations of his desired phrases do not resemble in the slightest what he wants to say. Many of them are plainly bizarre and some of them are mildly sexual in nature (for example: "Do you want to come back to my place — bouncy-bouncy?"). After the customer has conveyed his desire in gestures, the tobacconist looks in the phrasebook to find a Hungarian translation for "six and six" (i.e. six shillings and sixpence); he reads out a phrase, which provokes the Hungarian to punch him in the face. A policeman, hearing the punch from a considerable distance, runs to the shop and arrests the Hungarian, who protests absurdly, "My nipples explode with delight!"
The Hungarian is apparently released, and instead the publisher of the phrasebook is taken to court, where he pleads "not guilty" to a charge of "actions tending to provoke a breach of the peace". After the prosecutor reads some samples from the book (mistranslation for "Can you direct me to the station" reads "Please fondle my bum"), the publisher changes his plea to "incompetence".
- John Cleese as the Hungarian (and a barrister)
- Terry Jones as the tobacconist (and the judge)
- Graham Chapman as the policeman
- Michael Palin as the publisher
- Eric Idle as the prosecutor
The 1970 version is partly filmed in London in Dunraven Road, near the football ground of Queens Park Rangers F.C..
The running policeman, played by Graham Chapman is first seen near the junction of Dunraven Road and Galloway Road. This is, rather amusingly, just a few yards away from the tobacconists shop on the junction of Dunraven Road and Thorpebank Road. He hears something and starts running... He is next seen running from a distance back up Galloway Road back to his original starting point near the tobacconists shop. After much more running he is later seen running out of Willow Vale into Dunraven Road back to his original starting point outside the tobacconists on the junction of Dunraven Road and Thorpebank Road. He then enters the tobacconists to arrest the Hungarian. So the hidden joke here is that he runs all that distance to be back at the same place he started. The shop used in the sketch has since been converted back to a private house.
In other Python works
In the same episode, the Hungarian character appeared in the "Spam" sketch.
The sketch also appears in And Now for Something Completely Different. In this version, another Hungarian tells someone on the street, "Please fondle my buttocks," a mistranslation of "Please direct me to the railway station." The listener then gives the Hungarian directions in English.
In other media
||This section may contain excessive, poor, or irrelevant examples. (July 2014)|
The phrase "my hovercraft is full of eels" is often mentioned in relation to any translation system, in particular ones which translate poorly. The phrase is also used as a cliche that takes the form of a character thinking they can speak a language, but whatever they try to say in that language ends up sounding nonsensical or outright rude to native speakers of the language in question.
The phrase "Drop your panties, Sir William; I cannot wait until lunchtime!" was spoofed in the Nintendo DS game Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, as an outburst by a supporting character in the game's second case.[clarification needed]
In South Park: The Stick of Truth, the poorly translated theme song of Princess Kenny include the Japanese lyrics, "Watashi no hovercraft ni unagi aru" which literally means "there are eels in my hovercraft".
- My postillion has been struck by lightning, a phrase reportedly found in a real Hungarian-English phrasebook
- English As She Is Spoke
- http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/hovercraft.htm The phrase translated into numerous languages.