One misty Halloween at WIT HQ, we got to thinking… if languages were people, how would they dress up to go trick-or-treating?
Firstly, we needed some subjects… Hebrew and Chinese are too old for these childish games; Afrikaans and Klingon are still too young to do this particular monster mash. But, with the odds stacked against us (or are we the odd ones?), it was hard to say who would be crowned ‘best dressed’. So, here’s who came to our figurative door.
Meet the contestants
English – “Frankenstein’s monster”
As he was the creative one, and a mix and match of pieces from other languages, English tinkered himself a nice patchwork to wear as a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ costume. A bit of Celtic here, a bit of Greek there, a whole lot of French everywhere… and there he was, too ghoul for school!
French – The “Ghost”
French was the subtle one, she decided to go all-out meta-costume as a ghost to represent her silent letters. Her “E”’s were the main fabric of her costume, with some serious structural support from her “S”’s. She used her “X”’s to draw crossed-shaped eyes, her “Z”’s to fashion herself some rattling chains and slipped away as silent as the “H” in ‘ghost’ itself.
Finnish – The “Spider”
Finnish was known to be the smartest of his friends, but also the most complex. He decided to dress to impress, using his 15 cases to weave a web of 15 threads using his 15 spinnerets. His costume was undoubtedly the most intricate! He had a little trouble walking, though, and had to ask German to knock on doors for him. Tough break.
Russian – The “Walking Dead”
Russian used her animate and inanimate nouns to fool her friends into believing she was both alive and dead. She tinted her face a greenish shade, blackened her teeth, limped when she walked and grunted death rattles whenever someone would ask her a question.
German – The “Witch”
Proud of her dozen-letter-long words, German decided to dress as a witch, hexing unsuspecting by-passers with the longest, spookiest, most arcane spells she knew… it’s enough to make your thesaurus curl. Her favourite was Rhababerbarbarabarbarbarenbartbarbier-bierbarbärbel (rhubarb pie was her guilty pleasure), which she would cry out in a deep, hoarse voice.
She toned down the jinxes when her friends’ faces started to get a little too pale. And when Russia asked to hear her Halloween goody-count thus far we were, quite frankly, horrified by her response of ‘siebentausendzweihundertvierundfünfzig’, assuming she was casting another spell when she was, in fact, answering our question: 7,254. Good haul.
Latin – The "Mummy"
Latin was everyone’s favourite outcast – she had been dead for years but was still allowed to join in the fun. Latin was the mummy of the group because, despite being dead, she was still preserved, taught and used in masses, graduation ceremonies and hymns. Indeed, her holiness gave Russia a run for her zombie money. Plus, she was big sister to French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese, nobody would dare tell her non, no, nu or não.
Arabic – The "Werewolf"
Arabic was the eccentric one, changing his fashion sense with the waxing and waning of the moon. In the same way his letters change depending where they stand in his words, or his vocabulary varies depending on where it was spoken, he decided to show his ever-changing appearance through the most magical costume of all – Michael Jackson’s red Thriller suit. Just kidding, it’s a werewolf.
A real tricky treat, I think you’ll agree. We’ll leave the judging to yoOoUu.
Written by Elise Haja (WIT Project Manager), edited by Amy Reid (WIT Account Manager)