Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Try To Be Less White, International Edition

Coke's new slogan "Try to be less white" is making the rounds. Actually, I think it was only leaked in an internal memo and now the Company is trying to rabbit hole the whole affair. Let's see how the slogan would play around the world using Google Translate. I've underlined the term for the color white.

English: Try to be less white

Dutch: Probeer minder wit te zijn

Esperanto: Provu esti malpli blanka

French: Essayez d'être moins blanc

German:Versuche weniger weiß zu sein

Greek: Προσπαθήστε να είστε λιγότερο λευκοί

Italian: Cerca di essere meno bianco

Latin: Conantur minus alba

Polish: Staraj się być mniej biały

Portuguese: Tente ser menos branco

Romanian: Încearcă să fii mai puțin alb

Russian: Постарайся быть менее белым

Spanish: Trata de ser menos blanco


White, wit, and weiß are clearly teutonic; blanc et al. appear in Romance languages, but Latin itself and Romanian use a derivative of alba. Portuguese is weird in that it uses branco instead of blanco. So I looked up the latinate "bland" in Portuguese and I get "brando." Now just imagine Marlon Blando. I included the Greek λευκοί which transliterates to leuko to remind us of where the word leukocyte comes from. Finally, the Polish word biały and the Russian word белым are closely related. I don't know Polish but I've read that it is Slavic with a Roman alphabet. 

Now let's do the phrase "Try to be more Black."

English: Try to be more black

Dutch: Probeer meer zwart te zijn

Esperanto: Provu esti pli nigra

French: Essayez d'être plus noir

German:Versuche schwarzer zu sein

Greek: Προσπαθήστε να είστε πιο μαύροι

Italian: Cerca di essere più nero

Latin: Experiri potius esse nigrum

Polish: Postaraj się być bardziej czarny

Portuguese: Tente ser mais negro

Romanian: Încearcă să fii mai negru

Russian: Постарайся быть более черным

Spanish: Trata de ser más negro


We see immediately that English is the outlier--the other Germanic languages use something akin to swarthy; The Greeks use μαύροι for black which is curious because it transliterates as mauve. I thought that was purple? Clearly the Latins gave us the dreaded N-word and who knew that LBJ spoke Esperanto? Finally, we see that the Poles say czarny where the Russians use черным: Again Slavic cloaked in Roman. 


Mumpsimus said...

Kevin Sorbo tweeted: "While I don’t know how to be 'less white,' I do know how to drink less coke."

Trooper York said...

Nice chickie.

Great post.

Amartel said...

Coke was losing money due to pandemic (bars, restaurants and other public venues which hawk the fizzy stuff closed) so this is all a ploy to get back in the news and maybe generate some more revenue.
Uh, brilliant.
There's probably a payoff somewhere.
I've been using Sodastream for years.

Calypso Facto said...

Did you watch The Professor and the Madman yet Chick? I'm not a fan of Sean Penn but enjoyed the movie and the exploration of language and the OED. Trailer

I mean, what could possibly be more exciting that an a movie about writing a dictionary, amiright?

Calypso Facto said...

*than a movie ...

chickelit said...

The Professor and the Madman

I'll put it in my mental queue. I don't have a TV so when I get the urge, I walk over to my brother's place a mile or so away and watch. They pay for it all. The trailer looks good.

My dead tree edition of "The Oxford Dictionary Of The English Language" was edited by C.T. Onions, who was one of the originals invited by Murray.

chickelit said...

Something I learned just recently is how Sanskrit fits with all of those languages I cited. I owe this to my yoga teacher who actually knows a fair amount of the language. I've been interested in comparative languages for nearly all of my adult life, but for some reason I always ignored half of "indo-european."And I'm told that Persian is halfway between Sanskrit and Greek.

Calypso Facto said...

Oh, that's cool -- I'll have to see who the editor is of the old one we've had kicking around in the family for generations.

Mumpsimus said...

I have no idea why I'd never heard of that movie until now. Thanks, Calypso.

The Dude said...

I watched the word movie, enjoyed it immensely, because it was about words. That's where I got the idea to do the sincere post - the origin of words is interesting to me. Mel Gibson is very good in that show - he can rattle off his knowledge of words like he really knows something. And since the other guy is a self-mutilating insane person, who better than Sean Penn to play that role, amirite?

I used to think I knew a couple of Sanskrit words that made it through to modern English, but maybe I was wrong. I did a search and this is what I found:Sanskrit - English.

And South Asians are the original Aryans, eh?

chickelit said...

Calypso: I meant to write that my dead tree edition of "The Oxford Dictionary Of English Etymology" was edited by C.T. Onions. This is a much smaller single volume which I've owned for over 40 years. I bought it in college and used to lug it around. The preface mentions that it was edited by Onions but that he died shortly before publication (sometime in the 1960's) and that he had been recruited by Murray.

chickelit said...

I have no idea why I'd never heard of that movie until now. Thanks, Calypso.

Came out in 2019, pre-Covid? Maybe it was intended for theaters and never made it. Or maybe because it stars Mel Gibson -- persona non grata--it was intended to fail.

chickelit said...

Trooper -- I was going to include Irish in the post because who's more white than the Irish? Their word for "white" is "bán" -- go figure.

chickelit said...

Thanks for that link, Sixty. One word I don't see there is yoga which is yoked to conjugate.

The Dude said...

Here you go - another list, from that most reliable of sources, Wikipedia, which is based on the Sanskrit word for bullshit: Yogi Berra was here.

chickelit said...

Grassy ass, Sixty!

ampersand said...

Horton Hears a Racist Dog Whistle. Cancel Culture Club comes for Dr. Seuss.

Calypso Facto said...

I don't know why that movie didn't get any publicity until now ... was Mel Gibson back on the Hollywood shitlist at the time? Now getting some advertising on Amazon, and I guess my preference list was just nerdy enough to get the recommendation. Turns out that damn AI was right.

I've got to check what our volume is actually titled, too, Chick, since it's just a large (like 10 pounds) single book.

chickelit said...

We (brother, SIL, and I) watched "The Professor And The Madman" and we all liked it. I liked it a lot but I'm a word nerd.