Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sinous infection

If there were any doubt that dictionaries can be dangerous, the following vignette provides corroborative evidence.

One of my classmates is suffering from a cold. Perhaps contemplating the possibility that she might have to go to the doctor, she tried looking up the word "sinus" in the dictionary, to find the Spanish "equivalent" seno. That's what my dictionary says too. Problem is, if you look up the word "seno" in a Spanish-language dictionary, you come across a multitude of meanings, but none of them corresponds to the word "sinus". One of the most common meanings is the trigonometrical term "sine".

So that when she tried to explain to the teacher that she had a "sine infection", much hilarity ensued.

The plain people of Ireland: Here, don't you think this post is going off on a bit of a tangent? Get it? Tangent?

Fadeout to the sound of rural thigh-slapping mirth...

1 comment:

Sherri said...

You'd think those folks making up translation dictionaries would pay attention to things like that. Then again, it's probably just run through pages at a time at the desks/computers of overworked peon proofreaders who secretly chuckle over the oddities they allow to pass, since they got it from the "translator" anyway.

Perhaps the eSpanish feel to speak of one's sinuses is not proper conversation, even with a doctor. Still, you'd think there'd be a Latin connection somewhere.

I'll bet I didn't mention I took a year of Latin in school, just because I wanted to. I wanted to take a second year as well, but the powers on high made me take European History instead. Feh.