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snopes
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Comment: I heard this one from my father years ago.

The story goes that one of the Tarzan movies from the 1930s and 1940s (or
was it the TV show?) has a scene where one of Tarzan's native friends is
running into a village to warn Tarzan of some impending doom from a
poacher or something. He gets to the village after running for hours and
hours, delivers the warning in a native dialect, and collapses. The
problem is that, for some unknown reason, the translator gave the actor
the wrong translation. Instead of saying "The poacher is coming" or
whatever, the actor says "I don't get paid enough for this". The story
continues that the producers of the show didn't understand when they read
reports of laughing at this important part of the movie.

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Ganzfeld
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Tarzan scripts had real native laguages and movies (or TV shows) were filmed with real natives who understood the language? Either one would surprise me but both would be extremely surprising. (Does the person who made this comment think the movie or TV show was filmed in a real village in Africa?)
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mgbdriver
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The version I heard had the actor (a native African) adlibbing the line when the director told him to "just say something in Swahili; nobody will know."
The punch line came during a showing of the film in Africa.
I have heard this story a few times on television over the years.

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Esprise Me
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Sounds like a variation on the story about the Nike commercial

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"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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Lady Moon
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I heard this in relation to "Return of the Jedi".

--------------------
"We've got a fifth member of the band round here, and he's DEFINITELY out of tune!" -- Keith Moon

"If I had a thousand quid for every time I've introduced this song --- oh, I do!" -- John Entwistle

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Izunya
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I heard this one, or one incredibly close to it, about "The Gods Must Be Crazy." It sounded pretty plausible at the time, I have to admit, because there's a lot of the Zhu'hoansi language (spelled wrong, I know; tribal name of the "bushmen" IIRC) in the movie. Probably not as widespread a language as Swahili, which was--again, IIRC--a trader's language, useful in many areas.

Izunya

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mgbdriver
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All I've been able to find is this from an interview with Johnny Weismueller:
quote:
"Originally, we'd imitate jungle language in the movies by just talking plain English backwards," he said. "That worked fine until we showed one movie in Norway where whatever it was one of us said, it meant something really dirty in Norwegian.

"So, Metro went right out and brought two African chieftains to Hollywood to teach us Swahili. Did they have a ball."



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Ulkomaalainen
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So how do they know that real Swahili sentences don't sound like a very dirty disrespectful thing in Estonian? After all, there's only so much sounds a human can make while speaking, and given our tendency to find patterns we would easily misunderstand one or two words, regardless of whether they are genuine foreign words or just invented or whatever.

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Movie characters never make typing mistakes.

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