Briefly noted: two-language pun pairs

On May 31st, Xopher Walker, listening to a live opera broadcast on WFMT, groused about the tedium of Wagner’s Parsifal. Ned Deily noted a different radio broadcast (BR Klassik) of the more pleasing Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) by Mozart.  Extensive discussion of Parsifal and performances of it followed.

And then Michael Palmer produced this marvelous pair of puns on the name of the Mozart opera, one in German (playing on Ente ‘duck’ instead of the prefix ent- ‘separate, remove’), one in English (playing on duck instead of the Latinate root –duc- ‘lead’):

Die Enteführung aus dem Serail, aka the Abducktion from the Seraglio

(It’s all about the ducks.)

Applause for Palmer followed.

Palmer then wondered if there was an accepted term for this phenomenon – “puns in two languages that are translations of one another”. Not that I know of.


2 Responses to “Briefly noted: two-language pun pairs”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Ann Farmer on Google+:

    Not exactly an example of puns involving two languages, but did remind me of an overheard conversation of my two sons when we were living in France. They were playing with their toy soldiers when the older one (~10) said to the younger one (~4) “put the soldier down low” to which the younger one asked “pourquoi dans l’eau?” 😉

  2. Maria Says:

    This reminds me of the translation of the German poem “Der Werwolf” which you’d posted once (equally entertaining as its original by Christian Morgenstern) – which is how I first found your blog!

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