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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years ago

The Language in Code 46


Code 46 is a near future SF film starring Tim Robbins as an insurance investigator. It's interesting that the language used in the movie was apparently referred to as "Esperanto" by someone editing Wikipedia, which shows how little real knowledge there is of what Esperanto is. The language used in the film is now described in Wikipedia as a "pidgin," but actually I'd disagree with the characterization. I'd be more inclined to call it English, with a significant amount of borrowing from Spanish and some other languages. The grammar is nearly perfect English, with full inflections. This is understandable, of course: it's a movie meant for English-speaking audiences.


Nevertheless, it's interesting to look at what words were adopted into the language. In fact, most are greetings, which is actually quite typical. Many English speakers know words like "gracias" and "ciao" and "sayonara" and "salam" from foreign languages.


One interesting point: when I first watched the movie, I assumed the script writer was American, perhaps living in California where there is a lot of exposure to Spanish. But in fact he is British. I wonder where the heavy Spanish borrowing came from.


Loanwords used in Code 46



Papeles (papers, referring to travel papers), Gracias (thank you), Lo siento (Sorry), Un poco (a little), Te quiero (I love you), Te amo (I love you), Aqui (here), Cosa (thing), Que cosa (what thing), Al fuera (outside, referring to life on the outside), Palabra (password), Dinero (money), Cerveza (beer), Bueno (right), Chico/chica (boy/girl), Hombre (man), Hasta le llega (later), Buenos dias (hello), No fonctiona (doesn’t work), Discontinuada (discontinued), senor (sir), Nombre (name), Claro (of course), Es vero (it’s true)



La bas (over there), Salu (hi), Ca va (how are you?) A bientot (see you soon), Foyer (lobby), Valise (suitcase)



khuda hafiz (greeting), thik ho (OK)



Ni hao (hello)



Salam (greeting)



Shalom Aleichem (greeting)


Some transcriptions


- I suppose you would have arrived par avion.

- Luggage a mano.

- You didn’t need to find un coche.

- You ever live al fuera?

- Can I have your papel please?

- Did you have a cerveza?

- If I could figure out your password, your palabra

- I have a cosa about freckles, a sexual cosa.

- When people ask me straight out comme ca.

- Pour quoi?

- When you can get a big dinero for a piece of paper.

- Bueno, absolutely.

- You have a kid? Chico or chica?

- I thought you were a natural, intuitive hombre.

- Hasta la llega.

- You reflect them un poco.

- Buenos dias

- And the video list no fonctiona!

- It’s temporarily discontinuada.

- No senor.

- Claro. We have all kinds of cosas here.

- Es vero.

- Lo siento.

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