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English through Pop Culture

This page presents the Four Essential Travel Phrases filtered through popular culture, mainly American TV and movies.

Items shown below:  Ahhnold, Atlantean alphabet, Black Panther, DC Comics, Elmer Fudd, Elvis, faux Cyrillic, Chinese, & Greek, Futurama's alien alphabets, graffiti, Groot, Groundhog Day, How to Train Your Dragon, Jethro, Colonel Klink, lolcats, The Matrix, the Muppet's Swedish Chef, pirates, Pokémon, a ransom note, Redneck, The Smurfs, South Park, STARGATE's Ancients alphabet, Texan, V, and Valley Girl
Items on other pages:  More English dialects and accents, the Sims, Star Trek languages, Star Wars languages, Tolkien's languages, languages of Warcraft, and various constructed languages (conlangs)

top Ahhhnold

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian accent is one of his trademark characteristics.

1) Wher is my room?

2) Wher is ze beakh?

3) Wher is ze bar?

4) Don't tush m zere!

top the Atlantean alphabet

The Atlantean alphabet was created by Marc Okrand and John Emerson for Disney's movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
It is written in boustrophedon style (alternating between right to left and left to right).

Note that this translation is in English, not the Atlantean language, which was also created by Marc Okrand.

[English shown in the Atlantean alphabet]

Language information at Wikipedia

Writing system information at Omniglot

top Black Panther

The Wakandan alphabet was designed by Hannah Beachler for the 2018 film Black Panther:

[Flag of Wakanda] [Wakanda alphabet]

Writing system information at Omniglot

top DC Comics
Who's Who?
DC Comics has created various writing systems...

Interlac alphabet
[Interlac alpahabet]

Writing system information at Wikipedia

Kryptonian alphabet
[Kryptonian alpahabet]

Writing system information at Superman Homepage and Omniglot

top Elmer Fudd

Looney Tune "Elmer Fudd" presents the Four Essential Travel Phrases...

[Elmer Fudd] 1) Whewe is my woom?

2) Whewe is the beach?

3) Whewe is the baw?

4) Don't touch me thewe!
[Bugs Bunny]

Google has an Ewmew Fudd interface

top Elvis

Elvis Presley was one of the most famous people with a "Southern Drawl"
(which is actually a group of American accents/dialects from the South).

1) Whayer iz mah room?

2) Whayer iz thuh beach?

3) Whayer iz thuh bar?

4) Don't touch may thayure!

Language information at Wikipedia

    [Elvis is Alive!]


Matt Groening's animated series Futurama was set in New New York City in the year 3000.

The series, which ran from 1999 through 2003, used two alien alphabets to encode additional jokes, usually on signs or buildings.

Alien Alphabet One (AA1): a simple one-to-one substitution cipher from the Latin alphabet

[alien alphabet one] [Bender]

Alien Alphabet Two (AA2): a more complex accumulating cypher / modular addition code

[alien alphabet two]

Writing system information at Omniglot

top Faux Cyrillic, Chinese & Greek

Faux Cyrillic gives text a Soviet or Russian look by replacing Latin letters with similar looking Cyrillic ones:

[Faux Cyrillic]

A similar effect can be made by using Chinese characters that look like Latin letters:

[Faux Chinese]

Many Greek restaurants outside of Greece use the same technique with Greek letters:

[Faux Greek]

top graffiti

Graffiti as we know it has been used for thousands of years.

For example, preserved inscriptions from ancient Pompeii include drawings, poems, greetings, insults, obscenities, declarations of love, satire, and political commentary.


top Groot

Groot is a Marvel Commics superhero and a member of the species Flora colossus.

1) I am Groot.

2) I am Groot.

3) I am Groot.

4) I am Groot.

top Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney Phil is a groundhog resident of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
On February 2nd of each year, (Groundhog Day), Phil emerges from Gobbler's Knob to predict the arrival of Spring.

[groundhog] 1) Ehteht ooat sheeah ooat?

2) Ehteht ooat chitter ooat?

3) Ehteht ooat chitter urp?

4) Ooat ooat hehaa urp sheeah!

top How to Train Your Dragon

DreamWorks Animation's 2010 film How to Train Your Dragon is set in a mythical Viking world. The "Dragon Manual" shown in the movie uses a version of Younger Futhark runes as a cypher for English.

[How to Train Your Dragon]

Younger Furthark information at Wikipedia and Omniglot

top Jethro

Jethro and the rest of the Beverly Hillbillies
popularized a comedic "Hillbilly" accent.

1) Wheuh is mah room?

2) Wheuh is duh cee-ment pond?

3) Wheuh is duh dance hall?

4) Dasent touch me theuh!
    [Jethro accent]

top "Kraut" Accent
[Hogan's Heros sitcom]    

The bumbling Colonel Klink and his aide Sergeant Schultz from the TV sitcom Hogan's Heros (1965 to 1971) spoke English with an exaggerated German accent for comedic effect.

1) Vhere ist my r-r-room?

2) Vhere ist de beach?

3) Vhere ist de bar?

4) Do nicht touch me dere!

top lolcats

The blog I Can Has Cheezburger? turned lolcats into an Internet meme in 2007.

[I are laughing]

top The Matrix

The Warner Brothers Matrix franchise has brought in billions of dollars. Yes... billions with a 'b'.

[The Matrix]

top The Swedish Chef
[English by the Swedish Chef]    

The Muppet Show's "Swedish Chef" presents the Four Essential Travel Phrases...

1) Vhere-a is my ruum?

2) Vhere-a is zee beech?

3) Vhere-a is zee ber?

4) Dun't tuooch me-a zeere-a!

Google's interface in Mock Swedish: Google Bork, Bork, Bork!

top Pirates

Pirates present the Four Essential Travel Phrases...


International Talk Like a Pirate Day

top Pokémon Pikachu

Pokémon is a media franchise encompasing games, anime, manga, trading cards, toys, books, and other merchandise.

There are hundreds of Pokémon creatures, including the iconic Pikachu:

1) Pikapi ka chu piii?

2) Chuuu Pi chu pikaa?

3) Kachu Ka pi-i kaa?

4) Ka chu pikapi Pi kachu!


top a ransom note

[a ransom note]

top Redneck

Redneck is used by Rednecks in the US


top The Smurfs

Smurfs began life back in 1958 as a creation of Belgian comics artist Peyo. They entered American pop culture with the 1981-1989 television show called The Smurfs.


Official Smurf website

top South Park

South Park is an animated TV show created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone that takes place in the mountain town of South Park, Colorado.
Kenny (in his ever-present orange hood) recites the Four Essential Travel Phrases for us:

1) Fppmfpmpppffmpp mfffmm ppmffm pffppfppfppm?

2) Fppmfpmpppffmpp mfffmm fmpmfpmpp mmpmppmmmmmfmfp?

3) Fppmfpmpppffmpp mfffmm fmpmfpmpp mmpmmmpff?

4) Mpmppf pppppffmp fmpppffmfmmfmfp ppmmpp fmpmfpmpppffmpp!

(Created with the Kenny translator)
[South Park gang]


The Ancients alphabet is used on the STARGATE television shows to represent the Ancients' language (Lingua Anquietas).
It is also used to obscure English "inside jokes".

[Ancients alphabet]

Information at Wikipedia

Writing system information at Omniglot

top Texan Accent

Used in the great state of Texas

[Texan English]

top V

V: The Series was a 1980s sci-fi TV miniseries. The Visitor alphabet was used to write the aliens' language

[Visitor alphabet]
[Visitor propaganda]

Writing system information at Omniglot

top Valspeak
[English from a Valley Girl]    

"Valspeak" originated in the 1970s with self-absorbed, affluent girls living in California's San Fernando Valley area in Los Angeles.

The young women became known as "Valley girls" or "Vals".

Valspeak became a fad in 1982 thanks to Frank Zappa's hit song "Valley Girl".

[English from a Valley Girl]

The four essential
travel phrases in English:

1) Where is my room?
2) Where is the beach?
3) Where is the bar?
4) Don't touch me there!
Do you have a language or dialect to add?
Did I get something wrong?
Please let me know...

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