sac des culs

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Wed Jul 30 18:58:51 UTC 2008

In a message dated 7/30/08 2:41:56 PM, laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:

> Wouldn't that have to be a literal translation of "sac des culs"
> rather than of "cul de sac"?  (Not to be petty, but...)
yes, which is why I characdterized the jokers as "pseudosophisticated elitist 
English speakers" 

> >Spanish speakers may be used to Americans saying "cool" = 'fine', but that
> >doesn't mean that they don't laugh at us (or, for the less
> >enlightened, find us
> >gratuitously insulting). Comparably (?), "asoleado" may mean 'sunny' in
> >Spanish, and "A Sol" might be a good trademark for a French bank,
> >but neither would
> >be a very good name for a product marketed in the USA, I'd think.
> >
> I suppose, but this has a bit of the air of the old canard about how
> the Chevy Nova didn't sell in Spanish-speaking countries because "no
> va" means 'doesn't go' in Spanish--but in fact there's no evidence of
> depressed sales, nor would Spanish speakers have been likely to
> ignore the fact that "nova" is more likely to be associated with the
> meaning 'new' in Spanish, given "novela", "nueva", etc.  Of course
> these instances of cross-linguistic interference do facilitate puns,
> but I'd be more skeptical about effects on sales.
> LH
Surely it depends on the name. International branding experts certainly give 
thought to the potential for unintentional cross-linguistic pejorative 
meanings. The public is fond of punning conversions of even established brand names, 
usually derisively (USAiroflot, Needless Markup). A foreign name that sounds a 
lot like "asshole" is in a dangerous realm that I suspect marketers would 
advise not to go.

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