Meme

IGP alum Ethan Mollick ’97 created the “I Can Eat Glass” project during his time at Harvard. The project turned into one of the first famous Internet memes, and the original page was housed on the IGP website for several years before being taken down. Now, it is back where it belongs, and the current members of IGP have taken up the task of keeping the project going. Updates to come, but for now enjoy Ethan’s original work.

The Idea

The concept of the “I Can Eat Glass” Project is simple– to compile a list of ways to say the phrase “I can eat glass, it doesn’t hurt me” in various languages. Pretty easy, eh?

The Philosophy

This Project is, of course, completely trivial. Still, I feel a need to justify it, so pick your favorite reason, or give me your suggestions by email or comment form:

* The Project is based on the idea that people in a foreign country have an irresistable urge to try to say something in the indigenous tongue. In most cases, however, the best a person can do is “Where is the bathroom?” a phrase that marks them as a tourist. But, if one says “I can eat glass, it doesn’t hurt me,” you will be viewed as an insane native, and treated with dignity and respect.
* The Project is a challenge to the human spirit, in much the same way as the Apollo Program or the Panama Canal was, except that it involves much less digging and slightly less spaceflight.
* The Project is part of an attempt to procrastinate when I should be doing reading.
* The Project is a product of the social framework in which it was created, and thus by studying the Project, you are truly studying Western Civilization.
* The Project is the result of high technology in the hands of people who have no idea what to do with it.

The Project

The Project lists the language, the location in which it is spoken, how it would be written in the language (if the tongue uses the Roman alphabet), and a transliteration if available. Transliterations are in italics.

Main Entries

Afrikaans

Spoken in: South Africa, Namibia
In Afrikaans: “Ek kan glas eet, dit maak my nie seer nie.”
Alternately: “Ek kan glas eet, dit kan my nie seermaak nie.”
Pronounciation: The g’s are like the gutteral Dutch sound but “eet” is a long “ee”, not the “ay” of Dutch. “My” is “may”.
Note: This language is one of the most recent major languages, derived from Dutch in this century.

Arabic

Spoken in: North Africa and the Middle East
In Transliterated Algerian Arabic: Nakdar nakoul ezjaj ou ma youjaach.
In Egyptian Arabic: Ana momken aakol el-ezaz, we dah ma beyewgaaneash
Notes: Egyptian Arabic is the most popular Arabic dialect, this is due tothe huge backing of T.V. and radio all-over the Arab world. It is also spoken by 50 million people as a mother tongue which puts it on the top of the list of all arabic dialects. Unfortunately anything that has to be written will be translated to classical form first that’s why this and other Arabic dialects tend to be only spoken.

Aracnol

Spoken in: Online Portuguese community
In Aracnol: “poh sukumer vidro. nam-u mieh dzagradahvel.”
Pronounced: “paw soo koomair vee-drew. nown mee Eh dzu grudah vell.”
Note: Aracnol is an artificial language, developed when Portuguese-speakers were unable to use accents in email messages. It has since developed its own grammers and expressions. Compare with Portuguese below.

Aragones

Spoken in: Aragon (Spanish State, Europe)
In Aragones: Puedo (en) minchar (de) beire, no me’n fa mal
Pronounced: puedo (en) minCHar (de) beire, no men fa mal. (CH=English T)
Compare with Spanish below.

Armenian

Spoken in: Armenia, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey
In Armenian: Abagee grnam oodel yev eendzy tche venassér.

ASCII

Spoken in: Microprocessors
In ASCII (binary notation):

01001001 | 00100000 | 01100011 | 01100001
01101110 | 00100000 | 01100101 | 01100001
01110100 | 00100000 | 01100111 | 01101100
01100001 | 01110011 | 01110011 | 00101100
00100000 | 01101001 | 01110100 | 00100000
01100100 | 01101111 | 01100101 | 01110011
01101110 | 00100111 | 01110100 | 00100000
01101000 | 01110101 | 01110010 | 01110100
00100000 | 01101101 | 01100101 | 00000000

Note: The above is represented by bytes of eight bits each (how the string “I can eat glass, it doesn’t hurt me” would actually be stored in memory). Each byte is one character. Conveniently enough, bytes are organized into words of four bytes each. Curiously, the phrase is exactly nine words long in computer memory.
In ASCII (decimal notation): 73-32-99-97-110-32-101-97-116-32-103-108-97-115-115-44-32-105-116-32 -100-111-101-115-110-39-116- 32-104-117-114-116-32-109-101-0
In ASCII (hexadecimal notation): 49-20-63-61-6e-20-65-61-74-20-67-6c-61- 73-73-2c-20-69-74-20-64-6f-65-73-6e-27-74-20-68-75-72-74- 20-6d-65-00

Austrian

Spoken in: Austria
In Austrian: “I kaun Gloos essen, es tuat ma ned weh.”
Pronounced: Ee cown gloas essn, ays doo-ad mah nayed vay.
Notes: Austrian is a German dialect, spoken throughout Austria (with local variations) — comparable to Swiss German.

Bahasa Indonesia

Spoken in: Indonesia
In Bahasa Indonesia: Saya bisa makan gelas tanpa sakit
Pronounced: Suy-uh bee-sa makan gelas tun-puh sa-keet, with the accent on the first syllable of each word.
Literally: “I can eat glass without it hurting me.”
Note: Bahasa Indonesia is the national language of Indonesia. It is derived from many of the dialects used in the country (there are hundreds of them) and also partially evolved from Dutch, Portuguese, and Indian languages.

Basque (Euskara)

Spoken in: Basque Country, Spain
In Basque/Euskara: “Kristala jan dezaket, ez dit minik ematen.”
Pronounced: Cristala ean desaket, es dit minik ematen.

Bayerisch

Spoken in: Bavaria
In Bayerisch: I koh glos esa, und es duard ma ned wei.
Pronounced: E ko glos asa, es dooard mo ned wee.

Bengali

Spoken in: Bengal, Bangladesh
Transliteration: Ami Kanch Khetay pari; amakey kichu khoti karay na.

Bulgarian

Spoken in: Bulgaria
Transliteration: Az iam staklo i to ne mi vredi

C

Spoken in: Computers
In C:
enum boole {false, true}
void main(void)
{
boole iCanEatglass = true;
boole hurtme;
if (iCanEatGlass == true)
{
hurtMe = false;
}
}
Translation: I can eat glass. Not sure if it will hurt me. If I can eat glass, it won’t hurt me.

C++

Spoken in: Computers
In C++:

#include

class me {
public:
/* bool eatGlass(void)
Makes the object start eating glass
Returns true if the object has indeed started eating glass,
false otherwise */
bool eatGlass(void) {
return (eatingGlass = true);
}

/* bool isInjured(void)
Returns true if the object is currently injured,
false if object is not currently injured */
bool isInjured(void) {
return injured;
}

/* Constructor
Default values:
not eating glass
not injured */
me(void) : eatingGlass(false), injured(false) { };

private:
bool eatingGlass;
bool injured;
};

int main(void)
{
me I;

if (I.eatGlass())
cout << "I can eat glass";

if (!I.isInjured())
cout << ", it does not hurt me." << endl;

return 0;
}

Cape Verdean Creole (crioulo or kriôlu)

Spoken in: Cape Verde, emigrants in Lisbon and Boston.
In Creole: “M’tá podê kumê vidru, ká stá máguame.”
Pronounciation: The first “m” means “I” and is just a sweet nasalation: you close your mouth and use your nose. It’s something like a small “mmmh”.
Note: This language is a mixture of Portugese and African languages from Senegal and Guinea-Bissau.

Catalan

Spoken in: Spanish Mediterranean coast, southern France, Balearic Islands and a city of Italy
In Catalan: “Puc menjar vidre que no em fa mal”
Pronounced: puk m@njA bIdr@ , k@ nom fa mAl where @=neutral

Chamorro

Spoken in: primarily Guam, where it has 60,000 speakers.
In Chamorro: Siña yo’ chumocho krestat, ti ha na’lalamen yo’.
Pronounced: SEE-nya dzoo’ tsoo-MO-tsoo kris-TAT tee hah na’-la-LA-min dzoo’.
Note: the apostrophe represents a glotteral stop.

Chinese (Cantonese)

Spoken in: Hong Kong & Guangdong province, China
In Cantonese: Ngo Hor Yi Sak Bor Laai, Kui Sern Ng Do Ngo Gar

Chinese (Mandarin)

Spoken in: China
In Mandarin:
Transliteration (using the Pinyin system): “Wo ke yi chi bo li, wo bu huei sho shang”
Notes: There are different systems for converting Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Haka, etc.) speech to roman text, one of them is Pinyin. As an example ‘I’ or ‘me’ in Mandarin is written ‘wo’ in pinyin. Every sound like ‘wo’ can be pronounced in 4 ‘tunes’, or changes in tone. In this case ‘wo’ is in the third tone. To pronounce it, first the pitch of your voice goes down a little, then rises. In pinyin this is pictured by placing a ‘v’ on top of the o (like ô but just the other way around). Unfortunately, this is currently not supported by HTML characters.

Czech

Spoken in: Czech Republic
In Czech: “Muzu jíst sklo; to mi neskodí.”
Pronounced: MOO-zhoo yeest skloh; toh mee NEH-shkoh-dee.
Alternately: “Muzu jíst sklo, to mi nic neudelá.”
Pronounced: MOO-zhoo yeest skloh, toh mee nyeets NEH-oo-dye-lah.
Notes: In “muzu,” there is a little circle over the u (like the å in Swedish or Norwegian). Also, there is an inverted circumflex over the z (an upside-down ^). There is an inverted circumflex over the s in “neskodí”m and in the alternate version, over the second e in “neudelá”. The first version is generally used to describe realistic action.

Danish

Spoken in: Denmark, Iceland, Greenland
In Danish:”Jeg kan spise glas, det gør ikke ondt på mig”.

Dan-Rur

Spoken in: The Oz books by L. Frank Baum and his successors. Spoken by fairies and humans in Burzee, the Nome Kingdom, and Antozia. From the language family Fairy, which is not descended from Nostratic.
In Dan-Rur: “Nel akkeai-ugoil ureil; ai moirshoai nel.”
Literally: “Person-of-low-station to eat-is-able-in-absolute-present glass; this hurts-in-fiction person-of-low-station.
Pronounciation: Highly variable according to location and species.

Dutch

Spoken in: The Netherlands, St. Maartan
In Dutch: “Ik kan glas eten. Het doet geen pijn.”
Pronounced: Ik kan khlas ayten. Hayt dot khayn pine.

Eskimo (Central Alaksan Yup’ik Eskimo)

Spoken in: Southwestern Alaska
In Eskimo: Cikunguaq nernarqaqa, akngirtanga.

Esperanto

Spoken in: Esperanto Clubs throughout the world
In Esperanto: Mi povas mangxi vitron, gxi min ne doloras.
Pronunciation: gx (g cirumflex) = dg as in ‘edge’.

Estonian

Spoken in: Estonia
In Estonian: Ma võin klaasi süüa, see ei tee mulle midagi
Pronounced: Mah vUH-in klAAH-see sYEWah, say eye TAY mOOlleh mEEtakee
Notes: Estonian, a close relative of Finnish, is spoken by the approximately one million native inhabitants of the small Baltic state of Estonia, which has a large Russian-speaking community (approx. 500,000) left over from the half century during which the country was colonized by the Soviet Union. Estonia’s independence was restored in 1991.

Fante

Spoken in: Southern Ghana
Trasnsliteration: Motum awe bodambo. Onye me hwee.
Pronunciation: similar to Twi, and o=long o.

Finnish

Spoken in: Finland
In Finnish: “Pystyn sy&oumlmään lasia. Se ei koske yhtään.”
Pronounced:PUstun SUomaan LAHseeah. Se ay CASS-keh UH-tahn
Literally: “I can eat glass, it does not hurt (me) at all.”
Alternately: “Pystyn sy&oumlmään lasia. Se ei koske minuun yhtään.”
Literally: “I can eat glass, it does not hurt me at all.”
Note: The implied “me” sounds more natural in Finnish.

French

Spoken in: France, Canada, various former colonies
In French: “Je peux manger du verre, cela ne me fait pas mal.”
However: French distinguishes between being able to physically and knowing how to. “Je sais” means “I can” in the second sense. Secondly, French distinguishes between the generic “le verre” (“glass” in general) and the particular “du verre” (“(some) glass”). ie if you know how to go about it properly, you can eat glass without it hurting (“Je sais… le verre”).
This may thus be more correct: “Je sais manger le verre; cela ne me fait pas mal.”
In modern colloquial French: “Ch’peux manger du verre, ca m’fait pas mal.”
In seventeenth-century French alexandrine verse (as spoken by Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, and Molière): “Je puis manger du verre; cela ne me nuit point.”
Note: The previously displayed alexandrine has 13 syllables. Although Classical French tolerated13, 12 syllables was, and is now, the norm.
Thus: “Je mange le verre; cela ne me nuit point.”

Frisian

Spoken in: Province of Friesland, Netherlands
In Frisian: ik kin gl^es ite, it docht me net sear
Pronounced: ick kin gle-es ee-tuh, ut doxt mu net seer
Notes: x=ch in German or x in Russian, u and uh are pronounced like in circ_u_s and ^e sounds like “mess” but with two syllables.

German

Spoken in: Germany
In German: “Ich kann Glas essen, das tut mir nicht weh.”
Literally: I can eat glass, it does not hurt me.
Alternately: “Ich kann Glas essen, das verletzt mich nicht.”
Literally: I can eat glass, it does not injure me.
Colloquially: “Ich kann Glas essen ohne mir weh zu tun.”
In the Schwaebisch dialect, spoken near Stuttgart: “I ko Glass essa ond des duat miar nex.”

Ancient Greek

Spoken in: Spoken in Athens, 5th century BC
In Ancient Greek (Attic Dialect): “Dúnamai húalon esthíein; toûde oudamws huperalgew’.”
Note: w’s are omegas.

Modern Greek

Spoken in: Greece
In Greek:
Transliteration: Boro’ na fa’o spasme’na gialia’ chori’s na pa’tho ti’pota.
Literally: “I can eat broken glass without it hurting me.”

Hebrew

Spoken in: Israel
In Hebrew:
Transliteration: Ani yachol le’echol zchuchit, ze lo ko’ev li.

Hindi

Spoken in: India
Transliteration: mai^n gilaas khaa saktii hu^n. mai^n ne chot diiyaa.
Pronounced: mai^n gilass kha sakti hu^n. mai^n ne chot diya.
Pronounciation note: the above is written pretty much like it reads, but pronounce the words ending ^n through your nose.

Hungarian

Spoken in: Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, The Usual Suspects
In Hungarian: “Meg tudom enni az üveget, nem árt nekem.”
Pronouned: Mayg tudom aynee az uvaygat, naym art naykem.

Icelandic

Spoken in: Iceland
In Icelandic: “Èg get borðað gler, það meiðir mig ekki.”
Pronunciation note: ð’s are pronounced “th”, as is the “þ” in “þad”.

Irish

Spoken: Ireland
In Irish: “Tá mé in ann gloine a ithe; Ní chuireann sé isteach nó amach orm.”
Pronounced: taw MAY in ON glinna ah IH-heh; nee kurrun SHAY IS-chyok no em-OCK UR-em
Note: This is a more natural saying which translates as “I can eat glass; It doesn’t put me in or out”
The grammatically correct form would be: “Tá mé in ann gloine a ithe; Ní gortaíonn sé mé ar bith”
Literally: I can eat glass; It does not wound me at all.

Italian

Spoken in: Italy
In Italian: “Posso mangiare il vetro, non mi fa male.”
In the Venetian dialect, spoken in Venice, Padua and Verona: “Mi posso magnare el vetro, no’l me fa mae.”
Pronounced: ME poh-so mahn-yah-reh el vetroh, no l may fah mah-eh

Japanese

Spoken in: Japan
In Japanese:
Transliteration: “Watashiwa garasu o taberaremasu; watashi o kizutsukemasen.”
Pronounced: wa-TA-shee wa ga-RA-su oh ta-BEH-rare-masu; wa-TA-shee oh KEE-zoo-tzoo-keh-ma-SEN
Alternately: Watashiwa garasu o taberarete, watashi o kizutsukemasen.
Alternately: Watashiwa garasu o taberarete, kizutsukemasen.
Alternately: Garasu o taberete, kizutsukemasen.
Note: The most correct version of the second phrase would actually read “Itaku wa arimasen,” literally “it is not painful.” The others are technically fine, but awkward.

Javanese (an Indonesian dialect)

Spoken in: Java, Indonesia
In Javanese: Aku isa mangan beling tanpa lara
Pronounced: Ah-coo e-sou mang-nghan bhe-ling tahn-pa law-raw
Notes: A Javanese traditional dance, called “Kuda Lumping” involves ethnic dancers in a trance, riding toy horses, dancing on fire and EATING GLASS.

Kansai-ben

Spoken in: Western Japan
In Kensai-ben: Garasu kuute mo kizutsukehen ya
Pronounced: Ga ra su koo tay moh key zoo tskeh hen ya

Kekchi

Spoken in: This is a Mayan dialect spoken in Northern Alta Verapaz and Soutern Peten in Guatemala, with some speakers also in Belize and El Salvador. Spoken by 350,000 to 360,000 people.
In Kekchi: “Lain naru nincua’ li lem. Moco ra ta sa’ in sa’.”
Pronounced: La EEN na ROO neen KWA lee lem. Mo co RA ta SA een SA.
Literally: “It is possible that I eat glass. It is not painful to my stomach.”
Alternately: “Lain ninru chixcuabal li lem. Inc’a’ niquinixrahobtesi.”
Literally: “I can eat glass. It does not hurt me.”

Kelabit

Spoken in: Sarawak, Malaysia
In Kelabit: “Uih kereb kuman gelas, na’am inih belu’an na’an.”
Literally: “I can eat glass, not it hurt later.”
Notes: Kelabit is a language from the interior of Borneo. They had no word for glass before the British arrived during WWII. Go here for some more information. Given the nature of the subject matter (eating glass) the translator assumed that most native Kelabit speakers would say that it would make them “sick” (as opposed to hurt or injured) or rather “not make mesick” (na’am inih naru’ ma’it). The word glass in this context would probably be confused with a drinking glass. The only other word that they have for glass is the one meaning windowpane, which they have borrowed from Malaysian (Kelingai).

Klingon

Spoken in: Star Trek Films, Klingon mailing lists
In Klingon:
Transliterated: HIvje’ mep vISoplaH. mu’oy’moHbe’.
Pronunciation: khivjE’ mep virshOplakh. moo’Oy’mokhbE’.
Literally: I am capable of eating the plastic of glass tumblers. It does not cause me pain. (No surprise, the Klingon Dictionary has no word for ‘glass’.)

Korean

Spoken in: Korea
Transliteration: Yurilul mogulsu eetnoonday ah poo gee dough ahn a’yo.

Latin

Spoken in: Vatican City, Andover, Exeter
In Latin: “Vitrum edere possum; mihi non nocet.”

Latvian

Spoken in: Latvia
In Latvian:
Pronounced: Ass varu eest styklu, tus mun nakaitee.
Notes: “e” and “E” is pronounced as in word “beg”, e in “nekaite” is the same sound two times longer. The “U” is as in word “push” and the “A” as U in word “but”.

Logic

Spoken in: mathematics and philosophy
In Symbolic Logic:
p=I can eat glass
q=I Hurt
p->(!q)
p
——-
.:!q
Note: p is “I can eat glass”, q is “I hurt”. p implies not q. p is true. Therefore, not q.

Lojban

Spoken in: This is an invented language, generated from Loglan, which was described in Scientific American in the 1960s. by the Logical Language Group
In Lojban: “mi ka’e citka loi blaci .i la’edi’u na xrani mi”
Pronounced: mee KAhey SHITkah loi BLAshi (pause) ee laheDIhoo na KHRAni mee.
Pronounciation: the apostrophe is an unvoiced stop, usually rendered much like the English “h”, the “x” is like German “ch”, and the “c” is like English “sh”. Vowels are like the European long vowels. The period represents a pause.

LPC

Spoken in: MUDs
In LPC: inherit OBJECT;

void create() {
set_id({“glass”, “broken glass”, “piece of glass”, “piece of broken glass”});
set_name(“glass”);
set_short(“a piece of broken glass”);
set_long(“It looks yummy!”);
}

void create() {
add_action(“eat”, “eat”);
}

int eat(string str) {
if(!str || !id(str)) return 0;
write(“You scarf down the glass, but it doesn’t hurt you!”);
say(
this_player()->query_cap_name() + ” scarfs down a piece of broken glass, ” +
“but seems unharmed!”
);
this_object()->remove();
return 1;
}
Notes: Exact usage of LPC (Lars Penske C) varies from MUD to MUD, so this may or may not compile, depending on your version and dialect.

Luxembourgish

Spoken in: Luxembourg
In Luxembourgish: “Ech ka Glas iessen an et deet mer net wii”

Macedonian

Spoken in: Macedonia, a former republic of Yugoslavia
Transliteration: Jac mosham staklo da yadam. Ne ke me boli.

Malaysian

Spoken in: Malaysia
In Malaysian: Saya boleh memakan kaca dan tidak menyakiti saya.
Pronounced: Sigh-a bollé mum-acarn ku-cha dun tiddah menya-keyti sigh-a.

Mambila

Spoken in: Cameroon and Nigeria
In Mambila:
Transliteration: “ml foti yeh ba darega, ` ml ki nggweh”
Note: The contributer cannot vouch for the grammar of the first phrase – there’s an ambiguity in the tense. He has used “ba”, which is present continuous, but would need to check it with a native speaker.

Nederlands

Spoken in: the Netherlands, Flemish part of Belgium
In Nederlands: Ik kan glas eten, het doet geen pijn.

Neo-Melanesian

Spoken in: The Melanesian Pacific Isles
In Neo-Melanesian: “Mipela inap kaikai gilas na em i no inap killim mi liklik”
Literally: “I am enough to eat glass and it is not enough to hurt me a little bit”
Note: The degree of hurt expressed can be modified in this way:
Killim Liklik = Hurt a bit
Killim = Hurt
Killim Pinis (Kill ‘im finish) = Hurt a lot
Killim I dai = Kill him dead
Second Note: This is the ‘Pidgin’ languages of the Melanesian Pacific Isles. A mixture of German, English, Dutch and various indigenous languages hung on a melanesian grammar frame.

Norwegian

Spoken in: Norway
In Norwegian: “Jeg kan spise glas. Det gjør meg ikke vondt.”

Old Ozzish

Spoken in: L. Frank Baum’s Oz by humans before the Era of the Wizard. From the language family of Imaginary-Nonestic, which Professor Dharnenblaug of the Royal Athletic College of Oz believes is descended from Nostratic.
In Old Ozzish: “Iklan-ketel zaglu uni; nal-kepa ni.”
Literally: “To-be-able-to-eat glass I; not-hurt me.”
Pronounced: As written, not as English speakers would pronounce it. Accent is on the penultimate syllable.

Pascal

Spoken in: Computer Science classrooms
In Pascal:
“Var Eating_Glass: Boolean;
Pain: Boolean;
Begin
Eating_Glass := True;
If (Eating_Glass) then Pain := False;
End.”
Translation: I can eat glass. If I can eat glass, then it does not hurt.

Persian (Farsi)

Spoken in: the Middle East
Transliteration:Man meetoonam sheesheh bowkhoram; dard nehmeekohneh.”
Note:”a” has short a sound, “ah” long a as in “father” “eh” short e as in “pez”, “ee” long e as in “Greek”, “oh” long o as in “show”, oo as in food.
Literally: I can eat glass; it does not hurt.

Pig Latin

Spoken in: Middle school
In Pig Latin: “I-hay an-cay eat-hay ass-glay, it-hay oes-day ot-nay urt-hay e-may.”

Polish

Spoken in: Poland
Transliteration: Ja moge jesc szklo, nic mi to nie szkodzi.
Alternately: Moge jesc szklo, nie boli mnie to.
Pronounced: MO-ga yeshtch shkwo, niah BO-lee mnia to.
Alternately: Moge jesc szklo, mnie to nie boli.
Pronounced: MO-ga yeshtch shkwo, mnia to nia BO-lee.
Notes: In the 1st sentence, you can omit “Ja”, which means “I”, but is understood anyway from the form of the verb “moge”=”I can.” Another thing: “boli” means “hurts” in the physical sense of pain, while “szkodzi” means “harm” or “injure” or “bother” in a general sense.

Portuguese

Spoken in: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe, as well as the controversal regions of East Timor and Macau
In Portuguese: “Posso comer vidro, não me fere.”
Literally: I can eat glass, it doesn’t injure me.
HEAR IT
Alternately: “Posso comer vidro, não me magoa.”
Literally: I can eat glass, it doesn’t hurt me.
Alternately [and most correct]:”Posso comer vidro, não me faz mal.”
Literally: I can eat glass, it does me no wrong.
In Brazilian coloquial Portuguese: “Consigo comer vidro. Não me machuca.”
Pronunciation: ay-oo kon-SEE-goo koo-MAYR VEE-droo. nown mee mah-SHOO-kah.
Note: In all of these, the “I” is implicit, to make it explicit, add “Eu” to the begining of the sentence.
In Galizan Portuguese, spoken in Galiza, Spain: “Eu sou capaz de comer vidro: não me lastima.”
Pronounced: ‘Ew ‘sow ka’pas de ko’mer ‘bidro — ‘nõN me las’tima
Alternately: “Podo comer cristal, non me fai mal”
Pronounced: pawdo koomair christal, noon mae fai mall
Notes: Galizan Portuguese (or Galizan, or “Galician”) is a variety of Portuguese spoken in Galiza (northwest of Spain) by more than 2 milion people. Even though its spoken varieties have been strongly Castilianized through the centuries, structurally Galizan is basically Portuguese. Still, a strong case can be made that it is an independent language.

Provençal (also known as Occitan)

Spoken in: Southern France, Italy, and Spain.
In Provençal: “Pòdi manjar de veire, me nafrariá pas.”
In the Gascon dialect of Provençal/Occitan: “Que poish minjar veire, no’m nhafraré pas.”
Note: For information on Provençal/Occitan, go here.

Québécois

Spoken in: Québec, Canada.
In Québécois: J’peux bouffer d’la vitre, ça m’fa pas mal.

Romanian

Spoken in: Romania
In Romanian: “Pot minca sticla. Nu ma doare.”

Russian

Spoken in: Russia
In Russian:
Transliteration: Ya mogu yest’ steklo, eto mnye nye vredit.

Saint Lucian Patwa or Kweyol

Spoken in: St. Lucia
In Patwa: “Mwen sa manjé glas, i pa ka fé mwen mal.”
Note from Paul Garrett, anthropologist: St. Lucia is an island of 238 sqaure miles, a neighbor of Martinique (to the north), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (to the south), and Barbados (to the east). English is the official language now, but St. Lucia was colonized by the French from the late seventeenth century until the English won it away from the French in 1814–and even after that, the French colonial influence remained stronger than the English for several decades. (It’s now, as of 1979, an independent state within the Commonwealth.) A French-lexicon creole is still widely spoken–some old rural people are still monolingual in the language. It’s generally referred to as “Patwa” by its speakers, and that’s what I generally call it too. But there’s a movement afoot to get people to start calling it “Kweyol” (acute accent on the E, grave accent on the O) as a matter of national pride, since some think that “Patwa” is derogatory, a relic of the colonial past. You can call it by either/both of those labels, or you can call it “St. Lucian French-lexified creole”, which is more technical but more descriptive.

Scottish Gaelic

Spoken in: Scotland, by about 80,000 speakers
In Scottish Gaelic: ‘S urrainn dhomh gloinne ithe; cha ghoirtich i mi.
Pronounced: SOO-reen gaw gloyn-yuh ich-uh; cha gorshtich ee mee.

Sicilian

Spoken in: Sicily
In Sicilian: “Puotsu mangiari u vitru, nun mi fa mali.”
Note: Sicilian, an ancient tongue, is considered a dialect of Italian.

Sindarin (Elvish)

Spoken in: the works of J.R.R. Tolkien
In Sindarin: “Bathathon heled, im ú-cirath.”
Pronounced: BA-tha-thon HEH-led, eem oo-KEER-ath
Literally: “I will consume glass, it will not hurt me.”
Note: The Languages of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth by Ruth S. Noel suggests that the future tense can be used to imply ability. “Bath-” is a back-formed verb stem meaning “to consume,” derived from Quenya (a related Elvish language) vasa according to patterns established by other words.

Singlish (Corrrupted Singaporean English)

Spoken in: Singapore
In Singlish: “Can eat glass, lah, never hurt me, hoh!”
Pronounced: /ken EE’ gras lah, NEH-ver hu’ me, HOH/
Pronounciation note: Vowels clipped and nasalised. The /’/ represents a glottal stop. The “hoh” is pronounced entirely through the nose.
Alternatively: “Eat glass also can! I never kanah, wan!”
Pronounced: /Ea’ glas aw-so can! I NEH-vuh’ ka-NA, WAAHN!/
Pronounciation note: Same as before. “Kanah” is a word of dubious spelling, origin and meaning, generally implying punishment, pain, and other such unpleasantness, and enjoys widespread use in army barracks.
Malay-based alternative: “Makan glass, BOLEH! I don’t sakit, lor!”
Pronounced: /ma-kan glas BOH-lay! I don’ sah-ki’, laaw/
Literally: “Eat glass can! I don’t hurt”
Note: The words “lor”, “lah”, “wan” etc. are universal interjections and are usually interchangeable. Mix and match the versions at will!
Note on Singlish: Not quite a dialect; it is a controversial symptom of the infiltration of Malay, Tamil and various Chinese dialects into the old colonial language, English. The grammar of this alleged “language” is highly malleable (and has been condemned by the Authorities).

Serbo-Croatian

Spoken in: The former Yugoslavia
Written as: Mogu da jedem staklo. To me ne boli.
Pronunciation: mah-GOO dah YAY-dem STAK-lah. Toh me ne bah-LEE.

Slovene

Spoken in: Slovenia
In Slovene: “Lahko jem steklo, pa me ne boli.”

South Sotho

Spoken in: northern regions of South Africa
In South Sotho: “Nka ja galase. Ekeke ya nketsa letho.”
Pronunciation: Ngka zha galasay. Aykaykay ya ngkaytsa laytoo.

Soenderjysk

Spoken in: Southern Jutland in Denmark
In Soenderjysk: “Æ ka æe glass uhen at det gø mæ naue.”
Pronounced: Eh ca ehe glaass W-hen at de geh mae now.
Notes: Soendejysk is a dialect spoken in the southern part of Jutland in Denmark. It is a influenced by the German language. This is because this part of the country often has been occupied by the Germans during a variety of wars.

Spanish

Spoken in: Latin America, Spain, the US
In Spanish: “Puedo comer vidrio, no me duele.”
Literal Translation: I can eat glass, it is not painful to me.
Alternately: “Puedo comer vidrio, no me hace daño.”
Pronounced: Poo-EH-doh coh-MER VEE-dreeo, noh meh AH-se DAH-nio.
Literal translation: I can eat glass, it does not do me damage.
Note: The second translation is probably more accurate.

Swahili

Spoken in: Eastern Africa (Kenya and Tanzania)
In Swahili: “Ninaweza kula glasi, haiwezi kuumiza mimi.”
Literally: “I am able to eat glass, it is not able to hurt me.”

Swedish

Spoken in: Sweden
In Swedish: “Jag kan äta glas, det gör inte ont.”
Literally: I can eat glass, it doesn’t hurt [me].
Alternately: “Jag kan äta glas, det skadar mig inte.”

Swiss German

Spoken in: Switzerland
In Swiss: “Ich chan Glaas ässe, das tuet mir nöd weeh.”
Pronounced: EEk kahn glahs ahse, das tooet meer nod weh.

Tagalog

Spoken in: Philippines
In Tagalog: Nakakakain ako ng salamin; hindi naman ako masasaktan.
Pronounced: nah-kah-kah-KAH-in ah-KO nang sah-lah-MIN; hin-DEE na-MAN ah-KO mah-SAH-sak-tan.

Taiwanese

Spoken in: Ironically, Taiwan
Transliteration: Waah eh-dung jaah buh-lay; bei gahwah deiah-shong.
Literal translation: I can eat glass; won’t do to myself injury.

Tamil

Spoken in: Tamil Nadu (southeastern state in India) as well as significant populations in Sri Lanka and Singapore.
Transliteration: Kanadi sapatulum, orukedum varathu.

Thai

Spoken in: Thailand
Transliteration: Taa pom (chan) gin grajok, mai jeb bpuad.
Notes: Pom is the first person singular pronoun which would be most appropriate for male foreigners to use, chan is for females. There are other words which might be used by a native, depending on the person speaking and the person listening, but most variations away from pom/chan would be considered offensive.

Turkish

Spoken in: Turkey
In Turkish: “Cam yiyebilirim, bana birsey yapmaz.”
Literal translation: I can eat glass, it does not do anything to me.
Note: To look at a playful version of Turkish, see “Turkish Bird Language.”

Twi

Spoken in: Central Ghana
In Twi: “Metumi awe tumpan. 3ny3 me hwee.”
(Yes, those are 3′s — they represent a backwards “E” which is used in Twi.)
Pronunciation: The 3′s are pronounced like short e’s and the “hw” sounds like “sh”.

Vietnamese

Spoken in: Vietnam
In Vietnamese: “Tôi có thê’ an thúy tinh, không hai gì.”
Note: In addition to those marks, there is what looks like a small “u” over the a in “an”, and a dot under the a in “hai”.
Literal translation: “I can eat glass, not harmful” (implies ‘to me’).

Welsh

Spoken in: Wales
In Welsh: “Dw i’n gallu bwyta gwydr, dwy e ddim yn gwneud dolur i mi.”

Xhosa

Spoken in: southern regions of South Africa
Transliteration: Ndingayita ibotile. Ayisokuze indenze nto.
Pronunciation: All Nguni languages (of which Xhosa is one) equally weight each syllable: Djingayita eebodeelee. ayisokuzay indenzay do.

Yiddish

Spoken in: areas in which Central and Eastern European Jews have settled.
In Yiddish:
Transliterated: “Ikh ken esn gloz un es tut mir nisht vey.”
Note: Compare this language with German and Hebrew, elements of which are incorporated into Yiddish.

Oddities

In this section resides the assorted suggestions that did not really fit anywhere within the traditional ICEGP framework. This section is also different from other parts of the Project because I WILL list contributers’ names directly with their submssions (unless they do not want it), since all of these contributions are so… um… unique.

alt.adjective.noun.verb.verb.verb

Spoken in: alt.adjective.noun.verb.verb.verb newsgroup
In AANVVV:
alt.sharp.glass.eat.eat.eat, alt.personal.self.not-hurt.stay-well.be-OK
Notes: alt.homelike.page.home.page.ho me
Submitted by Adam Engelhart/Ryan McGuire

Brooklynese

Spoken in: Brooklyn
In Brooklynese: “Eeyyy! Eat glass? Don’t bother me none!”
Submitted by Everet Volkersz

Canadian

Spoken in: Canada, especially the eastern cost
In Canadian: “Eh by I can eat glass eh, it ain’t gonna hurt me none eh!”
Submitted by “Renee,” who is from Canada.

Doubletalk

Spoken in: Corporations, Hospitals, Goverment Buildings
In Doubletalk: “One in the first person molten silica ingests without internal disarray and requirement of patient care.”
Pronounced: Wan ihn thee ferst per-sahn mohl-tehn sih-lih-kah ihn-jehsts wihth-owt ihn-ter-nahl dihs-ahray and ree-kwai-er-mehnt af pay-shent cayer.
Submitted by Jed Anderson

East London English

Spoken in : East London, England
In East Londonese: Awight ere mesself cn chew on da bottel glass mind nit dhant urt none.
Pronounced: aww-ight ear mee self cnnn chew da! boto glass mind nnit daant urrt none.
Submitted by Eddie

Gibberish

In Gibberish: “I conganong eatong gonglongasongsong, bongutong itong dongoesongnong’tong hongurongtomg monge.”
Pronounced: ai cohng-ah-nohng i-ah-tohng gohng-lohng-ah-sohng-sohng bohng-oo-tog ih-tohng dohng-i-oh-sohng-nohng-tohng hohng-oo-rohng-tohng mohng-i
Notes: the way to speak and write “Gibberish” is to simply take a word, any word, and after each consonant in the word put “ong”. leave the vowels the same. For example: speak (in english) is songpongeakong (in gibberish).
Submitted by Heidi Skipper

Jive

Spoken in: the cribs of all da baddest cats
In Jive: Damn, bro, I is eatin’ dat sharp ass glass all da time, and man, believe it,’cause it ain’t be hurtin’ me yet!

Kidspeak

Spoken by: Mothers trying to talk to 1 to 3 year-olds
In Kidspeak: Momma eat num num pitty glass mmm see? no bo-bo!
Note: This, of course, would never actually be said to a child.
Submitted by Connie Henderson

Lunfardo

Spoken in: This is a slang of Buenos Aires, Argentina, spoken by “Tangueros,” those who live the philosophy of Tango music, spoken most in the early 20th century.
In Lunfardo: Yo puedo manyar driovi, no me hace un carajo, no me hace.
Notes: Yo puedo=”I can”; manyar=”eat” (slang), driovi is from “vidrio” which means glass, so driovi is like saying “ssgla”; no me hace=”it doesn’t”; un carajo=a rude word for nothing… also an insult (not THAT rude); no me hace=people use to repeat some part of the paragraph.
Submitted by SebaS

Morse Code

Spoken in: Beeps of varying length.
In Morse Code: .- -.-..–. ..– –..-…-…… ..- -..—…. -.—- ……-.-.—.
Pronounced: beep beeeeep beeeeep beep, etc.
Notes: Morse code was instrumental in defeating the aliens in Independence Day.
Submitted by Barry Steinglass

NATO and International Aviation Phonetics

Spoken in: The air.
In Phoenetics: India Charlie Alfa November Echo Alfa Tango Golf Lima Alfa Sierra Sierra India Tango Delta Oscar Echo Sierra November Oscar Tango Hotel Uniform Romeo Tango Mike Echo.
Pronounced: phonetically
Notes: Now people will know how to say this all-important phrase whilst communicating with Air-Traffic control. The world is a better place.
Submitted by Barry Steinglass

Newfie

Spoken in: Newfoundland, which appears to be part of Canada
In Newfie: “Shair I kin it glass, b’ye, it dohn do me no ‘arm.”
Note: I have had more submissions for Newfie than anything else. It appears that Canadians are obsessed with making fun of Newfoundland. Thus, to pacify Our Neighbors To The North, I am including one version of Newfie. One question– who do people from Newfoundland make fun of? This question has now been answered Newfies apparently make fun of people from Toronto and tell bad lightbulb jokes about them.
Submitted by about 10 Canadians, this version by Kerilyn Cole

Newspeak

Spoken in: Oceania (from George Orwell’s _1984_)
In Newspeak: I can eat glass. It does not hurt me.
Pronounced: Like “I can eat glass. It does not hurt me.”
Notes: Newspeak was constructed to restrict thought to _goodthink_ (thought in line with the interests of the state) and to allow for easy expression of _goodthinkful_ ideas. The phrase comes through largely unscathed because it expresses a simple mechanical relationship, the only real change being in the punctuation. However, if made as an actual statement in real life, this would probably be tied in with the philosophical viewpoint of the speaker, hence something such as “_Glass does not hurt goodthinkful eaters_” or “_Unownlifers eat glass unhurtfully_,” which would require some _doublethink_ to rationalize. Some might even say “I am a doubleplusgood unhurtful eater of glass.”
Submitted by Barry Adelman

Opposite Day

Spoken in: elementary school
In Opposite Day: “I can’t eat glass and it does hurt me. It’s Opposite Day.”
Notes: This lesser known language is used by juveniles to fool their peers into thinking the opposite of what they should be thinking. A close relative to this language is the “Backward’s Day” language.
Submitted by Marisa Morgan and Jenn Madan

Psycho Babble

In Psycho Babble: “How does Your Mother feel about Eating glass? Are you doing it to hurt her?”
Submitted by Phillip

Smurf

Spoken by: Smurfs
In Smurf: I can smurf glass; it cannot smurf me.
Pronouciation: Ai kaen smerf glaes; it kaennaat smerf mii.
Invented by Peyo.

Turkish Bird Language

Spoken: Among turkish children or their parents
In Bird Language: begen cagam yigiyegebigiligirigim, baganaga agac}g} vegermegez.
Pronounced: pronounced as it is written. “c” is pronounced like the “g” in “generate”; “g” is pronounced as the “g” in “glass” (ironic!).
notes: children whose parents do not know this language and parents whose children do not know this language speak so with the aim of not being understood by the others.
Submitted by Vzlem Peker

Vallyese

Spoken in: This is a regional dialect spoken on the West Coast of the USA
In Valleyese: “Like, you know, I can, like, totally, eat like, glass, and it will, like, totally not hurt me.”
Notes: This language is spoken mainly by Valley girls, and Surfers. It can be found in other spots around the world too.
Submitted by “Jen”

Wunne Pekke

Spoken: dal.net #watertower channel, alt.tv.animaniacs
In Wunne Pekke: Hiyye canne hette lasse, hitte duzze notte hurre miyye.
Pronounced: Hi can het lass, hit duz not hurr me.
Note: Wunne Pekke is language invented by a member of alt.tv.animaniacs, and is written and spoken in that newsgroup and on the dal.net channel #watertower. It consists of spelling all words consonant-vowel- consonant-consonant-vowel, like the names of Yakko and Wakko Warner from the cartoon show Animaniacs. All words are translated into that letter pattern, with silent letters added and two-letter sounds turned into one letter.
submitted by Aaron Varhola

Yodaspeak

Spoken by: Yoda of Dagobah
In Yodaspeak: “Hurt me it will not when glass I eat”
submitted by Leanne

Anagrams

Anagrams for:

“I can eat glass”: “An Elastic Gas”, “As satanic gel”, “Genial cat ass”.

“I can eat glass project”:
Span categorial jest
Opalescent racist jag
Jitters clog pancreas
Inject sacral postage

“I can eat glass, it does not hurt me”:
Gastrointestinal sauce method
Seethe amidst congratulations
Taunt archeologists’ sediment
Authenticated gossamer tonsil
Amongst saluted theoreticians

Submitted by Liz Henry

Awards

The ICEGP has received some…. well, honors is not the right word, perhaps recognition:

* It was featured among the Useless Pages on the World Wide Web
* It has been listed as providing “great armchair Whorfian speculation material” by the Humanist Discussion Group, which I think is a good thing.
* There was a short, on-line article on the Project in “Fresh Stuff,” a neat e-zine.
* It has also been reviewed by the Learning Lab section of the June issue of Netguide magazine which gave it a coveted single star, which apparently means that it preferable to shoot oneself instead of seeing this page. Obviously, Netguide is a magazine of little class and should be avoided.
* It is a teaching tool at the University of Texas-Austin!
* Thanks for making this the #9 site on the Harvard Web. ICEGP accounts for almost half a percent of all traffic on the www.fas.harvard.edu site. (Note: this is probably no longer true, but we aim to change that!)
* The project has also been featured in “Yahoo” magazine! Cool, no?

Thanks to:

Alyssa Glass (ironic, eh?), James Bernhard, Katrina Barnett, Daniel Quint, Ivan Velasco, Katherine Wen, Alexander Atanasov, Danit Lewin, Margaret Barker, Steph Mayer and the Mayer family, Jordan Singer, Carrie Snyder, Lisa Larson, Peter Oestman, Jim Glass (also coincidental, and unrelated to Alyssa), “copdw” from Warwick, Chris Doire, Yoshiko Nagao, Tuong Nguyen, Jeppe Kromann Hansen, Matti Makarainen, Jordi Sod, Luc Janelle, Han Louise Montambaul, Nick Nicholas, Tony Losongco, Iftach Brill, Jeff Frazier, Kris, JF Blanc, Martin Spigelman, Scott Brickner, Margaux Elks, Michael Farahbakhshian, “Digital Man”, Niclas Fredriksson, Shane Owara, Daniel Roy, Sofiane Ouchabane,Torgny Peterson, Red Lloyd, Justin Mansfield, Kate Murphy, Kenneth M. Johansen, Gary Varney, Rui Tavares at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociais, Sarah Britten, Scott Lawrence (aka jerry), Eddie Rubeiz, Nuno Camarinhas, Heidi Nikolaidis, David Zeitlyn, Jed Anderson, Nick Lopez, Miguel Fernandez, Celso Alvarez-Caccamo, Matthew Amster, Henry Zalkin, Miran Hladnik, Ernst Falzeder, Keith Ammann, Yoshi Mikami, Didzis Klavins, Tersia van der Westhuizen, Gunnlaugur Thor Briem, David McDuff, Stella Hsiao, Jackie Lam, David Susilo, Lena & Thanagon, Jenny Grainger, Kevin Wise, Frank Jerry, David Miller, Christina Scott, Berger Christian, , Jos Gijsenbergs, Berger Christian, Lance Hendrick, Aaron Solomon Adelman

Original content copyright 1996-2008 by Ethan Mollick.

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