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The Broken Ear: Explanation of plot

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#21 · Posted: 28 Feb 2005 12:11
I don't see how the museum should own the fetish and diamond over the Arumbayas. If it wasn't for Lopez/Tortilla (can't remember which), both items would still be with the Arumbayas, where they belong. The only reason the museum came to 'own' them is because they were stolten in the first place.
#22 · Posted: 20 Mar 2005 12:29 · Edited by: Moderator
Hello, I'm a new member here.

I don't know if anyone has realised that the Arumbayas' (in The
Broken Ear and Tintin and the Picaros) language is actually English
written in a disguised form. I found it highly interesting and amusing! I hope I'm not writing something that has already been posted before...if it has, I'm sorry to take up space.

Note: I actually posted this message on the Tintin Yahoo! Groups earlier and with the help of "George", he was able to provide me with the parts of the "translations" that I couldn't figure out. Thank you very much George! I'm sure you are here on the Tintinologist.org forums. My nick on the Yahoo! Groups is four4seven7.

On page 52 of The Broken Ear, here are the words and
1. Owar ya? Ts goota meecha mai 'tee
--> How are you? 'Tis good to meet you matey.

2. Naluk. Djarem membah dabrah nai dul? Tintin zluk infu rit'h.
Kanyah elpim?
--> Now look. D'you remember the brown idol? Tintin's looking for
it. Can you help him?

3. Dabrah nai dul? Oi, oi! Slaika toljah. Datrai b'giv dabrah nai
dul ta'Walker. Ewuz anaisgi. Butiz'h felaz tukahr presh usdjuel.
Enefda Arumbayas ket chim dai lavis gutsfa gahtah'z. No mess in'h!
--> The brown idol? Yes, yes! It's like I told you. The tribe give
the brown idol to Walker. He was a nice guy. But his fella's took a
precious jewel. And if the Arumbayas catch him they'll have his
guts for garters.

4. Cohrluv ahduk! Ai tolja tahitta ferlip inbaul intada oh'l!
Andatdohn meenis ferlip ineer oh'l!
--> Cor luv a duck! I told you to hit the flippin' ball into the
hole. And I don't mean his flippin' earhole!

And on page 34 of Tintin and the Picaros,
1. Owzah g'rubai?
--> How's the grub?

2. Oozfa sek' unds?
--> Who's for seconds?

3. Ava 'n ip?
--> Have a nip?

4. Goh' blimeh! Wa' samma ta, li li li va?... Lem eshohya!
--> Cor blimey! What's the matter, lily-liver? Let me show you!

5. Sum in 'ksup wivit!
--> Something's up with it!

According to George, basically you have to read the lines out loud in London/Cockney accent, then you'll pick up what's said.

I humbly apologise! I just realised that all this info has already been published on this website by Mr Andrew Pilcher since 1999:

Well, I'm glad I figured it out for myself before reading the article!

[Post edited by Moderator (marsbar). Combined two posts.]
#23 · Posted: 21 Mar 2005 10:25
Welcome to the group! Not to worry, fourseven - and as you say, you have the added satisfaction of having worked it all out without a crib-sheet!

Looking at the article, in a supplementary comment, Richard says that he doesn’t know of any similar thing in the French language version. I have a feeling that MT said at Greenwich that the French dialogue is actually a joke similar to the Cockney he used, and is a phonetic variation on Brussels patois. Anyone confirm this?

I think that this was also one of the areas where LL-C didn’t actually bother to translate, but would just write “Michael!” in the margin, and he would reel off the appropriate stuff - she did the same for Wagg’s tedious ramblings...
#24 · Posted: 21 Mar 2005 11:41 · Edited by: yamilah
In 2004 the book 'Ketje gamin de Bruxelles' described Arumbaya in the French version as an 'erased writing' derived from the marollien, a Brussels' local language spoken in the author's family, thus associating Herge's childhood time and a secrete writing...
#25 · Posted: 21 Mar 2005 12:42 · Edited by: jock123
Thanks, yamilah - I’d forgotten what it was called.

Not so “secret” that other Brussels folk wouldn’t have recognised it, though; and if the Cockney analogy holds, then it’s also quite possible that those outside Brussels could follow it too.

Marollien is one of 10 recognised Belgian dialects listed by The Venice Commission: Gaumais, Champenois, Walloon, Picard, Letzebuerguesch, Ripuarish, Rhine-Maas Frankish, Brabantish, West Flemish, Marollien. Not really a secret then...
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#26 · Posted: 21 Mar 2005 12:54
I think there is a translation of the original Marollien into French in Frédéric Soumois' Dossier Tintin, though I can't check because I don't have the book to hand.

What's interesting is that it does say more or less the same as the English version, so either the translators could understand it or (more likely) Hergé supplied them with a translation into French.

#27 · Posted: 22 Mar 2005 09:44
marollien, a Brussels' local language spoken in the author's family

Incidentally Herges Syldavian laguage is also derived from this Brussels speak, which is much like Flemish, and not the Slavic that is mistaken for it.
#28 · Posted: 29 Mar 2005 00:36
Indeed, there are so many cases where English words are disguised as exotic names in other languages. I saw one site's observations of this phenomena throughout the series. Here is the link to the first of several pages:


I don't know if this site is authorized, but there is a wonderful and funny Tintin quiz there where you have to identify who's face is getting sprayed at.
cigars of the beeper
#29 · Posted: 5 Jul 2007 16:04 · Edited by: Moderator
Hi everyone!

I have always been a little confused by the storyline of The Broken Ear.

The way I see it righ now is this: Rodrigo Tortilla steals the fetish from the museum during the night.
He recruits Jacob Balthazar to make a replica of the fetish to return to the museum.
However, it would seem that Balthazar made two replicas and intended to keep one for himself.
He then accidentally kept the real one for himself and gave Tortilla the two replicas.
Tortilla then killed him to keep him from talking and made it look like an accident.
Tintin discovers that it was not an accident but murder and wanted Balthazar's parrot try to find out who killed him and why.
The part that really does not make sense, is why Alonso and Ramon wanted to know who killed Jacob Balthazar?
At that point, there should have been no connection seen between the theft of the fetish and the murder of Balthazar.
Ramon and Alonso wanted the diamond which was hidden inside the fetish, so why did they waste their time listening to Balthazar's annoying parrot?
Luckily for them, and Tintin, the parrot says: "Rodrigo Tortilla, you've killed me!"
It seems to me that they were already suspecting that Tortilla had the fetish and should have been following him already, and they really should not have seen any connection between Tintin and the fetish, because Tintin was really to them only someone who wanted the parrot.
Even so, Ramon and Alonso try to kill Tintin many times but never succeed. By listening in on Ramon and Alonso's conversations one night, Tintin learns that they intend on following Tortilla on board the "Ville De Lyon" and grab his fetish.
Tintin follows them on board and disguises himself as a waiter to escape detection.
While on board, Ramon and Alonso kill Tortilla and steal his fetish.
Tintin then has them arrested, and discovers that the fetish they stole is a fake.
He intends to show the fake fetish to San Theodorian officals, but it is stolen on the way presumably by someone payed off by Ramon and Alonso, and it is replaced with bombs so that Tintin will be accused of being a terrorist.
Tintin is arrested and sentenced to death, but this part is unnecessary to what I am talking about, so I will skip ahead to where Ramon and Alonso capture Tintin.
[They really suspect Tintin now of also wanting to get the fetish and they think he knows where it is.

Now I skip ahead to where Tintin meets the brother of Jacob Balthazar.
Mr. Balthazar tells Tintin that he had found the fetish in Jacob's belongings shortly after he had died. So what really happened?
Why are Ramon and Alonso interested in finding out who killed Jacob Balthazar, and why do they suspect that Tintin is after the fetish too?
And why did Jacob Balthazar keep one fetish, the real one for himself?
The plot is just full of holes to me.

[Post moved to existing thread]
Golf Tango Fox
#30 · Posted: 6 Jul 2007 14:20
I agree it is a bit confusing.
You have just reminded me of something that always troubled me with that story. The fact that Tintin actually allowed Tortilla to be murdered.

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