Tintin Forums

Tintinologist.org Forums / Official Tintin books /

Crab with the Golden Claws: What does 'Karaboudjan' mean?

Page  Page 1 of 2:  1  2  Next » 

#1 · Posted: 9 Dec 2004 06:49
In another thread, thmthm wrote:

Armenia's and Turkey's histories are intertwined (in the most unforunate way) and share many words - karaboudjan in Turkish is:
Bou - this
djan- Spirit
THIS BLACK SPIRIT - maybe a foreshadowing of whats to come after Tintin gets kidnapped
but thanks for starting this new topic from the previous one
When i saw that cover from Harrock I was dying of laughter - that was good!

Indeed, I studied a little Turkish in undergrad, and it was only then that I appreciated that 'Karaboudjan' sounded like a Turkish name. Indeed, thmthm's translation is bang on -- it would be spelled "Karabucan" in Turkish -- and I wonder if Hergé got his Levant languages confused. Because this is quite clearly a Turkish name...
#2 · Posted: 9 Dec 2004 07:24
Well - many turkish/Arabic (and even French) words are used interchangably within the western Armenian culture- especially in my parents and grandparents generations - so Herge might have been told that it was Armenian. To this day, I learn that many of the words I use are not Armenian at all just because Ive heard it used over and over again in conversation...
You couldve imagined how great I felt as a kid when I read that though!
Harrock n roll
#3 · Posted: 9 Dec 2004 11:49
This is from the book Tintin at Sea:

Hergé made up the name of this ship. As was his method, he brought together two names from one geographical region - KARA BOUgaz, a gulf on the east of the Caspian Sea, and AzerbaiDJAN - to produce, as Tintin notes, an Armenian sounding name.

On 20 September 1972 he wrote to his friend the Author Gabriel Matzneff "One day when we meet again, you are sure to tell me that the name actually exists, though I had invented it."

This I found on the internet:

The name Kara-Bogaz-Gol, literally "black throat lake", can be translated as the "mighty strait lake", after the steep Caspian-KBG channel.

The Kara-Bogaz-Gol gulf is in Turkmenistan.
#4 · Posted: 9 Dec 2004 20:42
Of course - I forgot about that book...
so was this book just an excuse to re-release the TINTIN, HADDOCK ET LES BATEAUX book in english? (which im glad they did) Even though it was to coincide with the exhibition?
UK Correspondent
#5 · Posted: 9 Dec 2004 22:00
I'm guessing they chose to release it to concide with the exhibition because it is a perfect companion to it. I think that the original "Mille sabords !" exhibition held in the Musée de la Marine in Paris was based on the book "Tintin, Haddock et les Bateaux", so when the exhibition came to the UK, the release of the book in English must have been a seemingly natural decision.

The new book "Tintin, Hergé et les Autos" could perhaps provide a similar theme (although it would probably be far more difficult to put together such a collection for exhibit).
#6 · Posted: 30 Dec 2012 22:55
Hi guys,
Another version what could Karaboudjan mean is a family name in Armenian. As you might know, Armenian family names have mostly an ending which is pronounced as "yan". 'jan' is a European (German, Scandinavian, Dutch) pronounciation of the same 'yan'.

An example, there exist Armenians with family name Karabedyan or Karabedjan. And 'boud' means thigh in Armenian. Anyway, in the 17th century Armenian was much different than it is now, so Karaboudjan might have a meaning which I dont know now.

However, that it could be a family name (invented or real or unreal) is very likely.
#7 · Posted: 31 Dec 2012 11:40
It's slightly ironic that Armenia is landlocked from the open seas, though there are Armenian communities in many countries with a coastline.
#8 · Posted: 31 Aug 2021 11:10
I'm late at this, but here's my 50 cents.
Hergé was born in Brussels, and when reading Tintin in its original language French, only speakers of the Brussels dialect will be able to discern clear references to the dialect. I'm saying this because french readers cannot understand. Take Syldavian for instance, a fictional West Germanic language created by Hergé as the national language of Syldavia, a fictional Balkan kingdom that serves as a major setting in many of The Adventures of Tintin stories. Hergé modeled the language on Marols, a dialect of Dutch spoken in and around Brussels.
Back to the Karaboudjan: the story started in Brussels and the sweet is really a Brussels sweet. At the beginning of the 20th century Congolese quietly came to live there. One of them, "Johny", was able to convince a baker to use the sugar cake left behind from the making of sweets. melt and add aniseed. It was called "Karabouja", and the name also says what it is: it turns out to be Swahili, 'kara' means 'kibble', and 'buja' is 'candy'."
The books are filled with these hidden gems, and Hergé himself often said he did so in honor of his beloved grandmother, who spoke the dialect he so loved...
#9 · Posted: 31 Aug 2021 17:23
it turns out to be Swahili, 'kara' means 'kibble', and 'buja' is 'candy'.

This is interesting, but do you have citations for this? I don't speak Swahili, but I can't find any reference to these words in any online translator/ dictionary, or anything similar – not that I have done an exhaustive search, so it could be that there is a dialect of Swahili with those words, so a lik to a reference would be very useful.
#10 · Posted: 1 Sep 2021 12:57
Yes I do: here's the source articles
In dutch, but Google Translate is your friend :)
Also here:
The candy was hammered off a larger chunk, thus giving splinters or shavings.
Buja is more problematic in modern day Swahili (the candy, let's not forget, is well over a century old and languages and dialects do tend to change considerably)
Could be related to boji, https://glosbe.com/sw/en/boji
This one's about the candy itself:
But most convincingly, here, in an article about Tintin (in Italian), I found the very same result as my own research:
("Public parks and royal palaces are equally present in the stories of Hergé, while in The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941) we find the port of Antwerp, the one where en Tintin enchanted by the flight of the seagulls risk being crushed by a crate full of cans of sardines fallen from the freighter Karaboudjan, whose name derives from the term carabouya,
to indicate an aniseed dessert.")

Page  Page 1 of 2:  1  2  Next » 

Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the Forum Posting Guidelines.

Disclaimer: Tintinologist.org assumes no responsibility for any content you post to the forums/web site. Staff reserve the right to remove any submitted content which they deem in breach of Tintinologist.org's Terms of Use. If you spot anything on Tintinologist.org that you think is inappropriate, please alert the moderation team. Sometimes things slip through, but we will always act swiftly to remove unauthorised material.


 Forgot password
Please log in to post. No account? Create one!