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Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook is a sketch that appears in "Spam," the twenty-fifth episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.


The sketch begins with a policeman (Michael Palin) who takes some change and says "thank you very much for the change, Mr Tobacconist" stiffly, before walking off and asking the crew if it was good enough. The crew shush him and Mr Tobacconist (Terry Jones) looks at the camera in hopelessness.

The Black Eagle music plays and text appears on screen, saying that Hungarian nationals have moved into London. John Cleese plays a Hungarian who enters a tobacconist's shop. He says to the tobacconist {Jones), reading from the phrasebook he is holding, "I will not buy this record; it is scratched." When Jones corrects him he says, "Ah, I will not buy this tobacconist's, it is scratched." Cleese then proceeds to read more bizarre phrases from the phrasebook, including "My Hovercraft is full of eels" (apparently a translation for "may I have some matches?") and "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? I am no longer infected" Jones reads from the phrasebook, but when he says the (fake) Hungarian phrase "Yandelavasa grldenwi stravenka", Cleese punches him.

A policeman (Graham Chapman) hears this from blocks away and rushes to the tobacconist's shop. Having reached the tobacconist, he asks Cleese what's going on. Cleese says "You have beautiful thighs", followed by "Drop your panties Sir William! I cannot wait 'til lunchtime!" (His gestures indicate he is trying to explain that the tobacconist insulted him.) The policeman is angry, and arrests Cleese, who yells "My nipples explode with delight!" The writer of the phrasebook is taken to court.

In other media[]

The phrase "my Hovercraft is full of Eels" is often mentioned [1][2][3] in relation to any translation system, in particular ones which translate poorly.


External links[]

Omniglot has a webpage [4] of the phrase in various languages.

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