#covfefe

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If you've got a spare hour or two, check out #covfefe on Twitter. Or just read a news summary or ten.

Google Translate thinks it's Samoan for "covfefe" — but see below for the GT interpretation of repeated copies from Spanish to English and from English to Spanish.

My favorite Twitter comments:

Update — An amazing discovery by Bill in the comments — various numbers of sequential covfefes are rendered from Spanish in interesting ways by Google Translate.

20 copies -> Refreshers

22 copies -> Will not be brewing

24 copies -> Will not be able to do this

25 copies -> Will have been brewing for a long time

26 copies -> Is not a good thing to do, but it is good to have a good reputation for having a good reputation for having a good reputation

32 copies -> Would have been used for the sake of spreading the word 'cause' or for the sake of completeness.

44 copies -> Will be used for the sake of the present invention, the present invention relates to the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of past participle

47 copies -> Refresh snooze snooze snooze snooze snooze snooze snoopy snooze snooze snoopy snooze snoopy snoopy snoopy snoopy

48 copies -> Will be fed

And there are more discoveries in Spanish-to-English translations of covfefe repetitions:

9 copies: -> Infección
19 copies: -> Infección por el VIH
21 copies: -> Infección por el VIH infección por el VIH infección por el virus de la infección por el virus de la fiebre aftosa
22 copies: -> Infección por infección infecciosa infección por el virus infección por el virus
27 copies: -> Infección por el virus de la fiebre por la infección por el virus de la fiebre aftosa infección por el virus de la fiebre aftosa

Interestingly, Google Translate knows that "infección por el VIH" is "HIV infection", and "la fiebre aftosa" is "foot-and-mouth disease"…

A cleverly designed backchannel to the spirit world?

Update #2 — Sean Spicer explains that "the president and a small group of illuminati know exactly what he meant":

 



25 Comments

  1. Phil Jennings said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 6:25 am

    Ah, the great Covfefe kerfuffle.

  2. bill said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 6:28 am

    running through Google translate. Spanish to English, gave me this:

    Spanishcovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefecovfefecovefefe

    English
    Would have been brewing for the past ten years would have been brewing would have been brewing would have been brewing would have been brewing would have been brewing would have been brewing would have been brewing

  3. Stan Carey said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 6:29 am

    I couldn't resist: https://twitter.com/StanCarey/status/869851555205459968

  4. bill said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 6:44 am

    nevermind the above, I misspelled covfefe.

    Retesting, Spanish to English, repeating covfefe with nonspaces:
    1 covfefe = cofever
    2-16 covfefe = same
    17 covfefe = Cofeefefective
    18 covfefe = refreshers
    19 covfefe = Cofeefeeffect
    20 covfefe = refreshers
    21 = Refreshfeverfefefever
    22 = will not be brewing
    23 = Refresh s
    24 = will not be able to do this
    25 = will have brewing for a long time
    26 = Will not have been brewing for a long time but will have been brewing for a long time.
    27 = Will have been brewing for the past ten years … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
    28 = Would have been brewing for the past ten years, would have been brewing for a long time.

  5. Stan Carey said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 6:57 am

    Fusion is running a poll on Twitter to see how people pronounce covfefe. I'm not sure about the options given, but it has a healthy sample size (n = 43k and counting).

  6. bill said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 6:58 am

    A few more,

    43 = Refresh of the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of past participle
    44 = Will be used for the sake of the present invention, the present invention relates to the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of the past participle of past participle
    46 = Is not a good thing to do, but it is good to have a good reputation for having a good reputation for having a good reputation.
    47 = Refresh snooze snooze snooze snooze snooze snooze snoopy snooze snooze snoopy snooze snoopy snoopy snoopy snoopy
    48 = will be fed

  7. Wixoff said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 7:44 am

    Spanish is not necessarily an economical language, but this is perhaps a bit less concise than I remember from my college classes.

  8. Jack Mahogoph said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 8:15 am

    I find it funny that ALL OF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA ELITE can't figure out the definition of "covfefe", which is not a commonly used word, and they are doing their best to make it a Russian connection.

    Covfefe: Reporting, coverage or description of events that are designed to consider your feelings more than facts.

  9. bill said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 8:44 am

    A Spanish speaker might want to look at the English to Spanish translations. Looks like some interesting stuff starts to happen, similar to Spanish to English.

    As interesting translations start to show up around a sequence of 20 covfefes, I tested that for Spanish to every other language listed in Google Translate. Only Spanish and English show any oddities.

    [(myl) See below for Bulgarian. From English to Spanish, repeated copies of covfefe give me

    9 -> Infección
    19 -> Infección por el VIH
    21 -> Infección por el VIH infección por el VIH infección por el virus de la infección por el virus de la fiebre aftosa
    22 -> Infección por infección infecciosa infección por el virus infección por el virus
    27 -> Infección por el virus de la fiebre por la infección por el virus de la fiebre aftosa infección por el virus de la fiebre aftosa

    Interestingly, Google Translate knows that "infección pr el VIH" is "HIV infection", and "la fiebre aftosa" is "foot-and-mouth disease"…]

  10. Johan P said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 9:08 am

    There's a couple of nice covfefe-string translations for Bulgarian and German, the former involving "cake bassoon" and the latter, rather distressingly, "cervical cancer".

    [(myl) Hmm. From Bulgarian, I get:
    13 -> Fabulously
    25 -> Tradeoff

    And from German, I don't get anything coherent up to 50 repetitions. Maybe it depends on what server farm your query gets sent to?]

  11. Johan P said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 10:17 am

    Ah! I repeted the word with a space between each instance, instead of as a continuous flow. Here's five times in German:

    https://translate.google.com/#de/en/covfefe%20covfefe%20covfefe%20covfefe%20covfefe

    And the Bulgarian only worked when switching to auto-cyrillic:

    https://translate.google.com/#bg/en/%D1%86%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%84%D0%B5%D1%84%D0%B5%20%D1%86%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%84%D0%B5%D1%84%D0%B5%20%D1%86%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%84%D0%B5%D1%84%D0%B5%20%D1%86%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%84%D0%B5%D1%84%D0%B5%20%D1%86%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%84%D0%B5%D1%84%D0%B5%20%D1%86%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%84%D0%B5%D1%84%D0%B5

  12. Bloix said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 10:32 am

    Obviously, the pronunciation is Koh-FAY-fee.

  13. Y said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 11:12 am

    And I remember the potatoe scandal… those were simpler times.

  14. Gwen Katz said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 3:14 pm

    Naturally, linguistics was a common theme.

    https://twitter.com/jacksondame/status/869801616366600192

    https://twitter.com/mccoveychron/status/869779024137957376

  15. JPL said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 5:47 pm

    Is it not a mistyping of "coverage" (even though it's a letter short)? (Jack Mohogoph above: Probably for Trump it could mean "coverage of the fictional world of what "normal" people consider reality".)

  16. JPL said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 6:48 pm

    BTW, I hope the reporters asked Sean Spicer to supply the names of the "small group of people" who know exactly what he meant, and if he couldn't (which he wouldn't), why not.

  17. Daniel M Perrine said,

    May 31, 2017 @ 9:53 pm

    "Covfefe" is a word from Anglo-French, a macaroni dialect following the Norman conquest of 1066.. "Cov" is an imperative etymologically derived from 'cover" to covet or desire. "Fe-Fe" is an humorous "bipedal" paranomasia, twinning as it does "fe" meaning "faith" and "fay" meaning "joy." Thus, "cofefe" means "be enraptured with joy and confidence, all is well!".
    Our Tryumphant Leader is thus urging us, despite the press-mongrels' constant nipping at his winged heels, to be filled with faith and hope: COVFEFE!

    [(myl) Or in Longfellow's translation

    His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
    Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
    And like a silver clarion rung
    The accents of that unknown tongue,
    Covfefe!
    ]

  18. Dale Gerdemann said,

    June 1, 2017 @ 4:05 am

    Confefe. Just another example of word salad. I'm not sure why Donald Trump should be criticized for making fun of a physical disability, when it's ok for the rest of us to joke about a mental disability. The president's dementia is a serious issue for him and for the nation.

  19. Kenny Easwaran said,

    June 1, 2017 @ 4:55 am

    When I click on the links to Google Translate in the original post, I get similar translations, but not the ones listed for the indicated number of covfefes. I wonder how much it's dynamically updating this translation as search spikes.

  20. ajay said,

    June 1, 2017 @ 5:06 am

    “Covfefe” is a word from Anglo-French, a macaroni dialect following the Norman conquest of 1066..

    Definitely. It has the sound of some antiquated Law French legal term, like "cestui que use" or "estoppel" or "oyer et terminer". There could be a Duty of Covfefe, perhaps, or a Court of Pleas Covfefe in Ordinary.

    "Lawyer J. Noble Daggett may think differently. He will come after you with a writ of covfefe!"
    "A what?"

  21. Vulcan With a Mullet said,

    June 1, 2017 @ 8:08 am

    At this point, I'm sure that if the POTUS tweeted, "Refresh snooze snooze snooze snooze snooze snooze snoopy snooze snooze snoopy snooze snoopy snoopy snoopy snoopy", it wouldn't faze anyone.

    (I know it's too many characters for a tweet, but that's my joke anyway)

  22. Faldone said,

    June 1, 2017 @ 10:54 am

    Latest cover story is that it's Arabic for "I will stand up." Any Arabic speakers care to comment?

  23. Thorin said,

    June 1, 2017 @ 12:18 pm

    @Faldone "I will stand up" is, if my Arabic is correct, "sa/sawfa aqaf", with "aqf" or "aqaf" being the present tense.

  24. bill said,

    June 1, 2017 @ 12:43 pm

    definitely backchannel: Total FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL FOODSTUFFS

    https://translate.google.com/#es/en/covfefecovfefecovfefecovfefecovfefe%20covfefecovfefecovfefe%20covfefecovfefecovfefe%20covfefecovfefecovfefe%20covfefecovfefe

  25. OK. I’ll covfefe. – Anthropology As…. said,

    June 2, 2017 @ 10:39 am

    […] about the morphophonemics of the word, on the popular blog Language Log, where they've mostly focused on compiling the best examples of covfefeism, and by Language Jones, who ran a complex semantic […]

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