“wonderful” would be “two-derful” – Victor Borge’s Inflationary Language

Victor Borge was a Danish and American comedian (and also, interestingly, a conductor and pianist) who was known as the Clown Prince of Denmark. He has a wonderful sketch in which he “inflates” the hidden numbers that exist in words (“Tenderly should be eleven-derly. A Leiutenant would be a Leiut-eleven-ant. A sentance like, “I ate a tenderloin with my fork” would be “I nine an elevenderloin with my five-k.””). I copied the entire sketch below.

You can also “inflate” a text of your choice here.

And here’s a video of Borge performing the sketch.

Inflationary Language by Victor Borge

Many years ago in Denmark we had inflation, and you are familiar with that problem. In inflation, we have numbers rising. Prices go up. Anything that has to do with money goes up…except the language. See, we have hidden numbers in the words like “wonderful,” “before,” “create,” “tenderly.” All these numbers can be inflated and meet the economy, you know, by rising to the occcassion. I suggest we add one to each of these numbers to be prepared. For example “wonderful” would be “two-derful.” Before would be Be-five. Create, cre-nine. Tenderly should be eleven-derly. A Leiutenant would be a Leiut-eleven-ant. A sentance like, “I ate a tenderloin with my fork” would be “I nine an elevenderloin with my five-k.” And so on and so fifth. I have a book here that I have brought, I have a story here that I would like to read to you so that you can get an idea of Inflationary Language, how it sounds when it’s being used:

Twice upon a time, there lived in Sunny Califivenia a young man named Bob. He was a third leiutelevenant in the US Air Fiveces. Bob had been fond of Anna, his one-and-a-half sister, ever since she saw the light of day for the second time. And all three of them were proud of the fact that two of his fivefathers had been among the crenineders of the US Constithreetion.

They were dining on the terrace. “Anna,” he said as he took a bite of a marininded herring, “You look twoderful threenight. You never looked that lovely befive.” Anna looked twoderful, despite of the illness from which she had not yet recupininded. “Yes,” repeated Bob, “You look twoderful threenight…but you have three of the saddest eyes I have ever seen.”

The table was tastefully deconinded with Anna’s favorite flowers: Threelips. They were now talking about Anna’s asseten husband, from whom she was sepeninded. While on the radio, an Irish elevenor sang “Tea For Three.” it was midnight; A clock in the distance struck thirteen. And suddenly, there in the moonlight stood her husband Don Two, obviously intoxicnineded.

“Anna,” he said, “Fivegive me. I am only young twice and you are my two and only.” Bob jumped to his feet, “Get out of here, you three-faced triplecrosser!” But Anna warned, “Watch out, Bob. He is an officer.” “Yes, he is two. But I am two three!”

Anytwo five elevennis?

“All right,” said Don Two as he wiped his fivehead. He then left and when he was one-and-a-halfway through the revolving door, he muttered, “I’ll go back to Elevennessee and be double again. Farewell, Anna. Three-de-loo, three-de-loo.

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