The Count

I have had a bean-filled stuffed toy of Sesame Street’s The Count on my desk for quite some time. At some point in time a long time ago, all the computers in this office were named after muppets and each computer had an actual toy muppet to go with it. The Count was long since retired and one day I found him and decided to keep him at my desk.

One day Diego came to visit me at work and saw The Count and say, “ah, El Conde Contar.” It then occurred to me that the name “The Count” only works in English, where the word for the title of nobility in some European countries, corresponding to the English title “Earl” and the verb that means to enumerate the natural numbers in reference to a quantity of discrete objects is the same. In other languages, like Spanish, these two senses have different words. So the literal Spanish name for “The Count” is “The Count of Counting”. Similarly, his name in Dutch is “Graaf Tel”, which means the same thing. It’s too bad the ingenious wordplay behind this character doesn’t really translate to other words.

Diego also tells me Grover is called Archibaldo in Spanish.

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