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Tarzan’s incredibly flexible vocabulary February 9, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in stuff.

I always liked a good Tarzan flick when I was younger.  It had everything.  Action.  Bad guys.  Fighting crocodiles in their native habitat.  The chick/sexy angle with Jane.  The patented Tarzan “yell”.

And Cheetah.  I swear, I laughed my ass off at that chimp.  He was crazy.

I never really noticed his command of the English language.  Sure, he wasn’t big on pronouns, or verb tense, but he could communicate damn near every single idea he needed to with one simple word.


Yeah, I know, it’s not an English word.  It’s not a gorilla word either, as far as I know.  I don’t remember Margaret Mead using it.  Edgar Rice Burroughs didn’t use it in his books, he had Tarzan speaking straight ape.  I think it might be Swahili.  Damn, it was flexible.

For instance, when Tarzan wanted to tell everybody “it’s time to go”?

“Ungawa” (usually pointing)

Have a seat?


Let us settle our differences?


I think this could have some practical application.  Filling out a self-appraisal, always a chore, you might sprinkle in the occasional “Ungawa” to soft-soap the pat yourself on the back exercise.  “Dave understands the demands of the business and the key to a truly excellent customer experience – his attention to detail is truly Ungawa. 

Or speaking with an accounts collection agent, “May I please speak to Mr. Dave in Texas”?


“I beg your pardon”?


“Is Mr. Dave in Texas available”?


“Sir, this is an extremely important matter.  We are attempting to collect a debt.  May I please speak with Mr. Dave in Texas?  We are recording this call”.



I think I’m on to something here.



1. Abigail - February 10, 2007

I’ve been using Ooga, Ooga for years for this very purpose. Add in the odd beating of the chest when frustrated and watch the woosies run. Of course being female, I only pretend to beat the chest!

2. Enas Yorl - February 11, 2007

Ahh, the old Johnny Weissmuller films! I loved those movies. Did you know that Cheeta is still alive? He’s 74-75 years old now.

I loved those books too. My Dad still has all his ERB books packed away somewhere – several boxes jammed full of old paperbacks he collected over the years.

Ungawa dude!

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