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Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The - Zaphod Knows No Ford
In the first Hitchhikers book it says Ford changed his name when he came to Earth and he couldn't pronounce his real name, the kids at school called him Ix so woulden't Zaphod have know him as Ix when they saw each other on the Heart of Gold?
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The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
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eternaldragon77 on 06-18-2001
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Jasp writes:
I seem to remember seeing this explained elsewhere. The general consensus was that Zaphod did call Ford Ix, but that Arthur's Babel fish, which feeds on brain waves, translated it to Arthur's equivalent, Ford. As it takes the meaning of the word, not the word itself.
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SmileyMan writes:
The description of the operation of the Babel Fish states that it "...feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier, but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the unconscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them." Thus the Babel Fish effectively allows you to read the minds of people who are talking to you, and doesn't translate sounds per se. Thus when Zaphod referred to Ford/Ix by name, Zaphod's brain would think "Ix" and Arthur's brain would receive "Ford" since the linguistic reference was to the name of the Ford/Ix object. An alternative slip-up is how the Babel Fish was able to translate electronically reproduced sounds, including the Vogon Captain's announcement, and Arthur finding it useful for "watching foreign films", since no brain-wave energy would be present then.
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George4Browne writes:
Okay, but why would it do that though? Ford doesn't have anything to do with Ix, "Ford" was a name he chose based on his minimal research. (The Ford Prefect was a popular car at the time, thus making this a joke.)
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Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds writes:
I agree with George4Browne about the Babel Fish theory- Ford does not mean Ix it was simply a name chosen by the character to make him inconspicuous. And also, at the beginning of the second book, "Restaurant At The End Of The Universe", Gag Halfrunt and the Vogon refer to him as "the man Prefect". So I think this is a genuine slip-up, although I must admit it would be a lot more complicated otherwise.
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Wallamanage writes:
Zaphod is just this guy, you know.
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Solar Penguin writes:
It isn't really a slip-up. Douglas Adams wrote a footnote explaining it in the book, but... his editors decided not to include it because it was so boring and/or confuisng! According to the missing footnote, when Ford changed his name, the Galactic Census Office riipped his old name out of space and time and replaced it. History was changed and his name had now always been Ford Prefect. Or something like that. (Hmmmm.... It looks like the editors were right -- it is boring and conusing!)
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DarthFerroucous writes:
Hey, in the current movie version Zaphod DOES call him Ix. He says: "May I introduce to you: This is my Semi-Cousin Ix, er, Ford[...]" And then, because of that name, he nearly bursts out laughing ;-) I don't know if I repeat this 100 Percent correctly because I'm German and did relate to the German dub instead of the original language.
2 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
angelkey writes:
The thing we have to remember here is that Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy was originally a radio play. It's hard enough to distinguish between different voices in a radio play as it is without one of the characters having multiple names. Ford is called Ford all the way through the story simply because it's easier and less confusing.
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Link4507 writes:
And lest we forget, Zaphod has been to Earth during Fords stay.
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Wonderbat writes:
But if Arthur's babel fish translated "Ix" into "Ford, Then why did it not translate "Zaphod Beeblebrox" into simply "Phil", since that was the name Arthur knew him as from the party Arthur was attending where Tricia MacMillan left with Zaphod after he crashed the party?
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
J.P. writes:
Ford was still writing for the guide when he was on earth, so he must have had some way to contact the Guide Offices. Perhaps he could also talk to Zaphod, and tell him what name he was known as.
2 of 18 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes

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