I have satellite radio in my car and one of my great enjoyments is listening to a station called Radio Classics. They reair radio programs that were originally broadcast in the 40s 50s and 60s (with an occasional 30s program for good measure).
Tonight I was half-listening to "The Third Man" starring Orson Welles. This episode was "The Golden Fleece" and the characters were talking about some town in Spain. Since I lived in Spain for 3 years my ears perked up, but I couldn't understand to where they were referring. It sounded like "all-gee-see-russ". Finally I figured out that they must be pronouncing "Algeciras" in the anglicised version, but Castilian Spanish speakers pronounce it something like "ahl-heh-thir-ahs" and apparently I think with a Castilian accent which is why I didn't recognise it. Mind Blown #1 - Spanish
It then occurred to me how much the Anglo version sounded like the television station "Al Jazeera". Good old Wikipedia informed me that a very literal translation from the Arabic to English means "The Island" but actually refers to the Arabian Peninsula. Perhaps not coincidentally, Algeciras is the gatekeeper city to Gibraltar (of giant rock fame) and is it's only real connection to the mainland of the Iberian peninsula. Perhaps even less coincidentally, Algeciras and most of the rest of Spain spent centuries under the rule of invading Moors from North Africa (like, of course, what is modern-day Algeria) and beyond; and who...wait for it...spoke Arabic. Let's take bets on how/why Algeciras got it's odd little non-Castilian name, shall we? How did I never realise this before? Mind Blown #2 - Arabic
I'm so incredibly nerdy about this stuff, but I don't even care what people think. Language is totally freaking cool. As in radically genio (Spanish). As in totally Momtaz (Arabic).