Friday, November 13, 2009

Speaking Engrish

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How I love Have you two met? If you've ever struggled with a second language, you must bebop over there and take a look around.
I'm serious. March right over there, young lady. Hop to it, mister.
But be warned: you might want to wear a diaper. Or maybe that's just me.

Oh, how it thrills me to read things like this.

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That's probably because the signs and posters and advertisements remind me of the millions of times during my French life when I tried to literally translate my words and they came out wonky.
You think I'm kidding? Read my book.
Or read Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. I especially recommend the chapter in which he tries to explain Easter in his pitiful French. It makes me weep with happiness.

It's a good thing that when people hear others trying desperately to speak their language, their hearts swell with tenderness. And they look upon them in the same way that one would gaze at a newborn babe. Or a puppy.
And sometimes they see the profound sweetness in the wonky words.

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Or maybe I'm a sentimental fool.

I'll have some Skal water to go with that apple pie, please.

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I would so like to be transported to the cow-mooing meadow.

Have a fantastic weekend, y'all!
Love, Becky

Oh, and enjoy this favorite video of mine. You might want to get a tissue in advance.


adrienne said...

That sure is a lot of rules for a place called the naughty palace...

Natalie said...

Yes, let's meet there, in the cow mooing meadow.
Engrish is a family favorite... we gather around the monitor and laugh til we cry, then start all over again.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

It is SO hard to master another language--I'm always in awe of those who can and there is SO much humor when we can't! Last summer we had a missionary in church--from Peru, his translator was from Korea, translating his Spanish into English and I sat in awe of his facility between these languages, neither his native tongue. ONCE he screwed up when the missionary referenced going to movies with his dad as a boy, "Kung fu movies" the translator said, but then realized a few sentences later the man from Peru meant "Cowboy movies." Everyone was cracking up.

koralee said...

I just found your delightful blog through Paris Breakfast...I am off to see if Amazon Canada has a copy of your book! I would love to feature it on my blog! I will be back again and again! Thank you for such fun! Yes mastering another language is hard...I am so thankful all my children are required to learn French in school...starting in grade one.

lotusgirl said...

Wonderful find. Oy. Literal translations. I've had my fare share of gaffs. especially when I was working on the difference between "ou" and "u" in french. It's funny how beaucoup is quite obscene if you say it wrong.

Pug1 said...

Nice blog! CHEERS! Michele

jama said...

Hee-larious! Thanks for the tip. Never heard of (I will stock up on diapers before clicking through.)

jlbessel said...

Hi Rebecca,
I discovered your blog via Paris Breakfasts. I Love it! My family and I have are back in America after living in Germany for three years and then England for four. We had lived in England a couple of years before that but there is something about the extended stay that really opens your eyes. I have only read your "Engrish" post and I am off to get kids from school, but I will be dropping back in for a visit soon! Thanks for brightening my day.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Love your comments, friends.
Koralee, Pug1,jlbessel, welcome to the blog!
I'm off to run away from home for the weekend (Yey! Ocean water, here I come!) but I look forward to visiting blogs when I'm back home.
Happy weekend!

Sue said...! I needed, not only a diaper, but also a paper bag. I was almost hyperventilating from laughing so hard. My kids kept asking me if I was OK!

I am not the least bit surprised that half of those come from Japan. We get laughs from weird Engrish here all the time.

Can I just add that I am cracking up again, because my word verification for this comment is "hesso", which means "bellybutton" in Japanese :-).

Fete et Fleur said...

"I wude laick duh-bye euh damboogur."

I love this scene! It brought tears to my eyes. I'm off to check out


Jac @ Wuzzle Makes Three said...

Engrish is one of my daily reads, it just cracks me up!! (And I am struggling to learn a second language so it makes me very happy that my mishaps are not alone! )

Renee said...

har har har


Sherry at EX Marks the Spot said...

So funny!
The truth is that we have a funny language to begin with. It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I remember the first time we hosted a foreign exchange student and how much we learned about our own language based on her questions. One example was just the term "carpool." I think she always thought we were talking about a carwash.

AudreyO said...

English tends to have more exceptions to the rules than any other language. I've learned bits and pieces of other languages over the years and English is by far one of the toughest.

vintage moon studio said...

ROFL... thanks for starting my day with a good laugh!! One of the best signs I ever saw was a local Chinese restaurant's huge neon sign that advertised "Hunan Cuisine and Cooktails" Hmmm....
Enjoy the day! Deb

fanciful devices said...

Yay! Finally, an American who realizes the effort involved in learning a language- ANY language.

An aside- In Thailand, a friend once saw a sign in a park that said "Keep Cleaning"!