The Light Side of Language
The Swiss Guy
A Swiss guy visited Sydney, Australia, and pulled up at a bus stop where two
locals were waiting.
"Entschuldigung, koennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?" he
asked. The two Aussies just stared at him.
"Excusez-moi, parlez vous Francais?" he tried. The two continued to stare.
Other than a glance at each other, there was still no response.
"Hablan ustedes Espanol?" Still nothing.
The Swiss guy gave up and drove off, extremely disgusted.
When he was gone, the first Aussie turned to the second and said,
"Y'know, maybe we should learn a foreign language."
"Why?" the other replied. "That guy knew four languages, and it didn't do
him any good."
(A) The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
(B) On the other hand, the French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer
heart attacks than the British or Americans.
(C) The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks
than the British or Americans.
(D) The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer
heart attacks than the British or Americans.
(E) Conclusion: Eat & drink what you like. It's speaking English
that kills you.
"Where is the proprietor, my good man?, asks the aristocrat.
"I don't know , but why you don't you ask the
owner behind the bar. He might know",
answers Hagar the Horrible.
© King Features
World Wide Language
English Is A Crazy Language
Reasons Why the English Language is Hard to Learn
This is required reading for those working on translation word lists and software.
It will help keep their work in perspective.
Spanish/ spell check
Here are some famous translations and some that might become so.
These two are over 40 years old, from the 1st chapter of a book about computers originally published in 1959.
"Out of sight, out of mind" into Russian and then that back to English
turned into 'Invisible, Insane'".
Also, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" translated
as : 'The Vodka is good but the meat is rotten'.
Technology does not appear to have moved much in 40 years in this field.
A friend ran "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"
through the Alta Vista translator to Spanish, and then back to English and got:
'The alcohol is arranged but the meat is weak.'
"She sells sea shells on the sea shore" :
'it sells rinds of the sea in the border of the sea' (English/Spanish/English)
"It is no use crying over spilt milk" :
'By the use fortune normality the milk which flows out' (English/Korean/English)
"Feeling lonely? Pick up the phone and call someone for a friendly chat" :
'To smell solitairement? Draw aside the telephone and the call somebody for friendly Schwaetzchen'
"Is the glass half full or half empty?" :
'Glass half perfection is half the sky?' (English -> Japanese -> English)
"I'm a big fan of the AltaVista translator" to :
'I am a great ventilator of the translator of AltaVista.'
Yet, the software of the PCs of today will be far better than "mainframes" of '50s -- isn't it so ?
Job-hunting? Watch your spell-checker <g>
"Singing bonus expected."
Do you have a song preference?
"I look forward to meeting you in the feature."
Maybe we can conduct the interview during intermission.
"REASON FOR LEAVING: I felt my company was charging its
customers absorbent rates, so I left."
Sounds like the customers were getting soaked.
"EXPERIENCE: Worked party-time as an office assistant."
"DUTIES: Perfumed a variety of tasks."
Gives new meaning to the sweet smell of success.
"DUTIES: I verified telephone bills, including long distant ones."
How far away were they?
"EDUCATION: Suspected to graduate early next year."
Please let us know when it's definite.
"SKILLS SUMMARY: I constantly strive to learn knew things."
We "new" you could do it.
"MATERIAL STATUS: Single."
So you travel light?
"EXPERIENCE: ABC Tire Company, 1894-2001."
Now that's loyalty.- - - - -
Bruce and his wife took the kids down to Florida for vacation.
Each morning they would have breakfast out on the deck and every
bird within a five mile radius would join them. Of particular
interest to their three year old son was a White Ibis.
His son referred to it as the big-nose-bird. Bruce explained
to him that it was in fact an Ibis, but he insisted that it was
the big-nose-bird. This reinforced for Bruce, two important points:
• A few common words can convey more meaning than one
technically correct word.
• You can't win an argument with a three year old. ;-)
- - - - - explaining the name of the bignosebird website.
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Last updated Sept 10, 2002