Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Frau's Love of English

The Frau loves English. She didn't realize this until six years ago when she moved to a place where Swiss German was spoken. Funny how being surrounded by a foreign language makes you love your own. It's a bit like moving to a desert and realizing, you know, I never really gave water the credit it deserves.

So let's take a moment, fellow yodelers, and give English some praise. Let's celebrate its short words. Its gender neutrality. Its lack of umlauts and accented vowels. Its lack of formal and informal you and instead its embracement of an all-emcompassing, "hey y'all."

That said, there is one thing the Frau loves even more than English. It's English spoken by non-native speakers. 

Oh, the joy that is a misplaced modifier. Oh, the excitement that is unfortunate verb choice. These little language lapses have no end in happiness for the Frau. So imagine her excitement to be in Paris two weeks ago (excitement also because it was her first weekend away from her baby ever and she planned on partying but in reality ended up sleeping) and to find this lovely note near the light switch at her bed and breakfast:

funny english
Please, switch of the light and radiators before living.
See what she means. One little Google-translated verb, one big fat laugh for the Frau. 

Anyone else love their native language even more after moving abroad?


Lisa said...

You'd love Japan...not only do you have the usual "lost in translation" issues...but "R" and "L" are basically the same sound (there is no natural "L" sound in the Japanese alphabet). So, your neighborhood restaurant encourages you to try their "dericious blunch" on Sunday morning!

Chantal said...

Ok, Japan is now officially on the "must visit" list.

Made in Suisse said...

I know what you mean about English spoken by non-english speakers. I spent a few years in Africa and the combination of accents and litteral translations of local idioms are often hilarious!

Chantal said...

I'm sure the German speakers around me have gotten a big kick out of my German-as-a-second-language too. I wish I could hear how funny I sound to them.

Patris said...

Of the couple of articles I read, there was some great information. Will be back to read more as I’m sure there is a lot more here worth reading. Thank you for sharing.

MsCaroline said...

Like Lisa, I live in a country (Korea) where the letters 'r' and 'l' morph into one sound, and the syntax is almost backwards compared to English. One of our favorite sports is spotting badly translated signs in 'Konglish.' We were at the Korean Folk Village last week, and saw this sign hanging on the cow stall:
" Please do not get in! May cow can be surprised!"
Another favorite pastime: reading the bad English on t-shirts. A favorite of mine: "Boston, Massachubetts."

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Indus Educations said...

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