Thursday, March 23, 2006

Linguistic Training

Let's do some language-related training today. We'll start it off with this:

Quote of the Day

Wow...I didn't know her husband was a black.

Yes, innocent errors in language made by non-native speakers can have enormous connotations.

Following my obsession with the word mongoloid, my friends informed me that some students in their English classes were referring to mentally retarded people as "mongoloids". I've heard people innocently referred to as "half-breeds" before too. Why? Because that's what their dictionaries said. Why wouldn't they say it? In any case, I do everything in my power to encourage the aforementioned mistakes (with the exception of the 'black' mistake... Even I have limits, however flexible...).

I also take it a step further by purposefully making errors that seem like innocent mistakes, which allow me to say horrible things and not be shunned for it. You thought Borat had the market cornered on that? As you can see by watching Borat's adventures, people can be really forgiving when they think that innocent errors have been made. When I was in college, the first Korean word I learned was "byung-shin," which means "retard", and not in a nice way. Five years later when I found myself as a Korean language student at DLI, I asked a teacher if the building had "byung-shin shisul," which means "retard facilities", and feigned confusion when the teacher laughed hysterically and told me not to say that.

Teacher: Oooooh, Pi-il-byung, you must not say that. You must say shin-che-boo-ja-yoo-ja
Me: ....byungshin?

Pi-il-byung means "Lance Corporal P."

Shinche boo jayoo ja literally means "Body-without-freedom-person." Byungshin means "sick/ill body/spirit." I'll stick to byungshin. "Bingshin" is a variation on "byungshin", and it also means "cold shoes." So the next time you see a Korean, here's a little joke you can tell them:

What kinda shoes to penguins wear?
I dunno, what kind?
....bingshin

Cuz, you see, you're answering the question, saying "cold shoes", and calling them a retard at the same time.

Classic.

That's pretty much all I remember about Korean...

I wish I could remember all the funny mistakes that people make here, and I'm sure I make some real doozies too. The best errors come from people who are really good at English, maybe because they're not so concerned about being perfect, or because the funniest mistakes are the most subtle mistakes. My favorite would have to be when a friend suggested I drink some "Pepto Gizmo" for my stomach ache. I thought it was so awesome, I made up some pictures and sent them to her.




Yeah, I got some time on my hands.

However, the most commonly misused word in Japan would have to be the word ENJOY. There is no end to the ways that Japanese people can find to screw this one up. It generally turns into them getting really drunk and screaming ....ENJOY!!! at the top of their lungs when they see you on the street.

That never gets old.



So now my friends and I play "Enjoy tag," where we take pictures of "Enjoy" examples and send them to each other. You could probably find a different one every day.

Mattah fact, lemme do a little test.

I'm going to do a google image search and type in "enjoy" phonetically in Japanese characters. All of the below results have "ENJOY" written phonetically in Japanese in them, which looks like this:


Notice how it's in every picture.

Enjoy Study Abroad English Conversation Handbook


JVC "Enjoy DVD Present Campaign"


Enjoy BB


The bottom says Enjoy Swimming phonetically in Japanese. (Like, if I read it aloud I would be saying "Enjoy Swimming" in a Japanese accent.)


Enjoy Elementary School English


Enjoy Programming in Visual Basic


And here's an example written in plain ole' English:


The list goes on and on.

This place rules.

Get-a-kick-out-of-shit level: Very high.

It's safe to say...I enjoy..

----------------------------------------------------

Update:
I was trolling the blog of a girl I know who is studying in Japan. Here's a screen shot of the original with some translations provided. hehehe

6 Comments:

Blogger brando said...

I enjoy too. Great post. One topic, nice and tight, you brought it back around at the end. 3 thumbs up.

It reminds me of when I called your roommate "Kimchi" for half the night, before he introduced himself to someone else and I actually caught his name.

Is it manditory that I enjoy programming with VB? Don't tell me what to enjoy.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

yeah, i remember spitting something out of my nose when you told me about the kimchi debaucle. HEY GUYS, ID LIKE YOU TO MEET KIMCHI. HE'S A JAPANESE EXCHANGE STUDENT. YEAH, KIMCHI. THAT'S HIS NAME. EVEN THO HE'S DEFINITELY JAPANESE, AND NOT KOREAN. RIGHT, KIMCHI? KIMCHIKIMCHIKIMCHI? IS THAT KIMCHI, AS IN NANUNANU, ME LIKEY KIMCHI? YEAH, THOUGHT SO. U.S. NUMBAH ONE, RIGHT KIMCHI?

one of my favorite stories is when you called up my dorm room to see if i was there, and i wasnt, but mr kimchi was, so you took him out for a night of drinking. and he had half a long island and was DONE SIR DONE, to which he reported, "that doesnt taste like iced tea." DAMN SKIPPY IT DONT! then he got aroused on the dancefloor by one of your skeezer coworkers.

the funny thing was, he never told me about that, you did. like waaaaaaaay after the fact. tht fuckin' guy didnt speak a lick of english. id talk to him and he'd look at me like i had horns. he'd be like, "wha....wha....what did u say?" and id repeat myself, and then he'd be like, "ENJOY!!!!!!!!"

and that other time we took him out with the IRP crew and he flat out refused to drink. like, "no. period. case cloed. no more drinky. me no likey." we even had girls saying "COME OOOOOON DO IT FOR MEEEE" and he was just sittin there like "...negative." i seem to remember there being a lot of strippers at that party, and there was no shortage african american men of cartoonishly huge stature, dressed as if they belonged to tribe-like organizations located in urban areas.

pretty weird for iowa city.

2:26 PM  
Blogger brando said...

Kimchi was awesome. I asked him, on the phone, "What are you doing? You want to go hit the town?"

And he answered "I would like that very much."

Me: "Great. I'll drive. I have a black truck. Just go stand outside and I'll pick you up."

Kimchi: "At what time and place would you like to meet?"

Me: "Now! Outside your dorm. Are you even listening to me?"

Yeah. Kimchi and I go way back. He drank about a third of his drink, then held his stomach, frowned, and said "I...I..do not feel well."

And I said, with a big smile on my face, "That's the idea!"

About 10 of us did shots that night, and we all held em up before we knocked em back. Kimchi held his up too, then set it down behind a plant.

1:08 AM  
Blogger Jinxy said...

"I have no idea what you're talking about and I wish you'd just shut up."

(That's from a movie, BTW. But I wish you would shut up about the Jap words.)

3:20 AM  
Blogger Ghost Dog said...

Engrish = funny. Great post.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous eric said...

So the first recorded use of the word "enjoy" was around 1430. It literally means "make" (en-) "joy" (- be glad (Lat. joire)).

Swimming in no way has ever made me be glad - whenever I jump off the diving board I think to myself, "What the fuck have I just done?" I guess it is too late to take it back after that.

I particularly like it when others enjoy my joy-stick.

2:07 PM  

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