American Engrish

April 20, 2008 at 2:31 pm (Language)

After a brief absence, Bloosbabybro is back with another Sunday post.  This post, along with posts not present here, is also viewable on my blog here.
 
I love the website engrish.com. It’s dedicated to mistaken English (“Engrish“) found in east Asia on clothing, packaging, signs, etc. Having lived in Japan for two years, I have a great appreciation of Engrish. Here’s a recent nugget:

I’ll pass on the water passed by the manager….

I always figured Engrish to be an anomaly only present in east Asia, but I’ve come to learn that it also exists in, of all places, *gasp*, the United States. My wife found this example at a mall in Michigan. She took the picture with her cell phone, so the focus was a little off.

The next best thing to walking tall?

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Viladelvia

March 10, 2008 at 3:45 am (Language, Music)

Hello, it’s Bloosbabybro.

 I got to see one of my favorite guitarists live on Friday night: Antoine Dufour.  Bloosgrl did a post on him when his new album came out about a month ago.  My brother met me at the show and we had a good time.  My brother had never heard of Antoine, but I think he was a fan within the first few seconds of the first song.

Antoine opened with “Spiritual Groove” then rolled right into “Development” without stopping.  As you can see from the videos, those two songs are a great way to start a set.

 Probably one of the funniest moments of the night was when Antoine was giving an introduction for “Song for Stephen”, a song he wrote and dedicated to fellow guitarist Stephen Bennett.  For those who don’t know, Antoine is from Quebec, so his first language is French.  When introducing the song he pronounced the name “Stefen” and went on to explain that he understands it should be pronounced “Steven”, but that would never make sense to him.  “Can someone explain that to me?  The other night I was trying to get the people in Viladelvia to explain it to me, but no one could.”  Brilliant.

 Like I said last week – languages are interesting things.

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Let’s Hear it for the Girls! (and the boy, too)

March 3, 2008 at 2:18 pm (family, Language)

First of all, let me start by saying how much I loved my brother’s post! I majored in French in college, so I LOVE languages.  When I took a linguistics course, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven.  I also see all sorts of humor in language, too.  For example, I love French slang.  When literally translated into English, it’s very funny.  Take the expression that I learned in college for to feel blue, depressed or bummed out is “avoir le cafard” which means to have a cockroach.  I don’t think I’d be very happy if I had a cockroach, either.

Moving on, the school history fair was Wed. last week.  DD#1 and her partner did a great job with their exhibit on the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The theme was conflicts and compromise and they had to explain how the theme and the historical event they had chosen related to each other. 

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For first-timers, they did such a great job!  Her class hears from the judges today about which projects were chosen to move on to the regional competition.  I certainly think they stand a good chance, but there were many well-done projects there to give them competition. 

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Abbreviations

March 3, 2008 at 4:41 am (Language)

Yes, another boring Sunday entry by Bloosbabybro.

 My wife and I currently live a six hour drive apart.  She teaches at a university, and due to spring break, she was able to spend all of this past week with me.  Since we don’t typically see each other on a daily basis, it gave us the opportunity to have all kinds of small, fun, meaningless conversations.  Let me tell you about one of them.

 We were in my wife’s car driving to the grocery store and she was playing a CD of Japanese pop music.  I asked what band it was – it was Mr. Children, who from my understanding, were at some point (maybe still?) very popular in Japan.  Now, even though the name is “Mr. Children”, in Japanese it would be pronounced more like “Mista Chiruden” – a rough approximation of the English which fits into the sounds available in Japanese.  However, my wife referred to them as “Misu Chiru” – an abbreviation made by taking the first two syllables of both parts of the name.  I pointed out that doing so completely changes the name.  Any American who reads Japanese and saw “Misu Chiru” written in Japanese would assume the name is “Miss Chill”.  When I pointed this out to my wife she laughed hysterically for about a minute.  She said I make a good point, and in all of the years of her referring to the band as “Misu Chiru”, it had never crossed her mind.

 That’s when I realized that in Japanese words and names get abbreviated differently than in English.  An English speaker would likely abbreviate Mr. Children to “MC”, “Mr. C”, or something similar.  But in Japanese, the first couple syllables of each word get mashed together.  Another example: my wife loves the store Trader Joe’s, but she and her friends refer to it as “Tray Jo”.  Or in French, “Tre Joe”?

Languages are interesting things.

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