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HashiriKata

English, the Lingua Franca

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HashiriKata

Just received from a friend this collection of Notices in English around the world:

Cocktail lounge, Norway:

LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR.

At a Budapest zoo:

PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUITABLE FOOD, GIVE IT

TO THE GUARD ON DUTY.

Doctor's office, Rome:

SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.

Information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner, Japan:

COOLES AND HEATES: IF YOU WANT CONDITION OF WARM AIR IN YOUR ROOM,

PLEASE CONTROL YOURSELF.

In a Nairobi restaurant:

CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER.

On the grounds of a Nairobi private school:

NO TRESPASSING WITHOUT PERMISSION.

In Aamchi Mumbai restaurant:

OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, AND WEEKENDS TOO.

The best!!! In a Tokyo bar:

SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR THE LADIES WITH NUTS.

Hotel, Japan:

YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:

YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET

COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY.

Hotel, Zurich:

BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN

THE BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE.

Advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:

TEETH EXTRACTED BY THE LATEST METHODISTS.

A laundry in Rome:

LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD

TIME.

Tourist agency, Czechoslovakia:

TAKE ONE OF OUR HORSE-DRIVEN CITY TOURS - WE GUARANTEE NO MISCARRIAGES.

The best!!!! Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:

WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?

The box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:

GUARANTEED TO WORK THROUGHOUT ITS USEFUL LIFE.

Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:

WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS.

In a Japanese cemetery:

PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN

GRAVES.

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Alveranter

Hahaha.. this was probably the funniest thing I've ever read.. seriously..

YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET

COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY.

:lol:

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liuzhou

All of these have been on the internet for years and are all probably invented.

It is easy to work out the real ones. Real mistakes come from mother language interference. Native language grammar etc. None of these pass the test.

If you really want examples of 'bad' English usage in Asia or elsewhere you have to visit. Funny how none of the examples I see almost every day ever turn up in those round-robin e-mails. Well they are just not funny. More sad.

Today I walked past a new restaurant offering "Westerl food, beef hteak and coffee simple". That is the kind of real mistake you find.

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Lu

Some real ones are funny though. In a restaurant near my uni you can get a tieban dish with 'lamp'.

And even if the above ones are fake, I still laughed my ass off :-)

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Machjo

When I was in Beijing, I remember comming across a sign saying "Keep in center the kee."

I just couldn't figure it out, so when I asked my friend for the meaning in Chinese, it meant "repair centre"!

Then I gave him a literal translation (His English is even more limited than my Chinese, so we always communicate in a third language) and we both laughed. And that was in a cell phone shop in Beijing!

IMHO English is just too difficult a language to serve the purpose of an international language. After all, it's obvious that such a language, especially as the woreld gets smaller, will need to be a language which most anyone can learn within a reasonable period of time to native-like fluency. Otherwise, we'll see a widening gap between the linguistic haves and have nots, leading to other social problems in the long run. A language such as English also cleary benefits the English language cultural industries at the expence of all others, which is bound to lead to a backlash sooner or later.

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imron

The funniest I ever saw, was an english translation of the chinese saying "谁知盘中餐,粒粒皆辛苦" that used to hang in big bright red letters on the main canteen of the school I work at. It was translated as "He Busy Honey Dear Who Has To Lick It Off Thorns." For those curious, a more accurate translation might be something like "Everyone knows the food on our plates comes from hard work", with the implication being that you shouldn't waste your food. How the original translator got it so mangled, is a mystery that will forever remain unsolved.

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