LINGUIST List 4.648

Tue 31 Aug 1993

FYI: Fun: inappropriate English

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  1. , Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun
  2. wachal robert s, Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun
  3. , RE: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun
  4. Hartmut Haberland, Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fu
  5. "Ellen F. Prince", Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun
  6. Karen Kay, Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

Message 1: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1993 09:23:44 Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun
From: <CONNOLLYmemstvx1.memst.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

The "inappropriate English" items are always fun. But: (1) "The Athlete's
Foot" is an American chain; we have one or two here in Memphis. It's
gauche, but the name was chosen with full knowledge. (2) "Bimbo" means
'kid' in Italian, so it's not inappropriate English at all.

But here are two that are. Several years ago I found an ad for a French
stereo system -- named "Jerk". Enough said.

Better yet: After WWII, chewing gum made its first appearance in Europe
in the mouths of GIs. AN attractive product -- but how to merchandise it?
In vending machines, of course. And what brand name to use? Something
short, catchy, and something that GIs actually said. So there appeared
vending machines marked "Fuck". I still saw one or two of these in Germany
in the 60s.

I wonder what the GIs who put their money in thought they were getting?

--Leo Connolly
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Message 2: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1993 10:02:56 Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun
From: wachal robert s <rwachalumaxc.weeg.uiowa.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

How about the menu cite: "beef with au jus"
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Message 3: RE: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1993 10:33:11 RE: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun
From: <HUETTNERcgi.com>
Subject: RE: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

> Another potentially rich vein of Just for Fun contributions:
> inappropriate uses of English in trade names, clothing inscriptions etc.

I've started a small collection of these. How about

A Gap advertisement: "Now, values even lower than last year's!"

A Revco pharmacy advertisement, including a picture of pills spilling out
of a bottle: "A friend for life."

A motel in western Pennsylvania: the Hemlock Rest Motel.

 -- Al Huettner
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Message 4: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fu

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1993 16:36:38 Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fu
From: Hartmut Haberland <hartmutruc.dk>
Subject: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fu

In his contribution to Linguist, Paul Werth claims to have struck 'another
potentially rich vein of Just for Fun contributions:
inappropriate uses of English in trade names, clothing inscriptions etc.' and
quotes the name of a shop called The Athlete's Foot (in France) and a
children's clothing store in Antwerp, Belgium, called Bimbo.
I don't quite see the joke: the first case is probably intentional (there is a
bookshop in Hampstead, London, called The Writer's Cramp), and 'bimbo' in the
second example is probably Italian, not English. So what?
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Message 5: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1993 12:18:16 Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun
From: "Ellen F. Prince" <ellencentral.cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

re paul werth's amusement at 'inappropriate uses of english', there is
a chain of sports gear stores in philadelphia named _the athlete's foot_.
and _bimbo_ means 'baby' in italian...

my best example of fractured language, alas, was the menu at my own
wedding, a sort of frenchified pidgin invented by brooklyn caterers and full
of things like _pastrie assorte_ and _chickenne ellene_. twenty-six years
have passed but i still cringe when i think of it, especially since the
groom's side was francophone (and i was a french teacher at the time, to
boot).

other than my wedding menu, my favorite is the very popular japanese soft
drink, pocari sweat. apparently, _pocari_ means something like 'beat' or
'conquer', so it all makes sense, objectively, but it took me till my
third trip to japan to drink something with _sweat_ in the name.
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Message 6: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 93 10:21:51 PDRe: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun
From: Karen Kay <karenknetcom.com>
Subject: Re: 4.646 BBC Style, Fun

> Another potentially rich vein of Just for Fun contributions:
> inappropriate uses of English in trade names, clothing inscriptions etc.
> (or equally, English uses of French etc. in similar contexts).
....
> 2) A children's clothing store in Antwerp, Belgium, called Bimbo.

I thought that bimbo was Italian for 'child'?

Karen Kay
 karenknetcom.com
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