LINGUIST List 4.666

Mon 06 Sep 1993

Disc: More fun: inappropriate English

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. , RE: 4.652 More Fun
  2. Alex Monaghan, Re: 4.652 More Fun
  3. Evan S. Smith, Re: 4.652 More Fun
  4. Michael M T Henderson, More Fun
  5. Ian MacKay, fun
  6. "DICK VEIT, ENGLISH, UNCW,, More inapproriate English
  7. Paul T Kershaw, Fractured English quickie
  8. Johanna Rubba, Son of Fun
  9. , Re: 4.652 More Fun
  10. , Re: 4.653 Son of Fun
  11. Nancy Frishberg at home, Re: 4.653 Son of Fun
  12. , inappropriate foreignisms
  13. Alex Monaghan, Re: 4.653 Son of Fun
  14. , Re: 4.652 More Fun
  15. "don l. f. nilsen", Re: 4.648 Fun: inappropriate English
  16. "don l. f. nilsen", Re: 4.653 Son of Fun
  17. EL ZAIM ADEL, Re: 4.652 More Fun
  18. Paul Peranteau, 4.653 Son of Fun

Message 1: RE: 4.652 More Fun

Date: Wed, 1 Sep 93 15:47
From: <BLACKWELLSAvms1.bham.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: 4.652 More Fun


As well as the Japanese car called the We've, there's the brand of
audio cassette tapes called That's. Clearly, apostrophe's rule O.K.

But as inappropriate English goes, how about the driving school in
Southall, Middlesex, called the Impact School of Motoring? There's
another school in the same area with a more appropriate name but which
advertises "crash courses available".

Sue Blackwell
Birmingham
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Message 2: Re: 4.652 More Fun

Date: Wed, 1 Sep 93 15:54:32 BSTRe: 4.652 More Fun
From: Alex Monaghan <amcstr.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 4.652 More Fun

re. shrimp scampi - this is, unfortunately, not as silly as it might seem:
in britain, scampi is legally defined (i believe) as any white seafood!

(of course, the british would never use "shrimp" in this context: for us,
anything bigger than a few cubic millimeters is a "prawn" for commercial
purposes!)
 alex.
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Message 3: Re: 4.652 More Fun

Date: Wed, 01 Sep 93 10:51:11 CDRe: 4.652 More Fun
From: Evan S. Smith <smitheExt.Missouri.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.652 More Fun


 How about CRE^PE SHOW, a Parisian shop I saw in 1972. SHOW is
 apparently an interlingual pun on CHAUD, but I wonder if they knew the
 meaning of creep show in English?

 Evan Smith
 smitheext.missouri.edu
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Message 4: More Fun

Date: Wed, 01 Sep 93 10:52:21 CDMore Fun
From: Michael M T Henderson <MMTHUKANVM.bitnet>
Subject: More Fun

In Tripoli, Libya twenty years ago I found a branch of an Italian chain
of stores purveying goods for infants: Mr. Baby. Maybe 'Signor Bimbo'
sounded too silly?
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Message 5: fun

Date: Wed, 01 Sep 93 13:48:59 EDfun
From: Ian MacKay <IMACKAYacadvm1.uottawa.ca>
Subject: fun

A few contributions:

1. On the label of shirt sold in Canada: "Gentle cycle machine wash" followed
by "Aimable bicyclette machine pour laver".

2. On the bilingual menu in a restaurant in Ste-Marie-de-Beauce, a small
Quebec town across the US border from Jackman, Maine: French: "pate de foie
gras". English? "Pasty of liver fat". It defies imagination.

3. Two from my father's collection of small-town US restaurant signs. On a
highway service station-restaurant: "Eat here and get gas." On another
hole-in-the-wall restaurant: "Eat here and you'll never eat anywhere else."

4. English-speaking Canada sometimes finds itself betwixt and between its
British and American linguistic roots. In my teanage years the slang
word "fag" had one and only one meaning, namely a cigarette.
I only later became aware of it as a derogatory term for a gay. American
visitors to Ottawa and locals in their 20's and younger are often taken
aback by the largest magazine and smoke shop in town, which is called
"Mags and Fags".
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Message 6: More inapproriate English

Date: 01 Sep 1993 16:00:04 -0500More inapproriate English
From: "DICK VEIT, ENGLISH, UNCW, <VEITVXC.OCIS.UNCWIL.EDU>
Subject: More inapproriate English

Some years ago a colleague and I ate at a Western Steer
restaurant where a sort of place card on the table announced,
"Your Steerette's name is ____________." We had a great deal of
fun asking the unsuspecting teenage "steerette" questions such as
whether the initiation process to be a steerette was painful,
etc.
--Dick Veit
 English, U. of North Carolina at Wilmington
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Message 7: Fractured English quickie

Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1993 17:31:30 -Fractured English quickie
From: Paul T Kershaw <kershawpstudent.msu.edu>
Subject: Fractured English quickie

A quick example of fractured English: a friend was telling me of a Ukrainian
female friend whose English was far from exemplery. When she was unable or
unwilling to do something, she would try to say, "I can't", but screwed up the
vowel. The ensuing confession was "I cunt" (a self-deprication especially in
light of Ukrainian, which has no present-tense copula). He tried to teach her
the right vowel, but gave up and told her to say something else instead.
-- I'm still Paul Kershaw, Michigan State U, KershawPstudent.msu.edu
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Message 8: Son of Fun

Date: Wed, 1 Sep 93 14:44:09 PDTSon of Fun
From: Johanna Rubba <rubbabend.UCSD.EDU>
Subject: Son of Fun


Speaking of infelicitous product names, a German friend
tells me of a failed (no wonder) attempt to market Irish
Mist (a liqueur?) in Germany under the title 'Irischer Mist'. 'Mist'
meaning 'dung' in German, it didn't exactly sell well.

Jo Rubba
UC San Diego
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Message 9: Re: 4.652 More Fun

Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1993 10:34 PDT Re: 4.652 More Fun
From: <HSLAPOLLAccvax.sinica.edu.tw>
Subject: Re: 4.652 More Fun

For a Chinese example of interlingual inappropriateness similar to
the Egyptian "Taki Furniture" mentioned by Dilworth B. Parkinson, on
the highway from the airport to Taipei there is a large tacky
Statue of Liberty advertizing (appropriately) "Kaka Art".
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Message 10: Re: 4.653 Son of Fun

Date: Wed, 01 Sep 93 23:15:04 EDRe: 4.653 Son of Fun
From: <AAHNYCUNYVM.CUNY.EDU>
Subject: Re: 4.653 Son of Fun

Seen the piece in "Selling It" (Consumer Reports, August '93)? To wit: "From
Japanese manufacturer Yamaha. While perusing the assembly instructions for his
new Electric Grand keyboard, a reader found a diagram showing assorted pieces
of hardware and labeled with a single Anglo-Saxon (sic) word of instruction. We
can't repeat the instruction in this family magazine, but we believe the compa-
ny meant 'screw'." The magazine has struck out on etymology, but apparently
machine translation has scored another direct hit!
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Message 11: Re: 4.653 Son of Fun

Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1993 23:19:12 -Re: 4.653 Son of Fun
From: Nancy Frishberg at home <nancyfseiden.com>
Subject: Re: 4.653 Son of Fun

This fits the category of "looks like it *could* be English" and
cross-references with "sweat":

A couple years ago, we picked up T-shirts in Singapore's Chinatown
with the graphic of a flamingo, palm fronds, and a golden ring in which
was inscribed the motto
 Save our Planet Gratic Sweat help you
which I take to be two phrases, since the first 3 words fill the upper
half of the circle, and the last 4 the lower half (there must be
heraldry terminology for the layout, but I don't know it).

...but wait, there's more below the emblem!

 Symbol
 Freedom
 to save
 The Planet

 THE ATMOSPHERE
 PRIORITY

Now somebody tell me: is this a rock band? some manufacturer gearing
up for the greening of everywhere? or what?

--
Nancy Frishberg (415) 592-8559
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Message 12: inappropriate foreignisms

Date: Thu, 02 Sep 93 07:18:54 -0inappropriate foreignisms
From: <bnevinBBN.COM>
Subject: inappropriate foreignisms


The topic is of course not so anglocentric as all that. Most of my
gaffes in various languages/cultures probably passed me by entirely, my
hosts being too polite to point them out to me. I do recall filling out a
form in Modern Greek and entering "anthropos" instead of "aner" for
gender, the equivalent of entering "human" instead of "male" in English.
I thought it was funny, but the person returning it to me didn't.

Which veers not quite smoothly to the topic of things that appear funny
or peculiar to non-native speakers. Even avoiding the merely arbitrary
(why do we say "savings and loan company" instead of "savings and loans"
or "saving and loan") this could be a rich vein. Immediately there comes
to mind Mary Haas' wonderful article on Thai-English cross-linguistic
word tabus, reprinted in Dell Hymes' reader.

>From a broader perspective, this is an anecdotal approach to contrastive
grammar/semantics and transfer grammar.

 Bruce Nevin
 bnbbn.com
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Message 13: Re: 4.653 Son of Fun

Date: Thu, 2 Sep 93 09:14:24 BSTRe: 4.653 Son of Fun
From: Alex Monaghan <amcstr.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 4.653 Son of Fun

a rather more recent german gum product, which i bought quantities of
in 1983 in bamberg, comes in a tasteful shade of pink and proudly
proclaims itself to be "Super Soft Bum!".

presumably this is a contraction of "bubble-gum" which somebody thought
was a good idea!

(WARNING: this message may fail to amuse non-british english speakers
for lexical reasons!)
 alex.
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Message 14: Re: 4.652 More Fun

Date: Thu, 02 Sep 1993 10:51:58 Re: 4.652 More Fun
From: <WDEREUSECCIT.ARIZONA.EDU>
Subject: Re: 4.652 More Fun

And then there are the American perfumes with "French"
Jontue and Enjolie. Sounds very French but these forms are totally
meaningless and inexistent in French. Who invents such words?
(3 lines above I meant "French" names)
Willem J. de Reuse
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Message 15: Re: 4.648 Fun: inappropriate English

Date: Thu, 02 Sep 1993 11:57:38 Re: 4.648 Fun: inappropriate English
From: "don l. f. nilsen" <ATDFNasuvm.inre.asu.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.648 Fun: inappropriate English

 Here in Tempe, Arizona we used to have a restaurant named
"Frank n' Steins." It served mainly hotdogs and beer. We also used to
have a coffeehouse named "Myrtle's Nuts." It alludes to a particular
kind of coffee bean.

Don L. F. Nilsen |\/\/\/||
<ATDFNASUACAD.BITNET>, (602) 965-7592 | |
Executive Secretary | |
International Society for Humor Studies | (o)(o)
English Department | _)
Arizona State University | ,____|
Tempe, AZ 85287-0302 | /
 |_____\
 | Anon \
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Message 16: Re: 4.653 Son of Fun

Date: Thu, 02 Sep 1993 12:06:06 Re: 4.653 Son of Fun
From: "don l. f. nilsen" <ATDFNasuvm.inre.asu.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.653 Son of Fun

 Isn't there a German liquor named "Liebesfraumilch?"
 Also, I used to own a Chevrolet Nova car. In Spanish "Nova." means
"It doesn't run."

{^_^}
Don L. F. Nilsen |\/\/\/||
<ATDFNASUACAD.BITNET>, (602) 965-7592 | |
Executive Secretary | |
International Society for Humor Studies | (o)(o)
English Department | _)
Arizona State University | ,____|
Tempe, AZ 85287-0302 | /
 |_____\
 | Anon \
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Message 17: Re: 4.652 More Fun

Date: Fri, 3 Sep 93 2:08:28 EDT Re: 4.652 More Fun
From: EL ZAIM ADEL <r32500er.uqam.ca>
Subject: Re: 4.652 More Fun

Another menu coinage:
X saute'd.
with accent (e') and d.

.
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Message 18: 4.653 Son of Fun

Date: 04 Sep 93 12:32:45 EDT
From: Paul Peranteau <70461.1236compuserve.com>
Subject: 4.653 Son of Fun


Not much positive comes out of going through a disaster, but one piece of
fun is seeing how the media report what you have known firsthand. (Similar
to reading histories of linguistics of periods you've gone though).I was in
Buxton NC on the Outer Banks when Hurricane Emily hit on 31 August, and so
had to endure water and winds all day the 31st and helicopters all day the 1st.
At least, I thought, I'll get some enjoyment out of how the Washington Post
handles the story. I was not disappointed. There are a host of small
inaccuracies (e.g., the local flooded school is a K through 12, not an
 elementary
school).
But the nicest error was in the caption on the front page (2 Sep) which said
that an auto parts store which had been destroyed also included a grocery
and a taco shop. I couldn't remember any "taco" shop, the cuisine of the
Outer Banks being limited to fish (fried) or fish (broiled). Then I realized
that the story must have been phoned in to a non-fishing type at the Post
who had never probably seen a "tackle" shop.
--Paul Peranteau
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