Thursday, September 14, 2006
The Blitish Are Coming
Saw a SHANE advert in one of my schools raving about a UK-themed, Japanese tourist attraction entitled “Blitish Hills”.
A surprising spelling error from SHANE there. Especially since we are, first, a language school and second, a British language school.
A low blow, but it made me laugh.
You take pot luck with pronunciation over here. At first, I was pooh-poohing the traditional Western view that all Japanese people say “flied lice”.
They usually they opt for a very soft “d” sound called a “flap”, instead of the “l “or “r”. Hence my name is pronounced: Fidip Doordi
But I have since met people who really do say “childlen”, “Engrish” and one guy who, when he was listing the months of the year, wrote “Aplil”.
The Japanese have their difficult words too. Take the ubiquitous but rather tricky “desu” - a multi-purpose word for is/be/are/. The word is not pronounced “desoooo”, but more like “des *hu*!”.
The trick with “desu” is to stop somewhere between the “s” and the “u” and dramatically cut the word short by tightening your chest like you’ve just stubbed your toe on the bed.
We’ve all done it; instead of screaming, you kind of go “hup!” and bite your lip silently for about a minute while you attempt to absorb the pain back into your body.
Also in Japanese, there are no strings of consonants. Consequently they often need to insert random vowels to make the word more palatable.
Here are some translations:
Scrambled Egg.................. Soccer Am Bullet Air Go
Stereo................................. Soot Hairy You
Mrs Mouse (mentioned in a previous entry) is also the finest purveyor of this “Irritable Vowel Syndrome”. She is incapable of saying a word without putting a PISSING VOWEL ON THE END.
Me: What do we call this tense?
Mouse: Whatto do we callo thisso tenso?
Me: No I said that....You don’t understando a bloody wordo I’mo sayingo do you?”
All this Consonant Kerfuffle means that Roy Walker’s Catchphrase is unlikely to take off over here as, fact fans, the word “catchphrase” has the longest string of consonants in the English language.
Unless they call it “Cat A Chair Fur Air Sir”.