Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ze Importance of Sinking

This has got to be one of the funniest videos I’ve ever seen. The joke derives from the fact that many Germans cannot pronounce the voiced and voiceless interdental fricatives in English (as in this thing), replacing them with /z/ and /s/ respectively. (So it’s not just the French.) Hence, the young German mistakes ‘thinking’ for ‘sinking’.

Incidentally, years ago I had a lecturer, originally German, who taught radio production. Although he had a reasonably good American accent, there were some English sounds he simply couldn’t master. One morning, during a lecture on speaking and breathing techniques, he took in a deep breath ... held both hands up to chest level ... and bellowed: ‘Hold your bress!’ I’ll never forget the laughter that ensued.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Cultural Learnings For Make Benefit The Foreign Learners Of English

Spotted this rather amusing exchange in an online camera forum. Some background: Cristox (German) is complimenting Linda (English) on her fine cat, a picture of whom (left) she posted to demonstrate the abilities of her new camera.

"Cristox wrote: > BTW nice pussy you have linda."

"Thank you. His name is Micky. ... perhaps in future you shouldn't compliment an English woman on her pussy. Her husband might get quite the wrong idea!"