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Thread: Dealing with a foreign language

  1. #1
    Titanium Member efc's Avatar
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    Dealing with a foreign language

    TZ members are located in many countries. Often people living in a country other than that of ones birth have trouble with language. In my case it was German. You find yourself living as a functional illiterate. You tend to buy things from pictures on the label, a practice can result in an occasional surprise.

    I remember a hotel stay in the extreme western part of the country. One afternoon I ran out of toilet paper. Not having had a reason to learn the phrase for this badly needed item, and not wanting to go through a pantomime at the bar, I drove to the nearest American facility to buy it. Imagine my embarrassment when I later find that the phrase was Toilettenpapier. I would have been understood without a translation.

    What is the purpose of this story? While researching information in a German newspaper, I followed a Google link to three Mark Twain essays http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/awfgrmlg.html. For those that don't know, he lived in Heidelberg Germany for most of 1878. There he worked on The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn. In the essay, " That Awful German Language", he talked about the difficulty in learning a foreign language. It is quite humorous.
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    My cousin came to visit us one summer. One morning he brushed his teeth with Ben Gay.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynchknot
    My cousin came to visit us one summer. One morning he brushed his teeth with Ben Gay.
    Now that is hilarious.... I live this firsthand daily. Everyday I am confronted with the almighty language barrier. Imagine having to learn three alphabets, one with 2000+ characters. And then each character having multiple meanings...

    On top of that, they speak a dialect, so if you learn a standardized version, once you go to the area, you are going to have to learn that area's dialect... it is a task that kicks me in the scrote daily.

  4. #4
    all bets are off... TZ Veteran SupaStar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynchknot
    My cousin came to visit us one summer. One morning he brushed his teeth with Ben Gay.
    What is Ben Gay? No such product here.

  5. #5
    Techzonez Governor Super Moderator Conan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SupaStar
    What is Ben Gay? No such product here.

    http://shop.store.yahoo.com/buyinpri...orfor4ozt.html

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Booger
    Now that is hilarious.... I live this firsthand daily.

    You bet it was hilarious. It had all of us rolling on the floor laughing hysterically. Poor guy - all that menthol and ewww.... grease.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    He had "Ben Gay" Breath for a week I bet.

  8. #8
    Titanium Member efc's Avatar
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    Getting a little off the subject. The Ben Gay discussion reminded me of one of the reasons that I ended up with a divorce from my first wife. This occurred in the early 60's. You know, big hair on women (think Married with Children).

    One morning while getting ready to go to work, my then wife decided to give her hair one last spray from a can of hair spray that she had set on top or the toilet tank lid. I might add that there were other items there also, including a can of laundry starch. Guess which one she picked up.

    Now this woman had no sense of humor. She saw nothing funny about the goo dripping from her hair and me literally rolling on the floor.
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