This year I finished my English Studies. I’ve always been fond of this language and since I was in school I have even done some private tutoring. Doing so, I came across many errors, some more frequent than others. Consequently, I had to tell my “students” time and again what was wrong and why. Well, some learned it faster than others.
However, I have always been wondering what would happen to people who really missed the basics in school, who didn’t learn what was wrong or why it was wrong. I also wondered what happens to people who just discovered the English language and Anglicisms as some kind of “temporary fashion”. I came to the conclusion that nothing special happens to those people, however, they can produce something special.
As I like walking through the streets of the cities, I came across some (I hope) rather funny examples of misusing the English language in Germany. Here it goes.
1. The hellish Bakery
I’ve never been into that bakery but it’s one of these new self-service bakeries that spring up like mushrooms these days. The slogan of that bakery first made me wonder and then gave me the creeps (well, actually not the creeps but a bit of tension is always good, isn’t it? 😉 ).
Yeah, well, what does this tell you? Are they:
– your baking buddies that share sugar and flour with you to make some donuts? That’d certainly be a good thing.
– a bakery for the lonely or singles? “You’re lonely, your single? Come on in, we will help you. We will bake you one hell of a tasty friend.” That would give the playful expression “You’re so cute, I could eat you” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?
– just plain crazy? I mean, who advertises to bake your friends? Maybe it’s some kind of Bakers’ Mafia. If you don’t stick to the rules, we stick you into the oven. Maybe Hänsel and Gretel…no, that would definitely go too far. Nevertheless, it’s creepy, isn’t it?
2. The Girl and the Burger
My favorite diner advertises a Chicken Burger. An that’s what the picture shows. Nothing special so far. However, in the header it says “Chick ‘n Burger”. As I learned from Rock ‘n’ Roll or Guns ‘N’ Roses, the ‘N’ is some kind of abbreviation for ‘and’. So, what I should actually be ordering are a Chick and a Burger, shouldn’t I? How come I always get only the burger? 🙂
3. The Maze that is a Perfumery
A German perfumery chain had (or still has, I don’t know) that wondeful slogan “Come in and find out”. Well, what they actually meant was , I think, something like “come in and discover our products. Walk around the shop and enjoy yourself.” At least something similar to this. However, one could interpret the slogan this way: “Come in and try to find your way out again.” Maybe this is why a lot of men don’t like to go shopping. They’re afraid to get lost.
4. An unpleasant Affair
Public viewing. For any German who reads this the following picture will come to mind: soccer, summer, party. However, it is an Anglicism that sounded cool so somebody must’ve thought “let’s use it”. Since then, be it the European or the world championship, everyone went public viewing. It’s only when a soccer match is lost that public viewing gets its original sad meaning. Actually public viewing is connected to funerals (at least in American English) and it describes the laying out of the late person. Maybe next time you should say something like “We’re going to watch the match with fellow viewers” or something like that. Forgive me if that’s a stupid question but does “Let’s go to a public viewing” sound like “Let’s crash a funeral” to Americans? I don’t mean to offend anyone. The question just came to my mind.
5. The Trouble with Bakeries
The above mentioned self-service bakeries aren’t called bakeries anymore. Today, they’re all called ‘Backshop’ which is a mixture between the German word ‘backen’ (to bake) and the English word ‘shop’. However, to English ears ‘Backshop’ must sound like a shop hidden in a backstreet; i.e. something dubious. But I can assure you German ‘Backshops’ are harmless unless they advertise to be ‘Baking Friends’ 😉