Five of the Week #10

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? πŸ˜‰ ).

“BAKING FRIENDS”
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 HΓ€nsel 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? πŸ™‚

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’ πŸ˜‰

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6 responses to “Five of the Week #10

  1. This post made me laugh and realize how unobservant I am. I would’ve never thought of these things if I was looking at those advertisements. My favorite that I’ve seen was a hair salon that was named “Curl Up and Dye.” I thought that was a fun play on words, but I would probably be a little scared to go in there.

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    • Well, maybe you should walk around with open eyes πŸ˜‰ Believe me, it can be fun. “Curl Up and Dye” I like that one πŸ˜€ It sounds scary though. I’d say you’re American (because of ‘favorite’ and ‘realize’), if so, could you answer my question about the funeral? Would be cool.

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      • Yes I am American. I didn’t realize (hehe) that only Americans use the words “favorite” and “realize.” I tend to use those words a lot. I also say “like” a lot which is a bad habit I’ve picked up. I blame living in California. As for the question about the funeral… I probably would not have connected “let’s go to a public viewing” to “let’s crash a funeral.” When I think of a public viewing I think of a museum or an art exhibit of some sorts. I’ve never heard anyone refer to a funeral as a public viewing. It sounds as if there’s a dead body just laying out and anyone can come and view the body. Wait.. that’s what a funeral really is. I’ve never thought of it that way.

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        • Actually it’s not the use of the words ‘favorite’ and ‘realize’. Just the spelling because in British English you write ‘favourite’ and ‘realise’.
          Well yes, when the late persons laying in the open coffin everyone can pass by and say his/her last goodbyes. So the dead is kind of on public display.
          About the “like”: I realized that in a lot of movies when people said something like : “How long it did take you to do this?” “Very long, like five hours.” But you can also read it in a lot of books. I think each people has its own “like”, i.e. words you build into your sentences while thinking about what to say next. This also holds true for ending a sentence. There are certain words showing your dialog partner has finished talking.

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          • Ohh that makes more sense about the words “favorite” and “realize.” I think the word “like” is important. You can use it a lot of different ways. A lot of girls use the word excessively so they might say “Once I was like at the like store and I saw this like guy and he was like really hot and he was like hi and I was like hey and now we’re like a couple and we’re like so like cute together… like yeah.” I’ve heard people talk like that. I just want to tell them to shut up cause they sound so ditsy and stupid, but my grandma has told me that I say “like” too much. I hope I don’t sound like that though.

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            • Damn, I guess such an excessive use of “like” can be like really annoying over time. Maybe you can break your habit of using like too much by putting like one dollar in like your piggy bank every time you use like an “unnecessary” like πŸ˜‰ That might also make your grandma like happy πŸ™‚

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