Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Okay, so,

I love reading ESL stuff. I think it's s hilarious. (Everything Is Illuminated cracked me up for just that reason. Then again, it also made me sob - and on NJ Transit nonetheless) Right now I'm reading The Story of the Trapp Family Singers (I know... I thought it would be lame too, but it's actually GREAT) and she's telling stories about when they first move to New York...

"There was, for instance, the lady who wanted to buy cauliflower.
"'How much?' she asked the grocer.
"'Ninety cents," was the asnwer.
"'What?' She was outraged. 'Behold your cauliflower. I can become cauliflower myself for forty cents around the corner!'
"(Such things happen when you take words from your own language and translate them into similar-sounding words in English, thinking they mean the same thing. The word for 'keep' in German is behalten, and if we want to 'get' soemthing, we said bekommen.)
"Another incident happened to a priest friend of ours. When he first arrived in this country, he went to a religious house.
"The lay brother who showed him to his quarters asked: 'Is there anything else you would need, Father?'
"'Well,' said Father thoughtfully, 'a set of new bowels every Saturday. Just hang them on the doorknob.'
"The lay brother seemed so startled by this request that Father had to point to a towel in his room to illustrate his wish."

Hm. On second thought, maybe I am just a huge dork...

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