When dictionaries go wrong…

Monday 26th September 2005
Hello all,
I thought I’d dedicate this email to the fabulous diversity of the English language, because since becoming a teacher I have discovered some wonderful things about it!
However, before I start I should point out that while I find a lot of these things really funny, many of you will actually just be bored, because frankly I have a pretty odd sense of humour.
(Those of you who’ve ever said “A brown stick? That is the WORST joke ever Maya!!” should probably stop reading now!!)
Firstly, dictionaries should only ever be used under supervision, as things can get extremely interesting otherwise! We quite often come across kids that have their own English dictionaries at home, and you can usually spot which kids have tried to spice up their diaries by writing things like “Sunday is good. I my friend computer game and funny. Is meticulous ate rice.” etc.
However, the best one yet came my way courtesy of a 10 year old called Jessica recently, and I have decided to transcribe it word for word for your viewing pleasure!!
(and I quote!)
“Monday September 12th.
I school physical necrophilia at jump rope skip ball at therefore at jump rope lower limbes I feeling ri melancholia”
Isn’t that the most bizarre thing ever? We managed to work out that there’s a Korean word for “boys and girls together” that has a number of different English translations, including necrophilia!!! Suffice to say Jessica has been warned against using a dictionary unsupervised!!
Another interesting thing I’ve discovered is Konglish, the Korean version of Fronglais, which most often pops up on on t-shirts and things. It’s kind of like how at home tons of people have Chinese characters on their shirts, with no idea what it actually says. Well let me tell you, if its anything like the bad English on shirts over here, then the Chinese population of Britain must be pissing themselves laughing most of the time!!
I’ve written down a few of my favourites from my student’s t-shirts, such as “Lets together”, “Come, let us walk with vigorous strides”, “Snoopy, because I want to”, and “Break a person’s my bear doll is torn”. My red pen says “Natural life, Well-being pen” and there’s a clothes shop called “Fanny Pink” that always cracks me up, although thats probably my dirty mind talking!!
By far my favourite though was on a student called Peter’s t-shirt. It had a picture of the Mashimoro rabbit, which is quite a famous Japanese cartoon of a fat grumpy rabbit, in the style of a wanted poster. Under the picture the stats read
“Name: Bizarre rabbit
Stature: To be short.
Weight: To be weighty.”
I’m sure thats not funny to anyone but me (maybe you had to be there!) but it cracked me up!!!
Anyway, for those of you already bored by this email, best give up now, cos I do have yet more to say believe it or not!!
Over here its traditional to give food as a gift for special occasions, and as we’ve just had Chusok, Korean thanksgiving, the supermarkets are packed full of food gift boxes. Rather suprisingly, one of the more popular items is the Spam gift set. Now this might seem strange to most of you, but Spam is not only very popular over here, but also fairly pricey – especially when I discovered that there’s also a gift set of Cham, the generic, slightly cheaper version of spam!!
Koreans love their cheap knock-offs, and you can get anything over here from a plastic rolex to a Chanel bag for a fiver. My favourite so far has been the chocolate, Febemo Mocher, and, of course, Cham (it’s like Spam for Chavs).
So I’m sure you can imagine my suprise when Jenny my director presented me with the very same Spam gift set, complete with a spam gift bag, two cans of spam, two bottles of vegetable oil, and one can of ‘luncheon meat’, which I can only assume is the generic version of Cham, apparently unworthy of a name at all!!
I’ve enclosed a picture for you, naturally!
I’d better finish there cos this email is incredibly long and mostly boring!
tons of love
Maya – sponsored by Cham.
p.s. – Whats Brown and Sticky?

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