Broken Spoken English - When A Polite Request May Inadvertently Be Rude

Posted at 22:21pm on 27th May 2009

Creative writing is not always what it seems! It is a temptation, sometimes, to put up on my blog some of the jokey e-mails that circulate, if for no other reason, than to give people a laugh. I have always resisted, however, on the grounds that this is not its purpose.

The inclusion today is somewhat different in that it comes into the realms of creative writing. Syntax and punctuation are largely to blame for the delightful errors that follow. So - with apologies to the unknown author, and to all foreigners who have the grace and the education to attempt to speak my language when I probably don't know a word of theirs - here goes.

Cocktail lounge, Norway:
LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR.

Doctors office, Rome:
SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.

Dry cleaners, Bangkok:
DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR THE BEST RESULTS.

In a Nairobi restaurant:
CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER.

On the main road to Mombassa, leaving Nairobi:
TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER, THIS ROAD IS IMPASSABLE.

On a poster at Kencom:
ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO WE CAN HELP.

In a City restaurant:
OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS.

In a cemetery:
PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES.

Tokyo hotel's rules and regulations:
GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED.

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.

In a Tokyo bar:
SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR THE LADIES WITH NUTS.

Hotel, Yugoslavia:
THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID.

Hotel, Japan:
YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY.

A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest:
IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.

Hotel, Zurich:
BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE.

Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?

Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:
WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS.

A laundry in Rome:
LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME.

Your Comments:

herbert
8th June 2009
at 6:59am

This reminds me of the Hoffnung piece on a letter from a
Tyrloean landlord (entitled French Widows on the Decca EP of 1968 -
origial recording 1958) which contained amongst other gems



I REGRET I AM NOT GOOD IN BATH BUT SUPERB IN BED

Mel Menzies
10th June 2009
at 5:14pm

Hi Herbert,

What can I say? Except that all foreigners making the slightest
attempt at speaking my language have my utmost admiration. I speak
next to nothing of theirs!

I recall, as a 13 year old on an exchange in France, trying to tell
my host family who were urging me to another helping of roast lamb
'no thank you, I'm full.' Their laughter floored me -
until I learned that 'je suis pleine' means 'I am
pregnant!'

Markus-Bierig
30th July 2009
at 3:59am

Great idea, but will this work over the long run?

kostenlos downloaden
16th August 2009
at 11:11pm

Great idea, thanks for this tip!

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