Re: CSP Challenge
Bob Nieland (rgn@MCS.NET)
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 20:59:42 -0500
At 03:56 PM 8/8/96 EDT, you wrote:
>Since we have been having fun with the English Language lately, I decided
>to forward the following items to the list on that topic. Hope you all enjoy
>them. I will forewarn you that if you are easily offended by items with a
>somewhat sexual content then you may want to skip item 2 which covers
>-------------- ITEM 1, THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE---------------
>Let's face it -- English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor
>ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins
>weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies
>while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
>We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that
>quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is
>neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
>And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce
>and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural
>of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2
>Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you
>comb thru the annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch
>of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
>If teachers taught, why didn't preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats
>vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you
>bote your tongue?
>Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum
>for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play
>at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and
>feet that smell?
>How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise
>guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a
>lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and
>cold as hell another?
>Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent?
>Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or
>experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was
>combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who
>ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?
>You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can
>burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and
>in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.
>English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity
>of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why, when
>the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out,they are
>invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up
>this essay, I end it.
>-----------ITEM 2, INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATIONS-------------
> Cracking an international market is a goal of most growing
> corporations. It shouldn't be that hard, yet even the big
> multi-nationals run into trouble because of language and
> cultural differences. For example...
> The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as
> Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not
> discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the
> phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse
> stuffed with wax" depending on the dialect. Coke then researched
> 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close
> phonetic equivalent, "ko-kou-ko-le," which can be loosely
> translated as "happiness in the mouth."
> In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan "Come alive
> with the Pepsi Generation" came out as "Pepsi will bring your
> ancestors back from the dead."
> Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin'
> good" came out as "eat your fingers off."
> The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem - Feeling Free,"
> got translated in the Japanese market into "When smoking Salem,
> you feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty."
> When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South
> America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it
> won't go." After the company figured out why it wasn't
> selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the
> Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped. The
> company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for
> "tiny male genitals". Ford pried all the nameplates off and
> substituted Corcel, which means horse.
> When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its
> ads were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and
> embarrass you." However, the company mistakenly thought the spanish
> word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Instead the ads said that "It wont
> leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."
> An American t-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the
> spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of the
> desired "I Saw the Pope" in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed "I Saw the
> Chicken-man Frank Perdue's slogan, "It takes a tough man to
> make a tender chicken," got terribly mangled in another Spanish
> translation. A photo of Perdue with one of his birds appeared on
> billboards all over Mexico with a caption that explained "It takes a
> hard man to make a chicken aroused."
> Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John products in French
> Canada as Gros Jos before finding out that the phrase, in
> slang, means "big breasts." In this case, however, the name
> problem did not have a noticeable effect on sales.
> Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name
> of a notorious porno mag.
> In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the
> name into Schweppes Toilet Water.
> Japan's second-largest tourist agency was mystified when it
> entered English-speaking markets and began receiving requests for
> unusual sex tours. Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon
> Tourist Company changed its name.
> In an effort to boost orange juice sales in predominantly
> continental breakfast eating England, a campaign was
> devised to extoll the drink's eye-opening, pick-me-up
> qualities. Hence the slogan, "Orange juice. It gets your
> pecker up."
>Bruce K. Rosen
>Manager, Software Standards Group
>National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
>Bldg. NN820, Room 562
>Gaithersburg, MD 20899
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City