Repost: The Joy of Swearing in a Non-Native Language (by Corey Heller)

The Joy of Swearing in a Non-Native Language

Cf. original piece at “http://www.multilingualliving.com/2010/08/31/the-joy-of-swearing-in-a-non-native-language/

by COREY · 30 COMMENTS

By Corey Heller
Photo Credit: Ben and Kaz Askins

Today was not a day that I am proud of.  I yelled at my German husband in front of my multilingual kids.  And, as always, I regretted it later.

My patient husband kept calm – which made me even more annoyed.

Is that a German trait, that staying-calm-in-an-argument trait?  That trait that can drive me up the wall?  My fiery response to it (inherited from my Irish grandparents) was a clear indication that I still haven’t mastered that trait – not yet, at least.

Let’s hope my children inherit my husband’s calm genes.  Please!

The thing that I find fascinating is that when I lose my temper and start to yell, it is usually in German, my non-native language.  Rarely do I launch into a host of deeply familiar American exclamations.

Instead, I automatically turn to my limited, yet carefully selected, set of German vocabulary – words that I have chosen over the years due to the way they so comfortably roll off my tongue.

Non-native speaker tip: Don’t use swear words in a heated argument that you (1) haven’t learned well enough to use comfortably and (2) you can’t pronounce correctly.  I can say this from experience.  The impact is less than stellar when a swear word you utter makes your opponent burst out laughing (at you) because he can’t figure out what you just said.  “Did you just say I’m a pair of binoculars?  Bwahhhahhahh!”

Memorable.  But definitely not satisfying.  Not in the least.

I enjoy swearing in German.  It feels sophisticated compared to the English equivalents.  It gives me a certain sense of satisfaction, primarily because the words feel so very empowering and forceful yet not crude and obscene.  Those German words just roll of the tongue with such slithering pleasure:

“Verdammt, noch mal!”  Doesn’t that sound so much more appealing and mature than “damn it all”?  Course, I have to admit that I do enjoy a good “bloody hell” from time to time while watching those fantastic British mysteries on our local PBS TV station!  What sophistication.  Such refinement.

“Scheiße!”  Those two syllables make our English “shit” seem so very vulgar.  The smoothness of the “sch,” the openness of the “eye” and the soft ending of the “eh” is so very soothing to the ear, is it not?

Even “Idiot” in German has a kind of low, casualness with that lovely long-o sound.  Contrast that with its sharp, edgy American-English cousin.  Anything that ends in “ut” like the American pronunciation must be relegated to the compost heap.

Obviously, I didn’t pick up the worst of the worst when it comes to German swear words (thanks to my clean-talking husband and his friends).  My repertoire of German swear words is limited to a few targeted general ones that I most likely learned from German television.

The fact that I lack a personal association with these words makes them feel so much less offensive – almost pleasant in my mind.  In fact, being that I learned them during a very exciting, joyful time in my life (those first euphoric years with my husband-to-be), it is no surprise that they hold with them many pleasant memories (even though some were used in that same joyful context against that same wonderful person – let’s just blame it on that same Irish blood).

Even though I try never to use swear words in front of my bilingual children, there are times when they slip out.  Purely by accident.  I swear!

I have even been known to use an occasional English swearword in front of my children now and then. However, I aim to stick with German exclamations: they are so much easier to get away with when my kids repeat them in front of English-speaking community members.  I can just pretend like my kids said something extremely cute and praiseworthy: “What did he just say?” they ask.   My response: “Oh nothing, really.  Just ‘darn it,’ that’s all.”  (Inward chuckle.)

I have been asked once or twice by my kids to please define a given swear word in English.  As I usually only use German swear words, I always respond with an honestly shocked response: “What!?  Where did you learn that word!?”

To which my children answer matter of factly, “From you Mama.”

“Really?  Are you sure?  From me?”

Scheiße, verdammt noch mal!

On the rare occasions that you lose your temper, which language do you prefer?  Do your children ever use swear words?  If so, do find that swear words in one language have less of an impact than in your other languages?  Are your children allowed to use words in one language but not their translation in the other language(s)?

Corey Heller is the founder of Multilingual Living and the Editor-In-Chief/Publisher ofMultilingual Living MagazineMultilingual Living is the place where she shares her knowledge about raising multilingual and multicultural children. Corey, an American, and her German husband live in Seattle where they raise and homeschool their three children, ages 12, 10 and 8, in German and English.
CLICK HERE to send her an email!

Repost: The benefits of being bilingual

The Benefits of Being Bilingual

http://www.englishschoolnyc.com/772638/2013/10/29/the-benefits-of-being-bilingual.html
[LAST UPDATED 3 MONTHS AGO]

Did you know that over half of the world’s population is bilingual? This statistic may come as less of a surprise if you consider that there are nearly 7,000 languages spoken around the world! Being bilingual offers a wealth of benefits, from better brain function to improved job prospects. If you live in a vibrant place like New York City, being bilingual can even make it easier for you to meet new people. If you are considering learning a second language as an adult, it’s important to enroll in language classes designed for adult learners and immerse yourself in the language. Once you become fluent, you can maintain and improve your language abilities by taking classes, watching movies, and conversing in your new language. To find out more about the benefits of bilingualism, check out this infographic from Bluedata International Institute, an ESL school in New York City. Please share this infographic with your friends and family who are also hoping to learn English or any other second language!

The-Benefits-of-Being-Bilingual-Infographic-01

The bitterness of poor quality remains…

Gentile Cliente, se per i Suoi progetti sta cercando traduttori con “migliore tariffa/tariffa più bassa” , si ricordi sempre che: “Il retrogusto amaro di una scarsa qualità rimarrà a lungo, anche dopo che il dolce sapor di un prezzo ridotto sarà stato dimenticato”. [Ditto!]

Translator Fun

Here’s an useful quote to use with your clients:

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

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Repost (Part One): Ten literary quotes we all get wrong (The Telegraph online)

Ten literary quotes we all get wrong

(Cf. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/10556095/Ten-literary-quotes-we-all-get-wrong.html)

There’s nothing elementary about it, my dear Watson. And does a rose by any other name really smell as sweet?

By 

12:06PM GMT 21 Jan 2014

 

The ten literary quotations below have passed into common parlance because they encapsulate human truths or sum up much-loved characters. The only problem is, in most cases, nobody actually wrote them…

1. Elementary, my dear Watson

There are plenty of ‘elementaries’ and a few ‘my dear Watsons’ across Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes oeuvre, but the phrase ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’ never appears.

Really puts the time they got the Tube lines mixed up on Sherlock into perspective, doesn’t it?

2. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

The line from William Congreve’s 1697 poem The Mourning Bride is: Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.

It’s a shame to lose the first half of the couplet in the misquotation, but the addition of ‘hath’ lends a charming Olde Worlde feel.

3. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

This one is always attributed to Voltaire, but actually came from a 20th-century biography of him by the English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

The author was summarising the philosopher’s attitude, but the first person pronoun led many to take it for a direct quote.

4. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

The witches at the opening of Macbeth say “Double, double, toil and trouble”.

It’s surprising anyone still gets this wrong, considering the correct line was cemented in the cultural imagination by the 1993 Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen TV movie which took the quotation as its title.

5. Methinks the lady doth protest too much

The real line, spoken by Queen Gertrude in Hamlet, is “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

It’s a small error compared to the title of the Alanis Morrisette song inspired by the play: “Doth [sic] I Protest Too Much”.

6. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet

The last of our trio of Shakespearean entries, the above is now commonly used but was never said in so many words by Juliet (in Romeo and Juliet).

The actual quote is, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

7. Please, Sir, can I have some more?

In Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, the orphan rises from the table, advances towards the master and says: “Please, sir, I want some more.” The same line that is used in the 1968 musical film Oliver!, so the misquote remains unattributed.

8. Theirs but to do or die

Lord Tennyson’s poem Charge of the Light Brigade reads, Theirs not to make reply/Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do and die, but the line is often misquoted by people thinking of a ‘do or die’ mentality.

9. Shaken, not stirred

Ian Fleming’s James Bond asks a barman in Dr No for “A medium Vodka dry Martini – with a slice of lemon peel. Shaken and not stirred”. A single word out, then – but the line “shaken, not stirred” has now been used so often in the Bond films that it’s become ingrained in our image of Bond.

10. Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink

In Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the sailor describes his time stranded at sea: Water, water, everywhere/And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.

The line is regularly misquoted in popular culture, but nowhere quite as spectacularly as by Homer Simpson who, finding himself stranded on a dinghy in the open sea in one episode, exclaims: “Water, water everywhere so let’s all have a drink!”

READ: TEN FILM QUOTES WE ALL GET WRONG

Translators be like.

This is how I feel about being a translator.

It’s like… there were three of you. 

 

1. The Assignment

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2. Sudden self-awareness 

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3. The Deadline

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4. The Whole Process

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5. The Aknowledgement

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6. The Final Effort

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7. The Delivery

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“The power of three will set us free” –Charmed

Summon all your doppelgängers to you!


[A huge thank you to Nina Dobrev for being the Guest Star on my post
and
for playing Elena Gilbert, Katherine Pierce/Katerina Petrova and Amara
in the tv series The Vampire Diaries]