29.7.04

To English or not to English

As you may have noticed :-) I write this weblog in the strange and incomprehensible language. That is, incomprehensible to the vast majority of the mankind. The language is Czech – my mother tongue (well, not exactly, but I don't want to make things too complicated for the start). I decided to use Czech because it is, of course, easier for me, and because the blog was intended as strictly personal, with no aspirations to be read by accidental visitors. But this is Internet, man!; the accidental visitors are the integral part of the game. As early as after two weeks of operation, several people asked me (very politely) to consider publishing in English, at least partly.
They may be right. After all, is it OK and netiquette-compliant to use foreign language on the free service based in the U.S., fueled (presumably) by the money of American advertisers? I am not sure. Perhaps you have heard about the upheaval caused by too much Portuguese language on the Orkut; English-speaking people (in the case of Portuguese, I am English-speaking, too) complain about the communication they are excluded from. It seems to be logical and civilized to use the common language in the cyberspace as much as possible. – On the other hand, the Internet is international by the definition, and there will be always local communities using their languages; I am member of one of them. Therefore, I settled on the compromise: I'm going to use both languages, Czech more often, English will be preferred for unofficial news & comments from my home country and the Eastern Europe.
I have to admit that I don't like writing in English. It is my second foreign language and I don't feel myself comfortably enough in it. You know the people speaking with a foreign accent; what I do is writing with a foreign accent. In fact, the language I'm writing in is Czenglish: Czech English. It is the best approximation of the real English I'm able to produce. I don't expect you to appreciate the beauty of my style (which is really painful for me since it is just this I do expect from my Czech readers). I only hope you will understand a bit. It is like making love in skiing clothes and thick gloves. You never know what your partner feels. Or: what does your partner feel? Help me! But - you know what I mean. Perhaps there is some trend here: the collective language of the Internet is not just English but the bad English - the sort of English we (= we Czechs, Germans, Chinese, Portuguese etc.) speak and understand. Move over, Oxford.
KEYWORDS: English; Czech; lost in translation.

9 Comments:

Blogger richard said...

http://marketingterms.com/dictionary/blog/
Definition
blog
A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.
Information
A blog is often a mixture of what is happening in a person's life and what is happening on the Web, a kind of hybrid diary/guide site, although there are as many unique types of blogs as there are people.
People maintained blogs long before the term was coined, but the trend gained momentum with the introduction of automated published systems, most notably Blogger at blogger.com. Thousands of people use services such as Blogger to simplify and accelerate the publishing process.
Blogs are alternatively called web logs or weblogs. However, "blog" seems less likely to cause confusion, as "web log" can also mean a server's log files.
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blogger.com : directory
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Articles
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30/7/04 18:26  
Blogger richard said...

Let me send you a typical Czech contribution to English parts of your blog:

Two cops were walking down the Wenceslas square (in Prague, of course). And they met a penguin. "What should we do? - It's very simple - we will take him with us to our police station". They came to their commander in chief and they asked him what to do with this penguin. The commander cried: "You half-wits, you damned fools, it's clear, it's elementary - take him to the zoo !!". "Aye aye, sir" and they went out.
Next day the commander is walking down the Wenceslas square and suddenly he meets those two cops with the penguin. "You bloody bastards" he cries "haven't I ordered you yesterday to take him to the zoo?!". "Yess'r, yesterday we took him to the zoo. And today we are taking him to the cinema!".

"Good morning, sir!"
"G-g-good mor-mor-mornig!"
"Oh, you stammer! It's rather unpleasant, isn't it?"
"W-w-well, doesn't m-m-atter, e-e-everybody h-has h-his own p-p-peculiarity! S-s-stammering is m mine. What's t-the y-y-yours?"
"Don't know, I am normal in all possible aspects!"
"D-d-don't say it! F f for example - with w-w-which h-hand do you stir y-y-your coffee?"
"With my right hand, of course"
"Y-y-yes, that's it, y-y-ou see! M-m-most people s-s-stir their c-c-coffee with a t-t-teaspoon!".

Three men were waiting on a railway station. The train was coming. And one of them - an Irishman - said: "There he goes". The Englishman said: "There she goes". But the Scotsman said: "There it goes". Who was right? The Irishman, of course, because it was a male-train.

Once upon a time there was a computer with built-in programmes allowing translation between different languages. One day an excellent scientist came and ordered this computer to translate the sentence
"OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND"
to some foreign languages and then translate the result back into English. The job took the processor only a few seconds and then the computer displayed the result:
"INVISIBLE IDIOT".

This brings to mind the yarn about two fellows, who after a protracted evening of tippling, began to talk of going home. The drunker of the two, who had been recently married, began then to expound on the excellencies of his wife and to importune the other to accompany him home so that he might meet that estimable lady. With some trepidation because of the lateness of the hour he agreed to go but when they arrived at the house and found it completely dark he demurred about entering:
„I´ll tell you what, Bill, I´ll go home this time. Come some other time, maybe. Your wife´s probably in bed anyway.“
„Tash a´right, Zhim. C´mon in ol´ man. Wife´s besh li´l lady y´ever shaw. She´ll be tickled to death t´shee ya.“
Entering, then, they clumped about the house hunting the „besh l´le lady“ and finally found her where they might have looked in the first place: in bed - and with her a rather frightened third gentleman. However, Bill´s hospitality, in his present state, was not in the least daunted:
„Thash a´ the same. She´sh the finest l´le lady in the worl´. C´mon, Zhim, ol´ man. We go down kitchen ´n´ make us cupsh o´ coffee.“
Arrived at the kitchen, however, Jim was not entirely at his ease. Said he, over their coffee:
„But, Bill, how about that guy upstairs in bed? What are you going to do about him?“
„Aw, thash a´right. Don´t bozer about him. T´hell with him. Lets ´m gesh his own cup o´coffee.“


Why the movie “TITANIC” didn't feature Bruce Willis?
Because he would rescue them all !!

30/7/04 18:44  
Blogger richard said...

Tento komentář byl odstraněn administrátorem blogu.

30/7/04 18:47  
Blogger richard said...

Sorry, ale nemám tušení, proč je tu můj příspěvek dvakrát!

30/7/04 18:51  
Anonymous Keff said...

richard: The last is the best :). Thanks for enlightening my boring half-term-holiday day wit a laughter :)).
And thanks aKB for providing a more-than-handful of thoughts.
Good luck to both of you, lads!

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