Steve Dix...Comedian?

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24.03.2006 07:00 - Language Comparison

It's time to look at some of the major languages of the European Union. Understanding the way another language works can help you understand the way that people think. Understanding how people think means that you can avoid unintentionally upsetting them, a common problem in the EU.

French, for example, is considered to be the language of love. This is because french sounds very soft and erotic. Insulting people can be a problem in French, because it sounds so lovely. Try telling a non-french-speaking girl "Vas faire foutre a la vache, putain le merdé!"[1], and they'll love you for it. To quote "Meringovian" from "Matrix II", "It's like wiping your arse with silk".

German, however, is exactly the opposite. This is the language of Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch, and is full of sadistic phrases, such as "Ich liebe dich... nicht!"[2] The effect of this can be seen by watching "The Terminator" on DVD and flipping through the different languages. In English : "I'll be back". In German : "Ich komm wieder Zurück", but in French, "Je rein". Not very menacing in comparison with the two others, is it?

Italian is not spoken. Italian is sung. Italian is the language of Opera, for every single word is sung. The language, the language, the language of Opera, for every single word is sung. Sung, sung, sung, sung, every single word is sung.[3] Welsh is also sung, but is an envious language. It really wants to be Italian, but it's never quite got to the opera house. The best it can manage is a weekend in a tent at the Eisteddfodd in Llangollen.

Polish can be extremely confusing, especially in it's written form, which seems to suffer from an extreme shortage of vowels. There is a reason for this - I've worked it out. Due to the expense of information technology in Poland, many Poles save money by buying second-hand keyboards. These keyboards, sourced on trips into Germany, are usually broken and need repair - and the most commonly damaged keys are the vowels.

I'll leave you with one final thought. In England, Rice Krispies go "Snap! Crackle! Pop!". In French, they go "Pif Paf Puf!", and in Germany, "Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!".

I can't wait to find out what they do in Poland, because it must sound fan-tastic.

 

[1] "Go and fuck a cow, you whore of shit" Don't try this in front of the French teacher, kids.
[2] "I love you....not!" (in fact, that's probably where the American phrase came from.
[3] If you don't understand this, look up a typical lyric from italian Opera.


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