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Thread: Foreign phrases. AIB TEFL

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Foreign phrases. AIB TEFL

    Most foreign language courses focus first on learning a few stock phrases and then followed by learning vocabulary (usually lots of nouns). I have often questioned the wisdom behind this practce as it seems to me "where is the bathroom?" could be answered "located in the adjacent warehouse behind the crates labelled 'machine guns' by the south wall". I mean are you really going to understand the response?

    But at any rate the practice seems well established and I'm wondering what sort of phrase book Cyburbia might put together because it also occurs to me that the phrases tend to be tediously tied to things like asking where bathrooms are, asking direction to hotels and purchasing food, souvenier items and making change.

    What useful phrases do you think are not found in most foreign language pamphlets that really should be?

    Some of my suggestions:
    "Where is the LARP convention being held?"
    "Woman wilt thou lie with me?"
    "Where is the nearest free clinic?"

    Any other suggestions?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Most foreign language courses focus first on learning a few stock phrases and then followed by learning vocabulary (usually lots of nouns). I have often questioned the wisdom behind this practce as it seems to me "where is the bathroom?" could be answered "located in the adjacent warehouse behind the crates labelled 'machine guns' by the south wall". I mean are you really going to understand the response?

    But at any rate the practice seems well established and I'm wondering what sort of phrase book Cyburbia might put together because it also occurs to me that the phrases tend to be tediously tied to things like asking where bathrooms are, asking direction to hotels and purchasing food, souvenier items and making change.

    What useful phrases do you think are not found in most foreign language pamphlets that really should be?

    Some of my suggestions:
    "Where is the LARP convention being held?"
    "Woman wilt thou lie with me?"
    "Where is the nearest free clinic?"

    Any other suggestions?

    is there cat in this?
    what time do the bars close?
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    "Woman wilt thou lie with me?"
    In German and in French, you can ask "will you sleep with me?" ("Wilst du schlaft mit mir, bitte?"* and "Voullez vous couchez avec moi?" -- uh, that really means something more like 'will you bed down with me?') I imagine that phrase has a similar meaning in many languages.



    *Anyone whose German is better than mine, feel free to correct any grammatical mistakes I may have made.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    In German and in French, you can ask "will you sleep with me?" ("Wilst du schlaft mit mir, bitte?"* and "Voullez vous couchez avec moi?" -- uh, that really means something more like 'will you bed down with me?') I imagine that phrase has a similar meaning in many languages.



    *Anyone whose German is better than mine, feel free to correct any grammatical mistakes I may have made.
    This is somewhat nitpicky of me, but the German minor must come out from time to time to play.

    "Wollen Sie mit mir schlafen, bitte?" The term "du" refers to someone who's familiar to you, such as a family member, or a child, or an animal. I'm not sleeping with any of those!

    My disclamer: I'm not a very good speller in my native language, so I might be off on the German.
    The cookies are worth the drive

  5. #5
    maudit anglais
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    "Where can I get a copy of your Comprehensive Plan?"


    My brother and I had two phrases memorized when we went to Germany:

    "Would you like to go out with me?", and "How much does this cost?". I almost died laughing when my brother asked an elderly shopkeeper the former.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    The french word for sleep is "dormir," but yeah, the french tend to use "coucher" to say, "go to bed" (ex, Je me couche, "I am going to bed"). Coucher is also reflexive so you'd have to something like "Voulez-vous vous coucher" in that above phrase but I don't think it means what it does in english anyway. If you want to say that in french I suppose you could say "Veux-tu faire l'amour avec moi?"

  7. #7
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    The french word for sleep is "dormir," but yeah, the french tend to use "coucher" to say, "go to bed" (ex, Je m'couche, "I am going to bed"). Coucher is also reflexive so you'd have to something like "Voulez-vous vous coucher" in that above phrase but I don't think it means what it does in english anyway. If you want to say that in french I suppose you could say "Veux-tu faire l'amour avec moi?"
    So the old disco anthem "Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir" was grammatically incorrect?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus
    "Wollen Sie mit mir schlafen, bitte?" The term "du" refers to someone who's familiar to you, such as a family member, or a child, or an animal. I'm not sleeping with any of those!.
    That's interesting, the french switch to the informal after any more contact than a 30 second conversation with someone. Do the Germans cling to the formal except for people they know very well?

    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    So the old disco anthem "Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir" was grammatically incorrect?
    Heh, maybe ask la femme. But I don't see how you can drop the reflexion.

    Edit: oopse, could you combine these two?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    That's interesting, the french switch to the informal after any more contact than a 30 second conversation with someone. Do the Germans cling to the formal except for people they know very well?
    Having learned German from the safety of an American university classroom, my answer is yeah. I had a couple professors that spent considerable time in Germany, and they knew people that had friends that they had known all their lives and still refered to in the formal "Sie". I also heard one story from a professor that was living with a family when their teenage son came home all excited. Apparently, it was the first time that a person had refered to him in the formal!

    /100th post!
    The cookies are worth the drive

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus
    This is somewhat nitpicky of me, but the German minor must come out from time to time to play.

    "Wollen Sie mit mir schlafen, bitte?" The term "du" refers to someone who's familiar to you, such as a family member, or a child, or an animal. I'm not sleeping with any of those!

    My disclamer: I'm not a very good speller in my native language, so I might be off on the German.
    What little German I know, I learned from family, life-long family friends, etc. I get myself in trouble all the time using 'du' instead of 'sie'.

    Still: if you are going to have sex, I think you ought to speak "familiarly". What is wrong with these people??

  11. #11
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I've been waiting to use the favorite quote from Twain for a long time. Finally, a chance:

    Off-topic:
    A dog is "der Hund"; a woman is "die Frau"; a horse is "das Pferd"; now you put that dog in the genitive case, and is he the same dog he was before? No, sir; he is "des Hundes"; put him in the dative case and what is he? Why, he is "dem Hund." Now you snatch him into the accusative case and how is it with him? Why, he is "den Hunden." But suppose he happens to be twins and you have to pluralize him- what then? Why, they'll swat that twin dog around through the 4 cases until he'll think he's an entire international dog-show all in is own person. I don't like dogs, but I wouldn't treat a dog like that- I wouldn't even treat a borrowed dog that way. Well, it's just the same with a cat. They start her in at the nominative singular in good health and fair to look upon, and they sweat her through all the 4 cases and the 16 the's and when she limps out through the accusative plural you wouldn't recognize her for the same being. Yes, sir, once the German language gets hold of a cat, it's goodbye cat. That's about the amount of it.
    - Mark Twain's Notebook
    Je suis Charlie

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- Great quote. Also check out his essay (chapter of a travelog really), "The Awful German Language". http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/texts/twain.german.html

  13. #13
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Well back on topic before we get closed...
    I think that some phases that should be known are:

    “Will a good topical ointment take care of this rash?”
    “Mr. Wal-Mart Manager, can I get a raise?”
    “Wow, have I got the ‘Stan’s today”
    And my personal favorite “Yes, I will need 3 large Octopi for tonight’s hockey game”
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  14. #14
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    "Where can I get a copy of your Comprehensive Plan?"


    My brother and I had two phrases memorized when we went to Germany:

    "Would you like to go out with me?", and "How much does this cost?". I almost died laughing when my brother asked an elderly shopkeeper the former.
    A combination of the two questions could be humorous...."how much would it cost to go out with you?"
    so far the best one is dandy warhol's "is there cat in this"
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    "Do you have any examples of New Urbanism?"
    "Do you kill kittens?"

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    "I left my green card in my house"
    "What is this Social Security you speak of?"
    "I just want to get some money for my family in Mexico"

    Those are a few that come to mind.... ok, the illegal worker I pay a nickel the hour made this post.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    I can't believe these have been overlooked!

    "I will not buy this record, it is scratched"
    "I will not buy this tobacconist's, it is scratched."
    "My hovercraft is full of eels."
    "Do you want to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy?"
    "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? I am no longer infected."
    "You have beautiful thighs."
    "Drop your panties, Sir William, I cannot wait till lunchtime."
    "My nipples explode with delight"
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  18. #18
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    I can't believe these have been overlooked!

    "I will not buy this record, it is scratched"
    "I will not buy this tobacconist's, it is scratched."
    "My hovercraft is full of eels."
    "Do you want to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy?"
    "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? I am no longer infected."
    "You have beautiful thighs."
    "Drop your panties, Sir William, I cannot wait till lunchtime."
    "My nipples explode with delight"
    ah....yes....good, grasshopper.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Off-topic:
    I don't know if this is on topic, but it involves a foreign language and made an old classmate of mine break-out in laughter.

    You know the French word, canard, is for a duck? And here in the states, we sometimes use it to refer to a mistaken and confused belief. And you know the French for "pen name" is nom de plume?

    Well, one day driving home from a site visit for a project in Detroit, we were chatting about our projects. As a malaprop, I accidentally coined the term nom de canard. This was in reference to a false name I had jokingly said I would sign to a crappy plan I had drawn for studio and had to embarrassingly present to the jury.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Here are a few I can't believe no one has mentioned

    Where is the nearest beer/liquor store?

    Damn commie planner.

    Where can I buy khakis and a blue shirt?
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  21. #21
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    "Where is the nearest blood bank?"
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    "I'm tired of looking for my hat!"

    (my sister actually knows this one in 4 different languages. When she will ever use it, I'll never know... )

    And more realistic than funny: Where is the American Embassy located??
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  23. #23
    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Off-topic:
    I don't know if this is on topic, but it involves a foreign language and made an old classmate of mine break-out in laughter.

    You know the French word, canard, is for a duck? And here in the states, we sometimes use it to refer to a mistaken and confused belief. And you know the French for "pen name" is nom de plume?

    Well, one day driving home from a site visit for a project in Detroit, we were chatting about our projects. As a malaprop, I accidentally coined the term nom de canard. This was in reference to a false name I had jokingly said I would sign to a crappy plan I had drawn for studio and had to embarrassingly present to the jury.
    Off-topic:
    Does Maister know about this?


    Back on topic:
    "What's that smell?"
    "Which way to the nearest topless beach?"
    "How much beer can I buy for X pesos/rubles/pounds/lire/yen/kroner?"
    Je suis Charlie

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    "Where's the lae-fest?"

  25. #25
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    I can't believe these have been overlooked!

    "I will not buy this record, it is scratched"
    "I will not buy this tobacconist's, it is scratched."
    "My hovercraft is full of eels."
    "Do you want to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy?"
    "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? I am no longer infected."
    "You have beautiful thighs."
    "Drop your panties, Sir William, I cannot wait till lunchtime."
    "My nipples explode with delight"
    I was waiting for this and had predicted Mendelman as the one to post.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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