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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Danger! Inhibition astraddle transgress

I've always been a fan of Chinglish, the language that the Chinese are trying to crack down on ahead of next year's Olympics; they think it makes them look foolish. I enjoy the Zen spin it brings to public signs and spaces. Compare it to this country, where CCTV cameras have begun shouting at people telling them to pick their litter up and plastic bags tell you to 'Keep Away from Children'.

Here are some examples.

Question Authority (information point).

Danger! Inhibition astraddle transgress (no entry).

Bake the cell phone (hand-dryer).

And so on. A quick google search also turns up 'Spread to fuck the fruit', which I gather is some kind of mistransliteration of the word 'preserve'.

Chinglish menus are another matter. I'm currently looking at one that features 'Big bowl fresh immense miscellaneous germ', 'Big bowl white immerses three pill' and 'Cowboy Leg Beautiful Pole'.

Ah, the ignominious status of pidgin languages. The impossibility of taking an interest in them without appearing condescending, or worse. I'm obviously such a racist.

Though you should hear my 'Englese'. The Chinese are truly a tolerant people.

PS Apparently there is a good linguistic reason why the f-word turns up in Chinglish, which I've read and already forgotten. Allow me to put some more f-word related examples in the comments stream.

1 comment:

puthwuth said...

All from restaurant menus:

Gold silver lotus root silk fries shrimp fucks.

Benumbed hot vegetables fries fuck silk.

Fuck the salt (beautiful pole) duck chin.

Every form rape.