Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It’s a tough language.

And I’m not referring to German or French,  or any of the dozen or so languages or dialects here in Europe.  I’m talking about English.

Even (supposed) English speaking individuals seem to have issues with the language,  and I’ll readily admit that I didn’t really grasp the concept of something called “Grammar”  until I started learning a second and then third language.  

I recall Mrs. Egan trying to enlighten us in grade six English.  Somehow it wasn’t making any sense.  Probably because there are no longer clear differences between nominative, accusative, dative or subjunctive usages in English (to mention just a few) which help to make it crystal clear just what the speaker would or should be trying to say.

I’ve probably forgotten more than I ever learned,  in terms of terminology at least,  but having used it for roughly 50+ years,  a feller just knows what is right and what isn’t. 

So I have another assignment.  


Well,  it seems having the little pamphlets to hand out to visitors is now some sort of “thing”  these days at the various production locations of The Company that Cannot be Named.   Of course,  since Travelling Companion was in the Czech Republic Monday and yesterday,  she dutifully brought home one of these pamphlets so that Muggins here can give it the once over.

Of course,  I can’t exactly take a picture and post it here,  since that would defeat the clandestine nature of calling it The Company that Cannot be Named.   However,  in a paraphrasing sort of way,  I’ll give you an idea of what is on the front cover.  While gritting my teeth.

“Welcome at (TCTCBN)

in ….(the Czech location)

Please, follow safety instructions showed down below.”



*quietly weeping*

Can’t we even get past the cover page?  

The one from Serbia was two type written pages of corrections,  but at least the cover page was well, adequate. 

Here are a couple more snippets.

Under the heading, “Orientation Map”  (shouldn’t it be “Site Map”?)

“Here you are".  (That one made me chuckle)  As opposed to,  “You are HERE.”

Say “Here you are” a few times to yourself.  You’ll laugh,  I guarantee it.

And then there’s one of my favourites, “If you get from the sight of the guide, please find and go to the nearest Gatehouse (l or ll ), and wait for his arrival.”


The thing is,  you know what they’re trying to say,  but something just ain’t raight.  This is when a liberal arts education can be a mixed blessing.  I just can’t leave this stuff alone.

The report is that,  after the last pamphlet was given the once over by Yours Truly,  Travelling Companion handed over the corrections and said,  “The next time you go to print,  put in these changes.”  

I can only hope.


I’d better get busy.


Here’s something for you to chew on.


Apart from the fact that it’s blistering hot out,  would you be willing to sit between two construction sites to have your coffee?   I do realise that a lot of people have their regular stop/hang-out/whatever,  and sitting in a cafe every day has never been my “thing”,  but even if it were, (note use of subjunctive?) having construction  on either side of me would put me over the edge I’m afraid.


That’s the only snippet of life in Vienna that I presently have to offer.


Here’s a little language snippet for you to chew on,  (aren’t you excited?) showing how changing just ONE LETTER in a word,  can completely alter the meaning of a sentence in German.

Sie tanzte vor ihm.  (dative)

She danced in front of him.

Sie tanzte vor ihn. (accusative)

She danced right up to him.


Cool,  huh? 

OK fine,  maybe not.



Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.




  1. Our youth have a real problem with proper English usage. With all the texting and abbreviations and made up words, they don't have a clue how to use English. Hope they make your changes. Makes for easier reading. Especially if one gets out of sight of the guard.

  2. interesting when the English language is translated so literallyit looks and sounds weird to those of us who know it..

  3. I have read instruction manuals that were obviously printed in another country, some times very hard to understand. But usually can figure it out.

  4. The worst is if some genius thinks he can translate by using an automatic translation webpage. Most likely NOBODY is able to make sense of such cr*p.

  5. When you buy furniture from the Ikea Store, the instructions are in the form of little fat characters drawn like stick men assembling the stuff in the correct order....No words anywhere...


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.