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Learning English 25 October 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Life.
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Of all the things you need to learn when learning a new language, would this be your first choice?

Foot in Mouth Disease 4 September 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Height, Travelling.
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I sometimes forget that not everyone has a mental block, and some people just speak before they think. This is probably the weirdest, yet one of the funniest conversations I have had about my height.

Standing in line at the airport in Sydney, waiting to board my flight, I hear a female voice behind me go;

“You two would have really tall children!”

Choosing to ignore the comment, seeing that this is the last leg of a rather long journey, I smell and I am tired, so in no mood to engage, smile and nod, I don’t even turn around. Some days it’s just not on.

She awkwardly adds;

“Unless you are related!?”

This one being new, we both turn around and start laughing. The person the lady is with is cracking up, and sort of apologetically shakes his head. We laugh, and turn forward again. She, however is on a roll;

“Are you related?”

We laugh some more, and tell her no.

“So you would have tall babies! … Not that you have to have babies or anything…”

Laughingly, we go through to our seats, incredulous. Yet as she walks past to go to her seat, she yet again talks to us, saying;

“Sorry, I wasn’t trying to be rude, I just meant that you were both tall and if you were to have children, they would also be…”

At which stage the guy she was with, still laughing, coaxed her onwards down the aisle away from us.

I’ve never met anyone quite that insistent on telling me I am tall before.

Recommended for drinking 19 July 2010

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Via the Language Log, I found this little gem:

Now, if that doesn’t make you feel like sake, nothing will.

But it also reminded me of a similar wine review I found in an Indian restaurant here in Hanoi. The picture I have is still on my phone, and was never transferred to my computer, so no love there. But the transcript is as follows:

“Our Santiago Merlot display a ruby colour, with strawberry, raspberry, and licorice scents, as well as hints of methol. On the well balanced. This is a young and light varietal, which allows itself to be tested, ideal (no full stop)”

Lovely. I will have the methol, please.

Language Tongue Twisters 14 May 2010

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Speaking other languages often makes for funny situations. Some of them are just funny because you cannot get your meaning across. Others are funny because of what you say instead of what you meant to say.

This meant that while in France (learning French) I managed to proclaim that I am unable to swallow doctors, when in fact I tried to convey that I have trouble swallowing pills.

Or that time where (still in France) I told my class mate that I have a sore chicken, instead of a sore shoulder.

Pretty funny, but relatively tame. (I was also 15).

Except recently, when I went to the local store and asked for a can of coke. I always try to speak Vietnamese to the shop owners, and they totally love and encourage me.

So they have been very kind and flexible with my lack of language skills.

Not remembering the word for can, but remembering that any type of container has always been called box before, I ask for a box of coke. Not wrong, but not correct.

The guy smiles, and corrects me.

Next time, I cannot for the life of me remember what he said ‘can’ was in Vietnamese, so again, I ask for a box of coke. Sure, he says, and again corrects my Vietnamese.

Third time lucky, I think. However, I am a very visual person, and I normally need to have words spelt out to me am I to remember them. So I walk into the shop and ask for (what I believe to be) a CAN of coke. (Notice the slight tinge of pride in my voice as I manage to ask this).

The entire shop (shop keepers, customers, everyone) literally burst out laughing, and can nearly not keep themselves upright as they give me a can of coke. They are laughing so much, that they don’t even muster the straight face needed to correct me.

Back at HQ, I consult someone to find out what I had asked for and what was so funny about it.

Turns out I had asked for a vagina of coke.


Humourous iPad 22 April 2010

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The New Yorker, whose RSS feed I only recently subscribed to, managed to make me laugh out loud today (and not in the ‘lol’ kind of way, but I actually laughed) due to it’s list of “Uncommon Complaints about the iPad”.

It has some beauties (and unexpected funnies) in there:

Norwegian Comedienne 4 March 2010

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Anne-Kat Hærland has been famous for being one of the funniest Norwegian comedians since before I left Norway 8 years ago. And the kick-off to her latest show (Big Bang) had me grinning from ear to ear.

She set out to show a man – in this case her comedy partner in the show, Dagfinn Lyngbø – how painful childbirth is. The results are lots of swearing on the part of Dagfinn (swearing is far more acceptable in Norway than in other cultures, and so there is lots of it on television) and quite an entertaining show.

Now, they do not by far pertain to be scientific here, so feel free to disregard the ‘evidence’ – it’s just meant to be funny.

They take Dagfinn to a Norwegian hospital early in the morning. The idea is that they will hook him up to this machine that simulates contractions, and have him experience the feeling of childbirth (without actually passing a child through his private parts). On the way to the hospital, they are talking about giving birth, and how Dagfinn’s own mother experienced it. He confesses to having no idea, so Anne-Kat suggests that he should call her.

“Mum, I am on my way to give birth.”


After explaining the exercise, he asks his mother what childbirth was like for her.

“It (add expletive) hurts!”

So, the day is off to a good start. But the really funny part is that they brought in a test-case, a young lady who has three children. They hook her up to the machine first, and while she is lying there talking about the contractions (that feels like very light contractions (20 milliampere), now it feels like labour is starting (40 mA) and this feels like labour (60 mA)) she is clearly not 100% comfortable, but she is capable of clear, defined speech.

When poor old Dagfinn is brought in and hooked up to the same machine, he is clearly struggling with 20 mA, and hilarity ensues when it is subsequently turned up to 40 and 60 mA. The poor man is swearing and moaning, and clearly in a whole lot of discomfort. And Anne-Kat is not someone to hold back, so she is cruel enough to laugh and make fun of him the whole way through.

He does have a nice comeback, though, when Anne-Kat says at the end;

“I think you can agree that there is nothing men have to go through that is as painful as childbirth, then?”

“I think it hurts almost as much as a kick in the nuts!”

If you speak Norwegian, have a look at this article, and there is a video there you can look at as well. I have no idea what childbirth is like, but it was a funny skit anyways.