Tuesday, May 05, 2009

EFL help from Beijing - more toys from China

A grandmother in England bought a set of alphabet blocks for her 9-month-old grandchild. The blocks had pictures and words on them. But when she watched her little Millie playing with the blocks she noticed something was amiss. It turns out yacht was spelled yatch and upon further inspection she found that umbrella was spelled umberlla.
"There are only 26 words on these toys," said Toulson, from Dukinfield in Greater Manchester. "You'd think they'd be able to get them all right."
Apparently grandma has never been to China or any of its former colonial possessions. She's never had a glass of Cock in a nowly open kaffer. Never seen a middle-aged woman happily wearing a shirt that says, 'Rape me' or bought gear from such famous sporting goods companies as Mike, Puna or Abibas. It could have been worse - this was just a bit of Chinese wordplay.

I for one think it's nice to hear about a children's toy manufactured in China that doesn't choke a toddler to death or give them lead poisoning or give off low levels of radiation. I mean if you're looking towards China to help teach your kids English then you kind of deserve what you paid for. Finding Chinese toys that don't choke, burn, drown, drop, or trap kids is far more important than getting the English right. Maybe they've learned their lessons after poisoning all those kids with pseudo-milk products last summer.

But I doubt it - they probably just got lucky this time.

Now let's open the Chinglish floodgates, shall we?

Don't even get me started about what is done to English grammar in these parts...

I would heartily recommend the blog, Who's talking about Chinglish. If that's still not enough and you would like some more, check out the Mail Online's Chinglish! Hilarious examples of signs lost in translation or these at ABC News, or Travelpod's Marry Christmas to All - Chinglish in China.

This last one was probably on purpose; you could ask Mr. Ma to be sure. He seems to be in charge of this sort of thing these days...and by that I only mean that he used to be an English teacher himself so he'd probably be a good person to ask about this type of errata. Don't get your baby-blue panties in a knot - that's all I meant.

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