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Off topic: Russians imitating English
Thread poster: Helmet80
Helmet80
Local time: 18:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 20, 2005

In the UK we say jokingly that if you want to sound like you're speaking Russian, you make it appear as if you're speaking backwards (give it a go!) Does it sound like English if you speak Russian 'backwards' to monolingual Russian speakers?

Just a thought


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 20:52
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
No Jan 20, 2005

Mark Salisbury wrote:
Does it sound like English if you speak Russian 'backwards' to monolingual Russian speakers?


No, it doesn't.


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Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:52
German to Polish
+ ...
The originator of this idea should see a doctor asap. Jan 20, 2005

No further txt.

Andrzej


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
This is Greek to me Jan 21, 2005

Mark Salisbury wrote:
In the UK we say jokingly that if you want to sound like you're speaking Russian, you make it appear as if you're speaking backwards (give it a go!) Does it sound like English if you speak Russian 'backwards' to monolingual Russian speakers?


I would be very much surprised. I think this is just a variation on the theme of "It's Greek to me". When someone is swearing in my language (Afrikaans), we say that he's speaking French. Obviously we don't mean that he sounds French, but for some reason someone who started it all wanted to use a relatively unknown language as a euphemism for "swearing". The same goes for many other situations.

Do the Greek say "It's English to me"?


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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 19:52
German to English
Just a thought ? Jan 21, 2005

Mark Salisbury wrote:

In the UK we say jokingly that if you want to sound like you're speaking Russian, you make it appear as if you're speaking backwards (give it a go!) Does it sound like English if you speak Russian 'backwards' to monolingual Russian speakers?



Mark, you've got a point there, if you wear a hat maybe nobody will notice.

I think your posting is a display in bad taste.

sylvie


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Carley Hydusik  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:52
Russian to English
+ ...
Note to Mark Jan 21, 2005

Mark,

I believe there was a serious misunderstanding regarding the email I sent you about this string. I apologize and meant no offense at all; to the contrary.

Best wishes,
Carley

Dear Moderators,
I am posting this here because I received an email requesting me not to send any further emails to the address via ProZ, but I wanted to respond and didn't know how else to proceed.


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Berni Armstrong  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:52
Member
English
+ ...
Light hearted banter or a serious insult? Jan 21, 2005

One of the problems native speakers often encounter is that non-natives often miss the subleties behind an utterance.(*) For instance, the UK variant of the International Language often contains comic elements (irony, double entendre, etc) that can easily be misinterpreted by other native speakers (US or Canada, etc), let alone foreign speakers - even those with an excellent level of English.


I am sure Mark was being light-hearted in asking this question, rather than being serious. Personally, I had never heard of Mark's "Speak Backwards to Speak Russian", but when English people don't understand a foreigner we often say "It's all Greek to me" or else "They're speaking Double Dutch" (the latter is also used when the speaker is speaking English, but the meaning of what they are communicating is unclear or confusing). In neither case are we openly criticizing the languages used in the expressions.

Here in Catalonia I know bands that sing in "Wushy-wushy" - which is basically nonsense, based on the sound patterns of English. One local band are so good at this that I find myself straining to understand lyrics, which are in fact improvised rubbish. The majority of the listeners do not speak English and jsut take it for granted that the singer is in fact singing in real English.

I think we are mature enough here to be able to discuss this as a fun off-topic thread and not automatically assume offence or take it, aren't we?


(*) On the page this can be even worse!


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Levan Namoradze  Identity Verified
Georgia
Local time: 22:52
Member (2005)
English to Georgian
+ ...
Now, sit back Jan 21, 2005

and relax! There exist a lot of similar wordings in all languages. I don't think we should be in earnest about such terms. For instance, Russians use to say 'Êèòàéñêàÿ ãðàìîòà' (same as 'Greek to me') and that means 'Chinese grammar'. Now, what about Chinese? Should they feel offended? I hope, no.

[Edited at 2005-01-21 21:38]


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 11:52
French to English
+ ...
it's Hebrew! Jan 23, 2005

to Samuel:

In France, they don't think Greek is problematic. They say, "it's Hebrew!"


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:52
German to Italian
+ ...
swearing in "French" Jan 27, 2005

Samuel Murray-Smit wrote:

When someone is swearing in my language (Afrikaans), we say that he's speaking French. Obviously we don't mean that he sounds French, but for some reason someone who started it all wanted to use a relatively unknown language as a euphemism for "swearing".



Could it be simply an ironical comment? That is, if I'm not wrong French has a reputation for being a refined, romantic etc. language, and that's probably the reason why, at least in English, you say "pardon my French" when you swear. My 2 cents


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