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In Maledicta Monitor, I published various examples of silly "politically correct" language castration, such as replacing the good word "Negro" with the inaccurate, polysyllabic, patronizing and stupid term "African American." -- But the absolutely most idiotic p.c. term ever was recently created by the school board of Oakland, Calif., to get Federal funds: "Black English," a social dialect earlier upgraded to "Ebonics" (from ebony + phonics) now is called -- thanks to mouse-brained educators and bureaucrats -- "Pan-African Communication Behaviors." (San Francisco Chronicle 26 Dec 1996: A-11). -- Mother: "Do my son speak Black English?" Oakland School Board: "No, Ma'am, he do engage in Pan-African Communication Behaviors."
English über Alles
Germans, Swedes, Netherlanders and many others adopt, conjugate and decline English computer terms, producing a language mishmash that could drive a teacher into an early grave. Examples from actual German web sites: Seine Homepage ist cool. (His home page is cool.) -- Sie hat bis zwei Uhr früh gesurft. (She surfed till two a.m.) -- Email mich! (Send me e-mail!) -- Meine Webseite hat ein neues Layout. (My web site has a new layout.) -- Du kannst das coole Programm vom Server downloaden. (You can download the cool program from the server.).
A professor's wife from the University of Missouri in Rolla visited Brazil last year. The locals, especially the women, giggled when she was wearing her T-shirt sporting ROLLA across her chest. In Brazilian Portuguese, rôla means "turtledove," but it's also slang for "dick" or "cock," as in chupa a minha rôla, "suck my cock." (Thanks, Jerry C. and Tom S.)
Jewish English or "Hebonics"
The following is making the rounds on the Net. I have made some improvements. Submitted by Dr. Lou B. et al.
The Encino (Calif.) School Board has declared Jewish English or "Hebonics" (from Hebrew + phonics) a second language. Backers of the move say the district is the first in the nation to recognize Hebonics as the language of many of America's Jews. Here are some descriptions of the characteristics of the language, and samples of phrases in Standard English and Jewish English.
1. Samples of Pronunciation Characteristics of Hebonics
2. Samples of Idiomatic Characteristics
3. Sample Usage Comparisons
The Letters I Get . . .
Sofisticated San Francisco Politicians
Both daily newspapers in San Francisco ran front-page headlines after S. F. district attorney Terence Hallinan punched developer Joe O'Donoghue, an old friend of his, at a party in a Marina District restaurant. O'Donoghue insisted the whole thing had been blown out of proportion. "I said to him, 'Fuck you, and shove your motherfucking job up your chickenshit little ass, you prick,'" O'Donoghue explained to a Bay Guardian reporter. "I would have hit him if he'd said it to me. I don't see the big fucking deal." (San Francisco Bay Guardian, 1 January 1997: 23. Submitted by Andrew C. -- Of course, the Chronicle and the Examiner refused to print the above quotation.)
Artificial Intelligence? Mein Gott! Mon Dieu! Gevalt!
A Swiss correspondent who works for "Caritas Schweiz" (a Swiss humanitarian organization) in Albania notes that the locals have mixed feelings about this group. They are happy to get Swiss help and supplies but also keep chuckling about their Albanian name, Karitas Zvicër, because Albanian kar means "prick" and kari "the prick." (Thanks, B. S. and Boris F.)
More about Machine Translations
Ellen Spertus (email@example.com) also experimented with automatic translations. She had her web page translated to French and back to English by computers. The result was, as expected, mainly gibberish.