Friday, October 2, 2009

Que? Quoi? Was? Cosa? Co?

A woman misusing a translation dictionary in a Paris cafe
Here's a strange revelation: I love, love, love it when people write or say things in English, and it's painfully obvious that English is not their first language. It tickles me. And not in a "I'm laughing at this person" sort of way, but more in a "You don't even know how adorable you sound" kind of way.
For example, I sponsor two children in other parts of the world, and I frequently get letters from them, updating me on their home life, schoolwork and just general info. Here's what the letters usually sound like (the sponsor company is Compassion International, a Christian organization, if the flowery religious prose doesn't clue you in):
"Greetings, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to you, my wonderful sponsor, Christy. I pray your family and life are well doing and that God finds you happy and glory today."
I love it.
Another example: I have some friends that I met during my travels abroad. One is from Finland, and since it's been a few years since she spent time in an English-speaking country, her English is not what it was several years ago when we were roomies in Oz. An email from her sounds like this:
"I took a movie of the kangaroo about it hopping. The other movie was about the kangaroo licking. It was good movie, and happy that I am having the Christmas at this time."
I know that others feel the same way I do. I once received an email from a man that ended with "Smiles at you!" and Jennie loved the phrase so much that she uses "Smiles at you!" as her signature on her texts. If I could name this love of ESLs, I would call it the Ricky Ricardo Syndrome.
And I am infected.

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