English is a troublesome language

Oh, for a camera in my hand at the right time… Yesterday I was pulled up at a set of lights with a motorbike rider in front of me. So I started to read the back of his t-shirt.

There was a whole list of “Dont’s” obviously aimed at young adults, scribbled in red print on a black background. Probably locally manufactured.

It started off pretty much as one would expect:

No drugs
No smoking
No drinking
No lying

The next one though had me smiling at someone’s trouble with the English language:

No robbering

It was the next, though, that had me doubled up over the steering wheel with laughter, as I don’t think it said quite what they meant. Unfortunately after that, the lights changed and I never did get to read the rest of the list. Pity, I am sure there must have been some more wonders there. And the one that I thought was so funny?

No free sex


English is a troublesome language — 5 Comments

  1. Heh, fun shirt.

    The depressing angle is that several of our local delinquents who pass through our doors at work have about the same level of English, even though it is (allegedly) their first language. :

  2. Not a blog comment, but I have just finished the first two books in the Isles of Glory Trilogy. Have enjoyed them very much, although I couldn’t believe you would kill off all those Dustells. Even though you warned the reader, I still didn’t expect it to be quite so bad. At least Ruarth is alive. Yes, I have started The Tainted. I want to kick some of those male Krells by the way.

  3. Back to the subject of the blog, there are quite a lot of people in the North Americas who’s language skills don’t go beyond the level of the T shirt either.

  4. Speaking of Manglish (mangled english), there was a story about Coca-Cola’s entry into the Chinese market back in the 80’s. Their slogan at the time was “Coke adds life”. When this was translated into Mandarin the nearest they could get was equivalent to “Coke brings your ancestors back to life”. Needless to say they had to change the slogan for the Chinese market to avoid confusion and potential lawsuits.

  5. My favourite translation has to be this variation on the ‘Do No Disturb’ door hanger we found in a hotel in Northern Vietnam: Don’t Bother.

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