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English Gone Wrong: We Certainly Didn't Mean That!

English Gone Wrong:

We Certainly Didn’t Mean That!

 

By Alexander Brighton

 

Shakespir Edition

Copyright 2016 Broomhandle Books

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, scanned, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to [email protected]

 

Introduction

 

If you are a native English speaker who has traveled extensively in foreign lands, you have certainly come across signs in English that forced you into mental gymnastics. The sentiment or idea expressed takes on double meanings far beyond what the writer intended.

 

Of course, the creator(s) of these signs meant no harm to the language or their own reputations, but simply wanted it known that their establishments were available to serve English speaking people. However, oddly, the first service the signs provided was amusement – likely very much needed after a few weeks traveling abroad.

 

The contents herein – including signage, advertisements, menus, and newspaper articles – were gathered by a variety of expats and transmitted to others over the years as some of the best (or worst) examples of English gone terribly wrong.

In a Bucharest hotel lobby:

 

The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

 

In a Leipzig elevator:

 

Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.

 

In a Belgrade hotel elevator:

 

To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

 

In a Paris hotel elevator:

 

Please leave your values at the front desk.

 

In a hotel in Athens:

 

Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. daily.

 

In a Yugoslavian hotel:

 

The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

 

In a Japanese hotel:

 

You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

 

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:

 

You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

 

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:

 

Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

 

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:

 

Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

 

On the menu of a Polish hotel:

 

Salad a firm’s own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people’s fashion.

 

In a Hong Kong supermarket:

 

For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.

 

Detour sign in Kyushu, Japan:

 

Stop: Drive Sideways.

 

In a Swiss mountain inn:

 

Special today – No ice cream.

 

In a Bangkok Temple:

 

It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.

 

In a Tokyo bar:

 

Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

 

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:

 

We take your bags and send them in all directions.

 

On the door of a Moscow hotel room:

 

If this is your first visit to USSR, you are welcome to it.

 

In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:

 

Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

 

At a Budapest zoo:

 

Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

 

In the office of a Roman doctor:

 

Specialist in women and other diseases.

 

In an Acapulco hotel:

 

The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

 

In a Tokyo shop:

 

Our nylons cost more than common, but you’ll find they are best in the long run.

 

From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner:

 

Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.

 

From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:

 

When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

 

Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:

 

English well talking. Here speeching American.

 

In a Bangkok dry cleaning shop:

 

Drop your trousers here for best results.

 

Outside a Paris dress shop:

 

Dresses for street walking.

 

Outside a Hong Kong dress shop:

 

Ladies have fits upstairs.

 

In a Rhodes tailor shop:

 

Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

 

From the Soviet Weekly:

 

There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.

 

In an East African newspaper:

 

A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

 

In a Vienna hotel:

 

In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

 

A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:

 

It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.

 

In a Zurich hotel:

 

Because of the impropriety of e entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

 

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:

 

Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

 

A translated sentence from a Russian chess book:

 

A lot of water has been passed under the bridge since this variation has been played.

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English Gone Wrong: We Certainly Didn't Mean That!

If you are a native English speaker who has traveled extensively in foreign lands, you have certainly come across signs in English that forced you into mental gymnastics. The sentiment or idea expressed takes on double meanings far beyond what the writer intended. Of course, the creator(s) of these signs meant no harm to the language or their own reputations, but simply wanted it known that their establishments were available to serve English speaking people. However, oddly, the first service the signs provided was amusement – likely very much needed after a few weeks traveling abroad. The contents herein – including signage, advertisements, menus, and newspaper articles – were gathered by a variety of expats and transmitted to others over the years as some of the best (or worst) examples of English gone terribly wrong

  • ISBN: 9781311241092
  • Author: Broomhandle Books
  • Published: 2016-06-07 22:50:07
  • Words: 1119
English Gone Wrong: We Certainly Didn't Mean That! English Gone Wrong: We Certainly Didn't Mean That!