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There must be very few people in this country who have not had some experience in learning a foreign language. And among those, there must also be very few who have not had some experience - sometimes embarrassing - of making mistakes in that new language. How many of us have not cringed on realizing the blunder we made?
Reading Liat Collins's amusing column in The Jerusalem Post a while back about the blunders English-speakers make in Hebrew gave me an idea: As an English teacher and bagrut examiner of umpteen years, I've collected a treasure trove of gems that Israelis have produced in English.
These fall into different categories: there are the literal translations from Hebrew (Question: How are you? Answer: On the face); there are the spelling mistakes, sometimes just of one letter (OK, I'll strat from stratch).
Next are the kids who just don't know quite the right word in English (I'm sure you haven't heard of this organization because of the modesty of the head-board). Or those who use a word they think they know (I have an ambivalated opinion on this matter).
There are the incongruous expressions (This lady is every day teaching acting lessons to help fruit cake mental illness patients), and those that are simply, well, creative: (i'm perfect candydate for this job becoase i knew english such good). (And he has the chutzpah to brag about it.)
Perhaps the greatest challenge to the mind are the products of those who mistakenly think they will improve their English by using an electronic dictionary. The milonit does not have Hebrew vowels, and so some kids don't realize that they've found the wrong word.
Warning: For this section you have to know Hebrew. If you have trouble decoding the blunders that follow, we have been kind enough to provide an accompanying list of solutions.
There was the student who volunteered for a charitable organization that helped beards (see solution A) to cross the road, and another who got a good grade in his bagrut in history, but not in tongue (see Solution B).
When applying for a job at a summer camp, there was the kid who declared that "Your gums will enjoy my activities," (see solution C) while another pronounced that he would be happy to work at a legume (see solution D). One really got his knickers in a twist when he informed the examiner that "I embryo abode come week," (see solution E) while another stated that he was going to Greece next week to do Deuteronomy spoons (see solution F).
Take care you don't choke when coming to the end of a recipe for chocolate cake when you are told to cut up some tonsils and decorate the cake with them. Choking may also be induced by a composition on technology when we are told that cars flatulate toxic gases (see solution G), which cause breathing diseases (I would think so too).
There are two that really take the cake (minus the tonsils). One is a complaint by a student after a two-day school trip, in which he announces that we would have enjoyed more free time but the hazel was too tiring (see solution H). The other is the kid who goes to a party and wants to leave early, at which point a friend chides him, "You merciful! Stay to the end like everyone else!" (See solution I).
As promised, a list of solutions to the milonit mishaps:
* Solution A: The student looked up "zaken" (elderly) and found "zakan."
* Solution B: "Lashon" means both tongue and language.
* Solution C: The student looked up "hanichim" (campers) and found "hanichayim."
* Solution D: The student looked up "kaytanot" (summer camps) and found "kitniyot."
* Solution E: "Over dira shavua haba" (I'm moving next week).
* Solution F: "Dvarim kefim." The student looked up "kef" (fun) and found "kaf." Dvarim means things.
* Solution G: "Poltim" means both emit and flatulate.
* Solution H: "Luz" (abbreviated form of "lu'ah zmanim" - schedule).
* Solution I: The student looked up "hnun" (nerd) and found "hanun."
* Solution J: "Tzor kesher" (contact).
Next time we'll look at another bunch of bloopers. If you have any of your own (authentic only, please) flint knot (see solution J) at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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