Thursday, November 10, 2005

Language Fun

My Chinese colleagues know I speak Mandarin so if they want to carry on a private conversation in front of me they resort to using Cantonese. Since I am somewhat of a smart-aleck I interject some “unknown” English into their private conversations. Here are a few examples:

“Excuse me, I have an engineering question I need to ask. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

“supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”

“Pardon me, I just received an email. Do you know any of these people? Peter, Andrew, James and John, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, James the Son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Canaanite and Judas Iscariot?” Of course a good follow up to this one is to recite the 46 books of the Bible.

I also have my own secret dialect. I have taught one of the guys in the office Pig Latin and made him promise not to teach anyone else. Now when we need to carry on a private conversation we use Pig Latin - to the amazement and confusion of the others in the office.

Like teaching “pull my finger” these are my attempts to bridge cross-cultural differences

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