Here Speeching American: A Very Strange Guide to English as It Is Garbled Around the World by Kathryn PetrasHere Speeching American: A Very Strange Guide to English as It Is Garbled Around the World by Kathryn Petras

Here Speeching American: A Very Strange Guide to English as It Is Garbled Around the World

byKathryn Petras, Ross Petras

Paperback | October 5, 2004

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 70 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-2 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores



The celebrated authors of the perennial bestseller The 776 Stupidest Things Ever Said set the typical travel guide squarely on its head–taking you from the airport to the hotel, from sightseeing to dining out–by using 100 percent real examples of fractured English as spoken and posted abroad:

• Feel like shopping?
We have no good things to sell.
–shop sign, Lovina Beach, Bali

• Feeling sick?
Are you haunted by the horribles? Do you run after your own nose?
–Japanese medical form

• Wondering what to wear?
A sports jacket may be worn to dinner, but no trousers.
–in a French hotel brochure

• Wondering where to eat?
Grill and Roast your clients! Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch.
–slogan of the Hibiscus restaurant in the Jakarta Hilton International

But don’t take our word for it, come see for yourself. And if that’s too much to ask, remember the sage advice from the staff of a Taipei hotel: “If there is anything we can do to assist and help you, please do not contact us.”
Kathryn Petras collected The 776 Stupidest Things Ever Said and put them all in a book. Her other works, coauthored with her brother Ross, include Don't Forget to Sing in the Lifeboats and It All Seems Impossible Until It's Done. She lives in New York City.Ross Petras, along with his sister, Kathryn Petras, collected The 776 Stupidest ...
Title:Here Speeching American: A Very Strange Guide to English as It Is Garbled Around the WorldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 7.26 × 4.74 × 0.53 inPublished:October 5, 2004Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0812973151

ISBN - 13:9780812973150


Read from the Book

Chapter 1Air TravelYour trip abroad often begins before you set foot in your destination country. We are speaking, of course, of foreign airlines. What better way to immediately get to know the people and the culture, and to get a glimpse of the fun times you’ll soon be having, than flying on your host country’s national carrier?The first impression you’ll get of the country you’ll be visiting is from your flight crew. They are carefully selected to be the perfect ambassadors.Duck feet? You’re out. Pigeon toes? Out! Bowlegs, pimples, warts, moles, dark skin, scars, bad breath? Out! . . . [And] they must be virgins.Hao Yu-ping, director of flight attendant school at China Air, describing the airline’s requirements for flight attendantsThe stewardesses of Southwest Airlines must go through four steps, such as hardship, tiredment, dirt feeling. Beside the quality of general stewardess.from the first edition of Chinese airline Southwest Civil Aviation’s Inflight Magazing [sic]And they’re trained to give you exceptional—even exotic—service.Sir would you like some sauce on your balls?Singapore Airlines stewardess, quoted in Singapore newspaperThe crew will want to make your flight as comfortable and safe as possible, so read the helpful material in the seat pocket—and be assured of a relaxing, worry-free trip.Bags to be use in case of sickness of to gatherremains.slogan on a Spanish airline’s airsickness bagAnd an itch-free trip too!Dear Passenger,Wish you have a joyful journey!When you are in public talking and laughing and drinking and singing . . . living a happy life, suddenly you feel some part of your body is too itchy to endure. How embarrassed! Please dial fax 01-491-0253, you will gain an unexpected result.Air China brochureYou may want to read the specifics of your flight for further reassurance.International Fright Informationairline timetable, China Airlines in-flight magazineMaximum cruising fright levelin-flight magazine, China Eastern AirlinesSo settle back and dip into that in-flight magazine. What a wonderful way to begin your vacation!Enjoy French odor in the South Pacific.from a French airline (UTA) and government of New Caledonia adWe’d like to offer our affection as a gift by the white bird on sky to every genuinely go the same may together with you. This is our only requite to you.dedication, Xiamen Airlines in-flight magazine, ChinaTake this opportunity to read about the sights you’ll soon be be seeing.Situated in the monsoon tropical zone, though the year covered with luxuriant vegetations, the land of Dai La by the Red River is “printed the forms of sitting tiger and winding dragon. . . . looking all over Vietnamese country, that’s land of scenic beauty, an important metropolistes indeed for four directions to gatter and the first rank of city merined to be regarded as Capital forever.”in-flight magazine, VietnamIncest sticks hang from the ceil-ing of a Taoist temple.Morning Calm, in-flightmagazine, Korean AirWhat an informative and exotic learning experience! And get ready for an exotic eating experience too! We’re not talking little foil packets of Planters Peanuts . . .Fduhy SesaneChina Airlines (CAAC) snack foodWe will now be serving snakes.Singapore Airlines stewardess,quoted in Singapore newspaperNear the end of the flight, you’ll often be handed an immigration card. It’s times like these you may find yourself wishing you’d paid more attention in eighth-grade French (not to mention Chinese).Fill in the card clearly in the following languages: Chinese, English, French and Spanish. Japanese names shall be filled in Rome alphabet.instructions on immigration form, ChinaAnd remember any special instructions about disembarking you may have received.Upon arrival at Kimpo and Kimahie Airport, please Wear your Clothes.on invitation to dedication ceremony from a Korean steel millin the airportA foreign airport can be intimidating, but your hosts will do their best to make you feel completely at home.Welcome To A Great Stage WhereWings of the World Gather, Flap,and Fly skywardfrom a guide to NaritaAirport, JapanSpeaking of flapping, you’ll see many ads for exciting overseas airlines that might induce you to book another flight immediately.AEROFLOT: Introducing wide boiled aircraft for your comfort . . .ad for Soviet (Russian) airlineAkita to OkinawaNon-Stop Frightfrom ad for JAS airline, JapanAir Vietnam: The most experimental airlineslogan in 1960Malaysia Airline. From Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Lumpur. Fair: 7,760 baht; US $ in Chiangmai Guidelines, Lao Aviation, LaosOf course, the airport will offer the same efficiency you’re used to at home.Irregular Flight Servicesign in Xian Airport, ChinaThis Way Pleasesign at Malé International Airport, MaldivesBut airport services may be a bit more exotic.Shoe sunshinesign at shoeshine stand, Osaka Airport, JapanMake Tsogt Chandmani Currency Exchange your choice and take the advantage and the flavour with you.slogan of currency exchange, MongoliaAir India Passengers for Your Reading Pleasuresign in airport, BombayDon’t be too surprised if your Louis Vuitton isn’t on the baggage carousel . . .We take your bags and send themin all directions.sign in an airline ticket office,CopenhagenA little anticipation seems to be the rule of the day at some airports.Passengers expecting mishandled baggage should obtain landing certificate from customs.Government of India disembarkation card given to passengers upon arrival in New Delhi’s airportPayment Before Orderingsign at restaurant in BenGurion Airport, IsraelOr sometimes not . . .Buy ticket after normal time.Flying off forward 30 mm transactstand-by ticket window in Wuhan, China, airportThen it’s on to customs. Entering a country can be a tad tricky . . .Objects must be declared. If there isn’t any object mark “X” only at the quantity “Yes” column and if there are any objects, cross out letter “No” and at the same row write exact amount of weight of these objects in words or in figures.customs form, which also warns sternly against “giving false declaration or having the action of tricking,” Vietnam. . . or, for that matter, leaving . . .DISTINGUISHED VISITOR:It is known that all the turistic services in Mallorca are maintaining a correct relation price quality, but even though, we wish to prize the establishments and services that to the opinion of our visitors, surpass notoriously for their quality.To be able to fill out these questionnaires you must write the name of this establishment, installation or turistic service, as is shown below, and you must give a punctuation between 6 and 10 points hoping that the service that you must punctuate has been the best in the relation price-quality.sign urging travelers to fill out questionnaires in a Mallorca airport, SpainA few quick words about airport security, which is on everyone’s mind these days. Security standards differ from country to country. Emotional people and rodent-lovers in particular, take note.X Rat Checksign in Taiwan airportPlease stand on your turn.For the safety of the passengerit is prohibited to carry the dangerous thingsin their hand bags of passenger.eThe hand bageDangerous things as gasses and passionssign in Kabul International Airport, AfghanistanLodgingA fine hotel in a foreign land should be a wonderful “home away from home.” It’s a place to relax after hectic days of sightseeing or business, a place to reenergize and regroup. As such, it is wise to select a hotel that meets your specific needs. This should be no problem whatsoever. There is a wide range of hotels designed for different types of tourists, from go-getters to . . . well . . . let’s just say, other types of travelers.Hotel de BastardLectoure, FranceAggressive Hotelshotel chain, CambodiaCity Hotel &Nut Clubsign on hotel, JapanBecause of the myriad of choices, you’ll find hotel companies bending over backward to assure you, the English-speaking visitor, that their hotel is the right one foryou.Be prepared for a nerve-racking experience.An outrageous rip-off on food and drinksand hotel rates.Lexus Clan hotel ad, The ManilaBulletin, Philippinesbath in room, pavements in cookedtravel pamphlet, SicilyWe Serve you with Hostiality.from the Fu Hua and East Lake Hotels, Guangdong, ChinaWho among us can fail to be excited by such claims?Always inquire beforehand about special rates orpromotional programs. Room rates may include breakfast . . . or other things.Special Room Rats in Augustflyer from the Man Po Boutique Hotel, ShanghaiThere is, however, a good chance you’ll decide to pay less and forgo any special “extras.”European PlanMeasles not included in Room Chargehotel rate card, SeoulRegardless of the hotel you choose, you will almost certainly be touched by the efforts of the helpful staff to communicate in your own tongue. Signs, brochures, pamphlets—these are all designed to make you feel right at home, almost as if you hadn’t left the States at all.The manager has personally passed all the water served here.sign in a hotel, AcapulcoInvisible service is available for your rest being not disturbed.notice in Yuanfei Hotel, Weifang, ChinaHarold Tribune is available at lobby paper rack.handout to guests at the Airport Garden Hotel, Seeduwa, Sri LankaTo get the best service possible, it is wise to make the right first impression. Abide by the management’s requests you’ll see posted in the lobby. These are usually extremely straightforward.Good appearance please. Nowatermelon please.sign in lobby of FragrantHills Hotel, BeijingAt the Cashier’s counter kindly note that personal cheese are not accepted.helpful hint included in Imperial Samui Hotel guidebook, ThailandNo entries in upper clothesDistik Hotel, Bishkek, KyrgyzstanNot to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.sign in ski hotel, AustriaGuests are prohibited from walking around in the lobby in large groups in the nude.sign in hotel lobby, HavanaSome hotels are rather liberal when it comes to rules . . .Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.sign in hotel, ZurichNow it’s onto the elevator and up to your room . . .perhaps.To move the [elevator] cabin, push button of the wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press the number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by natural order. Button retaining pressed position shows received command for visiting station.hotel elevator directions, MadridThe lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.sign in hotel lobby, Bucharest, RomaniaYour hotel room will have all the amenities you expect . . . and some you won’t.SHOWER CATCOMENEEDLE WOKE DAGitems provided in the Wesun Hotel, Wuhan, ChinaPlus a plethora of extremely helpful hints for getting as comfortable as possible.Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.from an information booklet about hotel air conditioner, JapanIf you wish, you may open the window.Do not open the Window.sign on window, Westin Chosun Hotel, SeoulTo speak to a guest in another room: Please follow these instructions: 1st Floor—add 250 to the room number and dial, on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Floors—dial the number required. 5th Floor—subtract 250 from the room number and dial, e.g. to contact Room 510 dial 260 EXCEPT for Room 542 whose number is 294.telephone instructions, Zimbabwe Sun HotelPlease maintain temperature at 1 degree from 25, any higher or lower will only make the room hotter or colder.sign, Taipan Hotel, BangkokNo in the roomsign in Sri Racha resort, ThailandSome rooms come with special features (or should we say “featules”?).auto rocklock on hotel door, JapanOthers, special services.Please dial 7 to retrieve your auto from the garbage.instructions on hotel-room phone, RomeTake a second to look at emergency instructions (usually posted on your room door). You’ll know just what to do if the worst happens.When emergency, cover your mouse with your handkerchief.sign in hotel, JapanNo smoking in bed. If it’s on fire the guests should be disperse according to the safety way.sign in room, Andingmen Hotel, BeijingYou might want to take a few minutes to refresh yourself after your plane trip. Pop into your bathroom and turn up the volume!Volume On. Squelch. Please dial to shut whenever you want to.labels above faucets in hotel bathroom, JapanVoltage is 220 V but the use of the electric i rous or telt les is not permitted.hotel brochure, YugoslaviaIs forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notis.sign in hotel, TokyoYou’ll find that standards of cleanliness are often remarkably thorough.Toilet was Cleaned and Spayed.sign in hotel, Hue, VietnamAnd the complimentary toiletries are often quite enthusiastic!The toothbrush is an indispensible part of enjoying life. I brush my teeth every day. I have a wonderful time. I like my toothbrush. I was won’t to get up early.wrapper on complimentary hotel toothbrush, JapanGives you strong mouth and refreshing wind!claim on hotel toothpaste wrapper, JapanYou might want to take advantage of the hotel laundry service. These tend to be extremely versatile. You might be pleasantly surprised at the variety of items they’ll clean—and so quickly too!LAUNDRY BAG19: Skirt20: Stocking21: Hand Kerchief22: Big Towel23: Small Towel24: Hat25: Shoes26: Tie27: Price of Ironing28: Car with 12 to 15 seats29: Car with 4 seatslaundry-bag list from Cam Do Hotel, Dalat, VietnamThe flattening of underwear with plessure is the job of the chambermaid. Turn to her straight hotel brochure, Brno, Czech RepublicFeel free to use the hotel’s or resort’s recreational facilities, gift shops, or restaurants. You will note many exciting suggestions in the literature at the concierge’s desk, or posted in common areas.For schedube and programmes of theaters as well as the tickets for all the types of performances, please, consult (he hall parter).hotel brochure, YugoslaviaTake one of our horse-driven city tours—we guarantee no miscarriages.sign at in-hotel tourist agency, Czech RepublicHotel pools are a wonderful treat and something you’ll surely want to enjoy. Just remember that safety is de rigueur!No Diving.No Nakedness.No Ruining.sign at hotel pool, IstanbulSWIMMING POOL SUGGESTIONSOpen 24 hours. Lifeguard on duty 8AM to 8PM Drowning absolutely prohibited.sign at Plantation Bay Resort, PhilippinesSwimming is forbidden in the absence of thesavior.sign by hotel swimming pool, FranceSome hotels even offer more specialized swimming or bathing facilities (especially a plus for aviculturists).Third Floor: Turkey Bathsign at Hotel Palace, SeoulAnd you’ll often find truly fine dining in the hotel itself. We guarantee that you won’t be able to skip those meals!Compulsory Buffet Breakfastsign at Melia Hanoi Hotel, VietnamA La Crate Menumenu in the Pool Terrace (Over Looking the Sea), Sri Lanka Lavinia HotelTasty Tacos and Beautiful Tarts are the order of the day.from promotional letter for guests of the Caravelle Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, VietnamA quick word about monetary matters: Some hotels prefer payment up front, others weekly; others have somewhat different time frames in mind.