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Unbearable bellies

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Just been reading Robert A. Day’s How to write and publish a scientific paper. Still a good book despite it age, although not to every reviewers’ taste, as one commented: “Day is a writer for the ages–for the ages of four to eight”.

Here’s a passage I loved about a foreign student arriving in the US:

Unfortunately, he had had few opportunities to speak the language. Soon after his arrival in this country, the dean of the school invited a number of the students and faculty to an afternoon tea. Some of the faculty members soon engaged the new foreign student in conversation. One of the first questions asked was “Are you married?” The student said, “Oh, yes, I am most entrancingly married to one of the most exquisite belles of my country, who will soon be arriving here in the United States, ending our temporary bifurcation.” The faculty members exchanged questioning glances, then came the next question: “Do you have children?” The student answered “No.” After some thought, the student decided this answer needed some amplification, so he said, “You see, my wife is inconceivable.” At this, his questioners could not hide their smiles. So the student, realizing he had committed a faux pas, decided to try again. He said, “Perhaps I should have said that my wife is impregnable.” When this comment was greeted with open laughter, the student decided to try one more time: “I guess I should have said my wife is unbearable.”

Funny, but not very helpful. As the saying goes, “don’t laugh at foreigners’ mistakes, especially if you don’t speak a foreign language yourself”. What might be helpful is a social sharing website I recently discovered called (from Heyse Li’s Amazon Kindle book Hack Your Language Learning: The Simple Starter Guide for Beginners on How to Learn and Remember Any Language, which has a couple of good tips in it) which allows people to submit sentences in a given language and have foreign natives correct it.

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Guest Saturday, 07 December 2019
You are here: Home Frogologoblog Simon Unbearable bellies