Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Random Picture #111


There were many perfectly reasonable and innocent word combinations in Japan which, because of different cultural connotations, were funny to native speakers. These cans of jasmine tea, sold without milk or sugar, and marketed as "Asian Straight" would be fine if it weren't for the fact that it makes it sound like they are marketing heterosexuals of Asian origin. When I saw things like this, after the initial smile of amusement, I was reminded of the complexities of gaining true fluency in a language. The nuances and the fluidity of pop cultural references make it nearly impossible. It was good for a laugh, of course, but also a moment of empathy. No wonder my students never felt their English would be adequate. If a huge corporation like Kirin was tagging their products in a slightly funny way when they used English, what hope did my students with their limited resources to get their English perfect have?

2 comments:

what.jess.wore said...

lol... Thanks for sharing.

This belongs on engrish.com.

J

Dennis said...

When I tell people my favorite Japanese drink is Kirin's Straight Afternoon Tea, I always get a "funny" comment. Har har.