Under the Hill

so tired…

Posts Tagged ‘polish

Phrasebook Misery

leave a comment »

Anna Etmanska from the Transparent Language Polish Blog in her latest post points out some facts that have bugged me as well for a long time:

Take any random phrasebook (any language will do) and look inside. You will see a whole bunch of very useful expressions that, no doubt, are essential to your survival in a foreign land. Phrases such as: “Where is the national museum?” (Yeah right, like you are really going to understand the answer. A lot easier to look up the museum on google maps before you leave home) or “Can I have it in red, please?” (at H&M you can find it yourself, and if you’re the type who frequents high end stores, chances are the staff will speak some English, even in France) or “I’d like to exchange these traveler’s checks” (just use a bank card, will you?).

So it’s not only me! Other people ask those questions as well! What audience are all those sentences in phrasebooks (not only Polish ones but all of them) actually for?! In any of those books there will be loads of sentences which might be important in everyday communication, but you basically can’t use them. Because you won’t understand the answer the other person will b giving you. The way to the museum might be shown with hands and feet if nothing else helps, but ask the lady at the ticket counter when and where the bus is going from and you will have a problem.

I remember one Polish phrasebook in particular that had a page on relationships. Phrases were going from: “Do you want to go out with me?” up to “Do you want to marry me?” and my personal favorite in this list “I think it doesn’t work with us two anymore!”. A whole relationship condensed onto one single page. Only: who will ever need that?

I mean, what are you even doing in a relationship where you have to break the bad news in a language you don’t even speak? I mean, how did you talk to each other before?!

Advertisements

Written by G. Neuner

9. June 2009 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Travel

Tagged with , , ,