Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Languagee barrier

My wife and I went to a tiny hardware store in our town to buy some duct tape. Of course the people in the store did not speak English, but since I did not see any of the silver miracle tool lying about I asked "Tape?" Keeping things simple seems to help communication.

She had no idea what I was talking about. My wife who has been diligently studying Korean, busted out her much greater lexicon of the local language. "Tape-oo?"

The woman in the store resorted to the typical Korean method of trying to talk to us in Korean until we some how become magically fluent in their stupid language. Then I noticed behind the counter a roll of green duct tape, to which I pointed to immediately cutting short whatever epic poem or rant on the stupidity of foreigners she was spouting.

Ah! she said, "Tape-uh"

Of course. Tape-uh. Obviously the Korean word for tape is completely indistinguishable from the English word tape. How could she possibly know what the fuck we were talking about when we said Tape-oo? That is completely phonically different from Tape-uh. How could we possibly expect her to make the gigantic leap from tape or tape-oo to tape-uh. Ridiculous!

This was not the first time something like that happened either. One time when we first got here, we were trying to find the bus that went to "Home plus". So I asked the driver "Home plus?" to which I received a blank stare. Know I knew he should know what home plus was. There is a gigantic fucking sign over the building and it is clearly visible from the subway. There is no way a bus driver would not know about it. I said it slower. I enunciated. Still nothing but confusion. Then another passenger, one somewhat familiar with the English language chimed in.

"Home prus-oo"

"Ahh! Home prus-oo Nehye!" It turns out he did indeed know Home Prus-oo, but never heard of anything like Home plus. Even though there is no "oo" at the end of the "Plus" on the sign.

Really. Really Korea? How could a race of people be unable to make such a simple leap from tape to tape-uh? From home plus to home prus-oo? If a Korean came to the USA and asked me "Bus-uh?" or "Bus-oo?" or "Bus-ee?" sure two blocks take a right. I would be able to make the connection. "Warmart-oo?" sure, its over there. Is it a lack of imagination, or just a game of annoy the foreigner? Or what?

Give me fucking break, you boners.

1 comment: