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Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

Fun with signs!

Here are some signs from my trips to Moscow and Istanbul. See if you can decipher them! Some are way easy because of the font/colors/logo, but there are a few noodle-scratchers in there I bet.

It's not going to get much easier than this one. On the Moscow River.

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Perekhod

Upon alighting in an unfamiliar environment, it’s important to be able to tell your friends from your enemies. My first day in Moscow I made the following realization:

Friend.

Enemy.

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New name, ё!

I am now the proud owner of an official document with my new name: Djon Maksvini. No, I am not trying to rediscover my Italian roots, and a quick check of my residential history would establish that this is also not my porn name.  How did this name come about? The short answer:  the Russians are to blame. To quote J.K. Simmons from Burn After Reading, “The Russians??”

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My mom and I will be spending two weeks in Moscow in June, staying at the Cosmos Hotel. Their website has been designed by someone who clearly is familiar with English yet is not quite ‘there’:

For when you’re feeling down.

I am incredibly bemused at the thought of this little critter sidling up to me in the dining room of some mysterious hotel and saying “looking good, Mr. M.!”.

This being said, I am resisting the urge to turn this blog into an annotated version of sites such as Engrish.com. If you’re unaware, it’s a compendium of highly witty and/or nonsensical mistranslations into English from around the world, mostly East Asia. Here’s a typical entry:

Anyone want to translate the Japanese?

Do I find such sites offensive? No. Should I? Possibly, but that’s a debate for another time. Do I find them funny? Oh yes. But I don’t want to imitate them.

I would also soon get out of my depths if I tried to perform genuine  scholarly analysis on this kind of thing — I am not a professional linguist, nor do I speak any non-European languages. If that’s what you’re looking for, Language Log has some very in-depth and enlightened discussions on such matters.

This is not to say that I will not post such comically-worded things from time to time; I simply want to keep this place from becoming a repository of posts on the theme “look-at-silly-foreigners-stumble-with-English”.

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